Best Personal Loan Companies 2020

Top10.com StaffByTop10.com StaffJan. 04, 2020

The personal loans industry is incredibly competitive, with hundreds of lenders competing for the attention of borrowers. With so much choice, it can be hard to know where to begin your personal loan comparison. Whether you need a loan to consolidate debt, pay for an unexpected expense, or simply splurge on something fantastic, taking out a personal loan can be simple, fast, and inexpensive. 

We sat down and compared all the most popular lenders by different factors like loan amounts, rates, fees, and customer service. Read on to discover who we have selected as the 10 best personal loan companies.

Debt consolidation for those with good credit
Comparing a variety of loan options
Joint loan applications
Credit card debt, home improvements
Loans with great terms
Borrowers with low credit
The most flexibility
Bad credit, people who want multiple quotes
Borrowers seeking competitive loan rates
Quick funds and low rates
4.99%-35.99%*
3.99%-35.99%
6.95%-39.89%**
5.99%-20.01%
3.99%-35.99%
3.84%-35.99%
6.99%-23.99%
5.99%-35.99%
5.99%-35.99%
5.99%-35.99%
24-84 months
3-180 months
36-60 months
2-7 years
3-144 months
24-84 months
36 to 72 months
3-60 months
2-72 months
3-73 months
$1,000 to $100,000
$1,000 to $50,000
$1,000 to $40,000
$5,000-$100,000
$500 to $100,000
$1,000 to $100,000
$3,500-$30,000
$100-$35,000
$1,000 to $35,000
Up to $35,000
680
None
600
600
450
580
660
None
None
None
Fixed-rate unsecured loans
Secured and unsecured personal loans
Flexible options
Fixed or variable rate unsecured loans
Fixed-rate unsecured loans
Personal loans
Fixed rate installment loans
Varies based on lender
Unsecured personal loans
Personal loans
No
No
Yes
Yes
No
No
Yes
Yes
No
No
No
No
Origination fee, late fee, and more
None
No
No
None
Varies based on lender
No
No

The Top Personal Loan Companies: A Closer Look

  • 1

    Credible

    Instant and accurate results
    Credible
    • Best ForDebt consolidation for those with good credit
    • APR4.99%-35.99%*
    • Minimum Credit Score680

    Credible allows potential borrowers to compare rates from multiple lenders in only 2 minutes, without affecting your credit score. Simply enter a loan amount from $1,000 to $100,000 and fill in some details about what you need, such as the loan purpose, what level of education you’ve completed, employment status, approximate earnings and credit score, your name and date of birth. This information will get you a personalized rate, not a ballpark figure. The higher your credit, the better your rates will be. 

    Credible vets it’s lenders, offering you rates from up to 11 lenders for debt consolidation, or what it calls “loans for life,” like moving costs, weddings, vacations and other financial goals. You’ll find loans you qualify for, complete your application online, and close your loan. Once you sign the documents, relax. The funds will get deposited into your account. Credible has an “excellent” (5 star) rating on Trustpilot, and offers lenders for almost any financial need, including debt consolidation, credit card refinancing, home improvement, bad credit loans, private student loans and student loan refinancing. With a client success team that’s always ready to help and is only a call, email or chat away, Credible can confidently call itself one of the best personal loan providers on the market.

    Pros
    • No fees
    • Low APRs
    • Responses in minutes
    • Huge range of loan amounts
    Cons
    • Higher credit scores required
    • No credit unions
    Read Credible Full Review
  • 2

    LendingTree

    Free online credit check
    LendingTree
    • Best ForComparing a variety of loan options
    • APR3.99%-35.99%
    • Minimum Credit ScoreNone

    LendingTree is another successful loan marketplace, advertising only 3 steps to your best loan. The first step is answering a few questions about the kind of loan you’ll need and how you’ll use it. LendingTree then submits your request to its huge lender network. Within seconds, you’ll see the lender’s offers competing for your business. Next, you’ll compare and browse through the offers, looking at loan terms, interest rates and any terms, conditions or additional fees. There’s absolutely no fees from LendingTree itself, and no markup on your loan. 

