Best Personal Loans

Compare the best personal loans to find the right option for you

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Personal loans let you borrow money to consolidate debt, fund home improvements, pay for major events, and do many other things. These unsecured loans enable you to get cash without pledging collateral.

Hundreds of lenders offer personal loans, and we've helped you narrow down your choices by reviewing several lenders to find the best personal loans with transparent fees and competitive rates. We looked for lenders that cater to applicants with a variety of credit scores, too, so you can borrow from a company that fits your finances. Finally, we chose personal loan lenders that are easy to work with and offer streamlined online processes. 

Best Personal Loans of May 2022

Best for Excellent Credit : LightStream


LightStream

LightStream

  • APR range: 3.99% to 19.99% (with autopay)
  • Recommended credit score: 680+
  • Loan range: $5,000 to $100,000
Why We Chose It

For borrowers with excellent credit, LightStream offers competitive loan options with attractive rates and lengthy repayment terms.

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Low rates available for borrowers with excellent credit

  • Quick loan disbursal

  • No origination fees

Cons
  • Limited to borrowers with good or excellent credit

  • $5,000 loan minimum

Overview

If you have a high credit score, LightStream may be an excellent choice for a personal loan. It charges relatively low rates and no origination fees.

Lightstream offers loans from $5,000 to $100,000. You can take as long as 84 months (144 months for home improvement loans) to repay eligible loans of $25,000 or more, which may keep monthly payments low. However, the longer you stretch out a loan, the more interest you pay. If you have the cash flow, it may be best to pay down your debt quickly.

LightStream offers a unique loan experience guarantee, too: If you’re not completely satisfied with your borrowing experience, Lightstream will give you $100.

Read the full review: LightStream Personal Loans

Best for Fast Funding : Rocket Loans


Rocket Loans
  • APR range: 6.72% to 29.99%
  • Recommended credit score: 640+
  • Loan range: $2,000 to $45,000
Why We Chose It

If you need a loan to cover an emergency expense, Rocket Loans' fast funding time makes it a top contender.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Potential for same-day funding

  • Instant decision in some cases

  • Loans for as little as $2,000

Cons
  • Potentially high interest costs

  • Only three- or five-year repayment terms

Overview

Rocket Loans offers quick funding for personal loans. If you’re facing an unexpected expense like a broken water heater or a dog needing surgery, you don’t have much time to wait for loan approval and disbursal. With Rocket Loans, you could get up to $45,000 on the same day you apply.

Rocket Loans charges origination fees ranging from 1% to 6% of your loan, which the lender deducts from your balance before sending the loan proceeds to you. For example, suppose you were to borrow $10,000 to pay for home improvements. With a 6% origination fee, you’d owe $600. Rocket Loans would deduct that fee from the $10,000 you borrowed, so you’d actually receive $9,400 in your account.

You can potentially pay high interest rates with Rocket Loans, too. Depending on your credit score, income, and other criteria, the rate could be as low as 6.72% when you sign up for autopay, or as high as 29.99%.

Read the full review: Rocket Loans Personal Loans

Best for Fair Credit : Upstart


Upstart
  • APR range: 3.22% to 35.99%
  • Recommended credit score: 600+
  • Loan range: $1,000 to $50,000
Why We Chose It

Unlike some competitors that require credit scores of 680, Upstart may work with borrowers who have credit scores as low as 600.

Pros & Cons
What We Like
  • May approve fair-credit borrowers

  • Flexible loan amounts, depending on where you live

  • Quick loan disbursal

What We Don't Like
  • Only two options for repayment terms

  • Potentially high origination and interest charges

  • Not available everywhere

Overview

Not everyone has excellent credit. With Upstart, you may be able to qualify for a loan with a credit score as low as 600. That score would put you in the “fair” range of a FICO score. For borrowers who are struggling to find a loan, Upstart might be a smart solution.

The company allows you to borrow from $1,000 to $50,000 with repayment terms of three or five years, though borrowing minimums vary by state. Upstart charges an origination fee for some borrowers, and you might pay as much as 8% of your funding amount. Typical rates range from 3.22% to 35.99% APR.

Upstart does not lend to Iowa or West Virginia residents. Minimum amounts are also higher in some states: $3,100 in Georgia, $5,100 in New Mexico, $6,000 in Ohio, and $7,000 in Massachusetts.

Read the full review: Upstart Personal Loans

Notes: Your loan amount will be determined based on your credit, income, and certain other information provided in your application. Not all applicants will qualify for the full amount.
If you accept your offer by 5 p.m. EST (not including weekends or holidays), you will receive your funds the next business day. Proceeds used to fund education-related expenses are subject to a three-business-day waiting period between acceptance and funding, in accordance with federal law.
The full range of available rates varies by state. The average five-year loan offered across all lenders using the Upstart platform will have an APR of 21.70% and 60 monthly payments of $24.84 per $1,000 borrowed. There is no down payment and no prepayment penalty. Average APR is calculated based on three-year rates offered in the last month. Your APR will be determined based on your credit, income, and certain other information provided in your application. Not all applicants will be approved.

