Best Personal Loans in California

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Contributor, Benzinga
September 25, 2023

Need to take out a personal loan in California? Lenders in the Golden State can offer you loans to invest in big purchases or facilitate credit card debt consolidation. Check out Benzinga’s guide to the best personal loans in California to find the right loan and lender for you.

The Best Personal Loans in California

California’s best personal loans can connect you with the ready cash that you need, and you can use any of these platforms to take back control of your finances.

Best for Comparing Lenders: Credible

  • Best For:
    Comparing lenders
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    Credible Operations, Inc. NMLS# 1681276

    Credible. Not available in all states.

    320 Blackwell Street Suite200 Durham, NC 27701

    Credible Operations, Inc. NMLS# 1681276, “Credible.” Not available in all states. 

    All bonus payments are by gift card. See terms

    Prequalified rates are based on the information you provide and a soft credit inquiry. Receiving prequalified rates does not guarantee that the Lender will extend you an offer of credit. You are not yet approved for a loan or a specific rate. All credit decisions, including loan approval, if any, are determined by Lenders, in their sole discretion. Rates and terms are subject to change without notice. Rates from Lenders may differ from prequalified rates due to factors which may include, but are not limited to: (i) changes in your personal credit circumstances; (ii) additional information in your hard credit pull and/or additional information you provide (or are unable to provide) to the Lender during the underwriting process; and/or (iii) changes in APRs (e.g., an increase in the rate index between the time of prequalification and the time of application or loan closing. (Or, if the loan option is a variable rate loan, then the interest rate index used to set the APR is subject to increases or decreases at any time). Lenders reserve the right to change or withdraw the prequalified rates at any time.

    Won’t impact your credit score DISCLOSURE: (May be in the footer, a tooltip, or a popup the user has to click on or scroll to see)

    Requesting prequalified rates on Credible is free and doesn’t affect your credit score. However, applying for or closing a loan will involve a hard credit pull that impacts your credit score and closing a loan will result in costs to you.

    “We accept advertising compensation from companies that appear on this site, which impacts the location and order in which brands (and/or their products) are presented, and also impacts the score that is assigned to it. Company lists on this page DO NOT imply endorsement. We do not feature all providers on the market.

    We receive compensation from the companies below if you click on a link or purchase a product. Amount of compensation may impact the ranking or placement of a particular product. Not all available financial products and offers from all financial institutions have been reviewed by this website. This content is not provided by Credible or any of the Providers on the Credible website. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed here are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by Credible.

Credible’s user-friendly website compares the largest range of reputable personal loans offered by online lenders. You get personalized prequalified rates from partner lenders that you can review at your leisure. 

These lenders can offer you terms from 1 to 7 years, and loan amounts up to $100,000. Miscellaneous fees attached to these loans do vary, so make sure to take that into account when comparing APR. 


  • Credible works quickly to give you new loan options
  • You can get a longer loan term than with most competitors


  • Though rates are prequalified from a range of partners, there’s no guarantee you will get the best rate possible
  • You may want to borrow more than is available

Best for No Origination Fees: SoFi

  • securely through SoFi Personal Loans's website
    securely through SoFi Personal Loans's website
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    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 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’s goal is to work with you with the same high standards as an everyday bank, but give you the flexibility of reaching your financial goals according to your own unique needs in such a modernized world. 

SoFi can offer you personal loans with low interest rates and fixed monthly payments in order to conquer credit card debt or that big new personal investment you’ve been waiting for. With no late fees, origination fees or prepayment penalties with SoFi, personal lending couldn’t be much easier. 

Aside from the flexibly broad range of terms from 2 to 7 years, SoFi mainly takes your credit into consideration to offer the best APR and principal amount for your next personal loan. SoFi also provides helpful financial advice, members-only events and the highest quality referrals to other financial services. These personal loans are not permitted for funding post-secondary education, investments, business transactions or real estate.  


  • Longer loan durations will help you consolidate even more debt or handle massive expenses
  • You can use these loans for investments, if you so choose
  • You could move all your finances under this umbrella


  • SoFi’s platform could prove to be confusing for some people who are just hunting for a loan

Best for 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 in California, with terms and values that suit most situations, for any situation and with quick funding. 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. This is a great way to access cash, but you can also use it as a way to get started with Marcus and move all your money to one place.


