Best Small Personal Loans in October 2022

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Lenders that offer small personal loans

LenderAnnual percentage rate (APR)Loan amountLoan length
Best Egg5.99% - 35.99%$2,000 - $50,00036 or 60 months
LendingClub7.04% - 35.89%$1,000 - $40,00036 or 60 months
LendingPoint7.99% - 35.99%$2,000 - $36,50024 to 72 months
Navy Federal Credit Union7.49% - 18.00%$250 - $50,00060 months
OneMain Financial18.00% - 35.99%$1,500 - $20,00024 to 60 months
PenFed Credit Union7.74% - 17.99%$600 - $50,00012 to 60 months
Prosper7.95% - 35.99%$2,000 - $40,00036 or 60 months
PNC Bank5.99% - 24.99%$1,000 - $35,0006 to 60 months
Upgrade7.46% - 35.97%$1,000 - $50,00024 to 84 months
Upstart4.37% - 35.99%$1,000 - $50,00036 or 60 months

Tip: Check your local credit union
If you’re looking for a small loan, particularly one worth less than $1,000, you should check with your local credit union. These member-owned financial institutions can offer more flexible loan options and fewer fees when compared with your traditional bank.

Our top picks for small personal loans

Navy Federal Credit Union

  • APR: 7.49% – 18.00%
  • Loan amount: $250 – $50,000
  • Loan length: 60 months
  • Minimum credit score: Not specified

Why we like it: Navy Federal Credit Union offers the smallest loans on our list, starting at $250. A small loan through this lender may be ideal for consumers looking to borrow under $1,000.


Overview: With a loan range of $250 – $50,000, Navy Federal Credit Union offers some of the most flexible loan amounts on our list.


Navy Federal offers personal expense loans (which can be used for expenses such as vehicle repairs, traveling and weddings), home improvement loans and debt consolidation loans.


While Navy Federal does not charge borrowers origination fees, it does charge a $29 late fee if you’re unable to keep up with payments.


Because Navy Federal is a credit union, its APR is capped at 18% since credit unions are prohibited from charging interest rates higher than 18%. This may be good news to consumers with lower credit scores as other lenders have interest rates as high as nearly 36%.



  Does not charge an origination fee

  Flexible borrowing amounts ranging from $250

  Allows you to apply with a co-borrower

  APRs capped at 18%

  High minimum for home improvement loans ($25,000 or $30,000)

  $29 late payment fee

  Must have connection to armed forces to become a member


Eligibility requirements: If you want to get a personal loan through Navy Federal, you’ll have to become a member. Navy Federal only serves active duty or retired service members, veterans and their family and household members.


PenFed Credit Union

  • APR: 7.74% – 17.99%
  • Loan amount: $600 – $50,000
  • Loan length: 12 to 60 months
  • Minimum credit score: Not specified

Why we like it: At $600, this lender offers the second lowest loan amount on our list. Similar to Navy Federal Credit Union, this lender may be best for consumers who need under $1,000.


Overview: Despite not offering exact credit score criteria for borrowers, PenFed Credit Union may be a good option for those looking to find lower interest rates (especially if their credit needs some work), since the interest rates at credit unions are capped at 18%.


PenFed does not charge an origination fee and also offers a short funding timeline, disbursing your funds within one to two business days after loan approval. In contrast, other lenders may take several days before you receive funds.


If you have a low credit score, PenFed also allows consumers to apply for a personal loan with a co-borrower, which can increase your chances of getting approved. Keep in mind that your co-borrower will be on the hook for repaying the loan if you’re unable to keep up with payments.



  Does not charge an origination fee

  Can receive your funds within one to two days of approval

  Cannot charge interest over 18%

  Allows co-borrowers

  Charges late payment fee of $29

  Must be a member of PenFed to receive loan funds

  Lack of transparency around credit score criteria


Eligibility requirements: PenFed Credit Union requires that you become a member before you can receive your loan. Unlike Navy Federal Credit Union, however, you do not need to be a military member or be related to one. To become eligible, you’ll have to open a savings account with PenFed with a $5 deposit.


