Personal Loans for 2021
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Refinance debt, consolidate credit cards, renovate your home, pay for unexpected repairs: When you need a personal loan to help you take charge of your finances, LendingTree can help you find lenders who provide loans from $1,000 to $50,000 and rates as low as 2.49% APR.

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What is a personal loan?

A personal loan is a flexible form of credit that can be used to pay for almost anything, such as a kitchen renovation or large purchase, or used to consolidate debts to a single payment. Because personal loans typically have lower interest rates than other forms of credit, it’s a useful financial product to refinance high-interest debt to a lower-cost payment.

Personal loans can be secured or unsecured. Secured loans may require collateral, such as your car, but may have lower APRs. Unsecured loans are backed by only your promise to repay the lender, but may have slightly higher rates. Lender offers will vary based on their requirements, but eligibility is often determined by factors such as your credit score, income, and other debts.

What interest rates should I expect?

A lender determines your interest rate based on your creditworthiness, the type of loan and the length of the loan. To get the best offers on a personal loan, borrowers should have a long history of on-time payment, steady income and a low debt-to-income ratio.

Credit BandCredit ScoreAverage Best Offered APR
Excellent760+9.30%
Very Good720 to 75913.32%
Good680 to 71917.82%
Fair640 to 67922.16%

Source: LendingTree Personal Loans Offers Report, April 2021

How to get a personal loan

  1. Check your credit score. Personal loan lenders may rely heavily on your credit history to determine your eligibility as a borrower. You can get your free credit score using My LendingTree. You’ll also get free access to credit and identity monitoring, all while finding ways to save on your current loan payments.
  2. Compare offers & get prequalified. Find personalized rates on LendingTree by answering just a few simple questions. Lenders will want to verify your income, credit score and debt-to-income (DTI) ratio. We’ll conduct a soft credit inquiry, which will not impact your credit score.
  3. Select your preferred loan offer. On LendingTree, you can get comparable personal loan offers from up to 5 lenders (results may vary based on credit and financial profile). See rates, monthly payments, and real customer reviews conveniently online. When you’re ready, make your choice and apply!

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What to look for in a personal loan offer

  • Low APR. The annual percentage rate, or APR, of a loan is a measure of the cost of a loan, including the interest rate plus all fees. The lower the APR is on your loan, the less you’ll pay for the loan over its lifetime. That’s why you can save money by comparison shopping for the lowest possible APR for your financial situation.
  • Low fees. While some lenders charge an origination fee that can be as high as 1% to 8% of the loan amount, there are plenty of no-fee lenders to choose from. If you get an offer from a no-fee lender, see how the APR compares to determine which loan will cost less over time.
  • Positive lender reviews. You wouldn’t make a big purchase without reading the reviews first, so you should treat a personal loan the same way. Check out personal loan lender reviews on LendingTree to see if a lender is a good fit for you.

Benefits of personal loans

Fixed interest rates
Generally, the interest rates are fixed, meaning they don’t change over the life of the loan. This makes it easy to budget for your payments later.

Could improve credit score
Credit score issuers such as FICO like to see borrowers carry a mix of credit types. An unsecured loan could improve your score by adding another loan to your report. Further, on-time payments made in full also helps you build a healthy payment history.

Fixed monthly payments
Personal loans have a definite payment schedule, which means borrowers know exactly how long it’ll take to pay off what they owe, and balances can’t run up like they can on credit cards.

No risk of repossession of property
Personal loans are generally unsecured, which means you don’t have to put something of value up for collateral. If you can’t meet your repayment agreement later, your personal property isn’t at risk. However, you can still be sued for the debt if you default.

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Frequently asked personal loan questions

What can I use a personal loan for?
With a personal loan, most lenders will allow you to use your money to pay for almost anything. So whether you need to consolidate your debt, pay off unexpected medical expenses or make repairs at home, these loans empower you to do so.

What are the requirements for a personal loan?
To determine your risk as a borrower, lenders will analyze your credit score, your income and any other debts you have out in your name.

To make sure you get the best personal loan for your needs, you should also come prepared with the following information: the purpose of your loan, how much money you want to borrow and your preferred repayment schedule.

How quickly will I receive my funds?
Some lenders offer fast application processing and approval, which means same-day funding could be available.

Will checking rates affect my credit score?
Many lenders use a soft credit pull to give you estimated interest rates and loan terms that are available to you based on your credit, income and other factors. If you decide to move forward with the loan, the lender will do a hard credit inquiry. Too many hard inquiries in a given period could hurt your credit score; a soft credit pull won’t.

Can I get a loan with bad credit or no credit?
If you have less-than-ideal credit, you may still qualify for a personal loan. The interest rates you’re offered will likely be higher, however, and the loan will cost more. Alternatively, you may be able to add a cosigner with good credit to your application to access more attractive rates.

Can I pay off my personal loan early?
Yes, but you may be subject to a prepayment penalty, which could be equal to several months’ interest or a percentage of the remaining loan amount.

What documents do I need to apply?
The lender relies heavily on your past financial history to make sure you are capable of repaying the loan. Documents that prove someone is capable of meeting loan agreements include proof of income and employment (such as pay stubs), bank account information and statements and proof of other debt (such as mortgage or auto loan forms).

What happens if I miss a payment or can’t repay my loan?
If you have to miss a payment, take responsibility and speak to your lender about options. If you have a good payment track record with the lender, they may be willing to work with you to come up with a favorable solution.

However, if you default on your loan, lenders can take action that can hurt your credit and finances for years to come, including sending your loan to collections, reporting your default to credit bureaus and taking you to court. This could make getting new credit costly or impossible in the future.

Will large or additional payments change my monthly amount due?
Large and additional payments can be directly applied to your principal balance, decreasing the total cost and interest you pay. But you should always ask lenders about prepayment penalties, which are fees that could be applied if a loan is paid off ahead of the agreed-upon payment schedule.

Helpful personal loan resources

Debt Consolidation

Struggling to manage your debt, unable to make on time, consistent payments, you might want to consider debt consolidation.

Learn More

Emergency Loans

A personal loan for urgent or unplanned expenses in which the funds are disbursed quickly, taking care of unexpected events.

Learn More

Bad Credit Loans

With bad credit getting a loan can be challenging. Find bad credit loans you may qualify for, and what to expect before you apply.

Learn More

Ways to Get a Personal Loan

As with any form of borrowing, it’s important to do your research and make sure you’re able to successfully handle repayment.

Learn More