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Personal Loans

Best Personal Loans of 2024

Personal loans are installment loans that often come with fixed interest rates. You can use them for almost any purpose.

When you borrow a personal loan, you get a lump sum upfront and pay it off on a monthly basis. The best companies for personal loans offer competitive rates with same- or next-day funding. 

Lender Best for Rates (APR) Our Rating
Credible logo

5.0

Rates (APR)

4.4415.32

Best marketplace

4.4415.32

5.0

Best marketplace

LightStream logo

4.8

Rates (APR)

4.5016.20

Best for excellent credit

4.5016.20

4.8

Best for excellent credit

SoFi logo

5.0

Rates (APR)

4.62% – 15.66%

Best for good credit

4.62% – 15.66%

5.0

Best for good credit

Upgrade logo

4.9

Rates (APR)

4.45%16.20%

Best for fair credit

4.45%16.20%

4.9

Best for fair credit

Upstart logo

4.8

Rates (APR)

4.62% – 15.66%

Best for thin credit

4.62% – 15.66%

4.8

Best for thin credit

Happy Money logo

4.8

Rates (APR)

4.62%15.66%

Best for credit card debt

4.62%15.66%

4.8

Best for credit card debt

Achieve logo

4.8

Rates (APR)

4.62%15.66%

Best for choosing payment date

4.62%15.66%

4.8

Best for choosing payment date

Best Egg logo

4.8

Rates (APR)

4.62%15.66%

Best for a secured loan

4.62%15.66%

4.8

Best for a secured loan

Reviews of the 8 best personal loan companies

We’ve reviewed a variety of personal loan lenders to determine which ones are best for borrowers based on their credit profile and financial goals. Plus, we share personal loan rates, terms, loan amounts, credit score requirements, and other important details. 

Best marketplace: Credible

Editorial rating: 5 out of 5

  • 5.20% to 35.99% APR
  • Borrow $600 to $200,000
  • Compare real offers from multiple lenders
  • Receive your funds as soon as the same day
  • No fees or impacts on your credit

Credible is an excellent choice because of its free online marketplace, where borrowers can submit one application and compare actual offers from multiple lenders.

By comparing rates and terms in one location, borrowers can ensure they choose the best offer while avoiding having to submit one application for each lender.

Credible’s platform also caters to a diverse range of credit profiles, making it a great option for those with bad to excellent credit. The ability to view customized loan options based on one’s unique financial background makes Credible a standout choice in the personal loan market.

Eligibility requirements

Credible itself has no specific eligibility requirements since it’s not a lender. However, it recommends you have good credit, verifiable income, and a low debt-to-income ratio, as most of the lenders in its network prefer this.

Best for excellent credit: LightStream

Editorial rating: 4.8 out of 5

  • 7.49% to 25.49% APR
  • Borrow $5,000 to $100,000
  • May beat a competitor’s offered rate by 0.10 percentage points
  • No fees

LightStream offers competitive APRs on its personal loans, as well as large loan amounts of up to $100,000. Depending on your loan type, you could choose a loan term of two to 12 years, a range that gives you plenty of flexibility to repay your loan.

LightStream is unique for its Rate Beat Program. If you find a better rate on an unsecured personal loan from another lender, LightStream will beat it by 0.10 percentage points.

Eligibility requirements

Here are LightStream’s disclosed requirements to be eligible for a personal loan:

– A credit score of 660 or higher.
– Little to no delinquencies in your payment history.
– Stable and sufficient income.
– A variety of financial accounts, all in good standing.

Best for good credit: SoFi

Editorial rating: 5 out of 5

  • 8.99% to 25.81% APR
  • Borrow $5,000 to $100,000
  • Unemployment protection for unexpected job loss
  • Checking your rate doesn’t impact your credit

SoFi is an online lender that provides personal loans from $5,000 to $100,000. Along with fast approval and no fees required, SoFi stands out for its robust member benefits, which include unemployment protection and financial planning services. Plus, you can get a 0.25% reduction on your interest rate if you sign up for automatic payments on your loan.

