Whether you want to consolidate your credit card debts, pay off a big expense over time, or simply need to borrow money quickly, it can make sense to take out a personal loan – and it’s relatively easy to do.

For starters, most personal loans are unsecured, meaning you don’t have to put down collateral to qualify. If you have a good credit score, you could receive your money in as soon as a day or two. And the best personal loans usually come with fixed interest rates and fixed monthly payments that make it simple to budget for your monthly expenses.

Depending on your credit score, you may qualify for competitive interest rates on your personal loan that are lower than what you’d get with a credit card. In fact, it might make sense (and save you a lot of money in interest) to use a personal loan to consolidate your high-interest credit card debt. Many personal loan companies let you borrow up to $35,000 if you qualify.

You don’t need perfect credit to get a decent personal loan. Even those with average to bad credit have options, and we’ll explore everything from personal loans for people with excellent credit to the best bad credit loans. This list of the best personal loans compares a dozen of the leading lenders to see how they stack up.

Compare Loan Companies and Apply Online

Use the loan comparison tool below to view multiple loan options with no obligation.
Simply enter the purpose of the loan, the amount you need, your estimated credit score, and the state you reside in to instantly view loan companies available to accept your application online right now.

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Money360’s Best Personal Loan Picks for 2019

If you want to get started on your search right now, here are a few lenders that stood out as we looked for the best personal loans:

In recent years, the personal loan space has continued to grow and improve. Online lenders have reached a point where they can challenge credit card companies and traditional banks. As a result, streamlined lending processes involving more transparency on lending criteria and interest rates have become the norm.

If you’re in the market for an unsecured personal loan, you’ll have plenty of options, especially if you have good credit. But even if you have bad credit, you need not fret; there are plenty of reputable companies offering bad credit loans as well (though the terms won’t be quite as attractive).

Read on to learn about the best personal loan options in greater detail, including strategies you can use while shopping to make sure you find a loan that’s right for you. Meanwhile, if you’re looking for in-depth analysis of another type of loan, the following reviews can help:

When Should You Use a Personal Loan?

There are any number of reasons you might need an infusion of cash, and some are probably more financially sensible than others.

One of the best reasons to take out a personal loan is to consolidate high-interest debt. If you have multiple credit cards with big balances at high interest rates, it can save you both money and hassle to use a personal loan to pay off all those balances at once and consolidate them into a single monthly payment at a lower rate. (A balance transfer credit card is a good option for this as well.)

But that’s hardly the only valid reason to take out a personal loan. If you borrow responsibly — meaning, you don’t overextend yourself with a loan you can’t afford to pay off, and you make all your payments on time — a personal loan can help you finance a home remodel, a wedding, moving expenses, funeral costs, medical bills, a used car, or even a new business, among other big-ticket items.

If there’s a , and you have the desire and means to pay back the loan, a good personal loan can help you get there.

Note, however, that while it’s easy to think that unsecured personal loans are the best option, especially since you don’t have to put up collateral, they might not always get you the best rates. For example, a home equity loan might have better terms since it’s less risky for the lender. So always do your research, shop around, and explore all your options.

Best Personal Loans at a Glance

The companies below are among the biggest names in personal lending and, we think, the best options for a personal loan. Some will only lend to borrowers with great credit, while others are more flexible about their lending criteria; keep reading for more details on each one.

Money360’s Top Picks Max. Loan
1 LendingClub $40,000
2 $100,000
3 Prosper $40,000
4 LightStream $100,000
5 SoFi $100,000
6 Earnest $75,000
7 Freedom Plus $40,000
8 PersonalLoans.com $35,000
9 Peerform $25,000
10 Avant $35,000
11 Bad Credit Loans $5,000
12 OneMain $30,000

Check Your Personal Loan Rates

Answer a few questions to see which personal loans you pre-qualify for. The process is quick and easy, and it will not impact your credit score.

