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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 personal loans for almost any purpose, including home renovations, debt consolidation, medical bills, emergency expenses, and even vacations and weddings.

When you take out a personal loan, you get a lump sum upfront and pay it off every month. The best personal loans offer competitive interest rates, flexible repayment terms, low or no fees, and same- or next-day funding.

Compare the best personal loans

Best for…
Rating (0-5)
Best marketplace
Best for good credit
Best for fair credit
Best for excellent credit
Best for thin credit
Best for credit card debt
Best for choosing payment date
Best for a secured loan

8 best companies for personal loans

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.  Here are our choices:

Best marketplace: Credible

LendEDU rating: 5 out of 5

  • 7.49%35.99% APR
  • Borrow $600 to $200,000
  • Compare real offers from multiple lenders
  • Receive your funds as soon as the same day
  • No impact 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 personal loan 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 terrific 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 because it’s not a lender. However, it recommends you have good credit, verifiable income, and a low debt-to-income ratio, which most lenders in its network prefer.

Best for excellent credit: LightStream

LendEDU rating: 4.8 out of 5

  • 7.99%25.99% APR
  • Borrow $5,000 – $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. LightStream also caps its rates much lower than most other personal loan lenders.

However, you should be confident in your credit score and income before applying. Unlike most other lenders on our roundup of the best personal loans, LightStream does not allow you to get prequalified. This means you can’t find out if you’re likely to get approved—you’ll need to apply, which means a hard inquiry on your credit report.

Eligibility requirements

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

  • A credit score of 660 or higher
  • Few 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

LendEDU rating: 5 out of 5

  • 8.99% – 29.99% APR
  • Borrow $5,000 – $100,000
  • Checking your rate doesn’t affect 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, 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)
  • At least 18 years old
  • 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

LendEDU rating: 4.9 out of 5

  • 8.49%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.

However, all Upgrade personal loans have a one-time origination fee between 1.85% and 9.99% of the amount borrowed, which represents the cost to underwrite the loan. This cost is factored into your overall APR, reflecting fees and interest rates.

Eligibility requirements

Here are Upgrade’s disclosed eligibility requirements:

  • Have a credit score of 560 or above
  • Must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or in the U.S. on a valid visa
  • Must be 18+ years old (19+ in Alabama and other select states)
  • Must be able to provide verifiable bank info and have a valid email

Best for thin credit: Upstart

LendEDU rating: 4.8 out of 5

  • 7.80% – 35.99% APR
  • Borrow $1,000 – $50,000
  • 15-day grace period on late payments
  • Credit score requirements are much more lenient than other lenders

Upstart accepts borrowers with credit scores of 300—the lowest possible. Upstart offers prequalification online, so you can check your rates with no impact on your credit score.

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.

Note that Upstart may charge an origination fee for your personal loan, as much as 12% of the amount borrowed. This is a one-time fee at the start of the loan and is factored into the loan’s APR. Upstart charges other personal loan fees as well, including:

  • Late payment fees
  • ACH return and check refund fees
  • Paper copy fees
Eligibility requirements

Here are Upstart’s disclosed eligibility requirements:

  • Must have a verifiable name, date of birth, and Social Security number
  • Must be 18+ years of age
  • Must have a job (or job offer or verifiable source of regular income), valid email address, and U.S. address
  • Must meet minimum credit underwriting requirements (that is, an established credit history); if no credit history, borrowers must be enrolled in a degree program (associate, bachelor’s, or more advanced) at an accredited school
  • Must have a valid bank account

Best for credit card debt: Happy Money

LendEDU rating: 4.8 out of 5

  • 11.72%17.99% APR
  • Borrow $5,000 – $40,000
  • Must use funds to pay off credit card debt
  • Option to send funds right to creditors

Happy Money offers an unsecured personal loan called 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 deposit your loan in your checking or savings account. Happy Money designed its loans 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

LendEDU rating: 4.8 out of 5

  • 8.99%35.99% APR
  • Borrow $5,000 – $50,000
  • Choose from multiple repayment terms
  • Work with a dedicated loan consultant

Achieve offers personal loans between $5,000 to $50,000, but 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 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.

Achieve’s APR ranges include an origination fee from 1.99% to 6.99%.

Eligibility requirements

Here are Achieve’s disclosed eligibility requirements:

  • Have a credit score of 620 or above
  • Must have proof of identity, employment status, and income
  • Must have a Social Security number

Best for a secured loan: Best Egg

LendEDU rating: 4.8 out of 5

  • 8.99% – 35.99% APR
  • Borrow $2,000 – $50,000
  • Secured loan option for homeowners
  • Checking your rate doesn’t affect 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 without impacting your credit score.

Eligibility requirements

Here are Best Egg’s disclosed eligibility requirements:

  • Have a credit score of 600 or above.
  • Must be a U.S. citizen currently living in the U.S. or a permanent resident currently living in the U.S.
  • Must be of legal age (varies by state)
  • Must have a valid checking account, email, and physical address (no PO boxes)

How to get the best personal loan rates

To get a good rate for a personal loan, you’ll have to do some extra legwork:

  1. Improve your credit score: First and foremost, understand that your credit score is typically the largest determining factor when a lender sets your personal loan rate. Other factors, such as debt-to-income ratio and amount borrowed, may also play a role. If your credit score is in rough shape and you can wait to borrow the money, spend a few months improving your score before applying.
  2. Get a cosigner: If your credit score isn’t in great shape but you need funds now, you can ask a trusted friend or family member—who has a strong credit score—to cosign the personal loan with you. This can improve your approval chances and may get you a lower interest rate.
  3. Shop around: Don’t just go with the first personal loan you find. Use our roundup of the best personal loans, or use an online personal loan marketplace to get prequalified with multiple lenders. From there, compare offers and go with the best one.
  4. Look at APRs, not interest rates: When comparing personal loans, look at the annual percentage rate (APR), not the interest rate. APRs include the loan’s interest rate and any fees associated with the loan. That means an APR is a more accurate reflection of the total cost of borrowing over the life of the loan.

