Personal Loans

Compare and choose the right personal loan provider for your needs, whether it's debt consolidation, credit card refinancing, or a major purchase. To get started, filter the results, check your rate, and learn more about borrowing in the guide below.

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Compare the Top Lenders

 

Credible
  • Free-to-use marketplace with a choice of vetted lending partners.
  • Borrowers are in control and can compare competitive loan options.
  • No prepayment fees and origination fees as low as 0%
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LightStream
  • Good credit gets low rates and zero fees
  • Fast and easy online process
  • $100 Loan Experience Guarantee¹
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LendingTree
  • The nation’s largest online lending marketplace
  • Over $50 billion in loans facilitated
  • One short form for multiple loan options
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To better understand how personal loans work, you need to ask “What is a personal loan?” How does this type of loan funding work?

What Are Personal Loans?

Personal loans may be secured or unsecured. For example, you can secure a personal loan using your car’s title for collateral or opt for a higher interest rate and apply for an unsecured loan for your funding needs. If the loan is secured, the lender uses the collateral to apply toward the loan if you cannot repay the loan amount back. Examples of secured personal loans include title loans or loans where you provide your savings or a personal asset, such as jewelry, for collateral.

However, with that being said, an unsecured loan is the most common example of an online personal loan. You do not have to put up collateral for this type of financing.

However, that does not mean taking out an uncollateralized loan will have no effect. Defaulting on a personal unsecured loan will damage your credit score, which, in turn, will raise the cost of borrowing money. Just keep that in mind when borrowing money online. Always make your payments and you will be fine.

Remember – If you take out a personal loan, the APR you have to pay will be dictated by your credit score. If you have a lower credit score, you will naturally pay a higher APR, as you present a greater risk to the lender. So, when you ask, “What is a personal loan?” it is good to keep the above information in mind. If your credit score is below 640, remember that the interest rate is generally higher. Payback periods for personal loans range, on average, between 5 to 7 years.

Reasons to Take Out a Personal Loan

Borrowers may take out a personal loan for various reasons. The main reasons for personal loan funding include the following:

Consolidating Credit Card Debt

You can also use a personal loan to consolidate your current credit card debt. Make it easy on yourself and pay one easy payment per month for all your credit cards instead of making individual payments. You can reduce the interest you are paying on individual credit cards and keep better track of your finances.

Getting Quick Cash for an Emergency

If you need quick cash for a vehicle breakdown or need to pay for a plumbing repair, what can you do? Taking out a personal loan at a reasonable amount of interest provides a solution for any unexpected predicament. Use a personal loan to pay for any emergency fast and conveniently.

Pay Off a Student Loan or Pay for Education

You can meet your student loan obligation by using a personal loan to pay off the amount or, at least, reduce it. Some people also use the loan to fund their educational needs now. Regardless of the reason, you can pay for your education without hassle.

Pay a Tax Debt

If you owe taxes to Uncle Sam, you can make the required payment by applying for a personal loan. Doing so will bring you peace of mind and will enable you to comply with the requirements set by the IRS financially and legally.

As the name implies, a personal loan is a type of funding that allows you to use the money for your personal needs, whether they involve business, personal finance, or education.

Receiving Money for Business Capital or For Buying Inventory

Some people need to secure a personal loan to obtain business funding or capital for a start-up. A personal loan offers a borrower a quick form of cash for this purpose. Most start-ups like to obtain a personal loan for business capital, as they can pay back the amount over a shorter period of time and can meet their financial and legal obligations.

Obtaining a Wedding Loan

Needless to say, weddings are expensive. Therefore, taking out a personal loan for a wedding can greatly relieve the financial burden of this type of once-in-lifetime expense. Use the money to pay for decorations or what you will need in furnishings or equipment for your reception. You can also supplement wedding costs by taking out a wedding loan.

