Best Personal Loans in December 2022

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Lowest personal loan rates

Written by Amanda Push | Edited by Katie Lowery | Reviewed December 1, 2022

How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

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.

How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

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.

LenderAPR RangeMin. Credit ScoreBest For...
Best Egg8.99% - 35.99%640Seamless online prequalificationGet Free Offers
BHG Money10.49% - 29.99%660Large loan amountsGet Free Offers
Discover logo6.99% - 24.99%Not specifiedConsolidating debtGet Free Offers
Freedom Plus logo7.99% - 29.99%Not specifiedApplicants with excellent creditGet Free Offers
Happy Money logo7.99% - 29.99%640Refinancing credit card debtGet Free Offers
LendingClub logo8.30% - 36.00%Not specifiedApplying with a co-borrowerGet Free Offers
LendingPoint logo7.99% - 35.99%580Borrowing small loan amountsGet Free Offers
LightStream logo6.99% - 22.49%* w/autopayNot specifiedWide variety of repayment term durationsGet Free Offers
Marcus: by Goldman Sachs logo6.99% - 24.99%720Unique repayment perksGet Free Offers
PenFed logo7.74% - 17.99%Not specifiedSmall loan amountsGet Free Offers
Prosper logo6.99% - 35.99%640Fast loan fundingGet Free Offers
SoFi7.99% - 23.43%680Unemployment protection during repaymentGet Free Offers
Upstart logo6.50% - 35.99%600Borrowers with thin credit historiesGet Free Offers

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Personal Loan Calculator

Personal loan lenders at a glance

Best Egg logo
Best for a seamless online prequalification

APR range 8.99% – 35.99%
Loan amounts $2,000 – $50,000
Term (months) 36 to 60
Origination fee 0.99% - 8.99%
Credit inquiry Soft Pull
Min. credit score 640
ProsCons

  Competitive interest rates (8.99% - 35.99%)

  Flexible loan amounts of $2,000 - $50,000

  Need 700 credit score and income of at least $100,000 to qualify for lowest APR

  Not available in Iowa, Vermont, West Virginia or the District of Columbia

  Charges an origination fee of 0.99% - 8.99%

  Can take up to three business days to receive funds

What to know

Given the fact that it offers prequalification along with a seamless online application and competitive rates, Best Egg is worthy of being in the mix for your preferred lender. Read our full Best Egg review.

Best Egg personal loans are not available in Iowa, Vermont, West Virginia, the District of Columbia or the U.S. territories — keep availability in mind before you get too far along with any lender.

 

Eligibility requirements: 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

 

BHG Money logo
Best for large loan amounts

APR range: 10.49% – 29.99%
Loan amounts $20,000 – $200,000
Term (months) 36 to 120
Origination fee 2.00% - 4.00%
Credit inquiry Hard Pull
Min. credit score 660
ProsCons

  High maximum loan amount of $200,000

  Flexible loan terms (36 to 120 months)

  Zero prepayment penalties or application fees

  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

Because of its high minimum loan amount of $20,000, BHG Money may be best for consumers looking for larger loans. Aside from 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. BHG Money doesn’t offer personal loans in Illinois or Maryland. Read our full BHG Money review.

 

Eligibility requirements: 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 financial statements (bank statements)
  • Personal information (name, address and date of birth)
  • Social Security number
  • Government-issued identification (driver’s license)

 

Discover
Best for consolidating debt

APR range 6.99% – 24.99%
Loan amounts $2,500 – $35,000
Term (months) 36 to 84
Origination fee No origination fee
Credit inquiry Soft Pull
Min. credit score Not specified
ProsCons

  Funding within one business day

  Competitive interest rates

  No origination fees

  Low maximum borrowing amount

  Borrowers with low credit may not qualify

  Doesn’t offer joint applications

What to know

If you have excellent credit and are looking to consolidate debt, you may find that Discover offers lower rates than your credit cards or other personal loan lenders. With Discover, you can get your loan within one business day of signing your agreement and can skip paying an origination fee.