Do I qualify for the best personal loans?

To qualify for the best personal loans, you’ll typically need an excellent credit score (800 or higher), a high income, and a low debt-to-income ratio. Each lender assesses applicants in its own way, but the more attractive you are as a borrower, the more likely you are to get that lender’s best rates.

How to get prequalified for a personal loan

Many lenders allow you to find out if you’re likely to be approved for a loan—and at what rate—by getting prequalified on their websites.

Prequalifying for a personal loan means you can check your customized rates with no obligation or impact on your credit score. 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.

How to compare personal loans

When you prequalify for a handful of loans, you’ll want to compare several factors to find the best personal loan for your needs. Here’s what you should be comparing:

  • APR: The annual percentage rate represents the cost of your personal loan. The lower the rate, the less you’ll spend to borrow money over the life of the loan.
  • Loan amounts: One lender may offer you a lower rate than another, but it may also not be willing to lend you as much money as the other. Make sure that the loan offer you go with will be enough to cover your expenses, such as a home renovation or medical bill.
  • Repayment flexibility: Some lenders may have shorter repayment windows than others. A shorter repayment term results in higher monthly payments since you’ve got to pay off the full amount faster. Review your budget to determine how much you can afford to pay back each month; if the loan with the short repayment term results in high monthly payments you’ll struggle to afford, you should go with a different option.

Want to know if you got a good personal loan rate from a lender? Compare the rate you’ve been offered to the lender’s stated APR range. For instance, if the lender offers loans between 8.99% and 35.99% and you were offered a 14.99% APR, that’s 6% higher than the lowest possible offer from that lender.

Ask the expert

Rand Millwood


Typically, the best way to determine you are receiving the best APR is to 1) find out from the credit reporting agencies what your credit score is, 2) research which lenders provide the best rates and repayment terms for your need and credit score, and 3) apply with three to four lenders that fit your criteria. This way, you can evaluate which gives you the best options for your needs and potentially take advantage of a rate match guarantee.

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 qualify for a reasonable interest rate, a personal loan could make sense. 

Personal loans are also ideal if you need money fast; many offer same- or next-day funding.

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: 

The table below breaks down when these options might make more sense than a personal loan:

Borrowing optionWhen it makes senseWhat to know
Credit cardIf you qualify for a card with a 0% intro APR promotional periodMake sure you can pay off the debt before the promo period ends and read all the fine print
Home equity loan or home equity line of creditIf you own your home and have built significant equityYou risk losing your house if you don’t repay your loan; loans also take longer to fund than personal loans
Loan from a friend or family memberYou have bad credit and can’t qualify for alternativesMake a plan to repay the loan promptly to avoid a strain on your relationship
Cash from your own savingsIf you’ve built an emergency fundFocus on rebuilding your savings before the next emergency occurs

Ask the expert

Rand Millwood


Usually, using cash on hand is your best first option because it doesn’t cost you anything or require payments. However, you don’t want to use all the cash you have on hand in the case of an emergency. A HELOC may be a good option depending on your cash flow situation, home equity situation, and the need for the funds. Remember you typically can’t write off the interest on a HELOC if the funds aren’t used for upgrading your home. A loan from a friend or family can be a tough situation. Credit cards are typically a last resort as the interest rates are high.

How to apply with the best personal loan providers

If you’re looking to get 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. Often, you can get prequalified for a personal loan in a matter of minutes.
  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. Some lenders may approve you within a few hours, but others may take a couple of business days.
  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. While some online lenders can offer same- or next-day funding to your bank account, others may require a few days to get you the money. Online lenders are your best bet for faster loan funding.

All told, you could get a personal loan the same day you start researching them, especially if you have all the information you need on hand and go with an online lender. That said, getting approved for a personal loan—and having it funded—could take a week or more, depending on the lender and your circumstances.

How we chose the best personal loan providers

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 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 a 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 assets if you can’t pay them back. 

What’s the average personal loan rate today?

According to the latest data from the Federal Reserve, the average personal loan rate for a two-year loan is 12.35%. This varies by credit score, however. Someone with an excellent credit score averages 11.30%, while someone with poor credit pays an average 25.20% APR.

What can I use a personal loan for?

A personal loan can be used for almost any purpose, as long as it’s legal. Common uses include debt consolidation, home improvements, and medical bills.

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 do personal loan rates compare to credit cards?

Personal loan rates may be lower than credit card rates, which is why some consumers take out 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. 

According to the most recent Consumer Financial Protection Bureau data, the average rate on a credit card was a record high 22.8% in 2023. It’s also important to note that personal loans are usually fixed interest while credit cards are a form of revolving credit, typically with variable interest rates.

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 significant 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. If you make on-time payments, a personal loan 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.

Recap of the best personal loans of 2024