    You can compare offers side-by-side, talk with loan officers from individual lenders, or just apply online with one easy application. There are tons of educational resources too, so you can check your credit score, figure out your estimated monthly payments and learn more about loan vocabulary and know-how. LendingTree even has its own app, which will show you your credit score, suggest improvements, and stay on the lookout for lower rates for your personal loan options.

    Pros
    • Large marketplace with a range of loans
    • No fees for connecting you with lenders
    • Excellent educational resources
    Cons
    • Too many companies will contact you
    • No involvement beyond matching you with lenders
    Read LendingTree Full Review
  • 3

    LendingClub

    Apply from anywhere
    LendingClub
    • Best ForJoint loan applications
    • APR6.95%-39.89%**
    • Minimum Credit Score600

    Offering personal loans up to $40,000, LendingClub is a lender that allows you to apply online from anywhere, in just minutes. Fill out a survey, detailing a bit about yourself and how much debt you want to consolidate or money you need for your big plans, then select a loan offer based on the monthly payments and interest rate options LendingClub has offered you. Once you’ve picked, your loan funds will be automatically deposited into your account and you can use them to refinance credit card debt, use it as a balance transfer loan, or home improvement loan. You’ll get fixed monthly payments, low fixed interest rates, automatic payments (if you want) from your bank account, and no prepayment penalties should you want to pay off your loan early. LendingClub is great for cosigned or joint loans, allowing you to get lower rates with a friend or family member who has better credit. 

    Get your rate without affecting your credit score in just minutes, and have the funds in your bank account quickly, in as little as 4 days. You’ll have the flexibility to use the money for whatever you need (with some restrictions).

    Pros
    • Flexible eligibility terms
    • Fast funding
    • High loan amount availability
    Cons
    • Not available in Iow
    Read LendingClub Full Review
  • 4

    SoFi

    More than a loan, a community
    SoFi
    • Best ForCredit card debt, home improvements
    • APR5.99%-20.01%
    • Minimum Credit Score600

    SoFi is known as the community lender. It offers a feel-good borrowing experience, and it really does try its best to break the stigma of the ruthless, corporate, financial institution trying to take the consumers for everything they’ve got. Instead, SoFi has done away with fees, includes borrower-friendly clauses, and even creates social networking events for its community members. Yes, SoFi is definitely breaking a lot of stereotypes.

    But how do its personal loans fair against the competition? Well, SoFi offers APRs as low as 5.99% (using autopay). A nice amount, but what’s really attractive about these loans is that they come fee-free. There is no origination, no closing fees, no prepayment penalties, and not even late fees, making this one of the most appealing options for anyone on a tight budget.

    SoFi caters to a higher credit score, but it also adds a personal touch with things like unemployment protection. This will freeze your loan if you ever find yourself out of a job. SoFi will even go so far as to try to help you find a new job. Talk about offering a helping hand!

    Pros
    • No fees
    • High loan amounts
    • Unemployment protection
    Cons
    • Not good for poor credit
    • Not available in Mississippi
    Read SoFi Full Review
  • 5

    Monevo

    Offers in 60 seconds
    Monevo
    • Best ForLoans with great terms
    • APR3.99%-35.99%
    • Minimum Credit Score450

    Monevo is Europe’s largest personal loan marketplace and platform, offering award winning service that allows you to search over 30 top lenders and banks. You can get personalized offers in 60 seconds with no credit impact, and super low rates. The company allows you to find a great rate on a loan from many of the best lenders with no obligation or fee. Monevo’s smart technology presents your details to lending partners to see if there are loan offers based on your personal information. In seconds, you’ll see offers from lenders. When you’re ready to move forward with an offer, click “continue,” with no commitment. The service is absolutely free and there’s no obligation to proceed once you get a rate quote, and no impact on your credit score. Lenders will send you decisions fast, in real time, so you know what your offers will be right away.

