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Best Personal Loans

SoFi offers the best personal loan rates

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Whether you have an unexpected car repair, credit card debt to consolidate, or are planning a dream trip to New Zealand, a personal loan can be a useful financing option. Personal loans are installment loans, so you can spread out the cost over several years, and they usually have lower interest rates than credit cards.

The best personal loans feature low annual percentage rates (APRs), extended loan terms and minimal fees. Plus, they usually will disburse your loan funds within one or two days, giving you the financing help you need quickly.

Best Personal Loans of March 2023

Why Trust Us
38
Lenders reviewed
40
Loan features considered
1,520
Data points analyzed
112
Primary data sources used
Investopedia collected key data points from several lenders to identify the most important factors to borrowers. We used this data to review each lender for fees, accessibility, repayment terms, and other features to provide unbiased, comprehensive reviews to ensure our readers make the right borrowing decision for their needs.

Struggling with poor credit, and not sure you'll qualify for a loan? Consider our picks for the best personal loans for bad credit , which have relatively lenient borrower requirements.

Best Overall : SoFi

The Balance's Rating
4.9

  • APR Range: 7.99% - 23.43%
  • Loan Amount: $5,000 - $100,000
  • Loan Terms: 24 months - 84 months
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Large loan maximums

  • Same-day funding available

  • Unemployment protection

Cons
  • High loan minimum

  • Good to excellent credit needed

Why We Chose It

SoFi stands out as the overall best lender for personal loans because of its high loan maximum, low rate, and longer repayment term options.

SoFi doesn’t charge origination fees, so the total loan cost may be lower than it would be with other lenders. And it disburses funds quickly. If your application is approved, you can receive the loan funds as soon as the same day you apply.

SoFi also offers robust benefits to its customers. When you take out a loan, you become a SoFi member and can take advantage of perks like career coaching and unemployment protection. If you lose your job, SoFi may allow you to modify your payments until you get back on your feet, and SoFi will even help you search for a new job.

Although SoFi doesn’t disclose a minimum credit score requirement, you will likely need good to excellent credit to qualify for a loan. According to the company’s annual report, the average FICO credit score for personal loan borrowers was 754 in 2021.

Qualifications

To qualify for a SoFi personal loan, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You must be the age of majority in your state.
  • You must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or non-permanent resident alien.
  • You must be employed or have an offer of employment.

If you don’t meet SoFi’s credit or income criteria, it does allow applicants to apply with a co-borrower.

Best Large , Well-Established Bank : U.S. Bank

The Balance's Rating
4.7

  • APR Range: 8.74% - 21.24%
  • Loan Amount: $1,000 - $50,000
  • Loan Terms: 12 months - 84 months
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Quick loan disbursement

  • No origination fees

  • Joint applicants permitted

Cons
  • Only available in some states

  • Lower loan maximums for non-customers

  • In-person branch visits may be required

Why We Chose It

If you’re shopping for a personal loan, taking out a loan from a major, well-known bank can be reassuring, especially if you’re already a customer with that bank. U.S. Bank is our pick as the best large bank because of its loan amounts, loan repayment options, and quick loan disbursements; if you’re an existing U.S. Bank customer, you can get your money within a few hours.

However, U.S. Bank isn’t available to everyone. The bank only operates in 26 states, so you won’t be eligible for a loan if you live in another state. Instead, you’ll have to work with another lender that operates in your area.

Qualifications

To qualify for a loan from U.S. Bank, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You must have a credit score of 660 or higher.
  • You must be the age of majority in your state.
  • You must live in a state where U.S. Bank operates.
  • You must have a valid Social Security number.

If you are an existing U.S. Bank customer, you can often close your loan online. If you aren't, you may need to visit a branch to close your loan.

Best for Credit Union Members : PenFed Credit Union

The Balance's Rating
4.7

  • APR Range: 7.74% - 17.99%
  • Loan Amount: $600 - $50,000
  • Loan Terms: 12 months - 60 months
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Broad range of loan amounts

  • Allows co-borrowers

  • No origination fees

Cons
  • Limited repayment terms

  • $5 fee to join credit union

Why We Chose It

Sometimes you only need a small amount of money to cover an unexpected veterinary bill or car repair. While some lenders require you to borrow $2,500 or more, PenFed Credit Union has a low loan minimum of just $600. You can borrow only what you need and avoid paying unnecessary interest charges.