Best Personal Loans Overall


Key takeaways:

  • APR: 6.95% to 35.89%
  • Loan terms: 30 to 60 months
  • Max loan: $40,000

Why it’s a solid bet:

  • Competitive interest rates, wide availability, and transparency.
  • Applying for a loan generates soft inquiry, which won’t impact your credit score.

LendingClub is one of the biggest peer-to-peer lenders. They offer loans up to $40,000 and are comparatively lenient when it comes to lending based on credit scores. In fact, you may only require a minimum score of 600. Rates from 6.95% to 35.89% APR are available to borrowers, with the best rates reserved for those with excellent credit.

LendingClub charges a one-time loan origination fee of 1% to 6%, and charges a $7 processing fee for each monthly payment made by check. Repayment terms are for three or five years.

Disclaimer: All loans made by WebBank, Member FDIC. Your actual rate depends upon credit score, loan amount, loan term, and credit usage and history. The APR ranges from 6.95% to 35.89%. For example, you could receive a loan of $6,000 with an interest rate of 7.99% and a 5.00% origination fee of $300 for an APR of 11.51%. In this example, you will receive $5,700 and will make 36 monthly payments of $187.99. The total amount repayable will be $6,767.64. Your APR will be determined based on your credit at time of application. *The origination fee ranges from 1% to 6%; the average origination fee is 5.2% (as of 12/5/18 YTD).* There is no down payment and there is never a prepayment penalty. Closing of your loan is contingent upon your agreement of all the required agreements and disclosures on the www.lendingclub.com website. All loans via LendingClub have a minimum repayment term of 36 months or longer.

Wells Fargo

Key takeaways:

  • APR: 7.24% to 20.24% (with automatic payments)
  • Loan terms: 12 to 60 months
  • Max loan: $100,000

Why it’s a solid bet:

  • Huge branch network (6,000+ locations nationwide) for face-to-face business.
  • Flexible personal line of credit.
  • Option to secure your loan with a savings account or CD.

For those with good credit who want to work with a brick-and-mortar institution, could be a good choice. They advertise APRs of 7.24% to 20.24% with automatic payments linked to a Wells Fargo account, and loans from $3,000 to $100,000.

Repayment terms can range from 12 to 60 months and there are no prepayment or origination fees. The main downside here is convenience: You can’t apply online unless you’re an existing Wells Fargo customer, so you’ll need to be near one of their branches. Wells Fargo also doesn’t fare as well as many competitors in , and they aren’t as transparent about lending criteria as many online competitors.


Key takeaways:

  • APR: 6.95% to 35.99%
  • Loan terms: 36 to 60 months
  • Max loan: $40,000

Why it’s a solid bet:

  • Prosper rivals LendingClub as a leading name in peer-to-peer lending.
  • Impressively transparent with wider availability to borrowers.

Prosper is slightly more liberal with its lending criteria than major competitors. It requires a minimum credit score of 640, but Prosper will look at several other factors to give you a shot at a better interest rate. Loan terms are three years and five years. You can borrow from $2,000 to $40,000 at APRs ranging from 6.95% to 35.99% for first-time borrowers.

Interest rates and fees are easy to find and evaluate, but you could be waiting seven business days for your loan to be funded. If you need money faster than that, there are better options.

Best Personal Loans for Excellent Credit

If you have great credit, good news: You may qualify for personal loans with impressively low interest rates. However, keep in mind that lenders who offer these low rates will also want to see other markers of financial health, such as steady employment and a low debt-to-income ratio.


Key takeaways:

  • APR: 3.34% to 16.99% (with AutoPay)
  • Loan terms: 24 to 144 months, depending on loan purpose
  • Max loan: $100,000

Why it’s a solid bet:

  • Flexible terms with high borrowing limits.
  • Ideal for borrowers who want a hefty amount and a longer repayment period.

LightStream offers excellent rates, ranging from 3.34% to 16.99%* (as of Nov. 27, 2018) for non-home and auto-related personal loans. There are no prepayment or origination fees to worry about, either.

The main downside here is the high threshold required to qualify. You can potentially have your money in as little as a day, but your credit score will have to be very good, and you’ll also need to prove “stable and sufficient” income and assets as well as a solid savings history, among other requirements.

