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Interested in renovating your bathroom? Have some unexpected medical bills or auto repairs? Need to pay for a wedding? A personal loan could help you cover these costs. You can also use a personal loan to consolidate several high-interest debts into one monthly payment, which is helpful if your goal is to organize your finances. 

Many banks, credit unions and online lenders offer personal loans, and these loans are typically unsecured or not backed by collateral like your home or car. Since they’re unsecured, your creditworthiness will play a major role in whether you’re approved or not and the interest rate you’ll get. 

Depending on the lender, you could get a personal loan as small as $500 or as large as $100,000. Repayment terms also vary but commonly range from 12 to 60 months. It often takes as little as one business day to disburse a personal loan, making it a good option if you need funding fast. 

If you’re considering a personal loan to cover a significant expense, there’s no shortage of lenders. To help you narrow your options, we’ve pulled together a list of our top picks for personal loan lenders.

Best Personal Loans

Loan results will vary based on creditworthiness, loan purpose, loan amount, and other factors.

Best for Bad Credit

Upgrade

Upgrade logo
Check Your Rate

via AmOne

  • Loan Amounts$1,000 – $50,000
  • Loan Terms24 – 84 months
  • APR Range8.49% – 35.97%
  • Minimum
    Credit Score
    560 or higher

Borrowers with less-than-stellar credit profiles may find Upgrade personal loans accessible, and its quick funding and flexible payment due dates convenient.

Overview

Upgrade offers personal loans up to $50,000 for qualifying borrowers and is accessible to those with not-so-ideal credit scores. The low loan minimum of $1,000 also makes it an easy choice for those with small financing needs. However, borrowers in certain states will be subject to higher minimum loan amounts.

While other lenders may offer longer repayment terms of up to 144 months, those are typically reserved for certain loan purposes. Upgrade has repayment terms of 24 to 84 months for eligible borrowers, no matter what expense you’ll be covering. This flexibility can be useful, especially if you’d prefer a longer time frame to pay off your loan.

With this lender, you can expect to pay an origination fee. Borrowers can view their rate before applying without impacting their credit score.

Overall, Upgrade is worth considering if you’re looking for a lender that is willing to work with lower credit scores and offers loans with competitive rates and flexible terms.

Pros

  • Accessible to borrowers with bad credit
  • Flexible loan terms
  • Joint applications allowed
  • Secured loan options
  • Direct payment to creditors

Cons

  • Has origination fees
  • No physical branches
  • Higher APRs than some competitors

Best for Competitive Rates

LightStream

Check Your Rate

via AmOne

  • Loan Amounts$5,000 – $100,000
  • Loan Terms24 – 144 months
  • APR Range5.99% – 23.99% (with autopay)
  • Minimum
    Credit Score
    660 or higher

LightStream is a solid online lender offering no fees, high loan maximums and low-rate personal loans for several purposes.

Overview

Lightstream offers personal loans for several purposes, including debt consolidation, medical expenses, home improvement, weddings, car purchases and more, making this worth considering for those seeking flexibility. Eligible borrowers can get approved for personal loans from $5,000 to $100,000, and loan terms range from 24 to 144 months. The rate and term you get will depend on the specific loan purpose.

The lender offers relatively low rates compared to competitors, including autopay discounts. Its personal loans also have no origination fees or late fees, which can help keep borrowing costs low. However, borrowers will likely need to have good-to-excellent credit in order to be approved for a Lightstream personal loan.

Overall, it’s a good lender to add to your shortlist if you’re looking for flexible funding, no fees and a low APR. Lightstream may also disburse loans as soon as the same day you’re approved, making this lender a decent choice if you need fast funding.

Pros

  • Low minimum APR
  • No origination fees, no late fees
  • High loan maximum of $100,000
  • Autopay discount
  • Joint applications allowed

Cons

  • Rates and terms vary by loan purpose
  • No soft pull prequalification
  • Must have good-to-excellent credit
  • No physical branches

Best for Consolidating Credit Card Debt

Happy Money

Happy Money logo
Check Your Rate

via AmOne

  • Loan Amounts$5,000 – $40,000
  • Loan Terms24 – 60 months
  • APR Range 7.99% – 29.99%
  • Minimum
    Credit Score
    640 or higher

Happy Money can help pay off and consolidate credit card debt into one fixed monthly payment.

Overview

Happy Money, formerly known as Payoff, offers loans up to $40,000 for credit card debt payoffs. Eligibility is clearly stated online, so borrowers will appreciate the transparent criteria.

