Best Personal Loans for 2019

Find a great rate on your personal loan.

Save time by comparing LendEDU’s highest rated personal loan lenders.

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Mike Brown
Mike Brown
Updated: June 3, 2019

Note from the editor: Our research, news, ratings, and assessments are scrutinized using strict editorial integrity. In full transparency, our company may receive compensation from partners listed on our website. Learn more about how we make money by visiting our advertiser disclosure.

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 Personal Loan Companies

Simplify your personal loan search by comparing 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.

LightStream

4.99%-16.99%

APR Range

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 our LightStream Personal Loans Review

Loan Minimum$5,000
Loan Maximum$100,000
Time to FundingAs soon as the same day
Min. Annual IncomeNone
Min. Credit HistoryNone
State RestrictionsAvailable in any state
Origination FeesNone
Prepayment PenaltyNone
Late FeesNone
SoFi

5.74%-16.99%1

APR Range

2 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 our SoFi Personal Loans Review

Loan Minimum$5,000
Loan Maximum$100,000
Time to Funding7 days on average
Min. Annual IncomeNo Minimum
Min. Credit HistoryNo Minimum
State RestrictionsNot available in MS
Origination FeesNone
Prepayment PenaltyNone
Late FeesNone
Citizens Bank

6.79%-20.39%2

APR Range

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 our Citizens Bank Personal Loans Review

Loan Minimum$5,000
Loan Maximum$50,000
Time to Funding3+ days on average
Min. Annual Income$24,000
Min. Credit HistoryNo Minimum
State RestrictionsAvailable in any state
Origination FeesNone
Prepayment PenaltyNone
Late FeesNone
Prosper

6.95%-35.99%4

APR Range

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 our Prosper Personal Loans Review

Loan Minimum$2,000
Loan Maximum$40,000
Time to Funding1 - 3 days after approval
Min. Annual IncomeNone
Min. Credit HistoryNone
State RestrictionsNot available in IA, ND, WV
Origination Fees2.4% - 5% of the loan amount
Prepayment PenaltyNone
Late Fees$15 or 5% of the payment due
Upgrade

7.99%-35.89%

APR Range

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 our Upgrade Personal Loans Review

Loans made through Upgrade feature APRs of 7.99%-35.89%. All loans have a 1.5% to 6% origination fee, which is deducted from the loan proceeds. Lowest rates require Autopay. For example, if you receive a $10,000 loan with a 36 month term and a 17.98% APR (which includes a 14.32% yearly interest rate and a 5% one-time origination fee), you would receive $9,500 in your account and would have a required monthly payment of $343.33. Over the life of the loan, your payments would total $12,359.97. The APR on your loan may be higher or lower and your loan offers may not have multiple term lengths available. Actual rate depends on credit score, credit usage history, loan term, and other factors. Late payments or subsequent charges and fees may increase the cost of your fixed rate loan. There is no fee or penalty for repaying a loan early. Accept your loan offer and your funds will be sent electronically to your bank or designated account within one (1) business day of clearing necessary verifications. Availability of the funds is dependent on how quickly your bank processes the transaction. From the time of approval, funds should be available within four (4) business days. All loans made by WebBank, Member FDIC.

Loan Minimum$1,000
Loan Maximum$50,000
Time to FundingOne business day
Min. Annual IncomeNone
Min. Credit HistoryTypically 3 years
State RestrictionsNot available in CT, CO, IA, MD, VT, WV
Origination Fees1.5% - 6% of the loan amount
Prepayment PenaltyNone
Late FeesUp to $10
PenFed Credit Union

6.49%-17.99%

APR Range

1 - 5 Years

Loan Terms

650

Min. Credit Score

What we like

  • Must be member of PenFed Credit Union before applying
  • Available in all 50 states - get the financing you need no matter where you live
  • Easy application process - borrowers can apply online, in person, or over the phone
  • Lower rates - Low starting APR with no application, origination, or prepayment fees
  • Military member benefits