  • APR: 7.04% – 35.89%
  • Loan amount: $1,000 – $40,000
  • Loan length: 36 or 60 months
  • Minimum credit score: Not specified

Why we like it: This lender offers a quick turnaround time for consumers, with borrowers receiving their funds within 24 hours of loan approval.


Overview: LendingClub loans start at just $1,000, although this lender does charge origination fees — ranging from 2% to 6% of your entire balance — which is taken out of the lump sum you receive.


One of LendingClub’s highlights, however, is the option to apply for a personal loan with a co-borrower. This can make it easier for those with lower credit scores to qualify, since two people are taking responsibility for the loan instead of just one.


LendingClub loans can be used for just about any purpose, including debt consolidation, major purchases and home improvement projects. You cannot use a LendingClub unsecured loan for post-secondary education, investments or illegal activity.



  Allows consumers to apply with a co-borrower

  Most borrowers receive funds within 24 hours

  Can prequalify for a loan without impacting your credit score

  Limited choices in loan length of 36 or 60 months

  Charges origination fees (2% to 6%)

  Does not offer loans to residents in Iowa or U.S. territories


Eligibility requirements: LendingClub requires that you are at least 18 years old and a U.S. citizen in order to be approved for a loan. This lender also takes the following factors into consideration:

  • Credit score
  • Your perceived ability to repay
  • Debt-to-income ratio
  • Credit history


PNC Bank 

  • APR: 5.99% – 24.99%
  • Loan amount: $1,000 – $35,000
  • Loan length: 6 to 60 months
  • Minimum credit score: Not Specified

Why we like it: PNC Bank may be a good choice for you if you prefer in-person banking and want to put a friendly face to your personal loan application experience.


Overview: With more than 2,600 locations across the U.S., this lender offers small personal loans starting at $1,000.


Because PNC Bank is a brick-and-mortar business, however, you may have to visit a branch in person to get a loan.


PNC Bank offers fixed rates and charges no prepayment or origination fees. On top of that, if you have a checking account with this lender, you may receive a rate discount.


Keep in mind that the interest rates and terms you may be offered from PNC Bank may depend on where you live.



  Allows for co-applicants on loans

  Rate discount if you have a PNC Bank checking account

  Does not charge origination fees or prepayment penalties

  Eligibility requirements are unclear

  May charge late fees

  Rates may vary depending on location 


Eligibility requirements: To receive a PNC Bank loan, here’s what you’ll need to apply:

  • Personal information (full name, Social Security number and date of birth)
  • How much you’d like to borrow
  • Government-issued identification (driver’s license, passport, etc.)
  • Annual income
  • Current and previous address (if you haven’t lived at your current address for at least two years)



  • APR: 7.46% – 35.97%
  • Loan amount: $1,000 – $50,000
  • Loan length: 24 to 84 months
  • Minimum credit score: 620

Why we like it: Upgrade offers extensive loan lengths of up to 24 to 84 months on top of providing fast funding (within one business day).


Overview: With its unsecured loans, Upgrade specifically focuses on credit card refinancing, debt consolidation, home improvement expenses and major purchases.


Borrowers may receive their funds from Upgrade as quickly as one business day after approval, and they can pay off their loan early without having to worry about prepayment penalties.


Keep in mind, however, that Upgrade charges an origination fee on each loan, which ranges from 1.85% to 8%. This fee will come out of the total balance that you receive, so you’ll want to factor that added cost into your budget.



  No prepayment penalties

  May receive loan as quickly as one business day after approval

  Offers autopay discount

  Charges a 1.85% to 8% origination fee

  Potentially high interest rates (as high as 35.97%)

  Charges $10 late fees 


Eligibility requirements: Aside from its minimum credit score criteria, Upgrade requires that have the following qualifications:

  • Be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or have a valid visa
  • Be at least 18 years old (19 in some states)
  • Have a valid bank account and email address



  • APR: 4.37% – 35.99%
  • Loan amount: $1,000 – $50,000
  • Loan length: 36 or 60 months
  • Minimum credit score: 600

Why we like it: With Upstart’s low credit score threshold, prequalification services and fast funding, this may be a good choice for borrowers with low credit scores who need money quickly.


Overview: While Upstart limits borrowers to offer two loan terms (36 or 60 months), applicants can prequalify to check their rates and may receive their funds within one business day.


