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Personal Loans

Personal Loans in South Carolina: Online & Local Lenders

Residents of the Palmetto State have plenty of personal loan options. You can choose between online lenders and community credit unions. We’ve evaluated personal loans from each source and will walk you through how to select the best fit.

First, review these lender recommendations. Then we’ll discuss everything you need to know about South Carolina personal loans.

Reviews of the best personal loans in South Carolina

LenderAPRLoan amounts
Credible7.49%35.99%$600 – $200,000
LightStream7.49%25.49%$5,000 – $100,000
SoFi8.99% – 29.49%$5,000 – $100,000
Upgrade8.49%35.99%$1,000 – $50,000

If you’re unfamiliar with online lending, it’s more similar to traditional lending than you might think. Both types of lenders require an application, and both aim to offer competitive rates.

The primary difference between working with an online lender and a local one is you don’t need to—and often can’t—visit an online lender in person. You’ll apply, manage your loan, and contact customer support through digital methods.

Whether your lender operates in cyberspace or in the physical space, it considers your credit when you request a loan. Some lenders set minimum credit score requirements, while others suggest a minimum credit category, like the FICO ranges shown below:

For example, one lender may only approve borrowers with very good or excellent credit, but another may accept fair-credit borrowers. While higher scores often qualify for the best rates, a lower score isn’t an automatic denial if you apply with the right lender.

To that end, our recommended lenders cater to a range of credit profiles. We’ve also included a mix of online and local lenders, so you’re sure to find one that meets your needs.

Online personal loan lenders in South Carolina 

We’ve researched online lenders more thoroughly than local ones, comparing them across rates, loan amounts, customer reviews, repayment details, and eligibility requirements. 

We weighted, scored, and combined these factors to produce a final editorial rating. This rating is expressed on a scale from 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest possible score. Each online lender’s rating is included below. We’re confident South Carolina residents will have a terrific borrowing experience with these four lenders.

Credible – Best marketplace

LendEDU rating: 5.0 out of 5

  • Vast network of lenders
  • Allows comparison of multiple lenders at once
  • No hidden fees

Credible is the premier online marketplace for comparing a broad array of loan offers. Its vast network of lenders allows South Carolinians to evaluate competitive rates without leaving their homes. Credible ensures a hassle-free experience. Checking rates doesn’t affect your credit score, a significant advantage for those monitoring their financial health. 

Your loan terms will depend on which of Credible’s partner lenders you choose. For example, you might encounter origination fees from the lender, but you won’t pay any fees to use Credible’s service.

LightStream – Best for excellent credit

LendEDU rating: 4.8 out of 5

  • Rate Beat Program will beat competitors’ rates
  • $100 refund with Loan Experience Guarantee
  • No fees whatsoever

LightStream offers a terrific choice for South Carolina residents with excellent credit. Known for its competitive rates and absence of fees, LightStream offers customized loans that match your financing needs, and funds can be available the same day you’re approved. 

The quick loan approval and disbursement process is beneficial for those with an urgent need for funds. A downside of LightStream is that it doesn’t offer a soft credit check to prequalify—you’ll undergo a hard credit check, which can lower your credit score, just to view your rates. For this reason, we think LightStream is best for excellent-credit borrowers who are confident they’ll be approved.

SoFi – Best for good credit

LendEDU rating: 5.0 out of 5

  • No required fees
  • Same-day funding
  • 3 rate discounts

SoFi is advantageous for South Carolinians with good credit scores. Known for its absence of required fees and quick funding times, SoFi is a strong option. Its competitive rates and flexible loan options can help residents manage their finances in a state where economic conditions can vary from one region to another.

SoFi allows you to check your rate in 60 seconds without affecting your credit score. However, its $5,000 minimum loan amount may be higher than you need.

Upgrade: Best for fair credit

LendEDU rating: 4.9 out of 5

  • Accepts borrowers with fair credit
  • Provides free credit monitoring
  • Choose your monthly payment and term length

Upgrade is a crucial resource for South Carolinians with fair credit. It offers accessible financial products along with tools designed to improve credit health. Upgrade will allow you to adjust your payment date during repayment if needed.

