Best Personal Loans

Compare the best personal loan rates and lenders to fit your unique needs

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To find the best personal loan it's important to understand that there are many reasons you might need to borrow money. Whether you want to consolidate your debt, take care of an unexpected expense, or finance a home improvement project, a personal loan could be a good fit to help you access the money you need.

Best Personal Loans鈥揙ctober 2020

Lender Best For APR Range Minimum Loan Amount Maximum Loan Amount Terms Recommended Credit Score
SoFi Best Overall 5.99%鈥18.53% with autopay $5,000 $100,000 2鈥7 years 680+
Marcus by Goldman Sachs Best for Debt Consolidation 6.99%鈥19.99% $3,500 $40,000 36鈥72 months 660+
LightStream Best for Good Credit 3.99%鈥19.99% with autopay $5,000 $100,000 24鈥144 months 680+
Upstart Best for Fair Credit 7.98%鈥35.99% $1,000 $50,000 3 or 5 years 600+
Avant Best for Bad Credit 9.95%鈥35.99% $2,000 $35,000 2鈥5 years 600+
Best Egg Best Overall, Runner-Up 5.99%鈥29.99% $2,000 $35,000 36鈥60 months 640+
Wells Fargo Best Bank 5.74%鈥24.49% with relationship discount $3,000 $100,000 12鈥84 months 670+
First Tech Credit Union Best Credit Union 7.70%鈥18% $500 $50,000 24鈥84 months 580+
Loan amounts, APR, and repayment period may vary by loan purpose or type.

Before you sign on the dotted line, it's smart to do a little research. Comparing loan options in advance could potentially save you money and protect your credit from unnecessary hard inquiries, which can lower your credit score. It's not uncommon for companies that offer personal loans to do what are known as soft pulls, which don't ding your credit,聽so you can see if you qualify before filling out an official loan application.

Of course, there's no such thing as a one-size-fits-all personal loan. The federal reserve reported the 24-month average personal loan interest rate at 9.63% in Q1 2020.锘 Yet current interest rates on personal loans can range from around 3.99% to 36%, based on your credit. Plus, some lenders may not let you borrow as much money as you need.

We've researched more than two dozen personal loan options and compared their interest rates, fees, qualification requirements, and other features. Below you'll find a list of our top picks for a number of categories. One overall positive: None of them charge a prepayment penalty if you happen to pay off your loan early. Depending upon your situation and why you need to borrow money, one of these personal loans might be a good fit for you.

SoFi: Best Overall

SoFi

SoFi personal loans combine attractive interest rates with impressive benefits, like the ability to temporarily pause your payments if you lose your job. Interest rates start as low as 5.99% with autopay. Qualified borrowers may receive up to $100,000 in funding, making SoFi a solid all-around choice.

Pros
  • Low interest rates available for well-qualified borrowers

  • Unemployment protection available if you lose your job

  • High loan amounts available to borrowers with sufficient income and credit to qualify

Cons
  • Better interest rates available with other lenders for borrowers with excellent credit

  • Funding may take a few days, which is longer than some lenders take

  • Good credit required to qualify for a personal loan with SoFi

Other important information:

  • Minimum/maximum amount you can borrow: $5,000 to $100,000
  • APR range: 5.99%鈥18.53% (with AutoPay discount)
  • Fees: None
  • Minimum recommended credit score: 680 or higher is recommended
  • Other qualification requirements: Besides your credit score, SoFi will also consider your credit history, income, employment, and other factors when reviewing your loan application
  • Repayment terms: Choose two- to seven-year repayment options
  • Time to receive funds: It may take several days between the time of your application and when funds are deposited into your account
  • Restrictions: To be approved you need to be 18 or older and a U.S. citizen (or permanent resident or visa holder). SoFi loans are currently available in every state except Mississippi

Residents of Michigan cannot have more than one SoFi personal loan

Read the full review: SoFi Personal Loans

Marcus by Goldman Sachs: Best for Debt Consolidation

Marcus logo

Marcus by Goldman Sachs offers personal loans that may work well for debt consolidation, due in part to long repayment terms of up to 72 months. If you have excellent credit, you may qualify for an interest rate as low as 6.99% with zero fees attached. Loan amounts are available up to $40,000 for qualified applicants. Together, these features might save you money if you can consolidate your expensive credit card debt for a lower rate.