*Your APR may differ based on loan purpose, amount, term, and your credit profile. Rate is quoted with AutoPay discount, which is only available when you select AutoPay prior to loan funding. Rates under the invoicing option are 0.50% higher. If your application is approved, your credit profile will determine whether your loan will be unsecured or secured. Subject to credit approval. Conditions and limitations apply. Advertised rates and terms are subject to change without notice. Payment Example: Monthly payment for a $10,000 loan at 9.84% APR with a term of three years would result in 36 monthly payments of $321.92.


Key takeaways:

  • Fixed APR: 5.99% to 16.99% APR (with AutoPay)
  • Loan terms: 24 to 84 months
  • Max loan: $100,000

Why it’s a solid bet:

  • SoFi offers some of the lowest rates around.
  • Option to suspend loan payments through unemployment protection program.
  • They get .

SoFi has made a name for itself as a valuable resource when it comes to student loan refinancing. But they also offer extremely competitive personal loans, ranging from $5,000 to a whopping $100,000. Fixed-rate loans range from 5.74% – 14.70% APR if you set up automatic payments. You also won’t pay any loan origination fees, and repayment terms range from two to six years.

You’ll need to meet a high threshold to qualify, with a favorable debt-to-income ratio, dependable employment, and a high credit score. SoFi holds consumer lending licenses in 22 states and Washington, D.C.

Disclaimer: Fixed rates from 5.99% APR to 16.99% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 5.74% APR to 14.70% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of March 18, 2019 and are subject to change without notice. Not all rates and amounts available in all states. See Personal Loan eligibility details. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, to qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including evaluation of your credit worthiness, years of professional experience, income and other factors. See APR examples and terms. Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at 14.95%. Lowest variable rate of 5.74% APR assumes current 1-month LIBOR rate of 2.49% 4.28% margin minus 0.25% AutoPay discount. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account.

Terms and Conditions Apply. SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet SoFi’s underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. To qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. If approved, your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, years of experience, income and other factors. Rates and Terms are subject to change at anytime without notice and are subject to state restrictions. SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Financing Law License No. 6054612. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp., NMLS # 1121636.


Key takeaways:

  • APR: 6.99% to 18.24%
  • Loan terms: 12 to 36 months
  • Max loan: $75,000

Why it’s a solid bet:

  • One of the best personal loans for younger borrowers with little to no credit history (though they still require proof of healthy savings, income, and a blemish-free history).
  • They evaluate more criteria than other providers, which is good if you have deficits in some areas.

Earnest, a relatively recent startup, bills itself as “low-cost loans for the financially responsible.” Indeed, this online lender offers fixed rates starting at 6.99% APR on loans up to $75,000. It also looks beyond your credit score to evaluate other criteria, including education, career, and savings.

On the downside, Earnest only offers one-, two-, and three-year loans. But, the company will work with you to match repayment terms to your budget.


Key takeaways:

  • APR: 4.99% to 29.99%
  • Loan terms: 24 to 60 months
  • Max loan: $40,000

Why it’s a solid bet:

  • No hidden fees, no prepayment fees, potential discounts for using a co-signer
  • They offer same-day approvals and money in your account within 48 hours

Freedom Plus prides itself on making the entire loan process simple and fast. Their co-signer discounts are an interesting wrinkle, and the fact that you get to talk to a real loan officer before getting an offer is a big .

Something to keep in mind is that some of their better loan terms are only available to borrowers who can prove they have at least $40,000 in retirement accounts or will use 50% of the loan proceeds to directly pay off existing debt.

Best Unsecured Loans for Average Credit

It can be hard to find a personal loan with a reasonable interest rate if your credit score isn’t top-notch. The following lenders will still consider you if you have less-than-sterling credit, with rates that are much better and practices that are much more reputable than payday lenders and the like.