Upgrade accepts joint applications, so this lender could be an excellent fit if you’re considering applying with a co-borrower with a better credit score or higher income to be eligible for better rates and terms. You can check your rate without affecting your credit score. With Upgrade, you will pay an origination fee of 1.85% to 9.99% of the loan amount, so ensure that this lender is the most cost-effective option for you before you commit.

Local South Carolina personal loan lenders

Local credit unions can offer many benefits to borrowers. We recommend these credit unions for South Carolinians.

South Carolina Federal Credit Union

  • 12.00% – 18.00% APR (in June 2024)
  • Loans from $500 – $25,000
  • Apply online or at one of 32 branches

South Carolina Federal Credit Union (SCFCU) operates throughout the entire Palmetto State. SCFCU offers several paths to membership, and all you need to do is deposit $10 into an SCFCU savings account.

Depending on how much you need to borrow, SCFCU’s modest loan amounts may not be sufficient. But if you don’t want to take on more debt than necessary, an SCFCU personal loan may be just the ticket.

Founders Federal Credit Union

  • 11.40% – 18.00% APR (in June 2024)
  • Optional Payment Protection Program
  • Accepts co-applicants

Founders Federal Credit Union primarily serves South Carolina’s Midland region but has a few locations throughout the Upstate area. To become a member, you must have a familial, professional, educational, or residential connection to the credit union. 

If you borrow a Founders personal loan, you’ll be eligible for Skip A Pay after six months of on-time payments. With Skip A Pay, you can postpone up to two payments per year, moving the installments to the end of your loan and freeing up funds as needed.

SPC Credit Union

  • 10.00% – 18.00% APR (in June 2024)
  • Loans from $500 – $40,000
  • Terms up to 60 months

SPC Credit Union used to serve Sonoco employees exclusively. Now, it extends multiple ways to join, particularly if you have ties to Florence, Darlington, Marlboro, and Chesterfield Counties.

The credit union currently only has six branches, but it also maintains a virtual location. This gives members on-demand access to SPC representatives via chat, phone, or video calls. Whoever said credit unions aren’t part of the digital revolution never worked with SPC.

About South Carolina personal loans

You have certain consumer protections when you borrow a personal loan in South Carolina. One requires lenders to be more transparent if they charge interest rates above 18%.

The state requires these lenders to post maximum rate schedules outlining their higher rates and file their rate schedules with the state before they can assess rates over 18%. In other words, if your lender assesses above-average rates, you’ll know.

South Carolina doesn’t impose an interest rate cap—it just prohibits unconscionability. “Unconscionable” rates are those that exceed reasonable expectations to the borrower’s detriment.


Tip

Aside from legal protection, knowledge is the next-best defense against high interest rates. Become a well-armed consumer by learning how to spot a good rate on a personal loan.


The term unconscionability leaves plenty of gray area. Without a set rate cap, personal loan lenders in South Carolina have almost unlimited freedom when it comes to charging interest.

Keep that in mind as you shop for personal loans. Your interest rate influences your loan’s overall cost. 

Say, for example, you borrow $10,000 over a 36-month term. Take a look at how different rates can affect your monthly payments and total borrowing cost:

Interest rate12%16%
Monthly payment$332$352
Total interest paid$1,957$2,657
Total loan cost$11,957$12,657

An extra $20 a month might not sound like much, but that adds up to $700 by the end of your loan term. We recommend knowing your rights under South Carolina law and being selective when it comes to choosing a lender.

Should you choose a national or local personal loan lender?

National and local lenders are beholden to the same regulations, so which one is right for you can depend on your ideal borrowing experience.

Are you partial to a high-touch lending relationship or prefer self-service account management? Can you work with a regional institution, or is multistate availability a must? Here’s a quick rundown of how national and local lenders compare along these lines:

National lendersLocal lenders
Expanded service areaLimited service area
Often offer enhanced digital accessMay prioritize in-person support
May have more innovative benefitsApproval criteria could be more lenient
Rates might be higherRates may be more competitive

Larger lenders are more likely to operate across states and time zones, which could be helpful if you travel frequently or need support outside of standard business hours. 

