Best Personal Loans

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Best Personal Loans:Compare the best personal loan rates and lenders to fit your unique needs

To find the best personal loan it’s important to understand that there are many reasons you might need to borrow money. 

Whether you want to consolidate your debt, take care of an unexpected expense, or finance a home improvement project, 

a personal loan could be a good fit to help you access the money you need.

Before you sign on the dotted line, it’s smart to do a little research.

 Comparing loan options in advance could potentially save you money and protect your credit from unnecessary hard inquiries,

 which can lower your credit score. It’s not uncommon for companies that offer personal loans to do what are known as soft pulls, 

which don’t ding your credit, so you can see if you qualify before filling out an official loan application.

Of course, there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all personal loan. The federal reserve reported the 24-month average personal loan interest rate at 9.63% in Q1 2020. 

Yet current interest rates on personal loans can range from around 3.99% to 36%, based on your credit. 

Plus, some lenders may not let you borrow as much money as you need.

We’ve researched more than two dozen personal loan options and compared their interest rates, fees, qualification requirements, and other features.

 Below you’ll find a list of our top picks for a number of categories. 

One overall positive: None of them charge a prepayment penalty if you happen to pay off your loan early. 

Depending upon your situation and why you need to borrow money, one of these personal loans might be a good fit for you.

Best Personal Loans of March 2021

SoFi

SoFi personal loans combine attractive interest rates with impressive benefits, like the ability to temporarily pause your payments if you lose your job. 

Interest rates start as low as 5.99% with autopay. Qualified borrowers may receive up to $100,000 in funding, making SoFi a solid all-around choice.

Pros

  • Low-interest rates available for well-qualified borrowers
  • Unemployment protection available if you lose your job
  • High loan amounts available to borrowers with sufficient income and credit to qualify

Cons

  • Better interest rates available with other lenders for borrowers with excellent credit
  • Funding may take a few days, which is longer than some lenders take
  • Good credit required to qualify for a personal loan with SoFi

Other important information:

  • Minimum/maximum amount you can borrow: $5,000 to $100,000
  • APR range: 5.99%–18.85% (with AutoPay discount)
  • Fees: None
  • Minimum recommended credit score: 680 or higher is recommended
  • Other qualification requirements: Besides your credit score, SoFi will also consider your credit history, income, employment, and other factors when reviewing your loan application
  • Repayment terms: Choose two- to seven-year repayment options
  • Time to receive funds: It may take several days between the time of your application and when funds are deposited into your account
  • Restrictions: To be approved you need to be 18 or older and a U.S. citizen (or permanent resident or visa holder). SoFi loans are currently available in every state except Mississippi

Marcus by Goldman Sachs offers personal loans that may work well for debt consolidation, due in part to longer repayment terms of up to 72 months.

 If you have excellent credit, you may qualify for an interest rate as low as 6.99% with zero fees attached. 

Loan amounts are available up to $40,000 for qualified applicants. Together, these features might save you money.

 if you can consolidate your expensive credit card debt for a lower rate.

Pros

  • Longer repayment terms might lower your monthly payment when you consolidate debt
  • No fees are charged by the lender, including late fees
  • Customize your payment due date so it works best for your budget

Cons

  • Higher rates are generally charged on loans with longer repayment terms. 
  • Good credit needed to qualify 
  • No cosigners are accepted

Other important information:

  • Minimum/maximum amount you can borrow: $3,500 to $40,000
  • APR range: 6.99%–19.99%
  • Fees: None
  • Minimum recommended credit score: A minimum credit score of 660 is recommended.
  • Other qualification requirements: You’ll need to be 18 or older (in most states) plus have a valid bank account and Social Security or Individual Tax I.D. Number to apply.
  • Repayment terms: Loan terms between 36 and 72 months are available.
  • Time to receive funds: Allow one to four business days to receive your funds once approved.
  • Restrictions: You can’t use a personal loan from Marcus to refinance student loan debt.

LightStream, an online division of SunTrust Bank, offers low interest rates to borrowers with good credit, starting as low as 3.99% for certain types of unsecured personal loans. Well-qualified borrowers may be able to take out a personal loan from LightStream for up to $100,000. Between the stellar interest rates and high maximum loan amounts, LightStream may be a great fit for applicants with solid credit ratings.4

Pros

  • Unsecured Rates as low as 3.99% depending on your loan purpose
  • Rate Beat Program that offers to beat competitors’ rates by at least 0.10 percentage points (restrictions apply)
  • Loan Experience Guarantee offers $100 if you’re unhappy with the loan process

Cons

  • Hard to qualify if you don’t have a good-to-excellent credit rating
  • No preapproval process means a hard credit inquiry on your Experian and Equifax credit reports to see if you qualify
  • Online applications only—Face-to-face and phone applications aren’t available

Other important information:

  • Minimum/maximum amount you can borrow: $5,000 to $100,000
  • APR range: 3.99%–16.99%* (with AutoPay discount)
  • Fees: LightStream doesn’t charge origination fees, prepayment penalties, late fees, or any other type of fees. (Loans issued in Florida are subject to a documentary stamp tax.)
  • Minimum recommended credit score: Reported to be 680 (not confirmed on LightStream’s website).
  • Other qualification requirements: You’ll have a better chance of approval if your credit reports show several years of credit history, a good mixture of account types (e.g., credit cards, installment loans, etc.), and few to no late payments. You should also be able to prove stable, adequate income to repay a new loan and evidence of savings (e.g., bank deposits, bonds, stocks, etc.).
  • Repayment terms: LightStream may offer you repayment terms between 24 and 144 months. 
  • Time to receive funds: Once approved, you may be able to access your funds as soon as the same day.
  • Restrictions: You cannot use a loan from LightStream to pay for college, refinance a student loan, or fund a business.

*The lowest advertised rates and longest loan duration are only available on some loan types.

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