Pros
  • Longer repayment terms might lower your monthly payment when you consolidate debt

  • No fees are charged by the lender, including late fees

  • Customize your payment due date so it works best for your budget

Cons
  • Higher rates are generally charged on loans with longer repayment terms.聽

  • Good credit needed to qualify聽

  • No cosigners are accepted

Other important information:

  • Minimum/maximum amount you can borrow: $3,500 to $40,000
  • APR range: 6.99%鈥19.99%
  • Fees: None
  • Minimum recommended credit score: A minimum credit score of 660 is recommended.
  • Other qualification requirements: You'll need to be 18 or older (in most states) plus have a valid bank account and Social Security or Individual Tax I.D. Number to apply.
  • Repayment terms: Loan terms between 36 and 72 months are available.
  • Time to receive funds: Allow one to four business days to receive your funds once approved.
  • Restrictions: You can't use a personal loan from Marcus to refinance student loan debt.

Read the full review: Marcus Personal Loans

LightStream: Best for Good Credit

LightStream logo

LightStream, an online division of SunTrust Bank, offers low interest rates to borrowers with good credit, starting as low as 3.99% for certain types of unsecured personal loans. Well-qualified borrowers may be able to take out a personal loan from LightStream for up to $100,000. Between the stellar interest rates and high maximum loan amounts, LightStream may be a great fit for applicants with solid credit ratings.

Pros
  • Unsecured Rates as low as 3.99% depending on your loan purpose

  • Rate Beat Program that offers to beat competitors' rates by at least 0.10 percentage points (restrictions apply)

  • Loan Experience Guarantee offers $100 if you're unhappy with the loan process

Cons
  • Hard to qualify if you don't have a good-to-excellent credit rating

  • No preapproval process means a hard credit inquiry on your Experian and Equifax credit reports to see if you qualify

  • Online applications only鈥擣ace-to-face and phone applications aren't available

Other important information:

  • Minimum/maximum amount you can borrow: $5,000 to $100,000
  • APR range: 3.99%鈥19.99%* (with AutoPay discount)
  • Fees: LightStream doesn't charge origination fees, prepayment penalties, late fees, or any other type of fees. (Loans issued in Florida are subject to a documentary stamp tax.)
  • Minimum recommended credit score: Reported to be 680 (not confirmed on LightStream's website).
  • Other qualification requirements: You'll have a better chance of approval if your credit reports show several years of credit history, a good mixture of account types (e.g., credit cards, installment loans, etc.), and few to no late payments. You should also be able to prove stable, adequate income to repay a new loan and evidence of savings (e.g., bank deposits, bonds, stocks, etc.).
  • Repayment terms: LightStream may offer you repayment terms between 24 and 144 months.聽
  • Time to receive funds: Once approved, you may be able to access your funds as soon as the same day.
  • Restrictions: You cannot use a loan from LightStream to pay for college, refinance a student loan, or fund a business.

*The lowest advertised rates and longest loan duration are only available on some loan types.

Read the full review: LightStream Personal Loans

Upstart: Best for Fair Credit

Upstart logo

Upstart is an online lending platform founded by a group of former Google employees. Because the platform uses artificial intelligence to consider alternative data, you may be more likely to qualify even if your credit is less than perfect, making Upstart a solid option for borrowers with a fair credit rating.聽

By using alternative data in its applications, Upstart has been able to approve 27% more applicants since late 2017. Typical rates with Upstart are between 7.98% and 35.99%. Qualified applicants can borrow from $1,000 to $50,000.

Pros
  • No prepayment penalty charged when you pay your loan off early

  • Alternative data considered (like savings, education, etc.) when you apply, not just your credit score

  • Soft credit pull used to get your initial rate quote

Cons
  • A high maximum APR of 35.99%

  • Loan origination fees can go as high as 8%

  • Online applications only鈥攑hone and in-person applications aren't available

Other important information:

  • Minimum/maximum amount you can borrow: $1,000 to $50,000
  • Typical APR range: Interest rates range from 7.98% to 35.99%, based on credit, income, and other information considered in your application. Your education, area of study, and job history might help you qualify for a better rate.
  • Fees:聽Origination fees can cost up to 8% of your borrowed amount. Late fees are either $15 or 5% of the past due amount鈥攚hichever is greater. Returned check fees (or ACH return fees) are $15. You'll also be charged $10 if you switch from paperless monthly statements to mailed copies.聽
  • Minimum recommended credit score: 600
  • Other qualification requirements: You can't qualify with a bankruptcy, public record, or currently past-due account on your credit report.
  • Repayment terms: Three- and five-year payment terms offered.
  • Time to receive funds: You could access funds as soon as the next day, once you accept the terms, two days if you accept after 5pm EST.
  • Restrictions: Residents of Iowa and West Virginia are not eligible to borrow from Upstart.

Read the full review: Upstart Personal Loans

Note: Your loan amount will be determined based on your credit, income, and certain other information provided in your application. Not all applicants will qualify for the full amount. Loans are not available in West Virginia or Iowa. The minimum loan amount in MA is $7,000. The minimum loan amount in Ohio is $6,000. The minimum loan amount in NM is $5100. The minimum loan amount in GA is $3,100.
If you accept your offer by 5pm EST (not including weekends or holidays), you will receive your funds the next business day. Proceeds used to fund education related expenses are subject to a three business day wait period between acceptance and funding in accordance with federal law.
The full range of available rates varies by state. The average 3-year loan offered across all lenders using the Upstart platform will have an APR of 25.16% and 36 monthly payments of $37 per $1,000 borrowed. There is no down payment and no prepayment penalty. Average APR is calculated based on 3-year rates offered in the last 1 month. Your APR will be determined based on your credit, income, and certain other information provided in your application. Not all applicants will be approved.

Avant: Best for Bad Credit

Avant

A personal loan from Avant may be a solution to consider if you need to borrow money but you have challenged credit. Qualified borrowers may receive up to $35,000 in funding and interest rates start as low as 9.95%. While that might not be the lowest rate you can find on a personal loan, it's considerably lower than the starting point for many alternative personal loans for bad credit.

Pros
  • Competitive interest rates when compared with other personal loans for bad credit

  • Fast access to funds鈥攐ften available as soon as the next business day

  • Soft credit pull occurs when you check your loan options online

Cons
  • Interest rates may be high compared to the APR you might receive elsewhere with better credit

  • Maximum loan amount of $35,000 is low compared with other personal loan providers聽

  • An administrative fee may be charged on top of interest costs

Other important information:

  • Minimum/maximum amount you can borrow: $2,000 to $35,000
  • APR range: 9.95%鈥35.99%
  • Fees: Avant may charge an administration fee of up to 4.75%, deducted directly from your loan amount. Late fees may be charged as well, if your payment becomes past due.聽
  • Minimum recommended credit score: 600鈥700 is the average credit score range of most approved applicants.
  • Other qualification requirements: In addition to your credit score, Avant will also review your income to see if you qualify and for what loan amount.
  • Repayment terms: Loan repayment terms can range between 24 to 60 months (two to five years).
  • Time to receive funds: Loan funds are usually deposited in your account by the next business day.聽

Read the full review: Avant Personal Loans

Best Egg: Best Runner Up

BE

Best Egg is known for their highly-rated customer service and competitive rates. This online lender has some of the best rates out there even with the origination fee. Applicants can get personal loans with rates as low as 5.99% and terms starting at 36 months.

Pros
  • Applicants can check their initial rate without affecting their credit score

  • Competitive rates offered

  • Borrowers can take out more than one Best Egg loan

Cons
  • High income required to qualify for the lowest rates

  • Borrowers need to pay origination fees

  • No joint applications

Other important information:

  • Maximum/minimum amount you can borrow: $2,000 to $35,000
  • APR range: 5.99%鈥29.99%
  • Fees: 0.99% to 6.99% origination fee; $15 late fee
  • Minimum recommended credit score: 640
  • Other qualification requirements: Applicants need to have an income of at least $100,000 to qualify for the lowest rates and a minimum credit score of 700
  • Repayment terms: 36 to 60 months
  • Time to receive funds: One to three business days
  • Restrictions: Combined loans cannot be more than $50,000

Read the full review: Best Egg Personal Loans

Wells Fargo: Best Bank

WF

Wells Fargo is one of the nation's biggest banks. If you don't want to visit one of their 5,400 branches across the U.S., you can access info on their website 鈥 existing customers can apply online or over the phone. Wells Fargo offers competitive rates, a big range of loans, and less stringent credit requirements than others.