PenFed doesn’t charge application or origination fees, and there are no prepayment penalties. Although it is a credit union , PenFed’s membership is open to the general public. To join, you just have to open a savings account and deposit $5. You’ll be prompted to do this as you apply for a loan.

If you’re worried about qualifying for a loan because of your credit or income, PenFed Credit Union allows borrowers to apply with co-borrowers. Adding a co-borrower can improve your chances of getting a loan with a competitive APR.

Qualifications
  • You must be a member of the PenFed Credit Union, or join during the application process.
  • You must be the age of majority in your state.
  • You must have a valid Social Security number or individual taxpayer identification number.
  • You must have a verifiable source of income.

Best Regional Lender : Regions

The Balance's Rating
4.4

  • APR Range: 7.99% - 29.99%
  • Loan Amount: $2,000 - $50,000
  • Loan Terms: 36 months - 60 months
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Same day funding available

  • Secured loans available

  • Automatic payment discounts

Cons
  • New customers must apply in person or by phone

  • Lower loan maximum for non-customers

  • Only available in some states

Why We Chose It

Regions is a lender available in select states, but it offers personal loans up to $50,000 with competitive rates and autopay discounts.

For current Regions customers, borrowers can receive loan funds as soon as the same day they apply. And although good to excellent credit is required to qualify for Regions’ unsecured loans, it also offers secured loan options.

Non-customers can qualify for loans, but they can’t apply for loans online. Instead, they must apply either in person at a local branch or by calling Regions; non-customers will also have a lower loan maximum.

Opting for a secured loan can help you get a loan and qualify for a lower APR. But secured loans require you to provide some form of collateral, such as your car or the balance of your savings account. If you default on your loan, you risk losing your collateral.

Qualifications
  • You must have a valid Social Security number.
  • You must have a verifiable source of income.
  • You must have a valid bank account.
  • If you are a Regions customer, you must provide your online banking credentials or your ATM or debit card numbers.

Regions’ personal loans are only available in the 15 states—primarily in the South, Midwest, and Texas—where Regions operates.

Best for Excellent Credit : LightStream

The Balance's Rating
4.0

  • APR Range: 6.99% - 23.99%
  • Loan Amount: $5,000 - $100,000
  • Loan Terms: 24 months - 120 months
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • No origination fees

  • Longer repayment terms

  • 0.50% autopay discount

  • Same-day loan funding

Cons
  • High minimum loan amount

  • Rates and terms vary by loan use

  • Excellent credit required

Why We Chose It

For borrowers with very good to excellent credit, meaning a score between 740 and 850, LightStream offers loans up to $100,000. Because Lightstream has high credit score requirements, it’s able to offer the best personal loan rates.

Although its available rates vary based on the intended use of the loan, rates start as low as 6.99% for purposes like home improvement. And depending on how you’ll use the money, you could have up to 144 months to repay it.

LightStream also offers a higher-than-usual autopay discount with a 0.50% rate reduction, and loan funds can be disbursed as soon as the same day you apply. LightStream doesn’t charge any fees, so there are no origination fees or late fees.

A longer loan term—such as 72 to 144 months—can be appealing because it can give you a much smaller monthly payment. But the longer term will cause you to pay much more in interest. Use our personal loan calculator to see how the term length affects your overall cost.

Qualifications
  • Very good to excellent credit is recommended.
  • You must be the age of majority in your state.
  • You must have verifiable proof of income.

Loans are available nationwide.

Best for No Fees : Marcus

The Balance's Rating
4.4

  • APR Range: 6.99% - 24.99%
  • Loan Amount: $3,500 - $40,000
  • Loan Terms: 36 months - 72 months
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • No fees

  • On-time payment reward

  • Direct creditor payments

Cons
  • High loan minimum

  • Good to excellent credit required

  • Loan funding can take up to five days

Why We Chose It

With Marcus, you can get a low, fixed-interest rate loan to consolidate your debt or complete home renovations. Marcus doesn’t charge any fees, so there are no origination, application, or late fees, and there are no prepayment penalties .

If you are consolidating high-interest credit card debt, Marcus also offers direct creditor payments, simplifying your repayment.

Another benefit that makes Marcus stand out is its on-time payment reward. If you make all of your payments on time and in full for 12 months, Marcus will allow you to skip a month, and interest won’t accrue during that time.