However, Discover personal loans only go up to $35,000, 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 review.

 

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

  • Make a minimum income of $25,000
  • Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • Verify household income and employment history
  • Have a verifiable bank account
  • Provide creditor information for debt consolidation loans

 


Best for applicants with excellent credit

APR range 7.99% – 29.99%
Loan amounts $7,500 – $50,000
Term (months) 24 to 60
Origination fee 1.99% - 4.99%
Credit inquiry Soft Pull
Min. credit score Varies
ProsCons

  Competitive interest rates (7.99% - 29.99%)

  Same-day credit approval

  Can choose your payment due date

  High minimum borrowing amount of $7,500

  May take up to 72 hours to receive funds after approval

  Charges origination fee of 1.99% - 4.99%

 

What to know

FreedomPlus is known for its no-nonsense approach: You can expect to avoid fees while receiving relatively fast credit and funding decisions. Read our full FreedomPlus review.

However, this lender’s high minimum borrowing amount of $7,500 may not make it the ideal option for borrowers looking for small personal loans. On the upside, FreedomPlus is upfront about the cost of taking out personal loans and even allows users to choose their due dates.

 

Eligibility requirements: Other than FreedomPlus’s minimum credit score requirement, you’ll also have to offer this lender a government-issued identification and your bank information.


 


Best for refinancing credit card debt

APR range: 7.99% – 29.99%
Loan amounts $5,000 – $40,000
Term (months) 24 and 60
Origination fee 0.00% - 5.00%
Credit inquiry Soft Pull
Min. credit score 640
ProsCons

  Doesn’t charge application or late fees

  No prepayment penalties

  Competitive interest rates (7.99% - 29.99%)

  Charges origination fee of 0.00% - 5.00%

  Funds can only be used for credit card refinancing

  Doesn’t offer joint applications

What to know

With a good prequalification process and the promise to work with borrowers who might run into trouble during repayment, Happy Money (formerly Payoff) is worth a look if you’re batting high-interest credit card debt. Read our full Happy Money review.

Happy Money was designed to help consumers with credit card debt who prefer consolidating via a lower-interest personal loan — but Happy Money’s APRs can be beat elsewhere if you’re creditworthy.

 

Eligibility requirements: 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 debt-to-income (DTI) ratio above 50%.
  • Must have a minimum three-year credit history
  • 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

 

LendingClub logo
Best for applying with a co-borrower

APR range 8.30% – 36.00%
Loan amounts $1,000 – $40,000
Term (months) 36 to 60
Origination fee 3.00% - 6.00%
Credit inquiry Soft Pull
Min. credit score 600
ProsCons

  Option to file a joint application

  Small loan amounts available

  May use personal loans for business purposes

  High maximum APR of 36.00%

  Charges origination fee of 3.00% - 6.00%

  Limited repayment terms (36 to 60 months)

What to know

This lender’s easy prequalification process makes it worth considering, but don’t be surprised to find a lower rate or origination fee elsewhere. Read our full LendingClub review.

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.

 

Eligibility requirements: LendingClub doesn’t outline its personal loan eligibility requirements, but to qualify, you’ll need to meet the following terms:

  • A good credit score
  • A low debt-to-income (DTI) ratio
  • A history of on-time payments

 

LendingPoint logo
Best for borrowing small loan amounts

APR range 7.99% – 35.99%
Loan amounts $2,000 – $36,500
Term (months) 24 to 72
Origination fee 0.00% - 8.00%
Credit inquiry Soft Pull
Min. credit score 580
ProsCons

  May receive funds within one business day of approval

  Flexible loan terms (24 to 72 months)

  No prepayment penalties

  Charges an origination fee of 0.00% - 8.00%

  Low maximum loan amount ($36,500)

  Not available in Nevada or West Virginia

What to know

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. Read our full LendingPoint review.

While there are no application or prepayment fees, you could be charged a hefty origination fee, depending on your home state.

