Best Personal Loans From Top Lenders

Rates starting at 5.99% APR and amounts up to $50,000

Checking rates won't affect your credit score

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LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.
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Written by Amanda Push | Edited by Jessica Sain-Baird | Reviewed May 1, 2024

Best personal loans in May 2024

Reach Financial: Best for consolidating debt

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5.99% - 35.99%

$3,500 - $40,000

24 to 60 months

0.00% - 8.00%

Not specified

Pros

  • Access to your free monthly credit score
  • Ability to change your due date
  • Fast funding

Cons

  • May charge an origination fee (0.00% - 8.00%)
  • Limited loan use
  • Doesn't offer joint applications

What to know

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Reach Financial offers personal loans specifically for debt consolidation and credit card refinancing to borrowers with good credit scores. This lender offers competitive rates and terms, free monthly access to your credit score and may fund your loan in as few as 24 hours.

Reach Financial charges origination fees that may be as high as 8% of your loan amount, and its maximum APR is higher than some competitors at 35.99%.

Read our full Reach Financial personal loan review.

How to qualify

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To qualify for a Reach Financial personal loan, you’ll need to meet the following criteria:

  • Minimum annual income of $20,000
  • Must not live in the following states: Colorado, Connecticut, Maine, Mississippi, New Jersey, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia or Wyoming
  • LightStream: Best for applicants with excellent credit

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    6.99% - 25.49%* (with autopay)

    $5,000 - $100,000**

    24 to 84 months*

    No origination fee

    Not specified

    Pros

    • Doesn’t charge any fees
    • Large maximum loan amounts ($100,000)
    • Competitive interest rates (6.99% - 25.49%)

    Cons

    • Doesn’t offer prequalification
    • May not use funds for education or business purposes
    • Those with low credit scores won’t qualify

    What to know

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    LightStream doesn’t specify its exact personal loan requirements, but it’s clear that you’ll need to have a robust credit score and history to qualify. This lender is a no-fee personal loan company that offers same-day funding. LightStream also offers a rate discount if you sign up for autopay, and backs its personal loans with a Loan Experience Guarantee.

    Unlike many personal loan companies, however, LightStream does not allow consumers to check if they prequalify. Instead, if you want to see your potential rates and terms, you’ll have to submit to a hard credit pull, which can cause your credit score to go down.

    Read our full LightStream personal loan review.

    *Your loan terms, including APR, may differ based on loan purpose, amount, term length, and your credit profile. Excellent credit is required to qualify for lowest rates. Rate is quoted with AutoPay discount. AutoPay discount is only available prior to loan funding. Rates without AutoPay are 0.50% points higher. Subject to credit approval. Conditions and limitations apply. Advertised rates and terms are subject to change without notice. Payment example: Monthly payments for a $10,000 loan at 5.99% APR with a term of 3 years would result in 36 monthly payments of $304.17. Truist Bank is an Equal Housing Lender. © 2024 Truist Financial Corporation. Truist, LightStream, and the LightStream logo are service marks of Truist Financial Corporation. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Lending services provided by Truist Bank.

    **While LightStream offers loans up to $100,000, LendingTree marketplace customers may not receive offers at this maximum loan amount.

    How to qualify

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    LightStream doesn’t offer specifics on its personal loan requirements; however, you will need a high credit score to be eligible.

    Upstart: Best for building credit

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    (16,470)
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    7.80% - 35.99%

    $1,000 - $50,000

    36 and 60 months

    0.00% - 12.00%

    300

    Pros

    • Competitive interest rates (starting at 7.80%)
    • May receive funds in one business day
    • May work with low-credit borrowers

    Cons

    • High maximum interest rate (35.99%)
    • Limited repayment terms (36 and 60 months)
    • Charges origination fees (0.00% - 12.00%)

    What to know

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    Upstart is a worthwhile option for applicants with thin or not-great credit files. It sometimes stamps approval for borrowers who are credit invisible or don’t have long enough credit histories to have a credit score. If you want to add to your credit report, you can use a personal loan to build credit — as long as you consistently make your payments on time.

