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.
Top Ranked Personal Loans:
- Easiest Online Application: Credible
- Best for Bad Credit: BadCreditLoans.com
- Best for Paying Off Your Credit Cards: Payoff
- Best for Students: BoroCash
- Best for Larger Personal Loans: Smarter Loan
Best Personal Loans Right Now
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.
1. Easiest Online Application: Credible
If you want a no-hassle loan application portal, check out Credible. Boasting a pleasant, sleek website, the Credible homepage presents the type of loans available and asks you to select your desired loan type. Once you select, the site prompts you to answer a handful of questions and the creation of a user account in less than 2 minutes.
Aside from personal loans, Credible offers student loans, mortgages (or refinancing for either!) and credit card comparison. Credible will score points with borrowers who prefer well-designed platforms focused on user-friendliness.
Honorable mention: best FAQ section. It answers all the usual questions for every loan type and walks you through difficult jargon using simple language. Question not answered? There’s a way to contact Credible with your concerns at the bottom of each section.
2. Best for Bad Credit: BadCreditLoans.com
BadCreditLoans.com connects borrowers with problematic credit histories to lenders willing to work with it. Available lending options aside from personal loans include auto loans, student loans, home loans, business loans and mortgages.
Think of it as the everyman’s online lending service with a few standard requirements: applicants must be at least 18 years old, have a checking account, have provable income and have a valid email address. The process to apply takes less than 5 minutes on average.
If you’re hesitant to apply for a loan with bad credit and need funds fast, BadCreditLenders.com is a safe option to connect with creditors willing to work with you.
3. Best for Paying Off Your Credit Cards: Payoff
If you’d rather simplify your credit card debt into 1 monthly payment, Payoff provides debt-consolidation personal loans. A major benefit of using Payoff is the transparent breakdown of its approval terms.
The following are Payoff’s requirements:
- Credit score of at least 640
- Debt-to-income ratio (DTI) under 50%
- Credit age of 3 or more years
- 2 open credit lines with no more than 1 installment plan loan
- No current delinquent accounts
- No delinquencies occurring in the last 12 months for over 90 days
If you meet these requirements and feel like consolidating your debt is the best option for bettering your finances, use Payoff to explore your options.
4. Best for Students: BoroCash
Ah, college. The perfect storm of high expenses and restricted income. A loan you pay back in the short term is a smart way to avoid taking on larger amounts of student debt. BoroCash is an app-based platform geared toward currently enrolled college students or recent grads.
Applicants choose between 2 types of credit: a small personal loan, called BoroCash, or auto loan financing, called Boro Drive. BoroCash offers credit lines up to $2,000. Once you’ve made a few on-time payments with BoroCash, you can apply for another loan.
Responsible borrowers can use these small loans to build their credit.
5. Best for Larger Personal Loans: Smarter Loan
Smarter Loan is an industry-trusted resource to access personal loans with higher limits. Smarter Loan offers a no-frills website and a simple application process. Interested borrowers can apply for 1 of 3 types of loans ranging from $1,000 to $35,000 with varying terms and APR rates.
One stand-out is the ability to access peer-to-peer loans for those preferring to seek out lending from individuals or companies. Smarter Loan offers personal installment loans and bank personal loans as well. Bank loans often require an in-person visit to a local branch after starting your Smarter Loan application. This is a good choice for those who feel uncomfortable with conducting a loan request online but want vetted lenders.
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.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What happens if I can’t repay my personal loan on time?
A: 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.
Q: How much can I expect to get, and when?
A: 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.
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.