Additional Information

See our PenFed Personal Loans Review

Loan Minimum$500
Loan Maximum$25,000
Time to Funding1-2 days after approval
Min. Annual IncomeN/A
Min. Credit HistoryN/A
State RestrictionsAvailable in all 50 states
Origination FeesNone
Prepayment PenaltyNone
Late Fees$15 or 5% of the payment due
Best Egg

5.99%-29.99%

APR Range

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 our Best Egg Personal Loans Review

Loan Minimum$2,000
Loan Maximum$35,000
Time to FundingTypically next day
Min. Annual Income$40,000
Min. Credit HistoryTypically 3 years
State RestrictionsNot available in IA, WV, VT
Origination Fees0.99% – 5.99% of loan amount
Prepayment PenaltyNone
Late Fees$15
FreedomPlus

5.99%-29.99%

APR Range

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 our FreedomPlus Personal Loans Review

Loan Minimum$7,500
Loan Maximum$35,000
Time to Funding3 - 5 days after approval
Min. Annual IncomeNone
Min. Credit HistoryTypically 7 years
State RestrictionsNot available in CO, CT, HI, KS, ME, NH, ND, NY, OR, RI, VT, WV, WI, WY
Origination Fees0% - 5% of the loan amount
Prepayment PenaltyNone
Late Fees$15 or 5% of past due amount
LendingClub

6.95%-35.89%

APR Range

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 our LendingClub Personal Loans Review

Loan Minimum$1,000
Loan Maximum$40,000
Time to FundingAs few as 3 days
Min. Annual IncomeNone
Min. Credit HistoryNone
State RestrictionsNot available in IA
Origination Fees1% - 6% of loan amount
Prepayment PenaltyNone
Late Fees5% of the unpaid amount or $15
Upstart

8.69%-29.99%

APR Range

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 our Upstart Personal Loans Review

Loan Minimum$1,000
Loan Maximum$50,000
Time to FundingTypically one day
Min. Annual IncomeNone
Min. Credit HistoryNone
State RestrictionsAvailable in any state
Origination Fees0% - 8% of the loan amount
Prepayment PenaltyNone
Late Fees$10 after 15-day grace period

Best Personal Loans for 2019

Below are reviews of LendEDU's picks for the best personal loan companies. You can find information about interest rates, term lengths, fees, and more in the reviews below.

The following eight companies are the highest rated based on our Editorial Ratings. These ratings are in no way affected by compensation and are strictly based on the details and competitiveness of the products offered. In order to make the list, lenders must also offer personal loans in at least 40 states and must not require borrowers to be a member of the bank or credit union.

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

Credit range: 690 to 850

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.

LightStream

What we like: Beat any qualifying rate

LightStream

Editorial Rating (4.62 / 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)
  • AutoPay discount of 0.50%
APR Range

4.99%-16.99%

Loan Terms

2 to 12 years*

Loan Amounts

$5,000 - $100,000

Origination Fee

None

Time to Fund

As soon as the same day

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. Loan terms for all purposes outside of home improvement have a maximum loan term of 7 years.

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.

SoFi

What we like: Career coaching

SoFi

Editorial Rating (4.45 / 5.0)

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

5.74%-16.99%1

Loan Terms

2 to 7 years

Loan Amounts

$5,000 - $100,000

Origination Fee

None

Time to Fund

7 days on average

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.

Citizens Bank

What we like: Great customer service

Citizens Bank

Editorial Rating (4.43 / 5.0)

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

6.79%-20.39%2

Loan Terms

3 to 7 years

Loan Amounts

$5,000 - $50,000

Origination Fee

None

Time to Fund

3+ days on average

Fixed interest rates from 7.29% - 20.89% (7.29% - 20.89% APR) based on applicable terms. Lowest rates range from 6.79%-20.39% (6.79%-20.39% 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.

Best Personal Loans for Average Credit

Credit range: 630 to 689

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.