Qualifications
  • You must be the age of majority in your state.
  • You must have a valid U.S. bank account.
  • You must have a valid Social Security number or taxpayer identification number.

Best for Debt Consolidation : Discover

The Balance's Rating
4.2

  • APR Range: 6.99% - 24.99%
  • Loan Amount: $2,500 - $35,000
  • Loan Terms: 36 months - 84 months
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Longer loan terms available

  • 30-day money-back guarantee

  • Direct creditor payments

  • No origination fees

Cons
  • Co-signers not permitted

  • Restrictions on loan use

Why We Chose It

Discover is our choice as the best lender for debt consolidation because it offers direct creditor payments and competitive rates.

With typical debt consolidation loans, the funds are issued to you and you have to manually pay off your balances. It can be time-consuming and, because the funds are deposited into your bank account, there’s the temptation of using the money for other uses.

But when you consolidate high-interest debt , Discover will use the loan funds to pay off your balances with your creditors for you, eliminating those problems.

Qualifications
  • You must be the age of majority in your state.
  • You must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
  • You must have an income of $25,000 or more.

Loan funds cannot be used to repay a secured loan, such as a car loan, or to directly pay off a Discover credit card.

Best for Military Members : Navy Federal Credit Union

The Balance's Rating
4.0

  • APR Range: 7.49% - 18.00%
  • Loan Amount: $250 - $50,000
  • Loan Terms: 6 months - 180 months
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Longer loan terms available

  • Low loan minimums

  • Competitive interest rates

Cons
  • Limited to qualifying members

  • No loan prequalification tool

Why We Chose It

If you are a qualifying military service member or veteran, Navy Federal Credit Union can be an excellent choice for personal loans because of the range of loan amounts and longer repayment term options. Navy Federal membership also comes with a variety of perks, like deals on banking services and shopping discounts.

With NFCU, you can borrow as little as $250 or as much as $50,000. Depending on how you plan to use the loan, you could have up to 180 months to repay it, the longest repayment term of any lender on our list.

Qualifications
  • You must be the age of majority in your state.
  • You must have a verifiable source of income.
  • You must be a member of the credit union.

Not everyone is eligible for Navy Federal Credit Union membership. To join, you must belong to one of the following groups:

  • Active duty service members
  • U.S. military veterans
  • Family members of qualifying service members or veterans
  • Department of Defense civilian employees and retirees

Poor Credit and Small Loan Amounts : Upgrade

The Balance's Rating
4.3

  • APR Range: 8.29% - 35.97%
  • Loan Amount: $1,000 - $50,000
  • Loan Terms: 24 months - 84 months
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Longer loan term options

  • Low credit score requirements

  • Offers secured loans and allows joint applications

Cons
  • Origination fees as high as 8.99%

  • Not available in Washington, D.C.

  • Potential for higher APRs

Why We Chose It

While many personal loan lenders require credit scores in the good to excellent range, Upgrade accepts borrowers with scores as low as 560. It also offers a broad range of loan amounts, with a minimum of just $1,000—lower than many companies require.

For borrowers with less-than-perfect credit, Upgrade also offers secured loans, and it allows borrowers to apply with joint applicants to improve their chances of getting a loan.

Most lenders that cater to those with poor or fair credit have limited repayment terms, but Upgrade gives borrowers up to 84 months to repay their loans, so you may get a lower payment with Upgrade than you’d find elsewhere. Just watch out for the high APRs, which aren’t unusual with lenders for poor credit.

Qualifications
  • You must be the age of majority in your state.
  • You must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
  • You must not be a resident of Washington, D.C.
  • The minimum recommended credit score is 560.

Fast Funding : Rocket Loans

The Balance's Rating
4.0

  • APR Range: 9.12% - 29.99%
  • Loan Amount: $2,000 - $45,000
  • Loan Terms: 36 months - 60 months
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Loan funds may be disbursed as soon as the same day

  • Discount for automatic payments

  • Prequalify online

Cons
  • Charges origination fees

  • Limited repayment options

  • Not available in all states

Why We Chose It

Whether you need to replace your HVAC system or have to pay for a root canal, you may not have a lot of time to wait for a personal loan to be disbursed. That’s why Rocket Loans is our choice for the best lender for fast funding; it can disburse loans as soon as the same day you apply, and it clearly states the requirements for this.