Key takeaways:

  • APR: 5.99% to 35.99%
  • Loan terms: 90 days to 72 months
  • Max loan: $35,000

Why it’s a solid bet:

  • Offers quick turnaround on their loans with a fast, three-step loan request process and an approval decision in minutes.
  • As a referral resource with a vast lender network, they can find you an offer.

PersonalLoans.com works with a large lender network that offers several types of loans, from peer-to-peer to installment loans. If you’re looking for the best personal loans, it’s a great place to start. This service is available in all 50 states and loan amounts go up to $35,000 with APRs ranging from 5.99% to 35.99%.

Keep in mind, however, that PersonalLoans.com is only a referral site and not a direct lender. They aggregate and display information from many other companies. This makes it hard to know in advance critical information that might be easier to understand with a direct lender, such as which fees will be attached to your loan or what kind of rates you’ll be offered. Be sure to review the fine print on any loan offers you receive, since their terms, rates, and fees can vary dramatically.


Key takeaways:

  • APR: 5.99% to 29.99%
  • Loan terms: 36 to 60 months
  • Max loan: $25,000

Why it’s a solid bet:

  • Some of the best rates you’ll find with average credit.
  • Transparent, easy-to-follow site experience.

While most peer-to-peer lenders focus on borrowers with good or excellent credit, Peerform is an option for borrowers with credit scores as low as 600. Its APRs are competitive, ranging from 5.99% to 29.99% as of Nov. 27, 2018, and its fees are clearly disclosed.

Peerform does charge several fees, however, including a fee of up to 5% for loan origination, a late payment fee, and a check processing fee.


Key takeaways:

  • APR: 9.95% to 35.99%
  • Loan terms: 24 to 60 months
  • Max loan: $35,000

Through Avant, you could borrow from $2,000 to $35,000* with rates ranging from 9.95% to 35.99%, depending on your credit history, income, and other factors. There’s also an administration fee of up to 4.75%**.

* The actual loan amount, term, and APR amount of loan that a customer qualifies for may vary based on credit determination and state law. Minimum loan amounts vary by state.
**Example: A $5,700 loan with an administration fee of 4.75% and an amount financed of $5,429.25, repayable in 36 monthly installments, would have an APR of 29.95% and monthly payments of $230.33.
Avant branded credit products are issued by WebBank, member FDIC.

Best Bad Credit Loans

If your credit score is south of 600, you’ll have fewer options and generally be required to pay higher interest rates. But there are still reputable lenders who will offer you a personal loan.


Key takeaways:

  • APR: 5.99% to 35.99%
  • Loan terms: 3 to 36 months
  • Max loan: $5,000

Why it’s a solid bet:

  • Their aggregation tools quickly match you with competitive offers.
  • You can access money fast, even with a low FICO score.
  • Borrowers with poor credit may still qualify for a loan of up to $1,000.

Applying for a loan with BadCreditLoans.com is free, and there’s no obligation to accept any of the offers you receive through this aggregator service. Also, most applicants can be pre-approved in a short amount of time. The downside is that you can usually only get small loans, and there’s no guarantee that you’ll get an offer using their system.


Key takeaways:

  • APR: 16.05% to 35.99%
  • Loan terms: 24 to 60 months
  • Max loan: $30,000

Why it’s a solid bet:

  • OneMain offers both secured and unsecured loans.
  • Received an A+ rating from the .

With over 1,600 branches nationwide, OneMain Financial has a broader reach than many of the internet-only lenders on this list. They also get solid reviews and have a long track record of lending to people who need bad credit loans. Perhaps to be expected, their website experience and the information they provide online isn’t as robust as their competitors.

OneMain Disclosure

Do I Need Good Credit to Get a Personal Loan?

If you want the best interest rates, then yes, you need a good credit score. But it is absolutely possible to find a willing lender even with poor credit. You’ll likely just end up paying higher interest rates in order to lessen that lender’s risk. So, only take out a bad credit loan if you’re confident you can pay back the money quickly.

What Are the Best Personal Loans for People with Bad Credit?