 

Eligibility requirements: 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 photo identification
  • Must have a social security number
  • Must have income of at least $35,000
  • Must have a verifiable personal bank account
  • Must not live in Nevada or West Virginia

 

LightStream logo
Best for a wide variety of repayment term durations

APR range 6.99% – 22.49%* w/autopay
Loan amounts $5,000 – $100,000
Term (months) 24 to 144*
Origination fee No origination fee
Credit inquiry Hard Pull
Min. credit score Not specified
ProsCons

  Doesn’t charge any fees

  Large maximum loan amounts ($100,000)

  Competitive interest rates (6.99% - 22.49%)

  Doesn’t offer prequalification services

  May not use funds for education or business purposes

  Those with low credit scores won’t qualify

What to know

LightStream will perform a hard check on your credit when you apply, so you might delay applying until you’re ready to choose a lender; this isn’t often the case among no-fee personal loan companies. LightStream also offers a rate discount if you sign up for AutoPay, and they back their personal loans with a Loan Experience Guarantee.

Like many personal loan companies, LightStream doesn’t offer funding for higher education (student loans) or business (small business loans). Read our full LightStream review.

 

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

*Your loan terms, including APR, may differ based on loan purpose, amount, term length, and 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 6.99% APR with a term of 3 years would result in 36 monthly payments of $308.73. Truist Bank is an Equal Housing Lender. © 2022 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.


 

Marcus: by Goldman Sachs logo
Best for unique repayment perks

APR range 6.99% – 24.99%
Loan amounts $3,500 – $40,000
Term (months) 36 to 72
Origination fee No origination fee
Credit inquiry Soft Pull
Min. credit score 720
ProsCons

  On-time payment reward

  Doesn’t charge any fees

  Offers APR autopay discount of 0.25%

  Doesn’t offer joint applications

  Funding can take as long as four business days

  Low-credit borrowers may not qualify

What to know

Among fee-free lenders, the mobile-app-friendly Marcus by Goldman Sachs loan is packed with unique perks, including an on-time payment award: When you make 12 straight payments, you can defer one month’s dues without interest accruing. Read our full Marcus by Goldman Sachs review.

This is one of many lenders that don’t accept joint loan applications, so you’ll have to be creditworthy enough to qualify as an individual borrower.

 

Eligibility requirements: Other than a minimum credit score requirement of 720, Marcus by Goldman Sachs doesn’t offer much insight into its eligibility requirements. When you apply, you will have to provide the following:

  • Income verification documents (pay stubs, bank statements or tax filings)
  • A government-issued ID, Social Security number or tax ID number

 

PenFed logo
Best for small loan amounts

APR range 7.74% – 17.99%
Loan amounts $600 – $50,000
Term (months) 12 to 60
Origination fee None
Credit inquiry Hard Pull
Min. credit score Not specified
ProsCons

  Doesn’t charge any fees

  Low borrowing amounts ($600)

  May apply with a co-applicant

  Will need to become credit union member

  Charges a late payment fee

  Isn’t clear about some of its eligibility criteria

What to know

PenFed Credit Union (PenFed) offers unsecured personal loans nationwide and stands out for its wide range of borrowing options. They offer personal loans anywhere from 7.74% – 17.99%, and offer terms between 12 to 60 months. Read our full PenFed review.

PenFed also offers competitive interest rates to well-qualified applicants, and doesn’t nickel and dime its borrowers with application, origination or other types of fees. Their eligibility requirements may be unclear, but they allow customers to prequalify without affecting their credit score.

 

Eligibility requirements: 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.


 

Prosper logo
Best for fast loan funding

APR range 6.99% – 35.99%
Loan amounts $2,000 – $50,000
Term (months) 24 to 60
Origination fee 1.00% - 5.00%
Credit inquiry Soft Pull
Min. credit score 640
ProsCons

  May receive funds as soon as one business day

  Flexible loan amounts ($2,000 - $50,000)

  No prepayment penalties

  Charges an origination fee (1.00% - 5.00%)

  Limited repayment terms (24 to 60 months)

  Charges late fees ($15 or 5% of amount due, whichever is larger)

 

What to know

With a straightforward “check your rate” option, Prosper is worth consideration among borrowers without excellent credit who want to use a co-borrower. Read our full Prosper review.