    However, you may get stuck with an origination fee of up to 12.00% — much higher than what other lenders charge. Plus, Upstart only offers two repayment duration terms: 36 and 60 months. Certain states have higher minimum borrowing amounts; for example, borrowers in Massachusetts must borrow a minimum of $7,000.

    Read our full Upstart personal loan review.

    How to qualify

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    To receive a personal loan from Upstart, you’ll need to fit the following criteria:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident living in the U.S.
  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have a consistent income such as a full-time job or one that starts in six months
  • PenFed: Best for small loan amounts

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    7.99% - 17.99%

    $600 - $50,000

    12 to 60 months

    None

    760

    Pros

    • Doesn’t charge origination fees
    • Low borrowing amounts ($600)
    • Option to apply with a co-applicant

    Cons

    • Will need to become credit union member
    • Charges a late payment fee
    • Isn’t clear about some of its eligibility criteria

    What to know

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    PenFed Credit Union offers the smallest loan amounts out of our top personal loan picks. It stands out for its wide range of borrowing options as well as competitive APRs (7.99% – 17.99%) that are much lower than what some competitors offer.

    Further, PenFed also doesn’t nickel and dime its borrowers with application or origination fees. And while its eligibility requirements may be unclear, customers are allowed to prequalify without affecting their credit score.

    Read our full PenFed Credit Union personal loan review.

    How to qualify

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    PenFed isn’t transparent about several aspects of its personal loan eligibility requirements; however, this lender may look at credit score, repayment history and income.

    Discover: Best for no origination fees

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    7.99% - 24.99%

    $2,500 - $40,000

    36 to 84 months

    No origination fee

    720

    Pros

    • Funding within one business day after loan acceptance
    • Competitive interest rates
    • No origination fees

    Cons

    • Low maximum borrowing amount
    • Borrowers with low credit may not qualify
    • Doesn’t offer joint applications

    What to know

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    If you are looking to consolidate debt, you may find that Discover offers lower rates than your credit cards or other personal loan lenders. Discover can also pay your original creditors directly if you take out a debt consolidation loan. You can get your loan within one business day of closing and avoid paying an origination fee.

    However, Discover personal loans only go up to $40,000 — so if you’re looking for a large personal loan, you may want to look at lenders that offer higher amounts.

    Read our full Discover personal loan review.

    How to qualify

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    To receive a personal loan from Discover, you’ll need to follow these requirements:

  • Minimum individual or household annual income of $40,000
  • Have a valid Social Security number
  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Verify household income and employment history
  • Have a verifiable bank account
  • Provide creditor information for debt consolidation loans
  • LendingPoint: Best for mid-sized expenses

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    7.99% - 35.99%

    $2,000 - $36,500

    24 to 72 months

    Up to 10%

    660

    Pros

    • May receive funds within one business day of approval
    • Flexible loan terms (24 to 72 months)
    • No prepayment penalties

    Cons

    • Charges an origination fee of Up to 10%
    • Low maximum loan amount ($36,500)
    • Not available in Nevada or West Virginia

    What to know

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    With more accessible eligibility requirements, LendingPoint may be best for borrowers with less-than-stellar credit who need small loans to be repaid on a faster timetable. Because of its low maximum loan amount, this lender may also be best for those looking to make small to mid-sized purchases.

    While there are no application or prepayment fees, you could be charged a hefty origination fee — Up to 10% — depending on your home state. In addition, LendingPoint doesn’t offer joint or cosigner loans.

    Read our full LendingPoint personal loan review.

    How to qualify

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    If you want to qualify for a loan with LendingPoint, you’ll need to meet the following criteria:

  • Must be at least 18 years old
  • Must provide government-issued form of photo ID
  • Must have a Social Security number
  • Must have income of at least $40,000
  • Must have a verifiable personal bank account
  • Must not live in Nevada or West Virginia
  • Upgrade: Best for flexible loan term durations

    (2,209)
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    (2,209)
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    8.49% - 35.99% (with discounts)

    $1,000 - $50,000

    24 to 84 months

    1.85% - 9.99%

    580

    Pros

    • Low credit score requirement
    • Loan terms up to 84 months
    • May receive funds within one business day of approval

    Cons

    • Charges origination fee (1.85% - 9.99%)
    • High maximum APR of up to 35.99%

    What to know

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    With fast funding and loan terms up to 84 months, Upgrade may be an attractive option for those looking for a quick loan with long repayment terms. This company also has a low credit score requirement, which may make it easier for those with poor credit to qualify.