If you complete your loan application and sign the promissory note by 1 p.m. Eastern Time on a business day, Rocket Loans will send the funds by ACH to your bank account right away. But be aware that your bank’s processing time could delay your access to the funds.

Rocket Loans’ rates are competitive, and you can qualify for an additional interest rate discount by signing up for automatic payments. If you’re comparing your loan options, Rocket has a prequalification tool you can use to view your options without impacting your credit.

Qualifications
  • You must be the age of majority in your state.
  • You must have a verifiable source of income.
  • You must live in an eligible state.

Rocket Loans does not issue personal loans to residents of Iowa, Nevada, or West Virginia.

Fair Credit : First Tech Federal Credit Union

The Balance's Rating
4.1

  • APR Range: 8.99% - 18.00%
  • Loan Amount: $500 - $50,000
  • Loan Terms: 0 months - 84 months
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • No origination fees or prepayment penalties

  • Broad range of loan amounts

  • Allows co-signers

Cons
  • Credit union membership required

  • No discounts available

Why We Chose It

First Tech Federal Credit Union (FCU) is our choice as the best personal loan lender for borrowers with fair credit because it has a relatively low minimum recommended credit score of 600. But for borrowers who don’t meet the criteria, First Tech FCU also allows you to apply with a creditworthy co-signer to better your chances of qualifying for a loan.

First Tech FCU offers loans as low as $500, so you can borrow only what you need to cover your planned expenses, and it has loan terms as long as 84 months. It doesn’t charge origination fees or prepayment penalties, like most lenders, so you can pay off your loan ahead of schedule without paying added fees.

Qualifications
  • You must be the age of majority in your state.
  • You should have the recommended credit score of 600 or higher (or have a creditworthy co-signer).
  • You must be a member of First Tech FCU.

To join First Tech FCU, you must meet one of the below criteria:

  • You must have family or household member that is a current member of First Tech FCU.
  • You must work for one of the credit union’s partner employers .
  • You must work or live in Lane County, Oregon.
  • You must belong to the Computer History Museum or the Financial Fitness Association (you can join online; digital memberships start at $15 per year).

Compare the Best Personal Loans of March 2023

Overall Rating Best For
APR Range
Average Origination Fee
Late Fee
Time To Receive Loan
Loan Amount
Latest Repayment
Reset All
SoFi
4.9
Best Overall 7.99% - 23.43% 0.00% $0.00 0 days $5,000 - $100,000 84 months Check Rates
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U.S. Bank
4.7
Best Large, Well-Established Bank 8.74% - 21.24% 0.00% $29.00 0 days $1,000 - $50,000 84 months Check Rates
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PenFed Credit Union
4.7
Best for Credit Union Members 7.74% - 17.99% 0.00% $29.00 1 day $600 - $50,000 60 months Check Rates
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Regions
4.4
Best Regional Lender 7.99% - 29.99% 0.00% 5.00% - $100.00 0 days $2,000 - $50,000 60 months Check Rates
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LightStream
4.0
Best for Excellent Credit 6.99% - 23.99% 0.00% $0.00 0 days $5,000 - $100,000 120 months Check Rates
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Marcus
4.4
Best for No Fees 6.99% - 24.99% 0.00% $0.00 1 day $3,500 - $40,000 72 months Check Rates
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Discover
4.2
Best for Debt Consolidation 6.99% - 24.99% 0.00% $39.00 1 day $2,500 - $35,000 84 months Check Rates
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Navy Federal Credit Union
4.0
Best for Military Members 7.49% - 18.00% 0.00% $29.00 0 days $250 - $50,000 180 months Check Rates
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Upgrade
4.3
Poor Credit and Small Loan Amounts 8.29% - 35.97% 1.85%–8.99% $10.00 1 day $1,000 - $50,000 84 months Check Rates
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Rocket Loans
4.0
Fast Funding 9.12% - 29.99% 1.00% - 7.00% $15.00 0 days $2,000 - $45,000 60 months Check Rates
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First Tech Federal Credit Union
4.1
Fair Credit 8.99% - 18.00% 0.00% $0.00 0 days $500 - $50,000 84 months Check Rates
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Final Verdict

Personal loans are available from many different types of lenders, including banks, credit unions, and online companies. Some, such as LightStream and Rocket Loans, may fund loans as soon as the same day you apply. Others, like Marcus and Discover, offer competitive rates and direct creditor payments, making them good choices for consolidating credit card debt.