Prosper is among lenders that promises “next day funding,” but be aware that this means your loan won’t be disbursed until one business day after you’ve signed your loan agreement.

 

Eligibility requirements: 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

 

SoFi
Best for unemployment protection during repayment

APR range 7.99% – 23.43%
Loan amounts $5,000 – $100,000
Term (months) 24 to 84
Origination fee No origination fee
Credit inquiry Soft Pull
Min. credit score 680
ProsCons

  Doesn’t charge borrowers any fees

  May receive funds same day as approval

  Loan amounts as high as $100,000

  Those with low credit may not qualify

  No physical branches

  High minimum loan amount ($5,000)

 

What to know

SoFi is a great overall option based on its wide range of borrowing amounts and repayment terms, to go along with highly competitive APRs, no fees and unique perks. Read our full SoFi review.

SoFi’s unemployment protection program helps you stay current on your debt, and can temporarily alter your payments while you search for a job. This lender also offers same-day funding.

 

Eligibility requirements: SoFi requires that you must 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 non-permanent residents may apply.


 

Upstart logo
Best for borrowers with thin credit histories

APR range 6.50% – 35.99%
Loan amounts $1,000 – $50,000
Term (months) 36 or 60
Origination fee 0.00% - 10.00%
Credit inquiry Soft Pull
Min. credit score 600
ProsCons

  Competitive interest rates (6.50% - 35.99%)

  May receive funds in one business day

  May work with low-credit borrowers

  High maximum interest rate (35.99%)

  Limited repayment terms (36 or 60 months)

  Charges origination fees (0.00% - 10.00%)

 

What to know

Upstart is a worthwhile option for applicants with thin or not-great credit files, noting that it sometimes stamps approval for borrowers that don’t have a long enough credit history to have a credit score. Read our full Upstart review.

Like other loan companies, your lender might not be who you think it is: Upstart farms its lending operations out to banks but will still service your repayment.

 

Eligibility requirements: To receive a personal loan from Upstart, you’ll need to be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident living in the U.S. You’ll also need to have a full-time job (or one that starts in six months) or another source of consistent income. You can’t live in Iowa or West Virginia.

3 steps to getting a personal loan

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 your LendingTree account. You’ll also get free access to credit and identity monitoring, all while finding ways to save on your current loan.

Compare offers & get prequalified

Find personalized rates on LendingTree by answering just a few simple questions (see top of this page). 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.

Select your preferred loan offer

On LendingTree, you can get comparable personal loan offers from up to five 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!

How to prequalify for a personal loan

When you prequalify for a personal loan, you’re able to confirm your eligibility and check your potential interest rate, all without affecting your credit file. This is possible because many lenders perform a soft check on your credit to determine your possible loan terms.

To prequalify, lenders will ask you basic questions about your finances and loan needs. You’ll still have to verify this information if you formally apply with your selected lender, but prequalification helps you compare multiple lenders and products before you’re ready to make a final decision.

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

Interest rates by credit score

Lenders determine 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.

Your credit score often plays the biggest role in determining the interest rate you’ll receive. A lender’s advertised lowest 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 interest rates LendingTree users received, broken down by credit band.

Credit scoreAverage lowest APR offered
720+13.20%
680-71920.20%
640-67939.55%
620-63957.01%

Source: LendingTree data for September 2022

Fed rate hike 2022

In light of the inflation that Americans are facing, the Federal Reserve increased interest rates in June, July, September and November, bringing the target interest rate to 3.75%-4.00%. The most recent rate hike is the highest Americans have seen since January 2008.

For consumers, this means that interest rates on credit accounts will go up. If you have a credit card with a variable interest rate, for instance, you may see your monthly payments go up. On the other hand, if you currently have a personal loan with fixed interest rates, you shouldn’t see any changes to your payments.

However, if you’re looking to take out a personal loan, you may have to accept higher interest rates.

