Best Personal Loans for 2018

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Mike Brown
Mike Brown
Updated: November 14, 2018

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A personal loan is typically an unsecured loan that offers you access to cash that can be used towards debt consolidation, home improvements, or typically whatever else you need money for. Personal loans are generally offered with fixed interest rates that are lower than other financing options, allowing for a straightforward repayment process.

In this guide, you can compare personal loans from some of the top lenders in the industry, see who we rated as the best for different credit tiers, and find answers to some of the most common questions for borrowers.

On this page:

Compare the Best Personal Loan Companies

Simplify your personal loan search by comparing the best personal loan companies by rates, terms, minimum credit scores, and more. Click on the "Lender Details" option below each button to find additional lender information.

Citizens Bank

5.99%-18.99%2

Estimated APR

3 to 7 Years

Loan Terms

680

Min. Credit Score

What we like

  • Ability to add a cosigner
  • Interest rate reductions available to those with a Citizens Bank checking or savings account
  • No fees ever

Additional Information

See Citizens Bank Personal Loans Review and Important Disclosures

Loan Minimum $5,000
Loan Maximum $50,000
Time to Funding 3+ days on average
Min. Annual Income $24,000
Min. Credit History No Minimum
State Restrictions Available in any state
Origination Fees None
Prepayment Penalty None
Late Fees None
LightStream

4.99%-14.24%

Estimated APR

2 to 7 Years*

Loan Terms

660

Min. Credit Score

What we like

  • Rate Beat Program will beat a competitor’s published rate by 0.10%
  • Accepts joint applications for every loan type
  • LightStream has one of the highest loan limits; allowing borrowers take out up to $100,000
  • Zero origination, prepayment penalties, or late fees

Additional Information

See LightStream Personal Loans Review and Important Disclosures

Loan Minimum $5,000
Loan Maximum $100,000
Time to Funding As soon as the same day
Min. Annual Income None
Min. Credit History None
State Restrictions Available in any state
Origination Fees None
Prepayment Penalty None
Late Fees None
LendingClub

6.16%-35.89%

Estimated APR

3 to 5 Years

Loan Terms

600

Min. Credit Score

What we like

  • Founded in 2007, LendingClub is the largest online lender for personal loans in the U.S.
  • Ability to add a cosigner
  • Borrowers facing hardship have the option to make interest-only payments for three months
  • No prepayment penalties

Additional Information

See LendingClub Personal Loans Review and Important Disclosures

Loan Minimum $1,000
Loan Maximum $40,000
Time to Funding As few as 3 days
Min. Annual Income None
Min. Credit History None
State Restrictions Not available in IA
Origination Fees 1% - 6% of loan amount
Prepayment Penalty None
Late Fees 5% of the unpaid amount or $15
SoFi

6.28%-14.87%1

Estimated APR

3 to 7 Years

Loan Terms

660

Min. Credit Score

What we like

  • SoFi has one of the highest loan limits; allowing borrowers take out up to $100,000
  • Unemployment protection is available for up to 12 months
  • Access to member perks including exclusive events, SoFi wealth advisors, and career planning
  • Zero origination, prepayment penalties, or late fees

Additional Information

See SoFi Personal Loans Review and Important Disclosures

Loan Minimum $5,000
Loan Maximum $100,000
Time to Funding 7 days on average
Min. Annual Income No Minimum
Min. Credit History No Minimum
State Restrictions Not available in MS
Origination Fees None
Prepayment Penalty None
Late Fees None
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Prosper

6.95%-35.99%4

Estimated APR

3 or 5 Years4

Loan Terms

640

Min. Credit Score

What we like

  • Prosper was founded in 2006 and has funded more than $12 billion in loans
  • Receive funds in less than a week after approval
  • No prepayment penalty

Additional Information

See Prosper Personal Loans Review and Important Disclosures

Loan Minimum $2,000
Loan Maximum $40,000
Time to Funding 1 - 3 days after approval
Min. Annual Income None
Min. Credit History None
State Restrictions Not available in IA, ND, WV
Origination Fees 2.4% - 5% of the loan amount
Prepayment Penalty None
Late Fees $15 or 5% of the payment due
Upgrade

