Personal Loans

Choose from the best lenders offering personal loans for debt consolidation, small business, home repairs and more.

A personal loan is a loan taken out for a short period of time, usually between two and five years. The length of time is fixed and does not fluctuate, unlike a credit card or line of credit.

Most personal loan amounts are between $1,000 and $100,000, depending on your need and creditworthiness. Each bank has its own set of limitations on how much and how long you can borrow for a personal loan.

Personal loans are typically unsecured, which means there is no collateral, such as a car or house backing the loan.

Different types of lenders offer personal loans, including traditional brick-and-mortar banks and online-only lenders. They serve borrowers with varying credit scores, income levels and other requirements.

This guide explains how you can evaluate online lenders for personal loans. If you’re looking for a loan, you can find the right lender for your credit history and income, desired interest rate, loan amount and use, and co-signer requirement. Choosing the right lender and terms can save you thousands of dollars.

What Are the Best Personal Loan Companies of 2020?


Each consumer has distinct needs, and many lenders specialize in areas designed to meet them. Recommendations are based on eligibility requirements, interest rates and features that make these loans good matches for different types of consumers.

LightStream is the national online consumer lending division of SunTrust Bank, which recently became Truist after merging with BB&T. The key feature of LightStream’s online personal loans is that they can be up to $100,000 and used for nearly any reason. Personal loans are available to borrowers with good to excellent credit in all 50 states.

Best Features

  • More than 30 different loan uses are available.
  • Cosigners are accepted.
  • Loans of up to $100,000 are available.
  • LightStream has no origination, prepayment or late fees.

Drawbacks

  • LightStream does not offer variable-rate loans, only fixed-rate loans.
  • Online preapproval is not available.
  • Business loans are not available.

Advertiser Disclosure

Personal Loans

A personal loan is a loan taken out for a short period of time, usually between two and five years. The length of time is fixed and does not fluctuate, unlike a credit card or line of credit.

Most personal loan amounts are between $1,000 and $100,000, depending on your need and creditworthiness. Each bank has its own set of limitations on how much and how long you can borrow for a personal loan.

Personal loans are typically unsecured, which means there is no collateral, such as a car or house backing the loan.

Different types of lenders offer personal loans, including traditional brick-and-mortar banks and online-only lenders. They serve borrowers with varying credit scores, income levels and other requirements.

This guide explains how you can evaluate online lenders for personal loans. If you’re looking for a loan, you can find the right lender for your credit history and income, desired interest rate, loan amount and use, and co-signer requirement. Choosing the right lender and terms can save you thousands of dollars.

What Are the Best Personal Loan Companies of 2020?


Each consumer has distinct needs, and many lenders specialize in areas designed to meet them. Recommendations are based on eligibility requirements, interest rates and features that make these loans good matches for different types of consumers.

LENDERLEARN MOREAPRMAX. LOAN AMOUNTMIN. CREDIT SCORE
Check Rate3.49% to 16.79%$100,000660
Check Rate6.99% to 28.99%$40,000Not disclosed
Check Rate5.99% to 18.64%$100,000680
Check Rate7.95% to 35.99%$40,000Not disclosed
Check Rate6.99% to 24.99%$35,000660
Check RateVaries$25,000Varies
Check Rate6.18% to 35.99%$50,000620

Methodology: Personal loan companies are selected based on consumer ratings and product availability.

LightStream

Launched as a division of SunTrust Bank in 2013, LightStream offers personal loans of up to $100,000. Co-signers are accepted.

  • Minimum FICO score: 660
  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: N/A
  • Co-signer option: No, but joint applications are allowed
  • Preapproval or rate quotes available: No
  • Loan amounts: $5,000 to $100,000
  • Loan terms: 24 to 144 months
  • Loan use restrictions: Funds must be used for approved loan purpose
  • Discounts: None
  • Origination fee: None

Best Features

  • More than 30 different loan uses are available.
  • Cosigners are accepted.
  • Loans of up to $100,000 are available.
  • LightStream has no origination, prepayment or late fees.

Marcus by Goldman Sachs

Borrowers can apply for fixed-rate unsecured personal loans with Marcus by Goldman Sachs. Personal loans with this lender have no origination, prepayment or late fees.

  • Minimum FICO score: Not disclosed
  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: Not disclosed
  • Co-signer option: No
  • Preapproval or rate quotes available: Not disclosed
  • Loan amounts: $3,500 to $40,000
  • Loan terms: 36 months to 72 months
  • Loan use restrictions: Only debt consolidation, home improvement, major purchases, special occasions, moving and relocation and vacations
  • Discounts: N/A
  • Origination fee: None

Best Features

  • Marcus does not charge any fees on its personal loans.
  • Borrowers can adjust their payment due date.

SoFi

SoFi has offered personal loans online since 2011. Borrowers can apply for fixed and variable-rate personal loans ranging from $5,000 to $100,000.