These lenders tend to rely on technology to serve their increased customer volume, sometimes at the expense of face-to-face assistance.

Many local lenders offer online account access, but you might be limited to basic features and tools. These lenders often prioritize personal interaction. You might view that as an advantage or an inconvenience, depending on your circumstances.


Tip

If you’re not limited to loans in South Carolina—say, if you work or go to school just over the border in Tennessee or Florida—check out your other personal loan options by state.


As you weigh these factors, consider your personal and financial priorities and how your needs may change over time. Use the table below to see how national and local lenders perform in different scenarios.

If you…Consider
Aren’t comfortable with technologyLocal lenders
Plan to move before your loan is paid offNational lenders
Want to keep your money in your communityLocal lenders
Don’t live within driving distance of a local lenderNational lenders

You might have made up your mind as to which type of lender is the best fit. Still, it’s worth getting preliminary loan offers from a range of national and local lenders before committing to one or the other. 

Some lenders match or beat competitor rates, so you may be able to use your second-choice lender’s loan offer to snag a better rate with your top pick.

How to apply for a personal loan in South Carolina

Applying for a personal loan in South Carolina can be quick and easy, especially if you know what to expect. Here’s how to prepare for and submit your loan application:

  1. Gather your documents. You’ll need electronic copies of your government-issued photo ID and pay stubs. You can also use W-2s or tax returns in lieu of pay stubs.
  2. Prequalify online. Before you take out a loan, we recommend checking your rates with four to five lenders. Prequalifying only takes about 60 seconds and won’t affect your credit. This empowers you to make a more informed lending decision.
  3. Fill out your lender’s application. Once you find a suitable loan offer, complete an application on that lender’s site (or at a branch if you opt for a local lender and want one-on-one application support).
  4. Complete your lender’s credit check and verification processes. Credit checks happen behind the scenes, but your lender may request additional information to confirm your identity and income. The faster you respond to these requests, the faster your lender can get you a decision.
  5. Sign your loan agreement. If you’re approved, your lender will send you an official agreement. Review and sign this document to take out your loan.

Tip

You may be able to adjust your loan terms during your loan application. Use our personal loan payment calculator to see how different repayment periods affect your borrowing cost before you sign.


After accepting your loan, your lender will begin disbursing your loan proceeds. Some lenders, including LightStream and SoFi, can fund personal loans as soon as the same day. In general, expect to get your disbursement within one to two business days.

FAQ

What is the interest rate for a personal loan in South Carolina?

Interest rates for personal loans in South Carolina can vary depending on factors such as the borrower’s credit history, loan amount, and loan terms. However, South Carolina doesn’t impose a usury cap on consumer loans, so by law, lenders can charge high interest rates—in some cases, up to triple digits. It’s critical to compare rates from multiple lenders before committing to any personal loan.

Can you get a personal loan in South Carolina with bad credit?

Yes, getting a personal loan in South Carolina with bad credit is possible. Some lenders offer bad credit loans, which typically come with higher interest rates and stricter terms. We recommend improving your credit score as much as possible before applying for a loan because it decreases the overall cost of borrowing.

What credit score is needed for a personal loan in South Carolina?

Credit score requirements can vary by lender, but a score of 600 or higher should put you in solid standing for a personal loan. Some lenders may accept a FICO score as low as 300—the lowest possible—but it typically comes with higher interest rates. Lending criteria differ between lenders, so check with each lender to know its specific credit score requirement.

What is the easiest place to get a personal loan in South Carolina?

The ease of getting a personal loan can vary by lender. However, banks and credit unions have traditionally been the go-to sources for personal loans. Many people in South Carolina are turning to online lenders due to their easy application process and quick approval times. Before deciding, it’s essential to research and compare each option for the best fit for your financial needs.

Recap: Best online personal loans in South Carolina

LenderAPR
Credible7.49%35.99%
LightStream7.49%25.49%
SoFi8.99% – 29.49%
Upgrade8.49%35.99%