As mentioned above, the aptly-named BadCreditLoans.com is a good option. Their network will usually turn up a lender willing to let you borrow up to $1,000, even with a pretty abysmal credit score. Another good one to try is OneMain, where you can get a loan with a score lower than 600. Of course, those are just two of the options out there — you can learn more with our full breakdown of the best bad credit loans.

If your credit isn’t great, for a personal loan, because they may have a better idea of your creditworthiness. You may also want to , which may be more flexible with its lending criteria. But a secured loan will almost certainly get you a better APR if you’re willing to put up the collateral. So will a co-signer with better credit, but that person will be on the hook for repayment if you default — a tremendous financial risk that could potentially strain or even ruin your relationship.

A word of caution: You may run across lenders who say they’ll give you an unsecured personal loan without even checking your credit. This is a common proclamation among payday lenders, who only require proof of income to make you a small, short-term loan. But the APR on such a loan could be in the triple digits, and you may end up in an all-too-common debt trap: rolling over the loan from one month to the next when you have no real ability to repay. As a rule, be wary of any no-credit-check loan.

If you want tons more information on getting a bad credit loan, be sure to check out our post on the best bad credit loans for some more reputable options.

Personal Loans vs. Cards

Multiple studies show that millennials increasingly prefer personal loans over credit cards. While credit cards have strengths and perks that personal loans don’t, such as price protection and the ability to earn rewards points, they’re not the best choice for every type of purchase.

You might be wondering whether to use a personal loan or a credit card to finance an upcoming expense. Here’s how the two compare:

Personal Loan Credit Card
Loan types: Unsecured, secured Unsecured, secured
Debt classification: Installment Revolving
Interest rates: Fixed Variable

One key difference is that the credit bureaus consider personal loans to be installment debt — meaning you pay a consistent amount each month, as with a car loan or mortgage. Unlike revolving credit card balances, installment debt doesn’t count against your utilization ratio, meaning a big personal loan balance won’t weigh on your credit score the way a maxed-out credit card would.

In short, personal loans are best for financing larger purchases or longer-term expenses, while credit cards are better for smaller, everyday purchases you can pay off pronto.

How We Picked the Best Personal Loans

You’ll want a competitive rate from your unsecured loan, but you’ll also want the flexibility to pick a term that works for you, low or no extra fees, and a lender with whom you’re comfortable doing business. Here are some of the key factors to consider when picking the best personal loans:

  • Low APRs: The lender’s advertised interest rates are in line with or better than those advertised by the competition.
  • Low or no fees: Some lenders don’t charge fees other than interest; others may charge origination fees, late payment fees, or prepayment fees. If there are fees involved, they must not be significantly higher than those of competitors.
  • Higher loan limits: Though you want to be careful not to borrow more than you can afford, the best lenders won’t cap their loans at low amounts, letting you borrow what you need.
  • Flexible terms: Some lenders only allow you to pick from a couple of loan terms, such as three or five years. Lenders earned points for flexibility for allowing shorter or longer terms to accommodate a wider range of needs.
  • Serves most of the country: While most major banks have national reach (or close to it), online lenders may only be able to do business in a limited number of states. Bonus points went to lenders with a wider reach.
  • Transparent, informative website: The best lenders are transparent about their APRs, loan limits, terms, fees, and other crucial information. It should be clear where to get these details, and you shouldn’t have to give your personal information in order to see it.
  • Reputation: We considered each lender’s longevity, online reviews, and status with the Better Business Bureau. BBB accreditation is a , not a necessity, especially for newer companies. We gave individual reviews less weight, as many negative reviews are from prospective borrowers unhappy about being denied.

Four Big Tips for Finding the Best Personal Loans

#1: Compare Several Offers

Never sign on the dotted line with the first place you look for a personal loan. Each lender will have a slightly different formula when considering your application, which means your interest rate will vary — perhaps significantly — from one lender to the next.

One convenient way to search for an unsecured loan online is by using the loan search tool below, which can help match you with the best personal loan for your needs.