6.87%-35.97%

Estimated APR

3 or 5 Years5

Loan Terms

620

Min. Credit Score

What we like

  • Access to free credit monitoring, a credit simulator, and free educational resources
  • Upgrade may allow you to temporarily reduce your monthly payments due to hardships
  • Funds will be sent to your bank via ACH within one (1) business day of clearing necessary verifications
  • No prepayment penalties

Additional Information

See Upgrade Personal Loans Review and Important Disclosures

Loan Minimum $1,000
Loan Maximum $50,000
Time to Funding One business day
Min. Annual Income None
Min. Credit History Typically 3 years
State Restrictions Not available in CT, CO, IA, MD, VT, WV
Origination Fees 1% - 6% of the loan amount
Prepayment Penalty None
Late Fees Up to $10
FreedomPlus

4.99%-29.99%

Estimated APR

2 to 5 Years

Loan Terms

640

Min. Credit Score

What we like

  • Ability to lower interest rate by adding a cosigner
  • Direct pay discount allows you to lower your interest rate when your loan is issued directly to the creditor
  • FreedomPlus may offer you a lower interest rate if you have retirement savings of $40,000 or more

Additional Information

See FreedomPlus Personal Loans Review and Important Disclosures

Loan Minimum $10,000
Loan Maximum $35,000
Time to Funding 3 - 5 days after approval
Min. Annual Income None
Min. Credit History Typically 7 years
State Restrictions Not available in CO, CT, HI, KS, ME, NH, ND, NY, OR, RI, VT, WV, WI, WY
Origination Fees 0% - 5% of the loan amount
Prepayment Penalty None
Late Fees $15 or 5% of past due amount
Best Egg

5.99%-29.99%

Estimated APR

3 to 5 Years

Loan Terms

640

Min. Credit Score

What we like

  • Trusted lender with A+ BBB rating, more than 300,000 customers served and over $5 billion in funded loans
  • Funds can be deposited next day directly into your bank account
  • No hidden fees or prepayment penalties

Additional Information

See Best Egg Personal Loans Review and Important Disclosures

Loan Minimum $2,000
Loan Maximum $35,000
Time to Funding Typically next day
Min. Annual Income $40,000
Min. Credit History Typically 3 years
State Restrictions Not available in IA, WV, VT
Origination Fees 0.99% – 5.99% of loan amount
Prepayment Penalty None
Late Fees $15
Avant

9.95%-35.99%

Estimated APR

2 to 5 Years

Loan Terms

580

Min. Credit Score

What we like

  • Avant was founded in 2012 and has provided access to over $4 billion in personal loans
  • ​Late-fee forgiveness policy refunds late fee after three on-time, consecutive payments
  • ​Easy to use mobile app for tracking and paying loans
  • No hidden fees or prepayment penalties

Additional Information

See Avant Personal Loans Review and Important Disclosures

Loan Minimum $2,000
Loan Maximum $35,000
Time to Funding 2 days on average
Min. Annual Income $20,000
Min. Credit History None
State Restrictions Not available in IA
Origination Fees Up to 4.75% of loan amount
Prepayment Penalty None
Late Fees $25 after 10-day grace period
Upstart

8.69%-29.99%

Estimated APR

3 or 5 Years

Loan Terms

620

Min. Credit Score

What we like

  • Upstart considers factors other than your credit score when assessing your loan application
  • Accepts applicants with a part-time job or a job offer letter
  • Receive funds as quick as next day after approval
  • No prepayment penalties or hidden fees

Additional Information

See Upstart Personal Loans Review and Important Disclosures

Loan Minimum $10,000
Loan Maximum $50,000
Time to Funding Typically one day
Min. Annual Income None
Min. Credit History None
State Restrictions Available in any state
Origination Fees 0% - 8% of the loan amount
Prepayment Penalty None
Late Fees $10 after 15-day grace period

Who Has the Best Personal Loans?

