5 Best Personal Loans of 2024

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Contributor, Benzinga
April 3, 2024

Get the funding you need with the best personal loans this year! Compare our top picks to find the perfect fit for your financial needs.

When you find yourself in need of some extra cash, turning to a personal loan may be a good option. Personal loans are a type of installment loan that can be used for various purposes, such as debt consolidation, home improvements or unexpected expenses. To help you navigate the world of personal loans, we’ve put together a list of some of the best personal loans available on the market today!

Quick Look: The Best Personal Loans

  • Best for Home Improvement Loans: Upgrade
  • Best for Low Credit Scores: Upstart
  • Best for Credit Card Debt Consolidation: Happy Money
  • Best for Fair to Excellent Credit: Best Egg: Best Egg
  • Best for No Origination Fees: SoFi

Best Personal Loans

Here are some of the top lenders to take out a loan this year. Compare rates, fees and more to find the best personal loan to meet your financial needs.

1. 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.

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • Certain consumers may need larger loan amounts, depending on the situation

2. Best for Low Credit Scores: Upstart

It can be quite challenging to secure a personal loan if you have a low credit score. Upstart is a lending platform that specializes in providing personal loans to individuals with low credit scores or no credit history. It takes into account factors beyond just your credit score. They consider your education, job history and other relevant data to assess your creditworthiness.

With Upstart you can get a personal loan from $1,000 to $50,000. It offers fixed terms (3 or 5 years) and fixed rates of 7.8% - 35.99% APR, based on certain criteria.

Pros

  • Available for individuals with limited credit history
  • Flexible repayment options
  • No prepayment fees

Cons

  • Higher interest rates compared to established lenders
  • Origination fees may apply

3. 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.

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • This platform may not offer a rate that’s low enough for your needs

4. Best for Fair to Excellent Credit: Best Egg: Best Egg

Best Egg has been providing personal loan for any financial need, whether it's for refinancing, debt consolidation, major purchases or home improvements. While their loan terms and values may be more limited compared to other brands, they offer excellent customer service and cater to those with fair to excellent credit. Loan amounts ranges from $2,000–$35,000. Minimum and maximum limits can vary by state.

Pros

  • Offers competitive interest rates for borrowers with good credit
  • Funds can be deposited into your account within a few business days

Cons

  • There is a one-time origination fee and other costs associated with the loan

5. Best for No Origination Fees: SoFi

  • SoFi Personal Loans
    Best For:
    No origination fees
    securely through SoFi Personal Loans's website

    Fixed rates from 8.99% APR to 29.99% 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 02/06/2024 and are subject to change without notice. The average of SoFi Personal Loans funded in 2022 was around $30K. 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%-7%, 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
    • Benefits for this is only granted if conditions are met such as how the job was lost and whether you are in good standing with your loan at the time of request. Interests may continue to accrue.
  • 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.

Pros

  • SoFi allows you to handle all your financial needs in one place
  • You can also go back to SoFi for refinancing

Cons

  • You might not get the loan terms that you were looking for
  • Sometimes, rates will be higher than expected

Common Reasons to Get a Personal Loan

Personal loans are a versatile financial product that can be used for a variety of purposes. From consolidating debt to funding a major purchase, the possibilities are endless. Here are some common uses for personal loans:

  • Debt consolidation: By taking out a personal loan with a lower interest rate than your existing debts, you can consolidate multiple payments into one, making it easier to manage your finances.
  • Home renovations: Whether you're looking to update your kitchen, add a new bathroom or make other improvements to your home, a personal loan can provide the funds you need to make your dream renovations a reality.
  • Emergency expenses: Unexpected expenses can arise at any time, from medical bills to car repairs. A personal loan can provide the financial cushion you need to cover these unexpected costs.
  • Major purchases: Whether you're looking to buy a new car, finance a wedding or take a dream vacation, a personal loan can provide the funds you need to make these major purchases.
  • Education expenses: Personal loans can also be used to cover education expenses, such as tuition, books and housing. Whether you're pursuing a degree or taking a professional development course, a personal loan can help you achieve your educational goals.
  • Business start-up costs: If you're looking to start a new business or grow your existing business, a personal loan can provide the initial capital you need to get your venture off the ground.