Best With Unemployment Protection : SoFi


SoFi
  • APR range: 6.99% to 22.28%
  • Recommended credit score: 680+
  • Loan range: $5,000 to $100,000
Why We Chose It

SoFi offers competitive rates on its personal loans, but its unique unemployment protection feature makes it stand out among competitors.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • No origination fees

  • Loans up to $100,000

  • Variable- and fixed-rate options

Cons
  • $5,000 loan minimum

  • Potentially slower funding than other lenders

Overview

SoFi offers fixed- and variable-rate personal loans from $5,000 to $100,000. Loan terms can be as long as seven years, and SoFi offers you a lower APR if you set up automatic payments (rates range from 6.99% to 22.28% with autopay). However, SoFi may be (relatively) slow to disburse your loan. Whereas other lenders offer same-day or next-day funding, SoFi usually disburses funds within a few days.

SoFi personal loans have a unique perk: unemployment protection. If you lose your job through no fault of your own, you can apply for loan forbearance. If approved, you can postpone making payments in three-month increments for up to 12 months total. While interest continues to accrue on the loan during that period, having the ability to postpone payments can give you the time you need to get back on your feet.

Read the full review: SoFi Personal Loans

Best for Small Loans : LendingClub


LendingClub

 LendingClub

  • APR range: 7.04% to 35.89%
  • Recommended credit score: 600+
  • Loan range: $1,000 to $40,000
Why We Chose It

LendingClub offers loans in amounts as small as $1,000 or as large as $40,000

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Low minimum credit score requirement

  • Offers natural disaster support

Cons
  • Potentially high interest rate

  • Funding may take four or more days

Overview

Some lenders have fairly high minimums, requiring you to borrow several thousand dollars. If you need a smaller amount, it may be difficult to find a lender willing to work with you, and you may feel that you have to borrow more just to get the cash you need. 

With LendingClub, you can borrow as little as $1,000 to pay for almost anything you want—car repairs, debt consolidation, and more. If you have less-than-perfect credit and need to shop among lenders, LendingClub may be worth a look. However, it’s important to know that LendingClub does not currently offer loans to Iowa or U.S. territories residents. Money typically is available in two to four days, but it can take longer in some circumstances.

LendingClub charges an origination fee that ranges from 3% to 6% of your loan amount. That fee comes out of the total loan balance and reduces the amount that goes into your bank account, so be sure to borrow enough to cover the fee and still have enough for whatever you need the loan for. Rates range from 8.05% to 35.89% APR, and repayment terms up to 60 months are available. One of the perks the company offers is delay of payments with no additional interest charge in case you've been impacted by a natural disaster.

If you have excellent credit, it's wise to compare offers from several lenders before borrowing with Lending Club. Lending Club's lowest rates are not as low as those of some other lenders, and all borrowers pay an origination fee.

Read the full review: Lending Club Personal Loans

Best Loan Alternative : Earnin


Earnin
  • APR range: Doesn't charge interest
  • Recommended credit score: N/A
  • Loan range: Up to $100/day
Why We Chose It

While it's different from a traditional loan, an Earnin loan lets you get cash if you're in a pinch—and it doesn't charge interest.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Same-day funding available

  • No fees or interest charges

Cons
  • Regular pay schedule with earnings directly deposited

  • Checking account deposits only

Overview

If you need a small cash injection to tide you over until your next payday, you may be tempted to use a payday loan or car title loan, but those types of debt can be extremely expensive and can put you into a dangerous debt spiral. 

Earnin might be a reasonable alternative. With Earnin, you can access funds based on hours you’ve worked at your job but haven’t yet been paid for. There are no fees, interest charges, or hidden costs, and you can cash out up to $100 per day. After your employer deposits funds into your account on payday, Earnin subtracts the amount you cashed out earlier.

You simply pay Earnin what you think is fair as a “tip”—it’s not required, and you could pay $0 if you wanted. Earnin asks you to pay what you can for the service to help cover the other borrowers who might be unable to pay anything. It’s a sort of community-driven fee system.

While Earnin can be helpful, you can only access small sums of money at a time. Setting up can be cumbersome and requires a check and a regular pay schedule with direct deposit. If you’re facing a bigger emergency—like an expensive car repair—you may need to find another source of money to pay for it.

Read the full review: Earnin Personal Loans

Final Verdict

Personal loans can be helpful for covering planned and emergency expenses, including home and car repairs, medical bills, and other large costs. But it's important to compare rates and terms because there are many loan options out there. These lenders offer competitive rates, a range of loan amounts, and some unique features that set them apart from competitors. If you're shopping for a loan, this list is a good place to start.