Marcus by Goldman Sachs®

What we like: No fees

Marcus

Editorial Rating (4.32 / 5.0)

  • Minimum annual income of $25,000
  • No late payment fees
  • Personal loan calculator to see your savings
  • On-time payment reward
APR Range

6.99%-24.99%

Loan Terms

3 to 6 years

Loan Amounts

$3,500 - $40,000

Origination Fee

None

Time to Fund

1 to 4 days

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.

FreedomPlus

What we like: Human engagement during application

FreedomPlus

Editorial Rating (4.24 / 5.0)

  • Max loan amount equal to 35% of gross income in a given year
  • Speak to a loan consultant for help with your application
  • Loans can be used for a wide range of needs
APR Range

5.99%-29.99%

Loan Terms

2 to 5 years

Loan Amounts

$7,500 - $35,000

Origination Fee

0% - 5% of loan amount

Time to Fund

3 - 5 days after approval

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 FreedomPlus

FreedomPlus takes pride in offering borrowers the opportunity to speak directly with a loan consultant prior to submitting an application. Their model is focused on providing transparency to borrowers so that a loan from FreedomPlus can be “the smart way to meet your financial needs.”

The repayment process is straightforward as borrowers will have fixed monthly payments and the ability to choose their own payment date. Unfortunately, FreedomPlus does charge some fees that are worth considering when deciding if they are the best option for you.

Payoff

What we like: Job loss support

Payoff

Editorial Rating (4.08 / 5.0)

  • Must have a debt-to-income ratio of 50% or less
  • Must have 3 years of a good credit history
  • Designed to help boost your FICO score
  • Loans are designed to help eliminate high-interest credit card debt
APR Range

5.99%-24.99%

Loan Terms

2 to 5 years

Loan Amounts

$5,000 - $35,000

Origination Fee

0% - 5% of loan amount

Time to Fund

2 to 7 days

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 Payoff

Payoff offers a personal loan designed to help borrowers eliminate credit card debt. Their loan allows you to consolidate multiple high-interest credit card balances into one monthly payment with a fixed interest rate.

Something that makes Payoff unique amongst other personal loan lenders is the transparency around their approval criteria. In order to be approved for a loan you will need a FICO score of 640 or higher, a debt-to-income ratio of 50% or less, and 3 years of good credit amongst other criteria.

If you are looking for a personal loan to help you repay high-interest credit card debt, then Payoff may be a good option.

Best Personal Loans for Bad Credit

Credit range: 550 to 629

The personal loan lenders in this category provide bad credit loans to borrowers with below average 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.

OneMain Financial

What we like: Same day funding

OneMain Financial

Editorial Rating (4.33 / 5.0)

  • No minimum annual income
  • Have local branches to allow for in-person discussions
  • Offer both secured or unsecured personal loans
  • Get an idea of your estimated monthly payment with their calculator
APR Range

16.05%-24.99%

Loan Terms

2 to 5 years

Loan Amounts

$1,500 - $30,000

Origination Fee

None

Time to Fund

Same day

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 OneMain Financial

OneMain Financial offers personal loans for those with bad credit. The ability to meet loan specialists in person at a branch can be useful for those looking for a more personal experience.

If approved for a personal loan through OneMain Financial, you will have to visit a branch to verify your information and discuss the next steps. Though this step may be unappealing for those looking to complete the process online, you could get your money the same day if approved by noon.

Naturally, interest rates are higher than other lenders due to the risk of lending to borrowers with lower credit scores. However, the lack of fees attached to their loan product is a plus.

Avant

What we like: No minimum credit score

Avant

Editorial Rating (3.93 / 5.0)

  • No minimum income requirement
  • Check loan options with a soft credit pull
  • Mobile app to keep up with your loan
  • Financial tools to stay up to date on your loan
APR Range

9.95%-35.99%*

Loan Terms

2 to 5 years

Loan Amounts

$2,000 - $35,000

Origination Fee

Up to 4.75% of loan amount

Time to Fund

2 days on average

* 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.


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, bank statements, and perhaps a profit and loss statement.
  • 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 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. Collateral also plays a role — if a lender feels you have enough assets to liquidate in order to repay the debt, you’re likely to receive better terms.

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.

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