    Keep in mind that if you take out an Upgrade personal loan, you may have to pay an origination fee up to 9.99% of your loan amount — much higher than what some lenders may charge.

    Read our full Upgrade personal loan review.

    How to qualify

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    Aside from its 580 credit score requirement, Upgrade also specifies that consumers will need to meet the following criteria:

  • Must be at least 18 years old
  • Must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or living in the U.S. with valid visa
  • Must verify your bank account
  • Must have a valid email
  • LendingClub: Best for applying with a co-borrower

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    8.98% - 35.99%

    $1,000 - $40,000

    24 to 60 months

    3.00% - 8.00%

    600

    Pros

    • Option to file a joint application
    • Small loan amounts available
    • Can pay old creditors directly with debt consolidation loans

    Cons

    • High maximum APR of 35.99%
    • Charges origination fee of 3.00% - 8.00%
    • Funding can take several days

    What to know

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    This lender’s easy prequalification process makes it worth considering — but don’t be surprised to find a lower rate or origination fee elsewhere. If you have a low credit score, however, LendingClub offers the option to apply with a co-applicant, which may make it easier to qualify for a personal loan.

    Keep in mind that if you’re unable to repay your loan, however, your co-applicant may also be held legally responsible for the remaining balance.

    Read our full LendingClub personal loan review.

    How to qualify

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    To qualify for a LendingClub personal loan, you’ll need to be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or someone living in the U.S. with a valid, long-term visa. You’ll also need to verify the following information:

  • Your identity
  • Your bank account
  • Your income
  • SoFi: Best for overall experience

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    (97)
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    8.99% - 29.99% (with discounts)

    Pricing Disclosure

    Fixed rates from 8.99% APR to 29.99% APR reflect the 0.25% autopay interest rate discount and a 0.25% direct deposit interest rate discount. SoFi rate ranges are current as of 02/06/2024 and are subject to change without notice. The average of SoFi Personal Loans funded in 2022 was around $30K. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. Lowest rates reserved for the most creditworthy borrowers. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed and will depend on the term you select, evaluation of your creditworthiness, income, and a variety of other factors. Loan amounts range from $5,000– $100,000. The APR is the cost of credit as a yearly rate and reflects both your interest rate and an origination fee of 0%-7%, which will be deducted from any loan proceeds you receive. Autopay: 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. Autopay is not required to receive a loan from SoFi. Direct Deposit Discount: To be eligible to potentially receive an additional (0.25%) interest rate reduction for setting up direct deposit with a SoFi Checking and Savings account offered by SoFi Bank, N.A. or eligible cash management account offered by SoFi Securities, LLC (“Direct Deposit Account”), you must have an open Direct Deposit Account within 30 days of the funding of your Loan. Once eligible, you will receive this discount during periods in which you have enabled payroll direct deposits of at least $1,000/month to a Direct Deposit Account in accordance with SoFi’s reasonable procedures and requirements to be determined at SoFi’s sole discretion. This discount will be lost during periods in which SoFi determines you have turned off direct deposits to your Direct Deposit Account. You are not required to enroll in direct deposits to receive a Loan.

    $5,000 - $100,000*

    24 to 84 months

    0.00% - 7.00% (optional)

    680

    Pros

    • Doesn’t charge any required fees
    • May receive funds same day as approval
    • Loan amounts as high as $100,000

    Cons

    • Those with low credit may not qualify
    • No physical branches
    • High minimum loan amount ($5,000)

    What to know

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    Overall, SoFi offers the most beneficial options for borrowers — these include a wide range of borrowing amounts and repayment terms, highly competitive APRs, no required fees and clear borrowing requirements. This lender also offers same-day funding.

    Read our full SoFi personal loan review.

    *While SoFi offers loans up to $100,000, LendingTree marketplace customers may not receive offers at this maximum loan amount.