Online personal loan companies tend to require borrowers to have a minimum credit score in order to be approved. Because of this, there are companies who focus on those with excellent credit, good credit, average credit, and bad credit. When trying to find the best personal loan for your needs, it is important to find a lender that works with borrowers in your credit range. Here are our choices for the best personal loans by credit tier. Click an option below to learn more about the lenders in that tier.

Best Personal Loans for Excellent Credit

The personal loan lenders in this category will typically only accept borrowers with excellent credit or good credit. If you fall into this range, you may be able to find a loan with the best rates and friendliest repayment terms in the industry.

Credit range: 690 to 850

LightStream

LightStream

LendEDU Rating (4.83 / 5.0)

  • Minimum annual income of $45,000
  • $100 satisfaction guarantee on your experience
  • Rate Beat Program (0.10% below competitor rates if terms are met)
  • Secured loan offered for certain car purchases
  • AutoPay discount of 0.50%
Estimated APR

4.99% - 14.24%

Loan Terms

2 to 7 years*

Loan Amounts

$5,000 - $100,000

Fees

None

Credit Needed

660

Your APR may differ based on loan purpose, amount, term, and your credit profile. Rate is quoted with AutoPay discount, which is only available when you select AutoPay prior to loan funding. Rates under the invoicing option are 0.50% 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 9.34% APR with a term of 3 years would result in 36 monthly payments of $319.58. LightStream disclosures here.

Show Disclaimer
More About LightStream

LightStream targets highly qualified borrowers which means it routinely offers some of the lowest personal loan rates available – but only to a subsection of online loan-seekers. Your actual APR will be determined after a thorough review of your application. LightStream loans can be used for virtually any purpose, as stated on the company's website.

If you don’t qualify for an unsecured loan through LightStream, you may be able to take out a secured loan for the purchase of a new, used, or classic car.

After receiving a loan, if you are not satisfied, you can complete a questionnaire and receive $100. This guarantee expires 30 days after receiving your loan.

LightStream is so confident in their product that they have a Rate Beat Program in which they offer to beat a competitor’s published rate by 0.10% if certain conditions are met (see site for details).

Since the loan application process is entirely online, borrowers don’t have to travel to a physical branch of LightStream’s parent company, SunTrust Bank, to fill out an application.

Citizens Bank

Citizens Bank

LendEDU Rating (4.68 / 5.0)

  • Minimum annual income of $24,000
  • AutoPay discount of 0.25%
  • Loyalty discount reduction of 0.25%
  • No collateral required
Estimated APR

5.99% - 18.99%2

Loan Terms

3 to 7 years

Loan Amounts

$5,000 - $50,000

Fees

None

Credit Needed

680

Fixed interest rates from 7.29% - 19.49% (7.29% - 19.49% APR) based on applicable terms. Lowest rates range from 6.79%-18.99% (6.79%-18.99% APR), are for eligible applicants, require a 3-year repayment term, and include our Loyalty and Automatic Payment Discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty Discount and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. Subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change.

LOYALTY DISCOUNT: The borrower will be eligible for a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their loan if the borrower has a qualifying account in existence with us at the time the borrower has submitted a completed application authorizing us to review their credit request for the loan. The following are qualifying accounts: any checking account, savings account, money market account, certificate of deposit, automobile loan, home equity loan, home equity line of credit, mortgage, credit card account, student loans or other personal loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. Please note, our checking and savings account options are only available in the following states: CT, DE, MA, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI and VT. This discount will be reflected in the interest rate and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) disclosed in the Truth-In-Lending Disclosure that will be provided to the borrower once the loan is approved. Limit of one Loyalty Discount per loan, and discount will not be applied to prior loans. The Loyalty Discount will remain in effect for the life of the loan.

AUTOMATIC PAYMENT DISCOUNT: Borrowers will be eligible to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their Citizens Bank Personal Loan during such time as payments are required to be made and our loan servicer is authorized to automatically deduct payments each month from any bank account the borrower designates. If our loan servicer is unable to successfully withdraw the automatic deductions from the designated account two or more times within any 12-month period, the borrower will no longer be eligible for this discount.