  • Daily customer service ensures that you can manage your loan in any situation, especially when you’re dealing with payments or funds withdrawals
  • Marcus’ platform is robust enough that you can do many other things with your finances in this one place


  • These loans are unsecured without fees, but you may not find a loan that rises to the level you require

Best for Credit Card Consolidation: Payoff by Happy Money

The Payoff Loan from Happy Money is meant to help pay off credit cards, which could be an amazing thing for California residents. 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.

California residents 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.


  • Free use of funds allows you to create a budget and spend the funds in a way that works for you
  • You can check your loans on the site and see what sort of loan is best for you


  • You may not have the option to borrow enough money to handle all your debts

Best for Joint Loans: Prosper

Prosper personal loans are designed to be as easy as possible for you to manage. You can select how much you need, look at the best uses for these loans and check your rate without affecting your credit. You can choose a 3 or 5-year term, there are not prepayment penalties and then you can get your loan funded right away. This is among the simplest options for California residents, and it ensures that you can manage emergencies, unexpected expenses, home improvements, etc.


  • The platform is extremely simple, which prevents paralysis of choice for the user
  • This platform allows for soft credit checks so that you can see the rates you will get from day to day


  • You can only choose between 3 and 5-year loans

Personal Loan Considerations

There are several considerations to keep in mind when comparing personal loans to find your next lender. It’s important to make sure an online independent lender’s services are valid by using the Better Business Bureau or the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Taking on any kind of loan or debt is a decision that can impact the future of your financial wellness. Securing a personal loan and consistently paying it back on time will help you build good credit. Good credit also makes it easier to get loans when you need them in the future. 

Should you choose an unsecured loan or a secured loan? A lender can decide based on your credit score and income. Secured loans usually require financial collateral, such as savings, to make sure you make payments over the course of the term. If you fail to pay the loan back on time, the lending institution is entitled to your assets. Every loan contract is different, so make sure you read yours carefully to compare restrictions and consequences. 

Peer-to-peer lending or a home equity loan are other options if you think a personal loan isn’t right for your situation. 

If you send multiple applications for investors to review, peer-to-peer lending gives you much room to decide payment terms and interest rates with an interested investor. However, this process does take some more time than signing on a personal loan from a traditional lender. 

Home equity loans allow you to take the equity you’ve accumulated on your home and give yourself some quick funding, usually for a renovation project. The APR for these options are lower than a personal loan while still giving you similar flexibility to fit your needs. 

Personal Loans vs. Credit Cards

Though the concept of a credit card and a personal loan overlap, deciding on the option that works for you depends on: 

  • The amount of funds you hope to use
  • The amount of time you want to be paying off the debt
  • The number of expenses you intend to pay for

Credit cards come with rates that can change over time, and you cannot withdraw funds as cash like personal loans. Credit cards are convenient for habitual smaller expenses and can boost low credit when used responsibly. But credit cards notably have sky high interest rates that can increase over the course of their terms. Even “fixed” rates on these cards can increase due to late payments or other penalties.   

Personal loans are best for larger purchases. You can pay off the amount over a longer term, and they help to build good credit while maintaining a fixed interest rate. Personal loans generally have lower interest rates than credit cards, which is why many people use them to pay off large amounts of credit card debt. 

Find a Personal Loan Option in California

Whether you choose a bank, credit union or independent online lender for your next purchase or for debt consolidation, the Golden State has a great range of personal lending options to fit your needs.

Frequently Asked Questions


What happens if I can’t repay my personal loan on time?


It’s critical to talk with your lender about not being able to make payments before they are due so you can avoid mounting fees and negatively impacting your credit score. Lenders will most likely work with you and find a solution to help you avoid getting further behind on your payments.


How does pre-approval work for a personal loan?


When you want to see if you qualify for a loan, ask the lender if it can offer you a preliminary loan application. If that option is available, fill out the application and let the lender review it. These applications  examine details such as your credit score and income to determine if you qualify for a specific loan amount or APR.