    How to qualify

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    SoFi requires that you have some kind of consistent income. Borrowers must be employed (or at least have a job offer to start within 90 days) or receive income from other sources. U.S. citizens, permanent residents and nonpermanent residents may apply.

    Prosper: Best for applicants with low credit scores

    (3,639)
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    (3,639)
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    8.99% - 35.99%

    $2,000 - $50,000

    24 to 60 months

    1.00% - 7.99%

    560

    Pros

    • Allows for co-applicants
    • Flexible loan amounts ($2,000 - $50,000)
    • No prepayment penalties

    Cons

    • Charges an origination fee (1.00% - 7.99%)
    • Funding may take up to three days
    • Not available in Iowa or West Virginia

    What to know

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    With a straightforward “check your rate” option, Prosper is worth consideration among borrowers who don’t have excellent credit and want to use a co-borrower.

    While this lender can provide funding within one business day, it can take up to three, depending on your bank. You may also have to pay a 1.00% - 7.99% origination fee when taking out a Prosper personal loan.

    Read our full Prosper personal loan review.

    How to qualify

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    To receive a personal loan from Prosper, you and your co-applicant (if you have one) will need to meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Be a U.S. citizen
  • Have a personal bank account
  • Have a Social Security number
  • Can’t live in Iowa or West Virginia
  • Best Egg: Best for secured and unsecured loan options

    (2,523)
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    (2,523)
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    8.99% - 35.99%

    $2,000 - $50,000

    36 to 60 months

    0.99% - 8.99%

    600

    Pros

    • Competitive interest rates (8.99% - 35.99%)
    • Flexible loan amounts of $2,000 - $50,000
    • Funding within 24 hours after loan approval

    Cons

    • Not available in Iowa, Vermont, West Virginia or the District of Columbia
    • Charges an origination fee of 0.99% - 8.99%
    • 700 credit score and income of over $100,000 required for lowest APR

    What to know

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    Best Egg customers can receive their personal loan funds within 24 hours after they’re approved. On top of that, this lender’s low credit score requirement may make it easier for borrowers with little or poor credit to access a personal loan. Best Egg also offers consumers the option to pick between a secured or unsecured loan.

    This lender does not offer loans in Iowa, Vermont, West Virginia, the District of Columbia or the U.S. territories — you should keep geographic availability in mind before you get too far along with any lender.

    Read our full Best Egg personal loan review.

    How to qualify

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    To qualify for a loan with Best Egg, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident living in the U.S.
  • Must be of legal age to accept a loan
  • Must have a verifiable personal checking account and email
  • Must have a physical address (no post office boxes)
  • Must not live in Iowa, Vermont, West Virginia, the District of Columbia, or U.S. Territories
  • Achieve: Best for same day credit approval

    (5,186)
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    8.99% - 35.99%

    $5,000 - $50,000

    24 to 60 months

    1.99% - 6.99%

    620

    Pros

    • Competitive interest rates (8.99% - 35.99%)
    • Same-day credit approval
    • Offers multiple interest rate discount options

    Cons

    • High minimum borrowing amount of $5,000
    • May take up to 72 hours to receive funds after approval
    • Charges origination fee of 1.99% - 6.99%

    What to know

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    Achieve is known for its same-day credit approval decisions and multiple interest rate discounts. This lender offers a discount if you have a co-borrower, retirement assets or allow Achieve to pay your creditors directly if you get a debt consolidation loan.

    However, this lender’s high minimum borrowing amount of $5,000 may not make it the ideal option for borrowers looking for small personal loans. You’ll also need to pay an origination fee, which can range from 1.99% to 6.99% of your loan balance.

    Read our full Achieve personal loan review.

    How to qualify

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    Other than Achieve’s minimum credit score requirement, you’ll also have to offer this lender:

  • Proof of income
  • Social Security number
  • Proof of identity
  • Employment status
  • Avant: Best for fast loan funding

    (2,682)
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    (2,682)
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    9.95% - 35.99%

    $2,000 - $35,000

    12 to 60 months

    Up to 9.99%

    580

    Pros

    • Low minimum credit score requirement
    • Funding within 24 hours of loan approval
    • No prepayment penalty

    Cons

    • May have to pay an origination fee (Up to 9.99%)
    • Loan amounts only up to $35,000
    • No option to add a co-borrower or cosigner

    What to know

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    With a low minimum credit score requirement of just 580, consumers with low credit scores may qualify for an Avant personal loan. This lender offers quick funding and you can repay your loan early without worrying about being penalized. However, Avant charges origination fees and consumers don’t have the option to add a co-applicant if they have poor credit.