The best personal loans offer a broad range of loan amounts. SoFi, our choice as the overall best personal loan lender, allows you to borrow up to $100,000 at relatively low rates, and you may be eligible for additional discounts by signing up for automatic payments.

Guide for Choosing the Best Personal Loans

Should You Consider a Personal Loan?

If you don’t have the cash on hand to cover an expense, you might want to consider getting a personal loan. It can be an effective way to pay for things like consolidating high-interest debt, an emergency expense, home improvements, or even something like a boat or vacation.

Before you take out a loan, though, consider if there are other ways you might be able to pay for something and the potential implications to your credit score and your budget (since you will need to repay the loan).

You’ll also want to carefully consider from which lender you get a personal loan. They’re typically offered by banks, credit unions, and online lenders. If you already have an account at a certain bank or credit union, you might want to explore their loan options, and you might be able to get better terms (even if it takes a little longer to get the funds). But if you prefer a fast application and approval process, an online lender is likely your best bet.

How to Compare Personal Loan Lenders

When you shop around for a personal loan, it’s a good idea to compare these factors:

  • APR: Annual percentage rate or APR is the total cost you’ll pay each year to borrow money, expressed as a percentage. The lower your APR, the less you’ll spend on your personal loan.
  • Loan amounts: Minimum and maximum loan amounts vary greatly by lender. The purpose of your loan will help you determine whether you’re searching for a small amount (say, $250) or a larger amount of up to $100,000.
  • Terms: Terms refer to how long you have to repay your loan. While a longer term may lower your monthly payments, it will increase your total interest costs.
  • Funding time: Fortunately, most lenders offer fast funding. This may be the same day you apply, within 24 hours, or in a few business days. If you have emergency expenses, fast funding should be a priority.
  • Customer service: There’s a good chance you’ll need support with your loan at some point in time. Look for lenders with high customer service ratings who can help you via phone, email, and online chat.

How to Apply for a Personal Loan

Once you’ve made a decision, it’s time to apply for a personal loan. Most lenders will let you go through the process online. Typically, you’ll need to fill out a short form and provide the following information:

  • Full name
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Email
  • Date of birth
  • Social Security number
  • Desired loan amount
  • Intended loan use
  • Employment status
  • Monthly income
  • Monthly housing cost

You might also be asked to submit certain documents to verify your identity, address, and income. These include a utility bill, government-issued ID, like a driver’s license or passport, and pay stubs or tax forms. Depending on the lender, you might also have a credit check and if you have a joint applicant, they will likely be asked to provide the same documentation.

A decision about your application can be made the same day or it could take up to two weeks (or more, again depending on the lender). Once a decision is made, you should receive funds relatively quickly.

What Is a Personal Loan?

Offered by banks, credit unions, and online lenders, a personal loan is a form of credit you can use to pay for a variety of expenses. Usually, it’s unsecured and doesn’t require collateral or something valuable you own. While personal loans vary greatly, many of them offer easy applications, flexible terms, and fast funding.

How Does a Personal Loan Impact Your Credit?

A personal loan can help or hurt your credit. As long as you make your payments on time, every time, your credit score will generally increase, all other things being equal. A personal loan may also improve your credit mix and lower your credit utilization ratio, which can also benefit your credit scores. On the flip side, late payments may hurt your credit.

What Can I Use a Personal Loan For?

In most cases, you can use a personal loan to cover any expense. The top reasons for personal loans include debt consolidation , home remodeling, moving, emergency expenses, and wedding costs. Keep in mind that some lenders impose restrictions and won’t let you use a personal loan on things like college or gambling. Make sure you verify with the lender before applying for the loan that you can use the funds for your intended purpose.

Methodology

The Balance is dedicated to providing consumers with unbiased, comprehensive reviews of personal loan lenders. To rate providers, we collected hundreds of data points across more than 40 lenders, including interest rates, fees, loan amounts, and repayment terms, to ensure that our reviews help users make informed decisions for their borrowing needs.

Best Personal Loans

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Article Sources
  1. U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. " SoFi Technologies, Inc. 2021 Form 10-K ," Page 103.

  2. U.S. Bank. " Find a U.S. Bank Near You ."

  3. Regions. " 2021 Annual Review & ESG Report ," 16.

  4. FICO. " What's in My FICO® Scores? "

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