    All data is transmitted and stored with SSL encryption, and Monevo is accredited by the Online Lenders Alliance (OLA), ensuring that you’ll be treated with the highest standards of conduct and compliance with state and federal law. Monevo has helped fund over $1 billion, and has helped over 250k borrowers get funded.

    Pros
    • Transparent comparison table
    • Step-by-step application
    • Fast service
    Cons
    • No further FAQs
    • Many options can be overwhelming
    Read Monevo Full Review
  • 6

    Fiona

    Finance made friendly
    Fiona
    • Best ForBorrowers with low credit
    • APR3.84%-35.99%
    • Minimum Credit Score580

    Fiona is a personal loans marketplace that can help you save both time and money. You can filter loan offers by credit rating (the higher the better), zip code, loan purpose, and loan amount, and choose from the top offers listed almost instantly. You’ll get matched with personalized offers in less than 60 seconds from top providers. Choose the offer with terms you like, and if approved, you’ll get the funds or your new account right away. It’s super safe and secure with 256-bit encryption, a higher standard of security than many banks. 

    Not sure what your credit score is? Fiona will connect you to FreeScore360 to get reports from all 3 credit bureaus. You can apply for loans, credit cards, or savings accounts. Take an unsecure or collateral loan to refinance your credit card debt, consolidate debt, or finance a life event. Fiona has lenders in it’s network for almost any credit score, so no need to be scared off if your credit is poor. The service is 100% free, and a loan inquiry through Fiona will not affect your credit score. Any information you submitted to Fiona’s quote application will be shared with the lender you choose, so you shouldn’t need to fill in repeated details to your loan application. Fiona welcomes questions and comments on its “contact us” page.

    Pros
    • One application for many lenders
    • No negative impact on credit
    Cons
    • You’ll get contacted with many offers
    • Limited number of lenders
    Read Fiona Full Review
  • 7

    Marcus

    Low rates, no fees, and flexible loan terms
    Marcus
    • Best ForThe most flexibility
    • APR6.99%-23.99%
    • Minimum Credit Score660

    Marcus by Goldman Sachs is a serious lender.  It has a strong financial backbone, so it doesn’t have to use tactics that less reputable and less stable lenders sometimes stoop to. Bottom line, Marcus is a lender you can trust. What’s more, because this lender calls its own shots, you can expect some refreshing flexibility from your loan terms. For example, Marcus allows borrowers to set their own loan terms when applying for their loans. That’s right, you can choose how much you want to pay each month or how long you want to spread out your loan for. This is a revolutionary way of approaching lending, and it’s a delightful change for most borrowers.

    Additionally, Marcus has some impressive loan terms. For one thing, you can defer a payment after making 12 or more consecutive payments on time. That means you can simply skip a payment one month without any consequences. This is very generous and not something you’ll find with other lenders. Take advantage of the free online tools Marcus provides as well to keep tabs on your loan, calculate your monthly payments, and figure out your best options.

    Pros
    • Choose monthly amount and loan terms
    • Free financial tools online
    • Defer payment option
    Cons
    • Can’t sign up with a cosigner
    • Not available in all states
    Read Marcus Full Review
  • 8

    Pick a Lender

    Fast, reliable network of lenders
    Pick a Lender
    • Best ForBad credit, people who want multiple quotes
    • APR5.99%-35.99%
    • Minimum Credit ScoreNone

    Pick a Lender prides itself on getting you the best personal loan offers in under 2 minutes. With a quick online application that is made up of a few basic questions, Pick a Lender makes it easy for borrowers to find a good rate within its wide network of lenders. With years in the industry, Pick a Lender has learned that not all lenders are created equal, which is why this lending aggregator has a thorough vetting process. It includes only professional and reliable lenders within its network.