Compare Loan Companies and Apply Online

Use our loan comparison tool to view multiple loan options with no obligation.
Simply enter the purpose of the loan, the amount you need, your estimated credit score, and the state you reside in to instantly view loan companies available to accept your application online right now.

Advertiser Disclosure

If your credit is great and you’re able to pay off a loan quickly, you might want to consider treating a credit card with a 0% introductory APR as a personal loan of sorts. Of course, you’ll need to make sure the credit limit is high enough for your needs.

You’ll also need to have the discipline not to add to your balance, and to pay it off before your low interest rate expires, typically in 12 to 18 months. If you think you can swing this, be sure to check out our post on the Best Balance Transfer Cards for some great 0% introductory APR credit cards.

#2: Watch Out for Fees

Make sure you know whether there are fees other than the interest you’ll pay associated with your personal loan. One of the most common charges is an origination fee: typically a percentage of the amount you’re borrowing, which can vary from under 1% to as much as 6%. Also note whether there are fees for late payments ($15 or 5% of your outstanding balance is typical). Other fees may include charges for unsuccessful payments or payments made by check.

Also be on the lookout for prepayment fees. These are fees lenders charge if you pay off your entire loan early (which means the lender won’t be getting the full amount of interest it would have if you’d made payments as scheduled for the full loan term). Most lenders we researched won’t hit you with a prepayment penalty for unsecured personal loans, but it’s definitely worth double-checking.

#3: Choose the Right Term

You’ll want to see how flexible your lender is on loan terms. Some online lenders may only let you choose between three- and five-year terms, for instance. Term is important because it affects how much you ultimately pay over the life of the loan. A longer term can help keep your monthly payments manageable, but it means you’ll be paying more in the end. On the flip side, a shorter term will mean higher payments, but you’ll shell out less in interest overall.

For a more concrete example, let’s say I take out a $10,000 unsecured personal loan at 12% interest. According to this , I would pay $11,957 over a three-year term, but $13,347 over a five-year term. If I can afford the higher monthly payment ($332 a month for three years instead of $222 a month for five years), the shorter term means significant savings.

#4: Watch Out for Scams

There’s no shortage of unscrupulous lenders looking to scam potential borrowers. Here are a few tips that will and make sure you’re dealing with a legitimate company:

  • Don’t pay upfront fees. Remember that you should never pay anything simply to apply for a loan. If a potential lender demands payment to evaluate your credit and other financial information, run the other way.
  • You should them — not the other way around. If a lender is badgering you, whether through phone calls, mailings, or online, consider that a big red flag. Legitimate lenders simply don’t need to be this aggressive to attract borrowers.
  • Guarantees are bogus. No legitimate lender can promise that they’ll approve your loan application before evaluating your finances. Even payday lenders need proof of income before they’ll make a loan.
  • Verify, verify, verify. Make sure you double-check the lender’s physical address, which should be readily available. Also consider looking them up with the Better Business Bureau or your state banking regulators.
  • You should feel in control. Take your business elsewhere if a lender threatens you in any way, tries to dissuade you from considering competitors’ offers, or tries to get you to borrow more than you owe.

Find the Best Personal Loan and Build a Better Future

Use our loan comparison tool to view multiple loan options with no obligation.
Simply enter the purpose of the loan, the amount you need, your estimated credit score, and the state you reside in to instantly view loan companies available to accept your application online right now.

Advertiser Disclosure

First, a reminder: Don’t limit your search to either brick-and-mortar or online lenders when you’re searching for the best unsecured personal loans. Online lenders are convenient, but banks and credit unions may offer competitive APRs and more personal service if your credit is good.

On the flip side, you may be able to find an online lender who can offer a better rate if you fit their preferred borrowing profile. Remember to consider potential terms and fees before you sign up for a loan, too — little fees and extra interest can add up in a big way.

All in all, getting the money you need quickly can go a long way toward helping you achieve your financial dreams.  Whether your goal is to finally fix your roof, to get out from under the thumb of onerous credit card debt, or to take any other positive step on the road to financial freedom, a cash infusion from a personal loan can help you build a better future.