Personal loans must not be used for educational expenses or as a small business loan.

Show Disclaimer
More About Citizens Bank

Unlike many other lenders, Citizens Bank has physical branch locations throughout the country, but consumers can also complete applications completely online if they'd like. Their website claims that approved borrowers can expect their funds within 2 business days.

Citizens Bank offers tools along the way to help you with the process. These tools include a personal loan calculator to determine your monthly payments and potential interest rate, as well as repayment examples based on current rates.

Citizens Bank also allows applicants to add a cosigner, which is uncommon for online personal loan lenders. If rejected when applying alone, potential borrowers can reapply with well-qualified cosigners.

Citizens Bank also offers a smartphone app for users to keep up with their loans on-the-go.

SoFi

SoFi

LendEDU Rating (4.65 / 5.0)

  • Minimum Annual Income of $50,000
  • AutoPay discount of 0.25%
  • Pre-qualify for rates with no commitment
  • Unemployment protection program
Estimated APR

6.28% - 14.87%1

Loan Terms

3 to 7 years

Loan Amounts

$5,000 - $100,000

Fees

None

Credit Needed

660

Fixed rates from 6.990% APR to 14.865% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 6.255% APR to 12.555% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of September 1, 2018 and are subject to change without notice. Not all rates and amounts available in all states. See Personal Loan eligibility details. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, to qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including evaluation of your credit worthiness, years of professional experience, income and other factors. See APR examples and terms. Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at 14.95%. Lowest variable rate of 6.255% APR assumes current index rate derived from the 1-month LIBOR of 2.08% plus 4.425% margin minus 0.25% AutoPay discount. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. 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.

To check the rates and terms you qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull.

Show Disclaimer
More About SoFi

Since beginning in 2011, SoFi (or Social Finance) has grown into one of the best loan companies in the nation. SoFi offers personal loans for credit card consolidation, home improvements, relocation assistance, medical procedures, and more. The lender also offers both fixed and variable annual percentage rates (APRs).

The loan application process is fairly straightforward. You can prequalify for a loan with a soft credit pull in 2 minutes with no commitment. When ready, you can complete your online application with the help of SoFi consultants that will require a hard credit pull. Funds can be expected within a few days after finalizing some additional agreements with the lender.

A unique perk offered by SoFi is their unemployment protection program. If borrowers lose their jobs and sources of income, they will be eligible for this program. SoFi temporarily halts payments until the borrower can find a new job. Additionally, SoFi even helps its customers find new opportunities in the workplace.

Best Personal Loans for Average Credit

The personal loan lenders in this category will typically only accept borrowers with average credit and above. If you fall into this range, you likely won't receive rates similar to the excellent and good credit range, but you can still receive competitive rates and repayment terms.

Credit range: 630 to 689

Upstart

Upstart

LendEDU Rating (4.43 / 5.0)

  • Minimum Annual Income of $12,000
  • Unique approval process
  • Check your rate with a soft credit pull
  • AutoPay feature available
  • Get your funds as quick as the next day
Estimated APR

8.69% - 29.99%

Loan Terms

3 or 5 years

Loan Amounts

$1,000 - $50,000

Fees

0% - 8% Origination fee

Credit Needed

620

Annual Percentage Rates, terms of loan and monthly payments presented are estimated based upon analysis of information you entered, your credit profile and/or available rate information from lenders. While efforts have been made to maintain accurate information, the loan information is presented without warranty and the estimated APR or other terms presented do not bind any lender. Lenders generally have a range of available APRs (for example, a lender's range might be 5% to 36%) and only borrowers with excellent credit will qualify for the lowest rate available. Your actual APR will depend upon factors evaluated at the time of application, which may include credit score, loan amount, loan term, credit usage and history. All loans are subject to credit review and approval. When evaluating offers, please review the lender's Terms and Conditions for additional details.

Show Disclaimer
More About Upstart

Upstart found its start in 2012 when ex-Google employees decided to create a technology lending platform. Upstart brings a unique approval process to the personal lending industry. They are one of the first companies to apply AI/ML to the process. This means the company looks at more than just your credit score to determine whether you are a risky borrower. Data used include credit score, years of credit, education, area of study, and job history.