  • Minimum FICO score: 680
  • Max DTI: N/A
  • Co-signer option: Accepts co-borrowers
  • Preapproval or rate quotes available: Yes
  • Loan amounts: $5,000 to $100,000
  • Loan terms: 2 to 7 years
  • Loan use restrictions: Borrowers can only use SoFi Personal Loans for credit card debt consolidation, home improvements, relocation assistance, and medical expenses.
  • Discounts: 0.25% discount on your interest rate if you sign up for AutoPay
  • Origination fee: None

Best Features

  • Offers no-fee loans, including no late fees.
  • Loans of up to $100,000 available.
  • Co-borrowers accepted.

Prosper

Prosper has served more than 880,000 borrowers since its founding in 2005. Borrowers with a debt-to-income ratio of up to 50% may be approved for personal loans.

  • Minimum FICO score: N/A
  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: N/A
  • Co-signer option: N/A
  • Preapproval or rate quotes available: N/A
  • Loan amounts: $2,000 to $40,000
  • Loan terms: 5 years
  • Loan use restrictions: N/A
  • Discounts: N/A
  • Origination fee: N/A

Best Features

  • Loans are available to people with fair to excellent credit.
  • Prosper offers preapproval with a soft credit check.
  • Small-dollar loans of $2,000 or more are available.

Discover

Discover offers personal loans for debt consolidation, home improvement and major purchases. Loan terms from three to seven years are available.

  • Minimum FICO score: 660
  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: N/A
  • Co-signer option: No
  • Preapproval or rate quotes available: Rate check available
  • Loan amounts: $2,500 to $35,000
  • Loan terms: 36 months to 84 months
  • Loan use restrictions: Only debt consolidation, home repairs/improvements, unexpected expenses or major purchases.
  • Discounts: N/A
  • Origination fee: None

Best Features

  • Discover has no fees other than a late fee.
  • Customizable loan terms from 36 to 84 months.
  • Borrowers get free access to their FICO credit score.

U.S. Bank

U.S. Bank offers both short- and long-term personal loans with fixed interest rates.

  • Minimum FICO score: N/A
  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: N/A
  • Co-signer option: N/A
  • Preapproval or rate quotes available: Real-time decision
  • Loan amounts: $100 to $1,000
  • Loan terms: Up to 3 months
  • Loan use restrictions: N/A
  • Discounts: N/A
  • Origination fee: None

Best Features

  • Pays out loan funds relatively quickly.
  • Accepts co-signers.
  • Does not charge an origination fee.

Upstart

Upstart uses automation to originate credit, funding more than $3.2 billion to 250,000 borrowers. Loans as small as $1,000 are available with this lender.

  • Minimum FICO score: 620
  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: Not disclosed
  • Co-signer option: No
  • Preapproval or rate quotes available: Yes
  • Loan amounts: $1,000 to $50,000
  • Loan terms: 3 to 5 years
  • Loan use restrictions: Loan funds may not be used for any prohibited uses noted in Upstart’s Acceptable Use Policy.
  • Discounts: N/A
  • Origination fee: 0% to 8%

Best Features

  • Upstart may accept applicants with fair credit or even those with no credit history, using artificial intelligence to quantify risk.

What Is the Best Interest Rate on a Personal Loan?


When you shop around for the best personal loan interest rate, you can save. Compare your personal loan offers with national average trends for personal loans to know if you’ve found a good deal.The average personal loan rate is 11.09%. Last week’s average rate was 11.09%*Rate as of July 3, 2020.

Personal Loan Finder


Select your desired loan amount and purpose, your credit score range, and your state to see estimated annual percentage rates and loan terms.

What Are Good Reasons to Get a Personal Loan?

Personal loans are not a solution for most financial situations, says Eric Roberge, certified financial planner and owner of financial planning website Beyond Your Hammock. “Most times, they are just a Band-Aid on improper money management,” he says.

Roberge recommends a personal loan if you have credit card debt with high interest rates. Paying off debt with a high interest rate, such as a 24% APR, can be difficult because the more interest you owe, the higher your payments and the longer you would need to be debt-free.

But if you qualify for a personal loan with a much lower interest rate, you can pay off the debt faster and spend less on interest.

“One bad reason to take out a personal loan is to invest in the stock market,” Roberge says. “There is no reason to go into debt just to get money in the market. Save and then invest.”

Some of the worst uses for personal loans are vacations, weddings, engagement rings and other unnecessary expenses. If you’re having trouble saving for an expense such as a wedding or vacation, delaying it until you can pay for it in cash is a better option than a personal loan.

Personal loans are also not a good idea for home repairs. Instead, consider a home equity loan that taps the equity built up in your home, and home equity loans usually have lower interest rates.

Personal Loans vs. Payday Loans

While personal loans are offered by trustworthy lenders, payday loans are predatory, often signing up borrowers for debt that takes several cycles to pay off. A payday loan is a short-term loan, usually limited to a few hundred dollars.