Borrowers have the option to have Happy Money deposit funds directly to their credit cards to help streamline the payoff process. Funding can take between three to six business days, which is longer than other lenders, but still considered a decent turnaround time.

Personal loans are accessible to borrowers with fair credit, and there are no options for co-signers or joint applicants. Unfortunately, the loans are not available in Massachusetts or Nevada, so borrowers will need to look elsewhere for lending options.

Pros

  • No late fees
  • Direct payment to creditors
  • Prequalification with no hard credit check

Cons

  • Can only be used for credit card debt consolidation
  • Has origination fees
  • High loan minimum
  • No joint or co-signed loans
  • Not available in all states
  • Funding slower than other lenders

Best for Fast Loan Funding

Prosper

Prosper logo
Check Your Rate

via AmOne

  • Loan Amounts$2,000 – $50,000
  • Loan Terms24 – 60 months
  • APR Range6.99% – 35.99%
  • Minimum
    Credit Score
    600 or higher

Prosper is an online lending platform offering fast funding for personal loans and the option to apply with a co-borrower if your credit isn’t stellar.

Overview

Founded in 2005, Prosper is an online peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform offering personal loans and HELOCs. Because it’s P2P, Prosper works slightly differently than other non-P2P lenders. Borrowers sign up and are assigned a Prosper Rating based on their creditworthiness, and investors can choose whether or not to fund them after viewing their loan listing.

Eligible borrowers seeking personal loans can get up to $50,000 through Prosper with 2- to 5-year repayment terms. Borrowers can expect to pay an origination fee depending on their Prosper Rating. Funding can be available as soon as the next business day after approval of the loan, making it a solid option in emergencies.

Fortunately, if your credit isn’t stellar, Prosper offers the option to apply with a co-borrower, which could improve your chances of getting a better rate.

Pros

  • Can change your loan payment date
  • Option to apply with co-borrower
  • Next-day funding available after approval

Cons

  • No physical branches
  • Has origination fees

Best for Flexible Payment Terms

Avant

Avant logo
Check Your Rate

Via AmOne

  • Loan Amounts$2,000 – $35,000
  • Loan Terms12 – 60 months
  • APR Range9.95% – 35.95%
  • Minimum
    Credit Score
    580 or higher

Avant offers small personal loans that are accessible to borrowers with fair credit, with funding available as soon as the next day.

Overview

Avant is known for its personal loans, which offer terms as long as 60 months. Customers can borrow up to $35,000 that can be used for a wide range of purposes, and funding can be completed as soon as the next business day once approved. The minimum APRs tend to be higher than competitors, but the maximum APR is comparable to other online lenders.

A unique feature offered by Avant is their flexible payment due date, which allows a 10-day grace period without incurring a late fee.

While some lenders have credit score requirements in the mid-600s, Avant indicates it may approve borrowers with a 580 credit score.

Pros

  • Loan terms up to 60 months
  • Low minimum credit score requirement
  • Flexible payment due date
  • Next day funding available

Cons

  • No physical locations
  • Origination fee of up to 4.75%
  • Relatively low maximum loan amount ($35,000)
  • High minimum APR
  • No joint applicant or co-signer

Best for Large Loans

SoFi Personal Loans

Check Your Rate

via AmOne

  • Loan Amounts$5,000 – $100,000
  • Loan Terms24 – 84 months
  • APR Range7.99% – 23.43%
  • Minimum
    Credit Score
    680 or higher

SoFi’s personal loan offering comes with no fees and a high loan maximum that may be a good fit for those seeking large loans.

Overview

SoFi offers a competitive personal loan product that boasts no origination fees, no late fees and a high maximum loan amount of $100,000. SoFi is one of only a handful of lenders offering loans as large as $100,000. If you need a substantial loan to cover a considerable expense, like a home renovation, SoFi’s high maximum can be a strong option. Its repayment terms range from 24 to 84 months, and same-day funding is also be available for qualified borrowers.

One standout feature of SoFi is that it offers unemployment protection, which might allow you to pause payments if you lose your job. This is a unique offering that sets it apart from competitors.

SoFi also lets you view your rate without impacting your credit score. While doing a soft credit pull is relatively common, it’s still worth mentioning because some lenders require a hard inquiry before they provide a rate. Those who decide to formally apply will likely need a strong credit score to get approved for a SoFi personal loan.