Upstart also charges an origination fee as high as 8%, which is a bit higher than what other competitors may charge for this type of fee.


While consumers can use their loans for a wide variety of purposes, Upstart prohibits borrowers from putting their unsecured loans toward:

  • Post-secondary education expenses (if you live in California, Connecticut, Illinois, Washington or Washington, D.C.)
  • Weapons (including firearms)
  • Illegal activity



  Borrowers may receive funds in one business day

  Offers prequalification so consumers can check their rates

  Low credit score requirement (600)

  Charges origination fee as high as 8%

  Limited options on loan lengths (36 or 60 months)

  No option for co-borrowing or secured loans


Eligibility requirements: To qualify for an unsecured loan with Upstart, you’ll need to meet the following criteria:

  • You must be a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident living in the U.S.
  • You cannot be a resident of Iowa or West Virginia
  • You must have a full-time job or full-time job offer starting within six months
  • If you don’t have a full-time job, you must have a part-time job or other source of income


OneMain Financial

  • APR: 18.00% – 35.99%
  • Loan amount: $1,500 – $20,000
  • Loan length: 24 to 60 months
  • Minimum credit score: Not specified

Why we like it: Not only does OneMain Financial offer unsecured personal loans, but it also has secured loans, which may benefit those with low credit scores.


Overview: Loans with OneMain Financial are smaller overall than most other lenders on our list, with a loan range of $1,500 – $20,000. However, this lender charges an origination fee that runs from 1% to 10%, one of the highest maximum rates on our list.


Unlike many lenders on the list, OneMain Financial offers secured loans in addition to its traditional unsecured loan. If you want to receive lower rates or don’t qualify for a loan otherwise, you can put down valuable collateral, such as a vehicle.


Personal loans with this lender can be used toward debt consolidation, home projects, major purchases or life events, like recreation or purchasing vehicles.


  Option to change your due date

  May receive funds as soon as next business day after approval

  Offers secured and unsecured loans

  Higher interest rates than competitors

  Charges late fees — $5 to $30 or a percentage of your payment

  Small maximum amount you can borrow


Eligibility requirements: OneMain Financial takes the following personal details into consideration when approving loans:

  • Financial and credit history
  • Income
  • Monthly expenses
  • Purpose of your loan
  • Bankruptcy filings (if applicable)
  • Residency

Best Egg

  • APR: 5.99% – 35.99%
  • Loan amount: $2,000 – $50,000
  • Loan length: 36 or 60 months
  • Minimum credit score: 700

Why we like it: Best Egg’s competitive interest rates may make it a good option for those with good or excellent credit.


Overview: Best Egg offers some of the most competitive interest rates on our list. However, if you want to access Best Egg’s lowest interest rates, you’ll need an income of at least $100,000 and a minimum credit score of 700.


This lender offers a flexible range of loan amounts, from $2,000, as well as quick funding. Best Egg customers can receive their loan funds within one to three business days.


Best Egg does not offer loans in Iowa, Vermont, West Virginia, the District of Columbia or any U.S. territories.



  May receive funds as soon as one business day

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

  No prepayment penalties

  Limited loan terms (36 or 60 months)

  Charges an origination fee of 0.99% to 5.99%

  Does not offer loans in several states


Eligibility requirements: To be eligible for a loan with Best Egg, you’ll need to meet the following requirements:

  • Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident living in the U.S.
  • Must be at least 18 years old or age of majority where you live
  • Must have valid checking account
  • Must have a physical address
  • Must have a verifiable email address



  • APR: 7.99% – 35.99%
  • Loan amount: $2,000 – $36,500
  • Loan length: 24 to 72 months
  • Minimum credit score: 620

Why we like it: LendingPoint offers quick funding as well as a wide range of flexible loan terms.


Overview: LendingPoint has one of the lowest credit score requirements on our list, making it easier for consumers with poor credit to qualify for a personal loan. However, you will have to have an annual income of at least $35,000 to qualify.


LendingPoint also offers flexible loan lengths and no prepayment penalties, making it an attractive option.


However, keep in mind that if you take out a loan with LendingPoint, you may have to pay an origination fee (0% to 7%), and residents living in Nevada and West Virginia will not be eligible for loans.