Financing a Boat

Some borrowers use a personal loan to pay for a major purchase, such as a boat. If you love boating and/or fishing, contacting a personal loan provider will give you a way to enjoy your pastime more easily.

Paying for a Vacation or Cruise

Would you like to take the dream vacation of a lifetime? If so, contacting an online personal loan vendor can place money in your bank account quickly and conveniently. This type of loan makes it possible for you to enjoy a getaway whenever you choose.

Why do you want to take out a personal loan?
How much can you repay?

Answer these questions first before applying for the funding.

What to Check Before Applying for a Personal Loan

Before you apply for a personal loan, you need to be prepared. The following check list will help you make the appropriate adjustments or gather the correct documentation to apply for a personal loan. Use it as your reference to obtain a loan at a reasonable rate of interest.

Check Your Credit Score

The decision for funding a personal loan often depends on your credit rating or score. A credit score may range from 300 to 850. Therefore, the APR for the loan will depend, to a great extent, on the score and your financial history.

Again, if the credit score is lower, the interest rate will be higher than what it will be for a credit rating that is higher. You can usually receive the funds in 1 to 2 days by direct deposit in your bank account

Check Your Payment History

Most lenders will determine personal loan approval on 35% of your FICO score or credit rating, based on payment history. Naturally, a lender wants to play it safe, so he or she has to look for any red flags when it comes to your payment history.

For example, if you have several missed payments or late payments, you may need to make some adjustments. Make a commitment to paying all your bills on time to improve your standing in this area. It also helps to sign up for automatic withdrawals so you don’t forget to pay your monthly obligations.

However, with that being said, it does not mean you won’t get the loan for a few missed payments. If you have a good reason for missing the payments, the lender will also consider this factor. In addition, some lenders will still approve the loan, as they will just charge an interest rate that is a bit higher.

Check Your Credit Utilization Ratio

If you want to apply for a personal loan, you need to check your credit utilization ratio as well. This percentage represents the amount of outstanding credit card debt you have in relation to your credit limits.

The credit utilization ratio accounts for 30% of your credit rating or FICO score. Basically, a lender looks at how much credit you currently have and how much credit you have available. The lower the ratio, the better. When you compare personal loan companies, keep this factor in mind.

Check Out Other Credit Factors

Besides checking your payment history and utilization of credit, you also need to review other factors that contribute to your credit score. These factors include the length of your credit history (how long you have been using credit) and the number of new credit applications you have recently completed. A longer credit history and applying for fewer credit offers will increase your score.

Check Your Financial Data

In addition, you need to look at how you will appear to a lender in terms of work history, current earnings, and what you currently have in total debt. The lender merely wants to know if you can repay the loan once you receive the money. Therefore, if you make more money, have more assets, and have acquired minimal debt, you will look better in a lender’s eyes.

Check Your Current Credit Score and See What Activities Have Affected Its Rating

The main thing you have to keep in mind, when applying for a personal loan, is your credit score rating. This rating is important, as it determines how much interest you will have to pay on the loan amount. When you compare personal loan companies and review their services, they will give you the interest rates for specific credit ratings.

Check to Make Sure You Have the Appropriate Information and Documents

When applying for a personal loan, you should produce documentation that includes a government-issued I.D. (for proof of age and residence); tax information for earnings; payment stubs; and any other data that will help you secure a loan.

For example, some personal loan vendors require that you show proof of auto insurance and a vehicle title when applying for a personal loan. Based on the lender’s requirements, have this type of information ready when applying for a personal loan.

If you prepare yourself properly, you will know what to expect and feel more confident when facilitating personal loan funding online. Using this source of funding can bode well for you as long as you can use the money for something that will improve your lifestyle.

Does a Personal Loan Affect Your Credit Score?

Your credit score for personal loans will again impact your APR, or the interest you will need to pay. Look for the lowest APRs for your specific credit rating. For example, a poor credit score will come with a higher interest rate, so always go with the rate that is the lowest.