Eligibility requirements

Here are SoFi’s disclosed eligibility requirements:

– Have a credit score of 650 or above.
– Must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or visa holder (J-1, H-1B, E-2, O-1, or TN).
– You are at least 18 years old.
– You are employed, have sufficient income from other sources, or have received an offer of employment to start within the next 90 days.

Best for fair credit: Upgrade

Editorial rating: 4.9 out of 5

  • 8.49% to 35.99% APR
  • Borrow $1,000 to $50,000
  • Choose your monthly payment and repayment schedule
  • Accepts joint applications

Upgrade is a solid choice for fair-credit borrowers. This lender will also fund personal loans starting at $1,000, which could appeal to borrowers seeking a low loan amount. Upgrade can fund your loan within one business day of verifying your application.

Eligibility requirements

Here are Upgrade’s disclosed eligibility requirements:

– Have a credit score of 560 or above.

Best for thin credit: Upstart

Editorial rating: 4.8 out of 5

  • 6.40% to 35.99% APR
  • Borrow $1,000 to $50,000
  • 15-day grace period on late payments
  • Credit score requirements are much more lenient than other lenders

If you have bad or little to no credit, you may have a tough time qualifying for a personal loan from most lenders. Upstart, however, accepts borrowers with credit scores of 300—the lowest possible.

Rather than just credit score, Upstart uses an artificial intelligence-powered alternative lending model to determine whether you qualify for a loan. Upstart relies on a variety of factors to assess your finances and make an approval decision.

Upstart offers prequalification online, so you can check your rates with no impact on your credit score.

Eligibility requirements

Upstart doesn’t disclose any details on its eligibility requirements. There is no set minimum credit score as it considers your finances and other factors.

Best for credit card debt: Happy Money

Editorial rating: 4.8 out of 5

  • 11.72% to 17.99% APR
  • Borrow $5,000 to $40,000
  • Must be used to pay off credit card debt
  • Funds can be sent directly to creditors

Happy Money offers an unsecured personal loan it calls the “Payoff Loan.” Happy Money’s Payoff Loans can help you consolidate and pay down credit card debt.

Depending on your preference, you can ask Happy Money to pay your creditors or to deposit your loan in your checking or savings account. Happy Money’s loans are designed to pay off credit card debt.

Eligibility requirements

Here are Happy Money’s disclosed eligibility requirements:

– Have a credit score of 640 or above.
– No delinquencies on your credit report.

Best for choosing payment date: Achieve

Editorial rating: 4.8 out of 5

  • 7.99% to 35.99% APR
  • Borrow $5,000 to $50,000
  • Choose from multiple repayment terms
  • Work with a dedicated loan consultant

Achieve offers personal loans between $5,000 to $50,000, though the amounts available may vary depending on where you live.

Other ways to lower your rate on an Achieve personal loan include applying with a co-borrower, using at least 85% of your loan to pay off existing debt, or showing proof of sufficient retirement savings.

Achieve offers repayment terms as long as 60 months and lets you choose your payment date before you enter repayment, which may appeal to borrowers who want to ensure their bills fall on a specific date each month.

Eligibility requirements

Here are Achieve’s disclosed eligibility requirements:

– Have a credit score of 620 or above.

Best for a secured loan: Best Egg

Editorial rating: 4.8 out of 5

  • 8.99% to 35.99% APR
  • Borrow $2,000 to $50,000
  • Secured loan option for homeowners
  • Checking your rate doesn’t impact your credit

Best Egg offers unsecured and secured personal loans up to $50,000. Its secured loans are available to homeowners. Unlike a home equity loan, which your home secures, items in your home secure a Best Egg loan. These include light fixtures, cabinets, and vanities.

According to Best Egg, qualifying homeowners can take out a secured loan in 24 hours without completing additional paperwork. Whether you’re opting for an unsecured or secured loan, Best Egg lets you check your rates online with no impact on your credit score.

Eligibility requirements

Here are Best Egg’s disclosed eligibility requirements:

– Have a credit score of 600 or above.