  Flexible loan terms of 24 to 72 months

  No prepayment penalties

  Low minimum credit score of 620

  Low maximum loan amount of $2,000 - $36,500

  Not offered in Nevada or West Virginia

  Charges origination fee of 0% to 7%


Eligibility requirements: LendingPoint requires that you fall into the following categories in order to qualify for a loan:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Be able to verify your identification
  • Have a Social Security number
  • Have a $35,000 minimum annual income
  • Have a valid personal banking account



  • APR: 7.95% – 35.99%
  • Loan amount: $2,000 – $40,000
  • Loan length: 36 or 60 months
  • Minimum credit score: 640

Why we like it: Unlike most other personal loan lenders, Prosper offers a unique approach to lending with peer-to-peer loans.


Overview: Prosper is a peer-to-peer lender; instead of Prosper providing loan funding, this lender facilitates the opportunity for investors to fund your loan through its platform.


While Prosper does charge an origination fee — ranging from 2.41% to 5% — it is much lower than some of its competitors. However, Prosper also has a high maximum APR and limited loan terms.


On the other hand, borrowers with low credit scores can apply for a loan through Prosper with a co-borrower and boost their chances of getting approved.


Prosper does not offer loans in Iowa or West Virginia.



  Receive funds within one business day after approval

  No prepayment penalties

  Option to apply with co-borrower

  Limited loan lengths to choose from (36 or 60 months)

  Charges origination fee of 2.41% to 5%

  High maximum APR of 35.99%


Eligibility requirements: Prosper will take the following details into account when considering your loan application:

  • Your credit score
  • Your Prosper Rating
  • The amount you borrow
  • The length of your loan
  • Your employment and income
  • Your credit usage
  • Your credit history


What are small personal loans?

Small personal loans range from $1,000 to $5,000 and are typically repaid within two or three years, making the monthly payment extremely low. Whether you need to pay for an auto repair, take your dog to the vet or fund a minor medical procedure, a personal loan could help.

Why get a small personal loan

  • Unsecured, meaning you do not have to put up collateral

  • Can be quick and easy to get

  • Paid back over two or three years

  • Low interest rates for those with good credit

  • Improve your credit score with on-time payments

Pros and cons of small loans



  • Fast funding. Many lenders can approve you and deposit funds into your account within one business day.
  • Fixed monthly payments. Personal loans are lump-sum loans that are repaid in fixed monthly payments over a set period of time.
  • Personal loans typically have fixed APRs, which means you lock in your interest rate for the duration of the loan.
  • No collateral. Unsecured personal loans don’t require collateral, so you won’t risk losing an asset if you default on the loan.
  • May accept cosigners. Some lenders let you enlist the help of a cosigner, which can improve your chances of being approved for a loan.
  • Minimum loan amounts. Most personal loans are worth at least $1,000, so it might not be worth it to take one out for a small emergency expense.
  • Potentially high APRs. Subprime credit borrowers may get loan offers with APRs upward of 35% or higher.
  • Approval hinges on credit. Borrowers with bad credit might have a hard time getting approved for a personal loan at all.
  • Origination fees. Many lenders charge an origination fee worth 1%-10% the total cost of the loan.
  • Prepayment penalties. Some lenders charge a penalty if you pay off the loan before the term expires.

Uses of small personal loans

Unexpected expenses
Medical expenses
Consolidate high-interest credit card debt
Car repairs

How to get a small personal loan

While applying for a personal loan may not be the most exciting process, it doesn’t have to be stressful. Here are the steps you’ll follow when seeking a small personal loan:

  • Check your credit score and report: It’s important to know your credit score and understand your credit profile so you know which lenders you may qualify with. Remember that it’s common for errors to show up on your credit report, which can impact your score. Before applying for a personal loan, dispute any errors you find on your report and work to have them removed for a potential credit score boost. You can check your credit score with LendingTree and look at your credit report on
  • Shop around for lenders: Shopping around for competitive interest rates from lenders can help to ensure that you find a loan that best fits your budget and needs. Many lenders allow you to prequalify for a loan so you can see what rates you may qualify for without impacting your credit score.
  • Verify your information: If you decide to follow through with a lender after filling out an initial application, you’ll need to verify your personal and financial information. For instance, lenders may require that you upload or provide a copy of your pay stubs or W-2s to verify your income information. They may also require that you show a government-issued ID and proof of residence.
  • Submit to a hard-credit inquiry: As part of the final approval process, many lenders will run a hard-credit inquiry on your credit profile. They are checking your creditworthiness, or how likely you are to repay the loan. A hard credit pull can cause your FICO credit score to drop about five points, but it will only stay on your credit report for two years or less.
  • Accept your loan: Once you’ve completed the application process and are approved for a loan, you’ll need to sign documents and wait for the funds to be deposited in your bank account. How long it takes to get a personal loan depends on the lender, but funding generally takes anywhere from one to five business days after you’ve been approved.

How to compare small personal loans

It’s always a smart idea to receive several loan offers when shopping for a personal loan. Once you have multiple offers in hand, consider the following factors to decide which offer is best for you:

  • Amounts: You’ll want to make sure the lender you choose offers the amount you need to borrow. For instance, if you can only afford to borrow $1,000, then lenders like Wells Fargo and SoFi may not be a good fit for you since the lowest amounts they offer are $3,000 and $5,000, respectively.
  • APR: The APR on your loan will determine how you’ll have to pay in interest. Typically, borrowers with good to excellent credit are eligible for a lender’s lowest interest rates. If you have bad credit, however, you are likely to receive much higher interest rates. The higher your interest rate, the more you’ll pay overall.
  • Fees: Some lenders charge fees for their personal loans, including origination fees, late fees and failed payment fees. Origination fees — which typically run from 1% to 8% — are taken out of the total balance of your loan. Be sure to factor in any fees when you budget for your loan.
  • Loan terms: Personal loans are repaid over a fixed term, commonly 12 to 84 months. The longer your loan term is, the lower your monthly payments might be but the more you’ll end up paying in interest. A shorter loan term may come with higher monthly payments, but you’ll pay less in interest over the life of the loan.
  • Credit score requirements: A lender’s credit score requirements can play a large role in whether you qualify for a personal loan. Lenders typically look for a credit score of at least 640, but some lenders accept borrowers with scores of 600 or lower. To increase your chances of getting approved for a loan, you can work on building your credit score.
  • Other eligibility requirements: Always read the fine print before applying for a loan and learn about the qualifications lenders are looking for beyond credit score. For instance, some lenders don’t offer personal loans to residents in certain states, while other lenders require that you have a low debt-to-income ratio.

How to get a small personal loan with poor credit

Unfortunately, if you have a low credit score, it can be challenging to find a lender that’s willing to work with you. In the eyes of lenders, the lower your credit score, the riskier you are as a borrower. Lenders use credit scores to evaluate how likely you are to repay your loan.

If your credit score needs work but you need a personal loan, here are a few strategies that may improve your chances:

  • Consider a secured loan: While most personal loans are unsecured — meaning they don’t require collateral — some personal loan lenders offer secured loans. With a secured loan, you’ll offer valuable collateral, such as a vehicle or bank account, to back your loan. If you are unable to repay the loan, the lender can confiscate the collateral to recoup their losses. With a secured loan, however, interest rates are generally lower. This can be a good option for borrowers with lower credit scores who have valuable collateral to offer and are sure they can repay their loan.
  • Find a co-borrower: A co-borrower with a good credit score and income can help you secure a personal loan. Because you and your co-borrower are both on the hook for repaying the loan, the risk for the lender is decreased. This also means that if you fall behind on payments, both of your credit scores will be impacted.
  • Improve your credit before applying: In some cases, it may be best to wait to apply for a personal loan until you’re able to increase your credit score. Improving your credit score can help you secure a better interest rate and be approved by lenders that offer perks like no-fee personal loans.

Avoid predatory loans

While there are many trustworthy small personal loan lenders out there, it’s important to be cautious and research lenders before signing the contract. Here are a few red flags to look out for and avoid:

No credit checks: No credit checks may sound like a dream come true if you have bad credit and are in need of some extra cash. However, any credible lenders will require a credit check to ensure that you can afford to repay a loan. Payday loan lenders, for example, don’t require credit checks and should be avoided.