The loan application process can be completed in three quick steps. After answering a few questions, you can see your estimated rate after a soft credit pull. If you accept the terms offered, you can submit the application with a hard credit pull and receive funds as soon as the next day.

Borrowers can set up AutoPay which deducts payments from selected bank accounts and saves borrowers the hassle of manually making monthly payments. Additionally, there is no prepayment fee for repaying your loan early with Upstart.

LendingClub

LendingClub

LendEDU Rating (4.48 / 5.0)

  • Check your rate with a soft credit pull
  • Automatic payments available for repayment
  • Peer-to-peer lending platform
Estimated APR

6.16% - 35.89%

Loan Terms

3 to 5 years

Loan Amounts

$1,000 - $40,000

Fees

1% - 6% Origination fee

Credit Needed

600

All loans made by WebBank, Member FDIC. Your actual rate depends upon credit score, loan amount, loan term, and credit usage & history. The APR ranges from 6.95% to 35.89%*. The origination fee ranges from 1% to 6% of the original principal balance and is deducted from your loan proceeds. For example, you could receive a loan of $6,000 with an interest rate of 7.99% and a 5.00% origination fee of $300 for an APR of 11.51%. In this example, you will receive $5,700 and will make 36 monthly payments of $187.99. The total amount repayable will be $6,767.64. Your APR will be determined based on your credit at the time of application. The average origination fee is 5.49% as of Q1 2017. In Georgia, the minimum loan amount is $3,025. In Massachusetts, the minimum loan amount is $6,025 if your APR is greater than 12%. There is no down payment and there is never a prepayment penalty. Closing of your loan is contingent upon your agreement of all the required agreements and disclosures on the www.lendingclub.com website. All loans via LendingClub have a minimum repayment term of 36 months. Borrower must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or be in the United States on a valid long term visa and at least 18 years old. Valid bank account and Social Security number are required. Equal Housing Lender. All loans are subject to credit approval. LendingClub’s physical address is: LendingClub, 71 Stevenson Street, Suite 1000, San Francisco, CA 94105.

†Per reviews collected and authenticated by Bazaarvoice in compliance with the Bazaarvoice Authentication Requirements, supported by anti-fraud technology and human analysis. All reviews can be reviewed at reviews.lendingclub.com

Show Disclaimer
More About LendingClub

LendingClub is headquartered in San Francisco, California, but connects borrowers and investors across the United States through its peer-to-peer lending platform. Personal loans can be used for debt consolidation, home improvements, major expenses, and more.

Personal loans from LendingClub come with fixed monthly payments, fixed interest rates, and no prepayment penalties.

You can apply online in minutes to receive your monthly payment and interest rate options. Once you choose a loan that meets your needs, your funds will be automatically deposited in your bank account.

You will also have the option of making automatic payments from your savings or checking account.

Marcus by Goldman Sachs®

Marcus

LendEDU Rating (4.80 / 5.0)

  • Minimum annual income of $25,000
  • No late payment fees
  • Check your rate with a soft credit pull
  • Personal loan calculator to see your savings
Estimated APR

6.99% - 24.99%

Loan Terms

3 to 6 years

Loan Amounts

$3,500 - $40,000

Fees

None

Min. FICO 8.0

660

Your loan terms are not guaranteed and are subject to our verification of your identity and credit information. To obtain a loan, you must submit additional documentation including an application that may affect your credit score. Rates will vary based on many factors, such as your creditworthiness (for example, credit score and credit history) and the length of your loan (for example, rates for 36 month loans are generally lower than rates for 72 month loans).Your maximum loan amount may vary depending on your loan purpose, income and creditworthiness. Your verifiable income must support your ability to repay your loan. Marcus by Goldman Sachs® is a brand of Goldman Sachs Bank USA and all loans are issued by Goldman Sachs Bank USA, Salt Lake City Branch. Applications are subject to additional terms and conditions.

