Best Personal Loan Companies - Take Control of Your Finances Now

Michael Dinich

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.

Here are the top 10 best personal loan companies I tested and ranked:

1. Best overall: Credible

2. Best for comparing loans: LendingTree

3. Best for low credit: Fiona

4. Best for covering large expenses: Upgrade

5. Best for flexibility: Marcus

6. Best for competitive rates: LoansUnder36

7. Best for quick funds: 5KFUNDS

8. Best for loans with great terms: Monevo

9. Best for debt consolidation: SoFi

10. Best for bad credit: Pick a Lender

Debt consolidation for those with good credit
Comparing a variety of loan options
Covering large expenses
Credit card debt, home improvements
Borrowers with low credit
The most flexibility
Borrowers seeking competitive loan rates
Quick funds and low rates
Loans with great terms
Bad credit, people who want multiple quotes
4.99%-35.99%
3.49% - 35.99%
7.99% - 35.97%
5.99% to 16.19% (with AutoPay)
4.99% - 35.99%
6.99% - 19.99%
5.99% - 35.99%
5.99% - 35.99%
1.99% - 35.99%
5.99% - 35.99%
24-84 months
3-180 months
36-60 months
24-84 months
24-84 months
36-72 months
2-72 months
2-72 months
3-144 months
3-60 months
$1,000 to $100,000
$1,000 to $50,000
$1,000 to $35,000
$5,000-$100,000
$1,000 to $100,000
$3,500-$30,000
$1,000 to $35,000
Up to $35,000
$500 to $100,000
$100-$35,000
680
None
620
600
580
680
None
None
450
None
Fixed-rate unsecured loans
Secured and unsecured personal loans
Unsecured personal loans
Fixed or variable rate unsecured loans
Personal loans
Fixed rate installment loans
Unsecured personal loans
Personal loans
Fixed-rate unsecured loans
Varies based on lender
No
No
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
No
No
No
Yes
No
No
Late fees
None
No
None
No
No
No
Varies based on lender

The Top Personal Loan Companies: A Closer Look

  • 1

    Credible

    Debt consolidation for those with good credit
    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 Review
  • 2

    LendingTree

    Comparing a variety of loan options
    LendingTree
    • Best ForComparing a variety of loan options
    • APR3.49% - 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 Review
  • 3
    Quick one-page application
    Upgrade
    • Best ForCovering large expenses
    • APR7.99% - 35.97%
    • Minimum Credit Score620

    Personal loans made through Upgrade feature APRs of 7.99%-35.97%. All personal loans have a 2.9% to 8% origination fee, which is deducted from the loan proceeds. Lowest rates require Autopay and paying off a portion of existing debt directly. For example, if you receive a $10,000 loan with a 36-month term and a 17.98% APR (which includes a 14.32% yearly interest rate and a 5% one-time origination fee), you would receive $9,500 in your account and would have a required monthly payment of $343.33. Over the life of the loan, your payments would total $12,359.97. The APR on your loan may be higher or lower and your loan offers may not have multiple term lengths available. Actual rate depends on credit score, credit usage history, loan term, and other factors. Late payments or subsequent charges and fees may increase the cost of your fixed rate loan. There is no fee or penalty for repaying a loan early. Personal loans issued by Upgrade's lending partners. Information on Upgrade's lending partners can be found at https://www.upgrade.com/lending-partners/.  

    Pros
    • Quick online application
    • Pre-approval in minutes
    • Credit health tracker available
    Cons
    • 6% origination fee
    • Applicants required to have $1,000 cash flow
    Read Upgrade Review
  • 4
    Credit card debt, home improvements
    SoFi
    • Best ForCredit card debt, home improvements
    • APR5.99% to 16.19% (with AutoPay)
    • 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 Review
  • 5
    Borrowers with low credit
    Fiona
    • Best ForBorrowers with low credit
    • APR4.99% - 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 Review
  • 6
    The most flexibility
    Marcus
    • Best ForThe most flexibility
    • APR6.99% - 19.99%
    • Minimum Credit Score680

    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 Review
  • 7

    LoansUnder36

    Borrowers seeking competitive loan rates
    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 Review
  • 8

    5KFUNDS

    Quick funds and low rates
    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 Review
  • 9
    Loans with great terms
    Monevo
    • Best ForLoans with great terms
    • APR1.99% - 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 Review
  • 10

    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 Review
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it worth it to get a personal loan?
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Personal loans can be a great aide to those who need an influx in funds. If you need money for an emergency expense or have a plan to make payments on time, a personal loan can be worth it and is a viable option for overcoming financial obstacles.
How bad does a personal loan hurt your credit?
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A personal loan can hurt your credit if you don't make your payments on time. Because of interest and fees, a personal loan can increase your debt credit, putting more of a strain on your personal finances. If you make all your payments on time, however, you can sustain and even strengthen your credit score.
What is the best reason to give when applying for a personal loan?
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A personal loan can be taken out for a variety reasons, and typically the purpose of the loan is less important with a personal loan than other types of loans. The most common reasons for taking out a personal loan include medical costs, rent, and bill payment.

The Different Types of Personal Loans

Anybody who has incurred a cash flow problem, suffered an emergency, or needed funds to pay for medical expenses, home improvements or even a college education has likely considered a personal loan. Personal loans are appealing because they allow us to acquire large investments and pursue future goals. However, there are many different kinds of loans and it’s important to consider your needs and financial situation before deciding on which type of personal loan is best for you. 