Require access to checking or savings accounts: Some predatory lenders may require you to provide your checking or savings account information. Once you do, these lenders are able to withdraw money from your account to repay your loan, even if it overdrafts your account and costs you bank fees.

Lack of transparency: If a lender isn’t upfront about its fees and interest rates, you may want to rethink getting a loan with them. A trustworthy lender will make that information readily available on its website or during the application process.

Sky-high fees and interest rates: Some loans, such as payday loans, come with interest rates as high as 400%, which can make it challenging to repay that debt. Many borrowers end up having to take out more loans to pay off their original loan, trapping them in a cycle of debt.

Repayment lengths: The length of time you have to repay a loan can also be an indicator of a predatory lender. Predatory lenders sometimes offer only two to four weeks for a borrower to repay a loan. This short repayment period can make it difficult to keep up with payments.

Alternatives to small personal loans

If you’re in need of extra funds, a small personal loan isn’t the only option on the table. Here are a few other alternatives to explore:

0% intro APR credit card

To avoid paying interest, you can apply for a 0% intro APR credit card. During the introductory period, your balance does not accrue interest, and every payment you make goes directly to the principal.

Once that promotional period ends, however, you’ll have to pay interest on the remaining balance. These promotions can last anywhere from 12 to 21 months. If you’re certain you can pay off your balance before the end of the introductory period, these cards can be a great option.

Buy now, pay later apps

Since many retailers offer buy now, pay later (BNPL) services, you may be able to get a mini loan through a service such as Affirm or Klarna.

The most common form of buy now, pay later financing is a Pay in 4 plan. Your balance is split into four payments repaid over six weeks, with a payment due every two weeks. In many cases, these BNPL plans do not charge interest. Other common BNPL financing includes monthly installments or Pay in 30 days, though these plans sometimes come with interest charges.

Credit card cash advance

If you need emergency cash, you can use a credit card to get cash quickly. This is known as a cash advance.

You can withdraw funds by going to your bank’s branch, visiting an ATM or getting a convenience check in the mail. Keep in mind, however, that cash advances typically have fees attached, as well as interest rates that can be much higher than your typical credit card APR.

Borrow from a friend or family member

If you have a loved one with the financial flexibility to offer you a loan, receiving a family loan and signing a loan agreement may be a good way to avoid fees and high interest rates.

However, when borrowing from a friend or family member, be aware that the loan could impact your relationship. According to a 2021 LendingTree study, nearly half of the people who are owed money from a loved one reported that they regretted lending it in the first place. About 1 in 6 claimed that money had ruined a relationship.

Methodology: How we chose the best small personal loans

We looked at 20 lenders that offer personal loans below $2,000 to determine the 10 best lenders for consumers who are looking for small loans. By offering a detailed and objective account of each lender’s rates and terms, LendingTree’s goal is to provide you with all the information you need to make a financially sound decision specific to your situation.

Here’s the criteria we assessed to choose the best small personal loan lenders:

  • Minimum loan amounts $2,000 and below
  • Transparent rates and repayment terms
  • Low fees

Frequently asked questions

How much you’ll pay overall on a $5,000 will be determined by your interest rate and the length of your loan. Typically, the longer your loan, the more you’ll pay in interest.

For instance, if you take out a $5,000 loan with a 10% interest rate over a period of five years, you’ll pay $106.24 a month and $6,374.11 overall. On the other hand, if you borrow the same amount but pay 15% interest over three years, your payments will be $173.33 a month, but you’ll only pay $6,239.76 overall.

Use a personal loan calculator to estimate how much your $5,000 loan could cost you.

Small loans typically range between $1,000 and $5,000, though some loans can be as low as $100. With especially small loans, it’s important to read the fine print, as some lenders (such as payday lenders) may charge larger fees and interest rates.

Small loans can lower your credit score, but the effect is usually temporary. When lenders run hard-credit pulls to approve you for financing, the pull puts a small dent in your score, but the effect usually disappears within two years. Small personal loans can also negatively impact your credit score if you fall behind on payments or default on your loan.

Personal loans can help build your credit as you make on-time payments and eventually pay off the balance. Other ways you can improve your credit score include the following:

  • Decrease your debt-to-income ratio
  • Pay your bills on time
  • Check your credit report for errors

Save money on your small personal loan

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