It should really have its own law: An unexpected expense tends to pop up when we can least afford it. Or, that “0% for 6 months” promotional period passes a lot quicker than you expected. For some, a personal loan is a solution to alleviate financial strain. Read our guide for the best personal loan offers.
The Best Personal Loans
A personal loan is an attractive option for borrowers looking to consolidate their credit card debt to 1 payment with a lower interest rate. It is also an alternative to high-interest credit cards to pay for surprise medical bills or unexpected repairs.
Working on your credit? A personal loan can lower your credit utilization, boosting your FICO score. Personal loans get used to refinance homes and fund value-increasing home improvements. The following are our recommendations.
Best for Home Improvement Loans: Upgrade
Upgrade is a multi-faceted financial platform that offers a wide range of financial products from personal loans to checking or savings accounts and credit cards. When you are seeking a personal loan from Upgrade, you can borrow up to $50,000 and select a loan term between 24 and 84 months. Loans may be secured or unsecured, depending on the state where you live and program for which you qualify.
With low minimum requirements and a streamlined application process, you can get started with Upgrade right away to get a fixed rate loan that makes your payments predictable and allows you to seize control of your finances.
- The platform helps you get started quickly and is very straightforward about local requirements
- You can keep all your money on this platform because it allows you to do more than take out loans
- Certain consumers may need larger loan amounts, depending on the situation
Best for No Origination Fees: SoFi
- securely through SoFi Personal Loans's websiteBest For:No origination fees
The following payment example depicts the APR, monthly payment and total payments made during the life of a personal loan with a single disbursement. All loan rates below are shown with the autopay discount (0.25%) and direct deposit discount (0.25%). The monthly payment for a $30,000 loan with a 60-month term and a fixed annual percentage rate (APR) between 12.95% – 25.03% would be $681.82 – $881.07 in monthly payments, with total payments between $40,909.47 – $52,864.05. Your actual interest rate may be different than the loan interest rates in these examples and will be based on term of loan, your financial history, and other factors, including your cosigner’s (if any) financial history. Lowest rates reserved for the most creditworthy borrowers. See SoFi.com/eligibility for details.
Fixed rates from 8.99% APR to 25.81% APR reflect the 0.25% autopay interest rate discount and a 0.25% direct deposit interest rate discount. SoFi rate ranges are current as of 05/19/23 and are subject to change without notice. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. Lowest rates reserved for the most creditworthy borrowers. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed and will depend on the term you select, evaluation of your creditworthiness, income, and a variety of other factors.
Loan amounts range from $5,000– $100,000. The APR is the cost of credit as a yearly rate and reflects both your interest rate and an origination fee of 0%-6%, which will be deducted from any loan proceeds you receive.
Autopay: 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. Autopay is not required to receive a loan from SoFi.
Direct Deposit Discount: To be eligible to potentially receive an additional (0.25%) interest rate reduction for setting up direct deposit with a SoFi Checking and Savings account offered by SoFi Bank, N.A. or eligible cash management account offered by SoFi Securities, LLC (“Direct Deposit Account”), you must have an open Direct Deposit Account within 30 days of the funding of your Loan. Once eligible, you will receive this discount during periods in which you have enabled payroll direct deposits of at least $1,000/month to a Direct Deposit Account in accordance with SoFi’s reasonable procedures and requirements to be determined at SoFi’s sole discretion. This discount will be lost during periods in which SoFi determines you have turned off direct deposits to your Direct Deposit Account. You are not required to enroll in direct deposits to receive a Loan.
Sofi has long prided itself on helping consumers refinance debt, get out of debt and manage their finances in an all-in-one setup. When you look for personal loans through SoFi, you can choose terms from 2 to 7 years, pay no late fees, origination fees, etc.
SoFi also makes personal loans easy with:
- A powerful mobile app
- Unemployment protection
- No collateral required
- U.S.-based customer service associates
You don’t need to become a member to relish in some of the benefits that target borrowers, and you can open other accounts with SoFi at any time. Because you’re not paying fees, you have more money to pursue other financial goals.