    Read our full Avant personal loan review.

    How to qualify

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    Aside from its credit score requirements, Avant also requires that applicants provide recent bank statements and pay stubs.

    Happy Money: Best for refinancing credit card debt

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    11.72% - 17.99%

    $5,000 - $40,000

    24 to 60 months

    1.50% - 5.50%

    640

    Pros

    • Doesn’t charge application or late fees
    • No prepayment penalties
    • Competitive interest rates (11.72% - 17.99%)

    Cons

    • Charges origination fee of 1.50% - 5.50%
    • Funds can only be used for credit card refinancing
    • Doesn’t offer joint applications

    What to know

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    With a simple prequalification process and the promise to work with borrowers who might run into trouble during repayment, Happy Money is worth a look if you’re batting high-interest credit card debt. Happy Money helps consumers with credit card debt who prefer credit card refinancing via a lower-interest personal loan — but this lender’s APRs can be beat elsewhere if you have good credit.

    Read our full Happy Money personal loan review.

    How to qualify

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    One of the positives about Happy Money is how clear it is around its eligibility requirements.

  • Must have no current delinquencies
  • Must not have a good debt-to-income (DTI) ratio
  • Must not live in Massachusetts or Nevada
  • Must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or applicant in the U.S. with a temporary worker visa
  • BHG Money: Best for large loan amounts

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    13.39% - 24.91%

    $20,000 - $200,000*

    36 to 120 months

    3.00% - 4.00%

    660

    Pros

    • High maximum loan amount of $200,000
    • Flexible loan terms (36 to 120 months)
    • Zero prepayment penalties or application fees

    Cons

    • High minimum loan amount of $20,000
    • Doesn’t offer loans in Illinois or Maryland
    • May take up to five business days to receive funds

    What to know

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    Because of its high minimum loan amount of $20,000, BHG Money may be best for consumers looking for larger loans. In addition to its large loan amounts, BHG Money also allows borrowers the option to choose longer loan term lengths, 36 to 120 months. However, your loan can take up to five days to be funded, and this lender doesn’t offer personal loans in Illinois or Maryland.

    Read our full BHG Money personal loan review.

    *While BHG Money offers loans up to $200,000, LendingTree marketplace customers may not receive offers at this maximum loan amount.

    How to qualify

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    While BHG isn’t entirely clear about its eligibility requirements for a personal loan, here’s what you’ll need when you apply:

  • Documents for income verification (pay stubs)
  • Personal information (name, address and date of birth)
  • Social Security number
  • Government-issued identification (driver’s license)
  • Personal Loan Calculator

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    What is a personal loan?

    A personal loan is a form of financing, which comes in the form of a lump sum of money that is repaid in monthly installments. Personal loans come with fixed annual percentage rates (APRs) and predetermined repayment terms. Personal loans typically range anywhere from $600 to $200,000, though the LendingTree marketplace only offers loans up to $50,000. Finance experts generally consider personal loans with APRs below 36% to be affordable.

    There are two types of personal loans: secured and unsecured loans. Secured loans require collateral — your loan is backed by a valuable asset that guarantees repayment. If you’re unable to repay your loan, your lender can seize your collateral. Unsecured loans don’t require collateral, so lenders look more closely at your credit history to make a lending decision. Most personal loans are unsecured.

    Reasons to get a personal loan

    Personal loans are a flexible form of credit that can be used to pay for almost any purpose. Keep in mind, your rates and terms may depend on how you plan to use the money.

