Signature Loans

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What is a signature loan?

Signature loans are unsecured personal loans that don’t require you to put down collateral when you apply. Instead, lenders will heavily weigh your financial situation, taking your credit score and debt-to-income ratio into consideration when determining eligibility. Here are a few other things to know about signature loans:

  • Funding is issued in a lump sum. Loan amounts range from $1,000 to $50,000 (or more). If approved, the money may be disbursed directly into your bank account.
  • Monthly payments are predictable. You’ll repay the loan in fixed monthly installments over a set period of time, typically a few years.
  • Interest rates are fixed. When you get a signature loan, your APR — which includes your interest rate, as well as any other fees — will stay the same until the loan is paid off.
  • No collateral is required. Signature loans are backed by your promise to repay the lender, and you don’t risk any assets being repossessed if you default on the loan.
  • Your credit score is heavily weighed. Banks and lenders rely on your credit score and payment history to determine your loan eligibility. Applicants should have good credit or better, defined as a credit score of 670 or greater using the FICO model.

5 places to find online signature loans


SoFi logo
Interest rates7.99% - 35.99%6.50% - 35.99%7.99% - 29.99%6.99% - 24.99%7.99% - 23.43%
Loan length24 to 72 months36 or 60 months24 and 60 months36 to 84 months24 to 84 months
Loan amount$2,000 to $36,500$1,000 to $50,000$5,000 to $40,000$2,500 to $35,000$5,000 to $100,000
Origination fee0.00% - 8.00%0.00% - 10.00%0.00% - 5.00%No origination feeNo origination fee
Credit score requirements580600640Not specified680

*Annual percentage rate (APR) is a measure of your cost of borrowing and includes the interest rate plus other fees. Available APRs may differ based on your location.
Est. APRs shown may include an autopay discount.

7 uses for a signature loan

Medical Emergency Loan
Medical Emergencies

Major Purchase Loan
Major Purchase

Car Repair Loan
Car Repairs

Home Renovation Loan
Home Renovations

Credit Card Debt Consolidation Loan
Credit Card Debt Consolidation

Vacation Loan
Vacations

Wedding Loan
Wedding

How to apply for a signature loan

  1. Start the application process online, over the phone or in person at the lender branch. You’ll provide basic personal and financial information.
  2. Prequalify to check your estimated APR. Not all lenders offer prequalification, but those that do allow you to see the types of loan terms you may qualify for with a soft credit check.
  3. Provide documentation such as recent pay stubs, tax documents and/or bank statements. Lenders may ask you to provide documents, like a driver’s license or passport, to verify your identity.
  4. Formally apply for the loan. At this point, the lender will conduct a hard-credit check. Lenders will use your financial information to determine how much money they will lend you, your interest rate and what fees they may charge you for the loan.
  5. Receive your loan funds, which may be disbursed as quickly as on the same day your application is approved, depending on the lender.

Who signature loans are best for

Because signature loans aren’t secured, lenders will rely more heavily on your creditworthiness, weighing your credit score and debt-to-income ratio rather than your collateral. This makes signature loans best for those with good credit scores and low debt-to-income ratios. Having a good credit score can also give you the best chance at qualifying for a lender’s lowest APR rates.

Struggling to qualify for a signature loan? Here are seven tips on how to increase your credit score.

Signature loans vs. personal loans

Signature loans are a form of personal loans. Personal loans can be unsecured or secured — secured meaning the loan requires collateral, such as a vehicle or home. Signature loans fall into the unsecured personal loan category so these types of loan are more heavily based on a borrower’s creditworthiness and promise of repayment. If you’re struggling to get your credit score up, however, there are bad credit loans available.

Signature loans vs. secured loans

A signature loan is a type of unsecured loan. When you’re borrowing money, you’ll usually need to make a decision between selecting a secured loan and an unsecured loan. Here are some key differences between these two types of loans:

SIGNATURE LOANS...

  • Not secured by collateral, like a mortgage or auto loan
  • Typically have a shorter loan term
  • Tend to carry higher interest rates than secured loans
  • May offer smaller loan amounts since you don’t put up collateral

SECURED LOANS...

  • Secured by an asset you own, like a your home or car
  • May offer a longer loan term
  • Tend to have lower interest rates than signature loans
  • Can have higher loan amounts, since it’s backed by collateral

Signature loans vs. personal line of credit

A personal line of credit provides a borrower with a credit account with a capped amount that you can borrow from and utilize as needed, like a credit card. While you’re shopping around, you may need to decide what type of credit would be best for your current financial situation. Here's what you need to know about signature loans versus personal lines of credit:

SIGNATURE LOANS...

  • Typically have fixed-APR rates
  • Oftentimes amount and rates will depend on use of the loan
  • Must pay interest on entire lump sum of loan
  • Tends to have lower interest rates than lines of credit

PERSONAL LINE OF CREDIT...

  • Come with variable-APR rates
  • Can be used toward any purpose
  • Only pay interest on the amount you take out
  • Typically has higher interest rates than personal loans

Signature loans with bad credit?

It may be possible to qualify for a signature loan without good credit. There are certain lenders that specialize in bad or fair credit, though offered interest rates are likely to be much higher than they are for borrowers with good credit.

If you can’t qualify for competitive terms on a signature loan, you could consider an alternative:

Home equity loan: Use your home as collateral to obtain a loan.

401(k) loan: Borrow from your own retirement savings and pay interest back to yourself

Joint personal loan: Take out a loan with a co-borrower who has good credit.

Paycheck advance apps: Borrow from your upcoming paycheck without a credit check (though beware of possible pitfalls using these).

You could also look into improving your credit score before you apply. You can check and monitor your credit score for free on the LendingTree app.

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FAQ: Signature loans

Yes, a signature loan is an unsecured personal loan. You’re not required to put down collateral, and you can borrow the money with just your signature. The amount you can borrow is typically based on your credit history and income.

It depends on the lender. Some lenders can fund you the same business day that you are approved. Other lenders can take days or weeks to disburse your loan.

Some lenders may charge you an origination fee to process your loan application. The origination fee is usually expressed as a percentage of the loan amount. You may also encounter other fees, such as a prepayment penalty (if you pay off your loan early) or a late payment fee.

Your lender may charge you a late fee depending on how many days it receives payment beyond your due date. The amount you’ll pay and the number of days before you incur a late fee will depend on your lender. If you go long enough without paying your loan, your credit score may take a hit.

Be wary of no credit check signature loans — they are likely payday loans, which have a high cost of borrowing and a short repayment period.

The credit score needed for a loan will depend on the lender you’re borrowing with. For example, while SoFi requires a credit score of at least 680, Happy Money has a much lower credit score requirement at 550. However, having a good credit score (at least 670) will generally help your chances of getting approved.

The amount you’re able to borrow will vary from lender to lender. Typically, signature loans range from $1,000 to $50,000, though some lenders offer loans as large as $100,000.