Compare Lenders

Lender Fixed APR Minimum Loan Amount Maximum Loan Amount Terms Recommended Credit Score
LightStream
Best for Excellent Credit
3.99%-19.99% with autopay* $5,000 $100,000 24-144 months* 680+
Rocket Loans
Best for Fast Funding
6.72%-29.99% with autopay $2,000 $45,000 36 or 60 months 640+
Upstart
Best for Fair Credit
3.22%-35.99% $1,000 $50,000 36 or 60 months 600+
SoFi
Best With Unemployment Protection
6.99%-22.28% with autopay $5,000 $100,000 24-84 months 680+
LendingClub
Best for Small Loans
7.04%-35.89% $1,000 $40,000 36-60 months 600+
Earnin
Best Loan Alternative
No interest charged Up to $100 per day Up to $100 per day Until your scheduled payday No credit check required

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is a Personal Loan?

You qualify for personal loans primarily based on your credit history and income. You typically do not need to pledge collateral to get approved for a personal loan, so you don’t necessarily need assets. As a result, you receive funds that you can use for almost anything. The funds aren’t tied to a home or auto purchase, for example.

What Credit Score Do You Need for a Personal Loan?

Lenders choose what types of borrowers they want to work with, and there’s no single credit score required for a personal loan. That’s why it’s important to find a lender that works with people like you. If you have less-than-perfect credit, look for lenders who focus on that market. If you happen to know your credit score, you can always contact lenders and ask them whether you’re a good fit for their products.

When Is It a Good Idea to Get a Personal Loan?

A personal loan can provide funds for just about anything. It may make sense to use a personal loan whenever you need to borrow and want to keep costs low. Still, there’s always a cost to borrow money, so you need to decide whether it’s wise to borrow at all.

Compare rates and fees available to you from a variety of sources, including personal loans and credit cards. Credit cards may have low promotional rates, but you need to accurately predict how quickly you’ll pay off your debt. If you’re not confident you'll be able to pay off your balance before the promo rate expires, a personal loan with a lower fixed rate might be a better option.

Should You Use a Personal Loan to Pay Off Debt?

Personal loans can be useful for consolidating and paying off debt. If you have high-cost debts (such as those on credit cards or payday loans), it could make sense to pay off those balances with a personal loan with a low, fixed interest rate. Just make sure you calculate your borrowing costs, including the amount you'll pay for an origination fee, to determine if a personal loan makes sense for consolidating your debt.

How We Chose the Best Personal Loans

Our writers spent hours researching loan options from more than 50 different lenders. Recommendations are based on personal loan companies offering a combination of good interest rates, loan terms, low fees, loan amounts, speed of funding, and more. These loan recommendations take into account that all borrowers have different needs and financial situations that may require loans that meet various priorities. Not every recommendation is right for every borrower, so consider all of your options before applying.

*Your loan terms, including APR, may differ based on loan purpose, amount, term length, and your credit profile. Excellent credit is required to qualify for lowest rates. Rate is quoted with AutoPay discount. AutoPay discount is only available prior to loan funding. Rates without AutoPay are 0.50% points 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 5.95% APR with a term of three years would result in 36 monthly payments of $303.99.

Article Sources

  1. Lightstream. "Home Improvement Loans." Accessed Dec. 21, 2021.

  2. Rocket Loans. "FAQ: Our Personal Loan." Accessed Dec. 21, 2021.

  3. Rocket Loans. "Rates and Fees." Accessed Dec. 21, 2021.

  4. Upstart. "How Much Can I Borrow?" Accessed Dec. 21, 2021.

  5. Upstart. "What Fees Am I Charged?" Accessed Dec. 21, 2021.

  6. Upstart. "Get a Smarter Loan." Accessed Dec. 21, 2021.

  7. Upstart. "Am I eligible to Apply For a Loan?" Accessed Dec. 21, 2021.

  8. Upstart. "When and How Do I Receive My Loan Funds?" Accessed Dec. 21, 2021.

  9. SoFi. "Personal Loans." Accessed Dec. 21, 2021.

  10. SoFi. "Frequently Asked Questions." Accessed Dec. 21, 2021.

  11. LendingClub. "Personal Loans Up to $40,000." Accessed Dec. 21, 2021.

  12. LendingClub. "Frequently Asked Questions." Accessed Dec. 21, 2021.

  13. LendingClub. "Personal Loans Rates & Fees." Accessed Dec. 21, 2021.

  14. LendingClub. "Natural Disaster Support." Accessed Dec. 21, 2021.

  15. Earnin. "Cash Out." Accessed Dec. 21, 2021.

  16. Earnin. "Does Earnin Charge Fees or Interest?" Accessed Dec. 21, 2021.