Pros
  • No origination fees and prepayment penalties

  • Fast funding times

  • Relationship discounts available

Cons
  • No prequalification option

  • New customers need to apply in person

  • At $3,000, the minimum loan amount is higher compared to other lenders

Other important information:

  • Maximum/minimum amount you can borrow: $3,000 to $100,000
  • APR range: 5.74%鈥24.49% (includes relationship discount)
  • Minimum recommended credit score: 670
  • Fees: None
  • Other qualification requirements: Applicants need to sign up for autopay from a qualifying Wells Fargo bank account to qualify for rate discount聽
  • Repayment terms: 12 to 84 months
  • Time to receive funds: As soon as the next business day
  • Restrictions: New customers cannot apply online

Read the full review: Wells Fargo

First Tech Credit Union: Best Credit Union

FTFCU

First Tech Credit Union offers those with low to fair credit access to better rates and minimal fees. Plus, membership requirements aren鈥檛 as strict鈥攖o qualify you need to sign up to be a member of the Financial Fitness Association or the Computer History Museum and open a savings account with $5. The credit union offers one of the most competitive rates for unsecured personal loans, starting at 7.70%.

Pros
  • Applications with co-borrowers allowed

  • No application or origination fees

  • Offers one of the highest maximum loan amounts

Cons
  • No prequalification option available when checking initial rates

  • Membership requirements need to be met in order to qualify for a loan

  • More competitive rates can be found elsewhere for those with a higher credit score

Other important information:

  • Maximum/minimum amount you can borrow: $500 to $50,000
  • APR range: 7.70%鈥18%
  • Fees: None
  • Minimum recommended credit score: 580
  • Other qualification requirements: Applicants need to be the age of majority in their state, and the credit union will also consider their income and debts
  • Repayment terms: 24 to 84 months
  • Time to receive funds: As soon as the next business day
  • Restrictions: Borrowers need to become a member of the credit union

Read the full review: First Tech Credit Union Personal Loans

What Is a Personal Loan?

A personal loan is a predetermined amount of money given to an individual by a bank or private lender. It is usually unsecured and carries a fixed interest rate. The borrower must agree to the loan rate and terms and make on-time monthly payments until it is fully paid back. A personal loan can be used for a number of things including paying off or consolidating debt, paying medical expenses, or making a large purchase.聽聽

How Do Personal Loans Work?

Personal loans work by lending a borrower money if they meet certain qualifications that are set by the lender. The money is paid back over time with interest. The borrower usually makes monthly payments of principal and interest to repay the loan. A personal loan is often a more affordable option than a credit card because the interest rate is usually lower.聽

What Are the Qualification Requirements for a Personal Loan?

Qualification requirements for a personal loan vary based on the loan amount, who is lending the money, and the type of loan. Typical personal loan qualification requirements are:

  • Minimum FICO score of usually 660
  • Income requirements聽
  • Debt-to-income ratio
  • Address history for the past two years
  • 18+ years old
  • Valid social security number
  • Bank statements showing proof of income and positive banking history

How Much Do Personal Loans Cost?

Some of the fees associated with personal loans are origination fees, prepayment penalties, late fees, and administrative fees. However, not all lenders charge the same fees. It鈥檚 important to check with the lender before getting a personal loan. Despite what fees the lender charges, the largest cost is going to be what you鈥檙e paying in interest. The average interest rate for a personal loan is 9.63%.聽

How We Chose the Best Personal Loans

There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of personal loans available. We researched and reviewed dozens of them before deciding on our top contenders. We chose these specific personal loans as the best personal loans based on the loan amount, loan term, associated fees, interest rate, and application process.

Article Sources

Investopedia requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy .
  1. Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. "" Accessed May 15, 2020.

  2. SoFi. "" Accessed Sept. 28, 2020.

  3. Marcus: By Goldman Sachs. "" Accessed Jan. 13, 2020.

  4. LightStream. "" Accessed Jan. 13, 2020.

  5. Upstart. "" Accessed Jan. 13, 2020.

  6. Avant. "" Accessed Jan. 13, 2020.