Pros

  • No origination fees, no prepayment penalties and no late fees
  • Loans up to $100,000
  • Unemployment protection available
  • Autopay rate discounts
  • Co-borrower allowed
  • Same-day funding available

Cons

  • No physical branches
  • High minimum loan amount

Best for Secured Personal Loans

Best Egg

Best Egg logo
Check Your Rate

via AmOne

  • Loan Amounts$2,000 – $50,000
  • Loan Terms36 – 60 months
  • APR Range8.99% – 35.99%
  • Minimum
    Credit Score
    700 or higher

Best Egg provides fast personal loans, including unsecured and secured options.

Overview

Best Egg offers personal loans of up to $50,000 with repayment terms of 36 to 60 months. You can use Best Egg loans for various purposes, including paying for moving expenses, home improvements, debt consolidation, weddings, adoption and more.

Borrowers will pay an origination fee of 0.99% to 8.99%, depending on the amount they borrow and their creditworthiness. Best Egg states that borrowers will need a minimum FICO score of 700 and a minimum annual income of $100,000 to qualify for their lowest rates.

Best Egg products are not available for residents in Iowa, Vermont, West Virginia, the District of Columbia or U.S. Territories.

Pros

  • Fast funding for personal loans (as soon as the next day)
  • Loans up to $50,000

Cons

  • No physical locations
  • Has origination fees of 0.99% to 8.99%
  • Good credit and high annual income ($100,000) required for lowest rate

Best for Small Loans

PenFed Credit Union

PenFed Credit Union
Check Your Rate

via AmOne

  • Loan Amounts$600 – $50,000
  • Loan Terms12 – 60 months
  • APR Range7.74% – 17.99%
  • Minimum
    Credit Score
    700 or higher

PenFed offers no fees and small personal loans as low as $600.

Overview

PenFed is an established credit union founded in 1935 and headquartered in McLean, Virginia. While you will need to become a PenFed member if you decide to get a personal loan there, anyone can apply for membership and the process is quick and simple.

Many lenders have relatively high minimum loan amounts of $1,000 or $2,000, which isn’t ideal if you’d like to borrow a small amount to cover an unexpected cost. Unlike some competitors, PenFed offers loans as small as $600 (and as high as $50,000), with no origination fees and competitive APRs. Borrowers can get repayment terms as long as 60 months.

If you’d like to view personal loan rates with PenFed, you can do so without impacting your credit score. While this lender doesn’t disclose a minimum credit score requirement, you’ll likely need a credit score in the mid-600s to get approved for a personal loan.

Pros

  • Pre-qualification is available
  • No origination fee, hidden fees or prepayment penalties
  • Borrow as little as $600
  • Allows co-borrower
  • Funding as early as 1-2 business days after approval

Cons

  • Must be a member to receive the loan
  • No option for direct payment to creditors for debt consolidation

Best for Thin Credit Profiles

Upstart

Check Your Rate

via AmOne

  • Loan Amounts$1,000 – $50,000
  • Loan Terms36 – 60 months
  • APR Range6.50% – 35.99%
  • Minimum
    Credit Score
    300 or higher

Using artificial intelligence to help evaluate borrowers, Upstart is a unique lending platform that looks beyond your credit score for personal loan approval.

Overview

Upstart is a first-of-its-kind online lending platform that uses artificial intelligence to help make smarter lending decisions. This means the company considers factors beyond a borrower’s credit score to help determine creditworthiness. Upstart indicates its model has resulted in 43% lower rates for borrowers than traditional credit score models.

Beyond your credit score, Upstart will also look at your employment history, income and level of education when deciding whether to approve you for a loan. The company states that borrowers with credit scores as low as 300 might be able to get approved for a personal loan, though that loan may come with a relatively high APR.

Those seeking a personal loan can borrow up to $50,000 and as little as $1,000. While its repayment terms of 36 or 60 months are fairly limited compared to other online lenders, Upstart’s rates are fairly competitive and loan funds are disbursed as soon as one business day after approval. This lender charges origination fees, so it’s important to read the fine print before applying.

Pros

  • Considers factors beyond your credit score in lending decisions
  • Loans up to $50,000
  • Fast funding time
  • Check rate without affecting credit score

Cons

  • No physical locations
  • Limited repayment terms
  • Has origination fees

Best for Unique Features

Marcus by Goldman Sachs

  • Loan Amounts$3,500 – $40,000
  • Loan Terms36 – 72 months
  • APR Range6.99% – 24.99%
  • Minimum
    Credit Score
    Not disclosed

Personal loans offered through Marcus by Goldman Sachs come with unique features, such as no fees, rewards for on-time payments, rate discounts, and the ability to change your due date.

Overview

Personal loans from Marcus feature no fees, and eligible applicants can borrow up to $40,000. APRs are competitive and repayment terms range from 36 to 72 months.