Show Disclaimer
More About Marcus

Marcus Personal Loans is a division of Goldman Sachs bank, one of the largest and oldest banks in the U.S. Marcus offers personal loans for debt consolidation, home improvement, weddings, moving and relocation, vacation, and more.

Marcus performs an initial soft credit check to provide you with prequalified personal loan offers. If you see a loan you like, you can submit a full loan application and the lender will perform a hard credit check to confirm your eligibility and rate.

Another feature of Marcus Personal Loans is that they allow borrowers to choose their monthly payments and loan amounts. This allows borrowers to better customize their loans so that it’s right for them and their lifestyle.

While there are no late payment fees with Marcus, you will still accumulate interest if you do not make payments. This will cause your final payment to be larger than previously agreed upon.

Best Personal Loans for Bad Credit

The personal loan lenders in this category will typically accept borrowers with bad credit and above. If you fall into this range, you likely won't receive the best personal loan rates, but these lenders are usually aware of the need for borrowers to rebuild credit and look to help you with that. These lenders also provide customer service to help borrowers with any repayment struggles.

Credit range: 550 to 629

Avant

Avant

LendEDU Rating (4.63 / 5.0)

  • Minimum annual income of $14,000
  • Tools to stay up to date on your loan
  • Customer support available 7 days a week
  • Check loan options with a soft credit pull
  • Mobile app to keep up with your loan
Estimated APR

9.95%-35.99%*

Loan Terms

2 to 5 years

Loan Amounts

$2,000 - $35,000

Fees

Up to 4.75% Origination fee

Credit Needed

580

* The actual loan amount, term, and APR amount of loan that a customer qualifies for may vary based on credit determination and state law. Minimum loan amounts vary by state. Avant branded credit products are issued by WebBank, member FDIC.

For Example: A $5,700 loan with an administration fee of 4.75% and an amount financed of $5,429.25, repayable in 36 monthly installments, would have an APR of 29.95% and monthly payments of $230.33.

Show Disclaimer
More About Avant

Founded in 2012 and previously known as AvantCredit, Avant has provided access to over $4 billion in personal loans to date. It has built a proprietary formula to judge a borrower’s creditworthiness by utilizing advanced algorithms and analytical tools.

A personal loan through Avant can be used for debt consolidation, home improvement, major purchases, and more. The loan application process is fairly straightforward. You can check your personal loan options in a few minutes without affecting your credit score. If you like the terms offered, you can e-sign and the funds can be deposited into your account as soon as the next business day following a hard credit pull.

OppLoans

OppLoans

LendEDU Rating (4.40 / 5.0)

  • Minimum annual income of $15,600
  • Ability to build credit
  • No collateral needed
  • Check your rate and terms with a soft credit pull
Estimated APR

99%-199%

Loan Terms

Up to 3 years

Loan Amounts

$1,000 - $4,000

Fees

N/A

Credit Needed

N/A

Annual Percentage Rates, terms of loan and monthly payments presented are estimated based upon analysis of information you entered, your credit profile and/or available rate information from lenders. While efforts have been made to maintain accurate information, the loan information is presented without warranty and the estimated APR or other terms presented do not bind any lender. Lenders generally have a range of available APRs (for example, a lender's range might be 5% to 36%) and only borrowers with excellent credit will qualify for the lowest rate available. Your actual APR will depend upon factors evaluated at the time of application, which may include credit score, loan amount, loan term, credit usage and history. All loans are subject to credit review and approval. When evaluating offers, please review the lender's Terms and Conditions for additional details.

Show Disclaimer
More About OppLoans

Opploans is an online personal loan lender for people with subprime or poor credit looking for installment loans.

Their website advertises fast funding, affordable payments, and personal one-on-one customer service. You can also apply for a loan right from their homepage without affecting your FICO score.

Based on their website, Opploans looks to ensure borrowers don’t risk their financial future with payday loans by offering a plethora of comparison tables showing why their loans are better for those with limited credit history.