The borrower agrees to pay the lender the loan amount, plus interest, and writes a check or gives access to a bank account. The lender then deposits the check when the loan comes due, which is typically the borrower’s next payday. If the borrower does not have enough money in the bank at that time, the lender will usually extend the loan until the next payday.

Most payday loans have exorbitant interest rates, often around 400% APR and sometimes up to 700%. Many borrowers end up extending their loans several times. Because interest rates are so high, they struggle to repay their loans.

“Subprime lenders that don’t care about a customer’s ability to repay are probably counting on them not being able to pay the loan back on time,” says Jared Kaplan, CEO of OppLoans, an online lender that serves customers with fair to poor credit.

He says this sounds counterintuitive, as lenders might be out of business if customers can’t repay loans. But lenders commonly extend the loan’s repayment term in exchange for charging additional fees or interest.

This practice is known as rollover, or sometimes reborrowing, if a person is paying off one loan and then immediately taking out a new one to meet other expenses. Payday loans that continue to roll over with additional fees or interest are how consumers get trapped in a nasty cycle of debt, Kaplan says.

A payday loan is never a good idea, especially if you’re having trouble making ends meet. These loans can lead to bigger financial problems and often cost you far more than you originally borrowed. If you find yourself contemplating a payday loan, consider borrowing money from family members or friends, or sell something you own.

U.S. News Survey: Amid Coronavirus Crisis, Many Americans Aren’t Using Personal Loans or Relief Options


The coronavirus crisis has thrown the lives of many Americans into financial uncertainty. Millions face job losses and must prioritize paying for essentials, including food and shelter.

But many haven’t considered options such as government assistance, personal loans, and deferred credit card payments and fee waivers, which could alleviate coronavirus-related financial pressures.

U.S. News surveyed Americans about the coronavirus and its toll on their finances. These are the key findings:

  • Major financial concerns are losing income, business revenue or retirement funds, and managing household expenses.
  • About half of consumers have experienced changes at work since the coronavirus outbreak began in the United States.
  • About one in three consumers will use stimulus checks to pay for essentials.
  • Most consumers haven’t sought government assistance.
  • Most Americans with credit card debt haven’t asked to defer or skip payments. Almost a quarter of them plan to make only minimum payments during the crisis.
  • Most consumers aren’t considering personal loans to ease financial stress caused by the COVID-19 crisis.

More than half of consumers surveyed said they have serious financial concerns related to the coronavirus.

Nearly one in five consumers surveyed said losing income or business revenue is their greatest financial concern related to the pandemic. That concern is followed by losing retirement funds and managing household expenses.

Nearly half of consumers surveyed have experienced changes at work since the U.S. coronavirus outbreak began.

Of the consumers surveyed, about 19% have started working from home and about 10% have lost hours. About 13% have been laid off or furloughed.

Paying for essentials, reducing debt and building savings are coronavirus stimulus payment priorities.

About a third of respondents said they will use their stimulus checks for essentials such as groceries or rent payments. More than 30% don’t expect to get checks.

Other top priorities are shoring up savings or making debt payments.

Most consumers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic aren’t asking for government assistance.

Eighty-six percent of consumers surveyed said they haven’t applied for major coronavirus government assistance programs. Just 7% said they’ve applied for or used unemployment assistance, and less than 4% have applied for or used Small Business Administration programs.

Only about 2% have applied for or used food stamps or Medicaid.

Many consumers with credit card debt plan to skate by with minimum payments during the coronavirus crisis.

Nearly a quarter of people carrying card balances said they plan to make only minimum payments on credit cards during the coronavirus pandemic. Most credit card issuers allow cardholders to skip or defer payments, but just 6% of consumers with credit card debt plan to do this or have done so.

Just 3% of Americans will consolidate credit card debt with home equity or personal loans.

The few consumers who have incurred coronavirus-related medical expenses face steep costs.

Of the consumers surveyed, 92% said they haven’t had medical expenses related to the coronavirus. But among those who did, about half paid less than $5,000 for medical expenses.

About one in five consumers surveyed have at least $15,000 in coronavirus medical expenses.

Most consumers haven’t reported coronavirus scams.

More than 90% of consumers surveyed said they haven’t experienced attempts at coronavirus fraud. But nearly 5% said scammers have asked for personal data, 2% were targeted for a stimulus scam, and 1% received a bogus check. Being on alert for such scams is a good idea.

Most consumers don’t plan to take personal loans to help with coronavirus financial challenges, and those who turn to these loans may use them for everyday expenses.

Just 16% of consumers surveyed said they have or plan to take out personal loans because of financial pressures created by the coronavirus crisis. Among those with personal loans, about 19% of people plan to use them to pay for everyday expenses.

About 10% of respondents have or plan to take out personal loans to cover medical expenses or to consolidate credit card debt. Nearly half who will get personal loans plan to use them f

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