These personal loans come with some notably unique features. Those who make consistent on-time payments are rewarded with the ability to skip a month. If you make 12 consecutive monthly payments, you can skip a payment for one month without interest won’t accrue during that time. Marcus will simply extend your loan term by a month. Borrowers can also benefit from an autopay discount that will apply a 0.25% APR reduction when enrolled.

To get approved for a Marcus personal loan, you’ll likely need a strong credit score.

Pros

  • No origination, prepayment or late fees
  • On-time payment reward lets you skip a monthly payment
  • Autopay rate discount
  • Option to change payment due date

Cons

  • No physical locations
  • Co-applicants and co-signers not permitted

Average Personal Loan Rates

The current average personal loan rate varies; most can be anywhere from 6% to 36%. Here’s the thing: You might not qualify for the lowest rate that’s being advertised.

That’s because the loan amount and rate you get approved for depends on a handful of factors:

Low-interest loans are for those with excellent credit scores. If you have a low credit score, expect to pay more for your personal loan. 

It’s key to prequalify for a personal loan so you can compare quotes from different lenders. That way, you’ll know you’re getting the best loan possible for your needs and situation.

What Can a Personal Loan Be Used for?

Personal loans can be used to cover a variety of large expenses, from home repairs to moving costs. You can also use them for debt consolidation, which can be helpful if you’d like to consolidate multiple high-interest debts into a single monthly payment. Here are some other common uses for personal loans:

While these loans have a variety of uses, there are also some restrictions to be aware of. For example, you generally won’t be able to use a personal loan for college tuition, a home down payment, gambling or illegal activities. 

cheers with confetti Related Article

14 Ways You Can Use a Personal Loan

Read More

Pros and Cons of Personal Loans 

Pros

  • Large loan amounts available
  • Versatility (can be used for many purposes)
  • Affordable monthly payments
  • Speedy access to cash
  • Can purchase big-ticket items
  • Helps build credit
  • Competitive rates
  • Flexible terms and borrowing amounts

Cons

  • Interest rates can be high
  • Fees and penalties
  • Adds to debt burden for the long term
  • More strict lending requirements
  • Might lead to more debt than necessary

How to Choose a Personal Loan

If a personal loan sounds like a decent option for your financial situation, it’s important to compare a few factors as you shop around with lenders. Doing so will help you get the best possible loan for your needs at an affordable cost. Here’s what to consider as you research different loans.

Accessibility 

As you compare lenders, research if they offer loans in your state. Some lenders only issue loans in certain states, while others offer loans that are available nationwide. 

Minimum Credit Score Requirement

Lenders generally require that borrowers have at least a 620 credit score to get approved for a loan, but some have lower credit score requirements. Research these requirements as you compare lenders, especially if you’ve previously struggled with your credit. And be aware that lenders typically reserve the lowest interest rates for borrowers with the highest credit scores.

Income Requirements

Some lenders also have annual income requirements for borrowers. For example, you might need an annual income of $30,000 to get approved for a personal loan. Look into income requirements for lenders you’re considering.

Interest Rates

The interest rates will help you determine how much the loan will cost you. The lowest rates aren’t necessarily what you’re eligible for. If you have strong credit, you typically are eligible for a low interest rate. Getting prequalified will help you see the true cost of the loan.

Loan Amounts

Looking to borrow $500? How about $50,000? Not all lenders offer personal loans in these amounts. Taking the time to compare loan amounts offered by different financial institutions can help you find the best option for you.

Fees

Origination fees, or the cost to process your loan, are common with personal loans. As you shop around, consider if each lender you’re considering charges an origination fee. These fees can range from 1% to 8% of the total loan amount, and they’re often deducted from your loan proceeds. So the loan amount you get might be slightly different than the amount you applied for. 

Repayment Terms

The amount of time you’ll get to pay off your personal loan can vary based on several factors, including the lender, the amount you borrow and more. While repayment terms of 12 to 60 months are common, you may also be able to get a shorter or longer term. Keep this in mind as you’re narrowing your options.

Special Features

Some lenders might offer unique perks, such as free financial counseling or a temporary pause on your loan payments should you lose your job. On the flip side, some might offer restrictions such as limitations on what you can spend your loan on. Be sure to check if there are any restrictions on a loan. 

Discounts

Some lenders offer a discount if you set up automatic payments or become a credit union or organization member. You could possibly swoop in on a relationship discount if you’re an existing customer.