How we chose the best personal loan companies

LendEDU has evaluated lenders since 2017 to help readers find the best personal loans. Our most recent evaluation consisted of 45 lenders and 18 data points for each, resulting in 810 data points in our analysis.

These data points fell under 11 categories: transparency, eligibility requirements, rates, repayment terms, loan amounts, fees, customer experience, company history, benefits, funding time, and limitations on received funds.

How to get the best personal loan rates

A low rate is a top priority when choosing a personal loan. To find a competitive offer, take time to shop around with multiple lenders. By prequalifying for loans online, you can check your rates with a variety of loan providers and not hurt your credit score. 

As you compare your options, keep an eye on the loan’s APR, repayment term, and any fees. Keep in mind that a shorter repayment term will have a higher monthly payment, but it can reduce the overall interest you pay. 

On the other hand, a longer term will come with more affordable monthly bills, but you may pay more interest over the long run. If your goal is to keep interest charges down, opt for the shortest loan term that works for your budget. 

Do I qualify for the best personal loan?

You’ll often need strong credit to qualify for the best rates on a personal loan. On the FICO scoring model, a good score starts at 670, a very good score starts at 740, and an exceptional score is at least 800. 

Lenders may also look at your income and debt-to-income ratio when evaluating you for a loan. Borrowers with a high income, low debt-to-income ratio, and excellent credit will get the best personal loan offers. 

If you have trouble qualifying or want to access better rates, you may boost your chances by applying with a creditworthy cosigner or co-borrower. Check with the individual lender to see whether it accepts joint applications. 

Is a personal loan my best option?

Whether a personal loan is your best option depends on your circumstances. If you need to pay for a large expense or consolidate debt and can qualify for a reasonable interest rate, a personal loan could make sense. 

On the other hand, a personal loan might not be the wisest choice if you get stuck with a high interest rate. It’s worth considering other financing options, which could include: 

If you can cover your expense at a lower interest rate (or avoid interest charges), a personal loan might not be your best choice. But if a personal loan offers the lowest borrowing costs among your other options, it might be suitable. 

How to apply for a personal loan

If you’re looking to borrow a personal loan, here are the steps to apply: 

  1. Check your credit. Start by checking your credit score and reviewing your credit report, so you know what you’re working with as you go into the loan process. If you spot errors on your credit report, dispute them to have them removed. 
  2. Determine your loan amount. Figure out how much you need to borrow and can afford to pay back. If the lender subtracts an origination fee from your loan proceeds, take that into account when you make your request. 
  3. Prequalify with several lenders. Shop around with multiple lenders so you can find a loan with the best rates and terms. 
  4. Select your loan offer. Compare loan features such as APR, fees, and repayment terms to decide which loan has the lowest costs of borrowing. 
  5. Submit a full application. Once you choose a loan, you’ll complete an official application with your personal details and required documentation, such as pay stubs or tax returns. At this point, the lender will run a hard inquiry on your credit. 
  6. Get your funds, and start paying your loan back. Your final steps will be to sign your loan agreement and receive your funds. Check when your first payment is due, and consider setting up automatic payments so you don’t miss any bills. 

FAQ

How does a personal loan work?

A personal loan is an installment loan you pay monthly over a set period, often between three and seven years. When you borrow a personal loan, you might get a lump sum as direct deposit into your account. Some lenders will also send direct payments to your creditors if you’re using the loan for debt consolidation. 

Most personal loans are unsecured, so you must meet a lender’s underwriting requirements for credit and income to qualify. However, some lenders also offer secured loans, which are backed with collateral. Secured loans may have more lenient qualification requirements, but you risk losing your asset if you can’t pay them back. 

What’s the average personal loan rate today?

The average APR on a 24-month personal loan was 11.21% in November 2022, according to the most recent data from the Federal Reserve

How do I know if I got a good personal loan rate?

If you’re wondering whether you got a good personal rate, you can check your lender’s range of rates to see if yours falls on the low end. It’s also wise to shop around with multiple lenders to find a loan with the most competitive APR. 