    Aside from the ease of use, what people love about Pick a Lender is the speed. You can get multiple rate quotes in less than 2 minutes from filling out a single application. That’s efficient. What’s more, Pick a Lender lenders are known for fast turnaround times. Some will be able to deposit your funds within 24 hours. So for anyone who needs fast funding, Pick a Lender is a good choice.

    The other benefit to working with a lending network like Pick a Lender is that it has lenders that will work with any credit score and history. So even if you have bad or fair credit, or have been rejected for a personal loan before, there’s still hope with Pick a Lender.

    Pros
    • Multiple loan quotes with a single application
    • Online application
    • Answers in 2 minutes
    Cons
    • Not a direct lender
    • Limited to the lenders within the network
    Read Pick a Lender Full Review
  • 9

    LoansUnder36

    Large lender marketplace
    LoansUnder36
    • Best ForBorrowers seeking competitive loan rates
    • APR5.99%-35.99%
    • Minimum Credit ScoreNone

    With LoansUnder36, you can get your loan as soon as the next business day, without leaving home. The online form is quick, secure, and hassle-free, and all credit types can find a loan offer. See the money in your account super quickly, and get a real solution that works for you. It works hard to ensure that all borrowers are treated fairly and with transparency and holds itself to a high standard of customer service. You can take a loan between $1,000 and $35,000, and rates are guaranteed to be no higher than 35.99%. There are flexible short term loans and multi-year terms available too, making this a flexible partner in your personal loan funding. You’re free to use the money as you see fit.

    Pros
    • Single application for multiple lenders
    • Large lender network
    • Strong customer support
    Cons
    • Small range of loan amounts
    • Not a direct lender
    • Website is sparse
    Read LoansUnder36 Full Review
  • 10

    5KFUNDS

    Free marketplace service
    5KFUNDS
    • Best ForQuick funds and low rates
    • APR5.99%-35.99%
    • Minimum Credit ScoreNone

    It’s easy to get the money you need with 5kFunds. Start by filling out the simple, secure, online form. No matter what your credit history is, this form can help you find a lender that works for the loan you need. Once you’ve selected a lender and been approved, the money will get deposited right into your bank account, with no checks or trips to the bank. 5kFunds services are always completely free of charge, but some lenders will charge fees (and interest). Each lender is required to provide you with full disclosure of their loan terms upon approval. You’ll only receive quotes from responsible lenders or lending companies who are authorized to lend cash in installment loans. Simply submit your required loan amount, name, zip code and email and you’ll begin the process of getting the funds you want.

    Pros
    • US-based customer service
    • Match instantly with a lender
    • Easy application
    Cons
    • Only up to $35,000
    • Few educational resources
    Read 5KFUNDS Full Review

How to Find the Best Lender

Finding the right lender is an essential first step to finding the best personal loans. Here are the main things to look out for when trying to find the best personal loan companies.

Type of lender:

There are marketplaces like Credible and LendingTree, direct lenders like Marcus by Goldman Sachs, and P2P lending platforms like LendingClub. All these lender types offer different advantages, so it’s important to know who’s who when searching for a loan.

Ease of use: 

These days, all the best lenders allow their customers to apply for loans over the internet. Compare lender websites and read lender reviews to understand which are the easiest to access and use. Most will offer online account access, so you can check your loan balance, accrued interest and make payments. 

Reputation: 

There are 2 types of lenders in the personal loans business: trusted lenders that are completely open and transparent about their terms; and shifty lenders that make a bad name for everyone else. These days, all it takes to find out if a lender is trustworthy or not is to read user reviews and look them up with Trustpilot and the Better Business Bureau. 

Customer service: 

When you take out a 4-figure, 5-figure, or 6-figure loan, you deserve the best customer service. All the lenders mentioned on this page are known for offering excellent customer service. This means that you’ll always have someone to ask questions to or express concern about a payment. 