Mariner

Mariner

LendEDU Rating (3.83 / 5.0)

  • Secured and unsecured personal loans
  • Can include a cosigner
  • Apply online or at a physical branch
Estimated APR

29%

Loan Terms

1 to 3 years

Loan Amounts

$1,000 - $25,000

Fees

N/A

Credit Needed

500

Annual Percentage Rates, terms of loan and monthly payments presented are estimated based upon analysis of information you entered, your credit profile and/or available rate information from lenders. While efforts have been made to maintain accurate information, the loan information is presented without warranty and the estimated APR or other terms presented do not bind any lender. Lenders generally have a range of available APRs (for example, a lender's range might be 5% to 36%) and only borrowers with excellent credit will qualify for the lowest rate available. Your actual APR will depend upon factors evaluated at the time of application, which may include credit score, loan amount, loan term, credit usage and history. All loans are subject to credit review and approval. When evaluating offers, please review the lender's Terms and Conditions for additional details.

Show Disclaimer
More About Mariner

Mariner Finance was established in 2002 and offers personal loans targeting borrowers who have a poor credit history and low credit scores. Personal loans from Mariner can be used for debt consolidation, unexpected expenses, home improvements, vacation, wedding expenses, and more.

Mariner offers secured and unsecured personal loans with no prepayment penalties. They do, however, charge an origination fee depending on the state you reside in.

Borrowers have the option of applying quickly online or going to one of their physical branches.


How to Apply for Personal Loans

Applying for personal loans online has become much easier these days. With an emphasis on consumer convenience, many of the best personal loan companies have focused on cutting the time and difficulty of their applications.

Approval Criteria

Each lender has slightly different approval criteria, but most personal loan lenders will look at your credit report and income. The higher your credit score and income, the more likely you are to get approved for a loan.

Online personal loan companies tend to approve borrowers who don’t have ideal credit scores more often than large banks will. Part of this has to do with a trend towards using additional criteria outside of just using credit profiles. Additional criteria may include your education, area of study, and job history, among other considerations. Online personal loan companies like SoFi and Earnest use cash flow, savings, income potential, and employment history on top of a FICO credit score to determine their lending decisions.

If you are a U.S. citizen you likely won't have an issue applying with any of these lenders, but for non-U.S. citizens there may be certain visa or green card requirements to be eligible for a loan.

Information You’ll Need When Applying

When applying for the best online loans, you will need to provide the lender with certain information.

For lenders with alternative credit models, that might include additional information like your education or your employment history. In general, though, you will likely need the following information:

  • Identification – A driver’s license, Social Security card, or passport.
  • Proof of Income – If you have an employer, you will need your W-2 forms and pay stubs. If you're self-employed, you will need your tax returns or bank statements.
  • Verification of Address – You need an official piece of mail like a utility bill with your address on it or a copy of your lease or deed.
  • Social Security Number
  • Monthly Expenses and Current Debt
  • Gross Income
  • Previous Addresses

What Can a Personal Loan Be Used For?

A personal loan can be a great financial tool for those in need of quick funding for any kind of purchase, of most amounts. Before taking out your loan, it is important to understand what your monthly payments will be and to have a plan for repayment.

Here are some common uses of a personal loan:

The most common personal loans taken out are debt consolidation loans, which are used to consolidate certain kinds of debt like credit card debt, for example. Debt consolidation loans are the most common loan because repaying multiple forms of debt can be difficult and lead to missed payments. Consolidating your debt into one loan allows you to focus on one monthly payment.

How to Get the Best Personal Loan Rates

When it comes to borrowing, one of the most important things to be aware of is the interest rate that you'll be charged. Your interest rate is the percentage that you will be required to pay on the principle of your loan. Lenders determine the interest rate by calculating how big of a risk they believe you will be. If you’re seen as being highly likely to repay your loan, you will receive a lower interest rate, whereas if you’re seen as being less likely to repay your loan, you will have a higher interest rate.

The lower the interest rate you’re charged, the less you’re likely to pay over the life of your loan. A lower rate will make it easier for you to meet your repayment requirements. The best personal loans you can get have the lowest interest rates.

It is important to note that while interest rates are calculated on an annual basis, they are annualized over the year and charged on a monthly basis.