Ask these questions when taking out a personal loan –

Will I benefit from taking out the loan?

For example, a loan taken out to consolidate debt with a lower interest rate can help you pay down your obligations.

Can I repay the debt?

Seriously consider your ability to repay. Missing a payment or 2 can drive down your credit score, so you want to make sure you can manage repayment. As long as you can repay the loan, you should be okay.

How Does the Credit Score Affect the APR?

As noted, your credit score for personal loans needs to be high enough to take care of the debt and repayment.

Credit Scope Rating Average APR
720 – 840 Excellent 10.3%
680 to 719 Good 13.5%
640 to 679 Fair 17.95%
Under 640 Poor 21.0%

As you can see from the chart above, the APR is lower for a person with an excellent credit rating than for someone who has a poor credit score. Therefore, you need to keep this in mind when you apply for any kind of loan, especially a personal loan. As most personal loans online are usually not secured, it is helpful to keep the average APR in mind.

How to Start Your Personal Loan Search

So, what is the best way to begin your personal loans comparison?

To find the best personal loans, you can start by looking at the loan vendors on a lending platform. Review what they offer in terms of interest rates and check out the amount of loan funding.

To choose the best personal loan vendor and personal loan for you, it is best to compare the interest rates of several lenders. The loan with the lowest APR typically is the best choice.

When making comparisons of personal loan vendors, the average personal loan monthly payment will be featured as well. Think about this carefully. Can you afford this payment and will you be able to pay it back over the term of the loan?

If you choose a personal loan with a longer term, the payments may be lower. However, you will also pay more in interest over the loan’s life. Therefore, look at how the payments can be integrated in your monthly budget. Also, what kind of payment options does a lender provide?

For instance, some lenders, that provide personal loans, will allow you to defer your payments or change the payment due date, if needed. By using a lending platform that highlights various lending sources, you can make comparisons of the loan products, pre-qualify for a loan, and review the estimated rates without affecting your credit score.

Using a lender marketplace or platform to assess lending sources is the best way to find a personal loan that you can work into your budget. It will also allow you to receive the loan proceeds conveniently and easily. In some cases, you can receive your money the next day by direct deposit into your bank account.

By making personal loan comparisons on a lending platform, you can get a better idea about how to proceed with the personal loan process. Making comparisons is important, as it will allow you to find the best funding source in terms of your financial needs and budget.

Important Personal Loans Terms

As you search for a personal loan, you will encounter some financial terms that you need to know. Let’s cover a few of the most important terms so you feel comfortable moving forward.

What makes a loan “secured” is when you back it up with some form of collateral, such as a car title or vehicle. This places less risk on the lender. If you default on the loan, they can claim the collateral.

An unsecured personal loan is the most common type of personal loan. It does not require collateral. Because the loan presents a higher risk to the lender, an unsecured loan usually comes with a higher interest rate.

Most loans today can be secured at a fixed rate of interest. This means that the loan may be secured at one established APR for the life of the loan.

A loan with a variable rate of interest may be harder to pay back, as the interest rate can change, and therefore alter the amount of the monthly payment.

If you have a poor credit score but want to secure a lower rate of interest for your personal loan, you might ask that a cosigner sign the loan agreement as well. This person should have a good credit rating and be willing to repay the loan if you cannot do so yourself. Having a cosigner makes it easier to get approved for a personal loan and lock in a lower APR.

A marketplace lender represents a company that allows you to review multiple lenders within its service network. Using the services of a marketplace lender allows you to compare lending sources and find the best APR and loan terms for you.

As the name suggests, a direct lender provides personal loans directly to borrowers.

Personal Loans FAQs

How can I use a personal loan?

Who can qualify for a personal loan?

What information should I provide the lender when applying for a personal loan?

How much can I borrow and for how long?

Can personal loans be refinanced?

Do all personal loans come from banks?

What are the requirements for a personal loan?