How to Find the Best Personal Loan 

Now that you’ve got a shortlist of lenders, it’s time to compare personal loan options. Here are the things to look out for when making your personal loan comparison:

APR:

This is the annual percentage rate your lender collects for providing the personal loan. The best lender for you is the one that can offer the best APR for your credit rating, not the one that offers the lowest APRs in general.

Fees:

In recent years, the best lenders have started offering no-fee personal loans. That means no origination fees, no prepayment penalties, and no (or minimal) late payment penalties.

Terms: 

While rates and fees are important, it’s important not to neglect the terms because this can have a big impact on your monthly payments. The shorter your repayment term, the lower your total interest paid but the larger your monthly payments. The longer your term, the more interest you’ll pay overall but the less you’ll pay each month.

Loan amount

You might need a personal loan for $1,000 or you might need to borrow $100,000. Either way, make sure your chosen lender can satisfy your loan requirements. Each one will have starting loan amounts and maximum loan amounts. You won’t be able to receive a loan of $50,000 from a lender that only goes up to $35,000.

How to Get the Best Rates on Your Personal Loan

Here are our top 5 tips for finding the best personal loan rates:

Shop around: 

Running a personal loan comparison of at least 3-5 lenders is a crucial first step to finding the cheapest rates. Loan marketplaces make this especially easy, with one application fetching you multiple quotes. 

Improve your credit score:

If a low credit score is preventing you from getting the best rates, the good news is there are ways to repair your credit, such as taking out a small loan, paying your full monthly credit card bill, or raising your credit limit.

Sign up for auto-pay:

Many lenders offer a small rate discount if you use auto pay, because this gives them confidence that you’ll make your monthly payments on time.

Take a secured loan: 

If you’re confident of your ability to pay back the loan, adding collateral can help convince your lender to offer you a lower rate. This does have some risk though, if there’s a chance you’ll struggle to pay the loan back.

Bring a cosigner: 

Only some lenders allow a co-applicant; if your cosigner has better credit than you, this can help get you a significantly lower rate. The cosigner is taking responsibility to pay your loan if you can’t though, so consider your relationship with the person your asking, and if there’s any chance you’ll default on the loan, leaving them with the payments. 

The Stages of a Personal Loan Application

The best online lenders usually have an easier loan application process than banks. Here are its 3 stages: 

Stage 1: This generally consists of an online questionnaire where you are asked to provide information including the amount of the loan, the purpose of the loan, and your personal information. You will also probably be asked to provide your income level and housing status. 

Stage 2: This involves a soft credit pull, which won’t affect your credit rating like a hard credit pull. Based on the credit score and other details you provided the lender, they will determine how much to loan you and under what terms and interest rate. 

Stage 3: Once your application has been pre-approved, most online lenders will then put you directly in touch with the lender, and you will finish applying directly with them. You should have all relevant paperwork on hand and ready to send, including your driver’s license or passport, proof of residence (utility bills, rent contract, etc), and pay stubs from your place of work. 

Personal Loans FAQs

How is a credit score calculated?

Your credit score is calculated based on your loan repayment history, credit card usage, and other financial markers that can give lenders a rough guide of how responsible you are with money and how much of a default risk you are. No matter what your credit score is, you will be able to find a lender that will offer you a loan.

How do interest rates work?

The interest rate is how much the lender charges a borrower for a loan and is expressed as a percentage of the amount borrowed. For example, if you take out a loan for $10,000 with an interest rate of 5%, you’ll end up paying $10,500 over time. If you get an interest rate of 10% though, you’ll be paying $11,000. If you’re consolidating debt and the interest rate is still lower than your earlier loan, then you’re in good shape.  

What is an APR?

APR is an acronym for annual percentage rate. It combines the charges, fees, and payments to tell you the grand total of what your loan will cost you per year. The lower the APR, the less you are going to pay in the long run.

The APR calculation on personal loans will vary depending on your lender, but it will typically be lower than what you would receive from a payday or short-term loan—usually starting at 10% and capping at 35.99%. It is not ideal to owe any money, but if you require a loan, then a personal loan could certainly be a viable option.