How to Get the Lowest Rate on Your Personal Loan

Here are a few things that will help you get the lowest personal loan rates:

A High Credit Score

One of the biggest determiners of your interest rate is your credit score. If you have a high credit score, then you will likely qualify for a low interest rate. If you don't have a great credit score, you may want to work on improving it before applying for a loan.

Having a Cosigner

If you don’t have great credit, you can potentially get a lower interest rate if you have a friend or family member with good credit that will cosign your loan.

A cosigner offers a fallback option for a lender if you, the primary borrower, fails to make on-time payments.

A Stable Income

Even if you have good credit, you will likely find it difficult to get a low interest rate if you don't have a steady job or source of income. Having a steady job and source of income allows you to show the lender that you will be able to afford future payments.

A Short Term Length

When you take out a loan, you often have a choice about how quickly you repay it – this is called the term length. Lower term lengths usually allow for lower interest rates since it will be easier for the lender to review your immediate financial future with the information on your application rather than trying to foresee multiple years from now.

Risks of Personal Loans

While personal loans can be helpful in the situations discussed above, there are certain risks to consider.

You’ll Have to Meet Your Monthly Payments

Like most loans, you’ll have to repay the money you borrow with interest. This means that you’ll end up paying more than you originally took out, typically in monthly, required installments.

If you miss your payments, you may be charged late fees or your loan could go into default which could wreak havoc on your credit score and cause the debt collectors to start calling. Eventually, your wages could be garnished or a lien could be placed against your home.

How to Minimize the Risk of a Missed Payment

Before you take out a personal loan, be sure to know what your monthly payment will be and have a plan for how that payment will fit into your budget. If you’re not sure if you can afford repayment, it’s probably in your best interest to not take out the loan.

Hard Credit Check

Before you are fully approved for a personal loan, most lenders will perform what is called a hard credit check to ensure that you are eligible. This is also used to determine your repayment terms. Unlike soft credit pulls – which lenders will often do to prequalify you for their loans – hard pulls will ding your credit score.

While this isn’t too substantial, it could affect your eligibility or interest rates on financial products that you’re planning to apply for in the near future.

How to Minimize the Effect on Other Products

If you are looking to apply for a mortgage, auto loan, or another larger loan, it may be in your best interest to wait until after you are approved for that loan before applying for a personal loan.

However, make sure to determine which product is the most important, and urgent, to keeping you in good financial standing.

Unexpected Upfront Fees

At LendEDU, we do our best to find and disclose all personal loan fees from our partners to our readers. There are many lenders, though, that will try to hide fees that increase the true cost of their loans.

These fees could end up costing you a significant amount of money and if you are unaware of them when you take out your loan, you may not be able to afford repayment as planned.

How to Minimize the Risk of Unexpected Upfront Fees

Before applying for any personal loan, be sure to read the fine print and figure out any and all fees that will be charged. It doesn't hurt to compare company information across multiple reviews either.

Prepayment Penalties

Just as some lenders charge fees when you take out your loan, other lenders may charge fees during repayment. The most common fee while making loan payments is a prepayment fee for paying off your loans early.

Some lenders charge this kind of fee because they hope they will make money on your loan by the interest payments you make. If you pay off your loan early, they make less in interest.

How to Minimize the Risk of Prepayment Penalties

Before you take out your personal loan, be sure to know if it comes with prepayment fees. We typically suggest to avoid personal loans with prepayment penalties because you shouldn’t be penalized for making what is usually considered a smart financial decision.

Predatory Lenders

There are some lenders out there who charge very high interest rates and unfair repayment terms. These are typically payday, title, and pawnshop loans.

These loans usually will end up costing you a significant amount of money compared to other companies. In addition, predatory lenders expect you to repay the loan in a very short amount of time and there are often many hidden fees included.

How to Minimize the Risk of Predatory Lenders

In short, it is in your best interest to avoid these predatory lenders at all costs. To do so, make sure you compare multiple personal loan companies with guides like ours to ensure you are only considering the best personal loan companies who are known to be trustworthy lenders.