    • Debt consolidation: If you’re struggling to manage your debt, unable to make on-time, consistent payments or just want to group various accounts, a debt consolidation loan may be right for you.
    • Credit card refinancing: By paying off your credit card with a lower-rate personal loan, you could save hundreds or even thousands of dollars in repayment.
    • Home improvement loan: Homeowners have a wide variety of expenses. A personal loan could give you the funding you need in the short term without harming your finances in the long term.
    • Large purchase loan: Personal loans can be used for a variety of expected and unexpected expenses, from wedding planning, moving costs, car repairs, medical bills and other bigger purchases.

    Interest rates by credit score

    Lenders determine your interest rate based on your creditworthiness, how you plan to use the loan funds and the length of the loan. To get the best offers on a personal loan, borrowers should have a good credit score, a long history of on-time payments, steady income and a low debt-to-income ratio.

    Keep in mind that a lender’s lowest advertised rate often goes to borrowers with excellent credit scores. If your score could use some work, you can expect to pay more money in interest over the life of your loan. In fact, a 2022 LendingTree study found that raising your credit score from “fair” to “very good” could save you almost $50,000.

    Here’s a look at the average rates LendingTree users received from our network of lenders, broken down by credit score.

    Credit score rangeAverage APRAverage loan amount
    720+16.01%$18,594
    680-71925.78%$15,302
    660-67937.57%$11,160
    640-65951.61%$8,088
    620-63971.55%$6,300
    580-619112.28%$4,397
    560-579152.35%$3,071
    Less than 560175.16%$2,405

    Source: LendingTree user data on closed personal loans for the fourth quarter of 2023.

    2024 Fed interest rate changes

    At its May 2024 meeting, the Federal Reserve did not change the federal funds rate — a number that in turn affects how much consumers and businesses pay to borrow money. The Federal Reserve has indicated they may cut rates later in 2024.

    To combat inflation, the Fed increased rates throughout 2022 and 2023. The target interest rate has been 5.25%-5.50% since July 2023.

    What this means for you: When the target interest rate goes up, variable interest rates on credit accounts — such as credit cards — may go up as well. When the target interest rate goes down, those rates may go down as well. Personal loans, however, have fixed interest rates, so you shouldn’t see any changes to your payments. If you’re looking to apply for a new personal loan, you may have to accept higher interest rates with a higher target interest rate.

    Benefits of personal loans

    Personal loans offer myriad benefits that set them apart from credit cards and other types of loans, including:

    • Lump sums: If you take out a personal loan, the lender will deposit the lump sum of your loan amount into your bank account. So, instead of borrowing from a line of credit like a credit card, you can access the entire amount up front.
    • Fixed APR: While credit cards and personal lines of credit often come with variable APRs, personal loans have fixed APRs. This means that even if market conditions change over the life of your loan, you won’t see your minimum monthly payment change.
    • No collateral required: Most personal loans are unsecured, so you won’t have to offer the lender any collateral. If you can’t pay back your loan, you won’t risk losing your property, but your credit score will take a hit.
    • Set repayment terms: Personal loans come with a set repayment duration so you’ll know exactly when your debt will be paid off. Credit cards and other similar options, on the other hand, don’t come with limited terms, meaning you could be stuck paying off your cards for many years if you’re only making the minimum payment.
    • Flexible loan purposes: Whether you’re looking to finance your wedding or cover an emergency expense, borrowers have flexibility when it comes to how they use their loan funds. Most lenders, however, don’t allow borrowers to use personal loans for business purposes or post-secondary education.

    Pros and cons of personal loans

    As useful as a personal loan may be, it may not be the perfect financial product for every consumer.

    ProsCons
    APRs
    • You can save money by comparison shopping for the lender that offers the lowest possible APR.
    • Generally, the interest rates are fixed, making it easier to budget.
    • Qualifying for lower APRs requires a strong credit profile, though you could always improve your credit score and reapply at a later date.
    Repayment
    • Personal loans have a definite payment schedule, which means borrowers know exactly how long it’ll take to pay off what they owe.
    • Personal loans are generally unsecured, which means you don’t have to supply collateral.
    • Missing one personal loan payment could result in a defaulted debt, causing harm to your credit file and future creditworthiness.
    • While your personal property isn’t at risk with unsecured loans, you can still be sued by a debt collector if you fall behind on payments.
    Amounts, fees
    • Many lenders allow you to borrow a wide variety of amounts for a wide variety of purposes.
    • There are plenty of no-fee lenders to choose from.
    • Some lenders charge an origination fee that can be as high as 12% of the loan amount.
    • Less scrupulous lenders hide fees or offer scant repayment protections.