Customer Service

Should you have a question, need some guidance, or run into a snag or quandary, working with a lender with a responsive customer service team can make a huge difference. Check to see what hours the customer service crew is available and if they’re available via chat or mobile app, and whether they can be reached via phone and email.

Ease of Use

Some lenders allow you to do everything entirely online, from applying for a loan to signing off on the loan documents to making payments. Is there a mobile app available to get your questions answered, upload documents, check the status of your loan and make payments?

If you prefer to speak to a human in person, does the lender have brick-and-mortar locations? That can help you stay on top of your loan and make for a smoother experience.

woman working on computer Related Article

How to Prequalify for a Personal Loan, and Why It Can Be a Good Idea

Read More

How to Apply for a Personal Loan 

1. Figure Out How Much You Need

First, determine how much money you need and what you’ll use the funds from the personal loan for. This will help you gauge which lender and type of loan is best for you. If you borrow too little, you’ll fall short. But borrow too much, and you’ll be stuck with larger monthly payments and interest fees. 

2. Check Your Credit

Next, do a credit check. You can get a free credit report from each of the three credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — at www.AnnualCreditReport.com. See if you can spot any inaccuracies, errors or incomplete info on your reports. Be on the lookout for anything that could affect your credit score, such as mistakenly reported late or missed payments. 

If you spot anything wrong on your reports, file a dispute with the credit bureaus. Getting it straightened out and ensuring your credit reports are accurate can help boost your odds of getting approved for a personal loan.

3. Get Prequalified

When you apply to prequalify for a loan, the lender will analyze your financial information to figure out what loan amounts, interest rates and repayment schedule you’re eligible for.

The beauty of prequalification is that you’ll get an idea of what kind of loan you can get without actually applying. Plus, the lender does a soft pull of your credit versus a hard pull. This means that your credit won’t get dinged.

4. Compare Loan Offers

Once you’ve applied for prequalification and have gathered a few loan offers, do a side-by-side comparison. Look at the loan amounts, interest rate, fees, term lengths and monthly payments. Also, note how long it generally takes for your loan to get approved, and the time frame for the loan proceeds to drop into your account.

5. Choose Your Lender

Now, for the fun part: Once you’ve decided on the lender and loan you want, submit an application. This includes providing basic personal information and answering questions about your financial situation.

You’ll also need to provide documentation. This documentation might include a copy of a recent pay stub, tax documents, proof of residence or a copy of your driver’s license or government-issued ID. Gathering these documents ahead of time will help speed up the process. 

6. Close on the Loan

Once the loan company lets you know you’ve been approved for the loan, you’ll need to finalize the loan documents, accept the terms and sign off on it. After the loan documents are signed off, you’ll receive the loan proceeds. Getting disbursement usually takes five business days, but some lenders can deposit funds within several days.

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5 Reasons a Personal Loan Can Be Denied

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The Bottom Line

If you need fast cash, personal loans are a flexible funding option. These loans typically have a relatively low interest rate compared to credit cards or payday loans, making them a good choice if you’re concerned about borrowing costs. While the lenders we’ve listed above offer solid options for personal loans, it’s always a good idea to compare with your specific financial situation in mind. Consider your needs and shop around to find the best option for you.

FAQs

  • Yes, getting a personal loan is still an option if you have bad credit, as there are loans accessible to bad credit borrowers. You’ll most likely have stronger odds of getting a secured personal loan, which means offering collateral to back up the loan. Expect to probably pay a higher rate than a borrower with good credit will. The lender might also require that you apply with co-signers.

  • Interest rates can be anywhere from 3 to 36 percent. Other fees typically tacked onto a personal loan include origination, application and annual fees. You might also get pegged with late payment fees or prepayment penalties. Be sure to read the fine print and understand the terms.

  • Lenders offer different amounts, which can be anywhere from $100 to $100,000. However, you’ll usually see personal loan amounts capped at $50,000. How much you’ll be approved for depends on financial factors such as your credit score, credit history, debt-to-income ratio and the lender.

  • The cost of a personal loan depends on your credit score and history, debt-to-income ratio and how much you make each year. The rate might also vary depending on whether you got the loan through a bank, credit union or online lender, which might have varying rates and slightly different lending criteria for the same amounts.

JU

Jessica Ullrich

Jess is a freelance personal finance writer. She's been creating financial and business content for over a decade. Before venturing into freelance writing, Jess was on the editorial teams at Investopedia, The Balance, and FinanceBuzz. She's created content across several verticals, including budgeting, credit, debt, insurance, investing, loans, and side hustles. In her spare time, you can find Jess reading about money, working in her garden, or spending time with family.