Before you sign your loan agreement, use a personal loan calculator to estimate your monthly payments and long-term interest charges. If the costs of borrowing are too great, the rate you got wouldn’t be a suitable fit. 

What does prequalifying for a personal loan mean?

Prequalifying for a personal loan means you can check your customized rates with no obligation or impact on your credit score. Many lenders offer prequalification on their websites. You’ll enter a few basic personal details, such as your name, date of birth, Social Security number, and requested loan amount. 

The lender will run a soft credit check and show you which loan offers you qualify for. Keep in mind a prequalified offer isn’t set in stone. Your rates could change after you submit a full application and the lender runs a hard credit check. 

What can I use a personal loan for?

A personal loan can be used for almost any purpose, as long as it’s legal. Here are some common uses:

  • Debt consolidation: If you have multiple debts with high interest rates, like credit card debt, you can use a personal loan to pay them off. This leaves you with one loan to manage, often with a lower interest rate than your original debts.
  • Home improvements: You can use a personal loan to fund home improvement projects, such as renovations or repairs. This can be a good option if you don’t want to take out a home equity loan or line of credit.
  • Medical bills: If you have high medical bills, a personal loan can help you pay them off over time, rather than all at once.
  • Large purchases: If you’re planning to make a large purchase, like a car or expensive appliance, a personal loan can help spread the cost over a longer period.
  • Education expenses: While student loans are usually a better option for funding education, a personal loan can be used for related expenses like textbooks, supplies, or off-campus housing.
  • Travel: Some people use personal loans to fund vacations or other travel expenses.
  • Weddings or other big events: Large events like weddings can be expensive, and a personal loan can help you spread out the cost.

Some lenders set certain restrictions on personal loan uses, so check with your lender for any guidelines. For instance, some lenders say you can’t use a personal loan for investing, gambling, a down payment on a home, or postsecondary education expenses. 

How long does it take to get funds from a personal loan?

The timeline for receiving funds from a personal loan is contingent on several factors including the lender, the loan amount, and the borrower’s individual circumstances. Once a personal loan application is submitted, the lender needs to process it. This process, which may involve a credit check, income and employment verification, and potentially other reviews, can take from a few hours up to several days.

Following approval of the application, the lender provides the borrower with a loan agreement detailing the terms of the loan. The time it takes for the borrower to review and sign this agreement can vary widely.

After the loan agreement is signed and returned to the lender, the lender will disburse the funds. Disbursement can often occur within one day, but it may take longer depending on the lender and the method of disbursement. Some lenders provide direct deposits into the borrower’s bank account, while others may issue a check.

It’s possible to receive a personal loan within a single day, but it can also take a week or more. Online lenders often process loans faster than traditional banks. If you need funds quickly, you should consider a lender that advertises fast approval and disbursement times and you can also ask for an estimated timeline ahead of time.

How do personal loan rates compare to credit cards?

Personal loan rates may be lower than credit card rates, which is why some consumers borrow a personal loan to consolidate credit card debt. However, your personal rate depends on your credit profile and other factors. 

Borrowers with excellent credit may qualify for rates starting around 7% or 8% APR. Borrowers with bad credit, however, may get stuck with rates on the higher end of a lender’s range, which can hit 36% APR. 

The average rate on a credit card was 15.5% in 2022, according to the most recent Federal Reserve data

How many personal loans can you have at a time?

There’s no limit to the number of personal loans you can have at one time, as long as your lender approves it. Owing a lot of debt, however, may make it difficult to meet a lender’s underwriting requirements for debt-to-income ratio. 

Can you refinance a personal loan?

You may qualify to refinance your personal loan with another personal loan, depending on the lender’s guidelines. If your credit has improved since you borrowed the original loan, you might qualify for a new loan with a better rate. Then you can use your new loan to pay off your old one. 

How does a personal loan affect my credit score?

A personal loan can affect your credit score for better or worse, depending on how you pay it back. On-time payments can increase your credit score, and late payments will drag it down.

When you borrow your personal loan, you may also see your credit score fall by a few points after your lender runs a hard credit inquiry. However, your credit score should bounce back within a few months as long as you pay your bills on time.