Pros and Cons of Personal Loans

Understanding the benefits and drawbacks of personal loans can empower you to make the best financial choices for your needs and goals.

Pros

  • Often have lower interest rates than credit cards
  • 1 monthly payment with fixed interest rates
  • Non-revolving credit line
  • Good credit or collateral not always required
  • Varied available loan amounts for varied uses

Cons

  • Fixed payment terms
  • Paying off the loan early can cost you
  • Interest may be higher than credit cards for borrowers with poor credit
  • Origination fees must be paid upon delivery of the loan
  • 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.

How to Compare Personal Loans

Here are some factors to consider when comparing personal loans:

  • Interest rates: A lower interest rate means you’ll pay less in interest over the life of the loan, saving you money in the long run.
  • Fees: Some lenders may charge fees for various reasons such as origination, late payments, or early repayment. Before agreeing to a loan, it is important to carefully read and understand all the fees involved.
  • Loan Terms: Loan terms determine the length of time you have to repay the loan, with shorter terms having higher monthly payments and lower interest costs overall, and longer terms having lower monthly payments but higher overall interest costs. Consider your financial situation when choosing a loan term.
  • Repayment Options: Some lenders provide flexible repayment options, like bi-weekly payments or automatic withdrawals, so be sure to select one that fits your budget and financial objectives.
  • Credit Requirements: Different lenders have varying credit score requirements for personal loans, with lower credit scores potentially leading to limited options or higher interest rates. It is important to verify the credit requirements before applying.
  • Customer Service: When choosing a lender, it is important to prioritize good customer service to ensure they are responsive and helpful throughout the loan process.
  • Reputation: Do your research and read reviews of the lender before applying for a personal loan. Look for a lender with a good reputation and positive customer feedback.

How to Get a Personal Loan

Lenders have different application processes and eligibility requirements for personal loans, but many follow a similar approach for applying. Here's a quick guide on how to secure a personal loan:

1. Check your credit score: Before applying for a personal loan, it is essential to know your financial situation, including your credit score. Your credit score will impact the interest rate and terms of the loan you can get. You can check your credit score for free on websites like Credit Karma or Annual Credit Report.

2. Compare lenders: There are various options for getting personal loans, including banks, credit unions, online lenders and peer-to-peer platforms. It is important to compare rates and terms to find the best option for your needs.

3. Gather necessary documents: When applying for a personal loan, be prepared to provide proof of income, employment verification, identification, and any other documents required by the lender to streamline the process.

4. Apply for the loan: Once you've chosen a lender, you can begin the application process. This can often be done online, with some lenders providing instant approval decisions. Be prepared to provide personal and financial information during the application process.

Before accepting a personal loan offer, carefully review the terms and conditions, including interest rates, loan amount, repayment schedule, and fees. If approved, the lender will deposit funds directly into your bank account. Make sure to make payments on time to avoid additional fees, negative impact on credit score and potential legal action.

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. With the right personal loan, you can get the financial assistance you need while staying on track with your budget.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q

Which company is best for personal loan?

A

The best company for a personal loan will vary depending on individual circumstances, such as credit score, income and loan amount needed. It is recommended to compare offers from multiple lenders and research their interest rates, fees and customer reviews to find the best fit for your personal financial situation. Some popular personal loan companies include SoFi, Upgrade and Upstart. First Premier Lending and PersonalLoans are also some good options according to Reddit readers.

Q

What type of personal loan is easiest to get approved for?

A

The easiest type of personal loan to get approved for is usually a secured personal loan, where the borrower puts up collateral such as a car or savings account to secure the loan. This reduces the lender’s risk, making it more likely for the borrower to be approved.

Q

How much would a $5000 personal loan cost a month?

A

The cost of a $5000 personal loan would depend on various factors such as the interest rate, loan term and any additional fees. It’s important to shop around and compare different loan offers to find the best terms that fit your financial situation.