Representative example: assuming a loan of $10,000 over 60 months at a fixed rate of 3.1% per annum and fees of $60.00. This would result in a representative rate of 3.3% APR, with monthly repayments of $180.80, for a total amount paid of $10,848.00.

How much can I get approved for?

There isn’t a clear right or wrong answer to this question—it all depends on your needs, your income and your abilities. You need to make sure that the monthly payments aren’t too heavy for you to keep up with. After all, there’s no sense taking out a loan only to find yourself unable to keep up with the payments.

What loan term should I take?

This is a pretty simple calculation, but what works for you can be anything but simple. If you decide to go for a lender that offers short term loans you will have higher monthly payments but will pay less interest over the life of the loan. If you spread it out over a longer loan term, your monthly payments will be lower, but the overall interest you pay will be higher. 

* Credible Terms and Conditions:

Credible is so confident in the personal loan rates you’ll find on Credible, we’ll give you $200 if you find and close with a better rate elsewhere. See full terms and conditions.

** LendingClub Terms and Conditions:

All loans made by WebBank, Member FDIC. Your actual rate depends upon credit score, loan amount, loan term, and credit usage & history. The APR ranges from 6.95% to 35.89%. The origination fee ranges from 1% to 6% of the original principal balance and is deducted from your loan proceeds. For example, you could receive a loan of $6,000 with an interest rate of 7.99% and a 5.00% origination fee of $300 for an APR of 11.51%. In this example, you will receive $5,700 and will make 36 monthly payments of $187.99. The total amount repayable will be $6,767.64. Your APR will be determined based on your credit at the time of application. The average origination fee is 5.49% as of Q1 2017. In Georgia, the minimum loan amount is $3,025. In Massachusetts, the minimum loan amount is $6,025 if your APR is greater than 12%. There is no down payment and there is never a prepayment penalty. Closing of your loan is contingent upon your agreement of all the required agreements and disclosures on the www.lendingclub.com website. All loans via LendingClub have a minimum repayment term of 36 months. Borrower must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or be in the United States on a valid long term visa and at least 18 years old. Valid bank account and Social Security number are required. Equal Housing Lender. All loans are subject to credit approval. LendingClub’s physical address is: LendingClub, 71 Stevenson Street, Suite 1000, San Francisco, CA 9410

***  Marcus By Goldman Sachs® Offer Terms and Conditions:

For NY residents, rates range from 6.99% to 24.99% APR. Only the most creditworthy applications qualify for the largest loan amounts and lowest rates. Your loan terms are not guaranteed and are subject to our verification of your identity and credit information. To obtain a loan, you must submit additional documentation including an application that may affect your credit score. Rates will vary based on many factors, such as your creditworthiness (for example, credit score and credit history) and the length of your loan (for example, rates for 36 month loans are generally lower than rates for 72 month loans). Your maximum loan amount may vary depending on your loan purpose, income and creditworthiness. Your verifiable income must support your ability to repay your loan. Marcus by Goldman Sachs is a brand of Goldman Sachs Bank USA and all loans are issued by Goldman Sachs Bank USA, Salt Lake City Branch. Applications are subject to additional terms and conditions.

**** LightStream Terms and Conditions:

Your loan terms, including APR, may differ based on loan purpose, amount, term length, and your credit profile. Rate is quoted with AutoPay discount. AutoPay discount is only available prior to loan funding. Rates without AutoPay may be 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 3 years would result in 36 monthly payments of $303.99. © 2020 Truist Financial Corporation. SunTrust®, Truist, LightStream®, the LightStream logo, and the SunTrust logo are service marks of Truist Financial Corporation. All rights reserved. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Lending services provided by SunTrust now Truist Bank.

Top10.com StaffByTop10.com StaffJun. 24, 2019
Our editorial staff is comprised of writers who are knowledgeable about financial services. We specialize in simplifying the process of choosing the right personal loan provider for your needs.