    Where to get a personal loan

    The best place to get a personal loan will depend on your borrowing needs. Typically, there are three types of financial institutions that offer personal loans.

      Banks

    Before launching into your search for a loan, consider checking with your current bank first. Some banks, like Wells Fargo Bank, require you to be a current customer in order to access personal loan products.

    The personal loan application process may take a bit longer to complete compared to online lenders, but you may access perks like no-fee loans. Banks may also require that you visit a local branch in person in order to close on your loan.

      Credit unions

    To get a loan from a credit union, you’ll typically need to become a member of the credit union first. This may require a small fee or deposit. Check membership requirements before applying for a credit union personal loan, as some credit unions only cater to certain groups, such as people with military ties.

    Credit unions also typically tend to offer smaller loan amounts than banks and online lenders. Navy Federal Credit Union, for instance, offers loans as small as $250. Another benefit to credit unions is that the APR is capped at 18%, which is particularly good news if you’re having trouble finding lower rates elsewhere.

      Online lenders

    Personal loans online offer flexibility to consumers who don’t want to become a credit union member or bank customer. Because everything is done online and you don’t have to worry about creating a membership or banking account, online lenders may take less time to approve and fund your personal loan.

    How to compare personal loans

    With so many options to choose from in the personal loan marketplace, it’s important to compare terms and pricing from a variety of lenders to make sure you get a loan that fits your situation and helps you meet your goals.

    • APR: The annual percentage rate (APR) of a personal loan is the total cost of a loan, including the interest rate and any fees. Be sure to compare APRs from multiple lenders before committing to one, as this can play a huge role in how much you end up paying over the life of the loan.
    • Fees: The most common fees encountered with personal loans are origination fees, late fees and returned payment fees. Some lenders charge an origination fee, which is a one-time administrative fee that’s taken out of the total balance of your loan when you receive your lump sum. Another fee to watch out for is a prepayment penalty, which is charged for a loan that’s paid back early. Most personal loan lenders do not charge prepayment penalties, but it never hurts to check with your lender to be sure.
    • Terms: Your loan repayment terms can also determine how much you spend overall on your personal loan. With a long loan term, you’ll make smaller monthly payments but you’ll pay more in interest by the time you’re done paying off the loan. However, if you have a short-term loan, you’ll pay less in interest overall but your monthly payments will be higher. The best rule of thumb is to apply for the shortest loan term you can reasonably afford.
    • Funding timeline: How long does it take to get a personal loan? The amount of time it takes varies from lender to lender. Once you’re approved and sign your loan contract, some lenders may disburse your loan funds that same day. Generally, it takes one to seven business days after official approval before you receive your funds.
    • Unique perks: Some lenders offer special perks to their borrowers, including zero-fee loans, autopay discounts or even the option to skip a payment after you’ve made a certain number of in-full, on-time payments. Such features can save you money over the life of your loan. When comparing lenders, ask about any special rate discounts or benefits.

    How to get a personal loan

    Each lender will have a different application process for getting a personal loan as well as varied eligibility requirements. However, many lenders follow a similar approach when it comes to applying for a personal loan.

    1. Check your credit score

    Before you start shopping around for personal loan lenders, it’s important to check your credit score to understand how creditworthy you are in the eyes of lenders.

    Your credit score can give you an idea of the terms and interest rates you may qualify for. If you have a low score, you may want to work on improving your credit score before applying for a loan.

    To help assess how much debt you can afford, you can use a personal loan calculator to estimate your minimum monthly payments and determine how much interest you’ll pay over the life of the loan.

    2. Shop around for lenders

    Comparing lenders’ interest rates, fees, terms and loan amounts can save you money in the long run.

    Many lenders allow consumers to prequalify for a loan — meaning you can check to see whether you’re eligible for a loan and what your potential rates and terms could be without any impact to your credit score.