As the Fed continues to battle inflation, Americans may see interest rates continue to rise.

How to choose the best personal loan

With so many options to choose from in the personal loan marketplace, it can be overwhelming to find the personal loan that best fits your budget and financial goals. When shopping for personal loans, pay attention to details like APR, fees and funding timelines, as these factors can impact your decision.

  • APR: The annual percentage rate (APR) of a personal loan is the total cost of a loan, including interest rate and any fees. Be sure to compare APRs from multiple lenders before committing to one, as this can play a large 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. An origination fee is a one-time administrative fee that is 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. Most personal loan lenders do not charge prepayment penalties, but it never hurts to check with a 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.
  • Funding timeline: The amount of time it takes to get a personal loan varies from lender to lender. Once you’re approved, 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 fees, 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.

How we chose our picks for best personal loans

By offering a detailed and objective account of each lender’s rates and terms, LendingTree’s goal is provide you with all the information you need to make a financially sound decision specific to your situation. Our team of experts thoroughly vets and weighs each option — recommendations are not based on advertisers but rather an honest review of each lender’s offerings. By providing a full picture of what each lender has, we hope to leave you with peace of mind about your financial future. Lenders were chosen based on factors such as APR rates, loan amounts, terms, fees and credit requirements.

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 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 personal loans may require collateral, such as your car, but may also have lower APRs. Unsecured personal 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.

Reasons to get a personal loan:
Debt consolidation – If you’re struggling to manage your debt, unable to make on-time, consistent payments or just want to group various accounts.

Credit card refinancing – Pay off your credit card with a lower-rate personal loan, you could save hundreds or even thousands of dollars in repayment.

Home improvement – 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.

Pros and cons of personal loans

Still, useful as it may be, a personal loan isn’t a perfect financial product that’s right for every single consumer. It allows you to fund a major expense or consolidate your existing debt, ideally at better terms, but it also won’t immediately end your cycle with debt.

Before you decide whether borrowing is in your best interest, consider these pros and cons.

ProsCons
APRs
  • You can save money by comparison shopping for 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 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.
  • While your personal property isn’t at risk for unsecured loans, you can still be sued for the debt 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 1% to 8% of the loan amount.
  • Far less scrupulous lenders hide fees or offer scant repayment protections.

Frequently asked questions

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, personal loans empower you to do so.

Though most personal loans are tagged with fixed rates, some lenders do offer variable-rate products. Variable rates typically start lower than fixed rates, but they can also rise over time according to market conditions.

  • • Fixed: Your rate and monthly payment are static during repayment.
  • • Variable: Your rate and monthly payment is subject to change during repayment.

Choose a fixed or variable rate depending on whether you like the idea of a consistent monthly payment amount or have the stomach — and budget flexibility — for a fluctuating amount due.

Once you’ve decided on either a fixed or variable rate, make apples-to-apples comparisons among lenders by pitting fixed or variable APRs against each other. Unlike a base rate, the APR accounts for each lender’s fees, such as for loan origination.

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.

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.

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 would cost more. Alternatively, you may be able to add a cosigner with good credit to your application to access more attractive rates.

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.

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).

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. This includes sending your loan to collections, reporting your default to credit bureaus and taking you to court, which could make getting new credit costly or impossible in the future.

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.

There are a variety of alternatives to personal loans, from credit cards and lines of credit to peer-to-peer loans and 401(k) loans. One product could be a better fit over another in specific situations.

If you’re looking to refinance credit card debt, for example, a personal loan could help you gradually repay your outstanding balances at a lower interest rate. If you’ll have the cash to repay the debt on a faster timetable, though, you might consider opting for a balance transfer card that features an introductory 0% APR.

More personal loan resources and tools

Emergency Loans

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

Bad Credit Loans

Getting a loan can be challenging with bad credit. Find bad credit loans you may qualify for, and read about what to expect before you apply.

Loan Calculator

If you need help estimating your potential loan payments each month and over the long haul, leave the math to us.

How To Get A Loan

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