- SoFi allows you to handle all your financial needs in one place
- You can also go back to SoFi for refinancing
- You might not get the loan terms that you were looking for
- Sometimes, rates will be higher than expected
Best for Small Loans for Medical Professionals: Doc2Doc Lending
Doc2Doc Lending provides personal loans to physicians at competitive rates. You can apply online right now to get loans that were made by doctors for doctors. Plus, you can learn more about the platform’s proprietary algorithm and how it helps you.
Plus, several medical professionals can apply:
- And many more
And, you can choose from a few loan types, including:
- In-practice loans
- In-training loans
- J-1 visa loans
- The range of loans is both robust and sophisticated
- The online application is easy to manage and simple for you or your staff to handle
- Just because this platform is meant for medical professionals, you may not be approved
Best for Credit Card Consolidation: Happy Money
Happy Money is meant to help pay off credit cards, which could be an amazing thing for anyone who would like to reduce their debt. With competitive rates, a range of loan terms and flexible lending options, you can choose the amount of money you need so that you can get a handle on your finances.
You will find that a loan like this is doubly effective because it can consolidate your credit card debt while you free up money to use for vacations, expenses, emergencies, etc. Think of this as a personal loan that frees up your budget instead of giving you quick cash.
- This platform helps you either consolidate debt or borrow money for unexpected expenses, making it quite versatile
- The platform tends to be flexible when you are approved
- This platform may not offer a rate that’s low enough for your needs
Best for Those With an Excellent Credit Score: Marcus
Marcus is the personal banking arm of Goldman Sachs, and it offers you the opportunity to obtain a personal loan for everyone, with terms and values that suit most situations. You can even get an APR discount just for setting up autopay.
Marcus also offers:
- No fee, unsecured loans
- A soft credit check to pre-qualify
- Customer support availability every day of the week
Origination fees are competitive, but it can take a little time to get your loan funded. There are several repayment plans to choose from, no collateral is needed and you can even defer a payment after making your first year’s worth of payments on-time.
- As the platform is tied to a massive investment bank, you can have full confidence that it offers the best options for you
- You can select from a range of terms so that you can effectively customize your loan
- Even though this platform is very user-friendly, you may not get the rate or terms you’re looking for
Personal Loan Considerations
|Often have lower interest rates than credit cards||Fixed payment terms|
|1 monthly payment with fixed interest rates||Paying off the loan early can cost you|
|Non-revolving credit line||Interest may be higher than credit cards for borrowers with poor credit|
|Good credit or collateral not always required||Origination fees must be paid upon delivery of the loan|
|Varied available loan amounts for varied uses||Must pay back the loan within the given time frame or face potential consequences|
Look out for scammers or predatory lenders online. If something seems too good to be true or the lenders are willing to extend credit to you on dodgy terms, steer away.
Personal Loans vs. Credit Cards
Personal loans provide a fixed-amount loan with a fixed payment period and a fixed-interest rate. Personal loans often (but not always) have a lower interest rate than credit cards.
Credit cards often have a variable interest rate and are a revolving line of credit, meaning you can continue to use credit as you pay for it. If you use credit wisely and need a chunk of money fast, a personal loan may be best for you. If you don't want to risk paying off a loan early or late, or want a continuous line of credit, a credit card is best.
Personal Loans: Overview
Personal loans are a viable replacement for standard credit lines. If you are comfortable with rigid investments terms, need cash in the short term or want to streamline your debt into one payment, a personal loan may be the smartest way to increase your credit limit.
Frequently Asked Questions
What happens if I can’t repay my personal loan on time?
If you pay late (or early), you can face fees and late payment charges. If collateral secures the loan, your collateral might get seized. If you are unsure if you will be able to pay on time, check out loans with longer installment terms or a credit card.
How much can I expect to get, and when?
Most loans show up in your account via an automated clearing house (ACH) funds transfer within 4 to 5 days. The amount you are approved for depends on where you live, your credit history and the offer by the lender.