     Note: Not every lender offers prequalification and requires a hard credit pull to determine your loan eligibility. When evaluating lenders, you may consider looking for lenders that allow prequalification. (Remember, though, that prequalified offers are not a guarantee that you’ll be approved or receive the exact rates presented.)

    3. Verify your information

    Once you select a lender, you’ll need to verify the information you provided in your loan application. Typically, lenders want to verify your identity, employment and income, so you may need to provide a government-issued form of identification, plus W-2s or pay stubs.

    During this part of the process, you’ll likely need to submit to a hard credit pull before the lender offers you final approval. This can cause your credit score to temporarily drop by a handful of points.

    4. Close on your loan

    Once your lender officially approves you for a loan, you’ll need to sign a personal loan agreement. The lender will either deposit the funds into your bank account or send you a check. The amount of time it takes to receive funds will depend on both your lender and bank.

    How LendingTree works

    Compare rates on the nation’s largest network

    We’re a one-stop shop with the nation’s largest network of lenders, so you can be sure you’re getting your best rate.

    Get funded in as little as 24 hours

    When you need money fast, we’ve got you covered. Find repayment terms that work for you and get the money you need right away.

    Pay off your loan with fixed monthly payments

    Personal loans offer fixed monthly payments with interest rates lower than most credit cards, so you can save big.

    How do I manage a personal loan?

    Before you take out a personal loan, it’s important to review your monthly budget to ensure that you can afford the minimum monthly payments.

    A missed loan payment can have a sizable negative impact on your credit score and bring your score down by as many as 180 points. Not repaying your personal loan can also come with legal consequences, as your lender can file a lawsuit against you to recoup its losses.

    If you find yourself struggling to keep up with payments, contact your lender to find out whether it offers any financial hardship programs. Some lenders may dismiss fees or temporarily lower your monthly minimum payments.

    How we chose our picks for the best personal loan lenders

    We reviewed more than 25 lenders that offer personal loans to determine the overall best 15 lenders. To make our list, lenders must offer competitive annual percentage rates (APRs). From there, we prioritize lenders based on the following factors:

    • Accessibility: Lenders are ranked higher if their personal loans are available to more people and require fewer conditions. This may include lower credit requirements, wider geographic availability, faster funding and easier and more transparent prequalification and application processes.
    • Rates and terms: We prioritize lenders with more competitive fixed rates, fewer fees and greater options for repayment terms, loan amounts and APR discounts.
    • Repayment experience: For starters, we consider each lender’s reputation and business practices. We also favor lenders that report to all major credit bureaus, offer reliable customer service and provide any unique perks to customers, like free wealth coaching.

    LendingTree reviews and fact-checks our top lender picks on a monthly basis.

    Frequently asked questions

    With a personal loan, most lenders will allow you to use your money to pay for almost anything. Whether you need to consolidate your debt, pay off unexpected medical expenses or make repairs at home, a personal loan may help you meet your financial goals.

    Personal loan requirements vary by lender, but most lending institutions will typically analyze your credit score, your income and any other debts you have out in your name. You should also come prepared with the following information, as it could impact eligibility: the purpose of your loan, how much money you want to borrow and your preferred repayment schedule.

    Personal loan amounts typically range from $1,000 to $50,000. However, some lenders, such as BHG Money, offer loan amounts as large as $200,000. The LendingTree personal loan marketplace offers loan amounts up to $50,000.

    If you have less-than-ideal credit, you may still qualify for a bad-credit personal loan, though your lender is likely to charge a high APR. Alternatively, you may be able to get a personal loan with a cosigner who has good credit to access more attractive rates.

    When applying for a personal loan, you’ll need to provide proof of income and employment, bank account information and proof of other debt. You’ll also need to verify your identity by providing a government-issued identification to your lender.

    Common alternatives to personal loans include credit cards, lines of credit, home equity loans and 401(k) loans. While these options also come with interest and fees, one of these different financing opportunities may be a better fit for your situation. For instance, if you aren’t sure how much money you need, a credit card with access to a line of credit may be a better fit.

    Yes — you can refinance a personal loan if you want to change the terms. Refinancing allows you to assess an old debt and potentially qualify for conditions that better suit your current financial position, such as lower interest rates or monthly payments.