Here's How I Rated the Best Personal Loan Companies

I sat down and compared all the most popular lenders by different factors such as:

  • Loan amounts
  • Rates
  • Fees
  • Loan terms
  • Customer service 

Personal Loans for Debt Consolidation

Credit card bills and high-interest debts become more burdensome and expensive with every month that passes. To stop the bleeding, so to speak, many people turn to personal loans for debt consolidation, which prevents further interest from accumulating. 

Essentially, debt consolidation bundles all of your high-interest debts into one bulk payment that can be paid off with a personal loan. This allows you to take care of multiple credit card bills and debts with one swift payment. Then, instead of juggling multiple bills and worrying about interest rates constantly accumulating, you’ll only have one monthly payment to make.

Personal Loans for Medical Expenses 

Medical bills can cause an enormous strain on our personal finances. Whether you’ve suffered an unexpected medical emergency or are experiencing issues with your health insurance company, medical expenses add stress and financial burden at the most inopportune time—when you’re focused on recovery. To ease the weight of dealing with medical bills while recovering, many people take out personal loans to pay off their medical expenses. 

There are a few reasons personal medical loans can be beneficial. For one thing, they’re unsecured, meaning you won’t have to offer collateral such as a car or other asset. For another, they usually come with fixed terms so that your debt won’t go on for an unreasonable length of time. Lastly, if you have good credit you could find loans with excellent interest rates. 

Personal Loans for Good Credit 

Your credit score is the defining factor in determining the quality of your personal loan. Excellent credit scores mean lower rates, moderate credit scores mean you’ll have to pay higher rates, and poor credit scores can prevent lenders from offering you any loan at all. 

Your credit score is measured on a scale of 300-850, with scores defined as “excellent” starting around 720, scores defined as “good” landing at 690 and above, and scores less than that being considered either “fair” or “bad.” 

Naturally, those with high credit scores have many more loan options available to them, though they’ll still want to research the best loans available and try to find a good-credit lender offering the lowest rate possible.  

Personal Loans for Students 

College undergrads that meet the definition of “dependent students” are eligible for federal student loans for all 4 years of undergraduate college. However, the current loan amounts—$5,500 for freshmen, $6,500 for sophomores, and $7,500 for junior and senior years—are increasingly inadequate at covering the average cost of tuition, to say nothing of books, room and board, and living expenses. For that reason, some students are turning to personal loans to cover the rest of their education. It’s not an ideal option, as most college students have poor credit and will only be eligible for loans with high interest rates. That said, some find it a viable solution since personal loans for students offer quick funding without requiring collateral. 

Short-Term Personal Loans 

A short-term loan is generally unsecured, meaning you don’t have to put collateral down, and are paid back in 3 years or less. They’re best used in situations where the borrow is relatively confident they’ll have funds in the future, though they can also be of assistance when experiencing an unexpected setback or cash flow problem. 

The benefits of a short-term personal loan include easy qualification and quick funding without collateral. However, you can expect interest rates to be high. In addition, loan amounts will be significantly less than you’d find with other types of personal loans. 

Long-Term Personal Loans 

A long-term loan is a personal loan that you can pay back in a duration that typically extends beyond 3-5 years. When you take out a long-term loan, you can expect to get more money and pay lower interest rates. Additionally, your monthly payments will be lower since by definition a long-term loan gives you more time to pay it off. However, they typically require some item of collateral, such as your home or your car. 

Long-term personal loans are most ideal when you need significant sums of money but your 

financial situation prohibits you from paying it off in just a few years. People typically take out long-term loans for large purchases like a car or home, or to pay for ongoing education. 

Personal Loans for Fast Funding 

When emergencies arise or cash flow abruptly stops, quick-cash loans can be helpful in getting you the money you need without quickly and without excessive paperwork. Situations that often justify personal loans with fast funding include emergency repairs on a home or car or unexpected medical expenses. Many lenders on the market can have money in your bank account in 24 hours; otherwise, it may take a few days. The benefits to a fast-funding loan are obvious, but there are some things to consider, namely the fact that interest rates may suffer and the terms of the loan may not be as flexible. 

Personal Loans with a Cosigner 

Borrowers with a low credit score can get a better personal loan if they have a cosigner. A co-signer is someone who agrees to cover the payments if the borrower defaults, and they essentially stand in for the risk the low-credit borrower poses to the lender. 

Typically, anyone with a credit score lower than 620 will have a difficult time finding a good personal loan with a cosigner. If not rejected outright, they’ll have to compromise on a loan with high interest rates. Bringing in a cosigner can help you quality for a loan you otherwise would not be eligible for. Additionally, taking on and paying off the loan can help you repair your poor credit score. 

Personal Loans for Bad Credit

Bad credit is easily the biggest obstacle to finding a personal loan. If a loan applicant has a low credit score, they’re seen as a risk to the lender and are less likely to be approved. Credit scores range from 300 to 850, and a bad credit score is generally defined as being below 580. Even scores between 580 and 669, which are considered “fair,” can be an impediment on finding a good loan. 

Low-credit borrowers do have loan options though. Lenders typically have credit requirements, and some may offer loans to those with fair credit. Others have no requirement whatsoever, and these are the realistic lenders for those with bad credit. It’s important to note, however, that loans for borrowers with bad credit will have higher interest rates and higher fees.

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:

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.

Michael Dinich
Michael has worked in personal finance for over 20 years, helping families reduce taxes, increase their income, pay down debt and save for retirement. Michael is passionate about personal finance, saving money, and all things geeky.