5 Best Personal Loans Companies Of 2018

Looking for the best personal loan option for your financial needs? Compare our list of the leading personal loan lenders and marketplaces of 2018, ranked by ease of the online loan request form, time in business, number of partner lenders, required credit score, interest rates, reputation, and industry accreditations.

2018 Best Personal Loans Services in America

The Top Factors To Consider When Shopping For Personal Loans

A personal loan is a tool that you can use to assist your financial needs in any situation, such as funding your education, renovating your home, and even paying off other debts.

Personal loans have much more competitive interest rates and terms than credit cards, making it an ideal option for consolidating your credit card debt or anything that requires a large amount of cash.

Picking a personal loan is an important decision and it can be difficult to find the best one for your situation, so we've assembled a list of the best lenders and marketplaces that fit your personal profile. We use the following criteria to assess the best lenders:

  • Transparency: Look for a company that provides important information upfront. Many companies have a loan calculator to help you find your interest rate based on your financial situation, while your loan terms and ranges can be easily found by filling out a short online loan request form or calling the company directly.
  • Time in business: Longevity in the personal loan industry is always a good sign of a reputable company.
  • Customer service and reviews: Check reviews to determine if a company is right for you. Your lender's reputation, customer service, responsiveness, and accreditation matter. You can check the BBB, Trustpilot, and Yelp to see real customer reviews and find the answers to the following questions:
    • Can this company be easily contacted by phone, email, or live chat 24/7?
    • Do they respond quickly to any questions or concerns I may have?
    • Will they keep me updated during the process?
  • Pricing and fees: In addition to your interest rates, some lenders may charge you extra fees such as application fees, late fees, origination fees, or processing fees -- these could become costly over time. Be sure to take this into consideration before agreeing to your loan terms. Most of our top lenders charge competitive rates, minimal fees, and no prepayment penalties.
  • Loan amounts: Your lender should offer loan amounts that go as high as you need, all while keeping reasonable interest rates. Some of our recommended lenders only offer amounts up to $5,000, while others may offer loans up to $100,000.
  • Speed of funding: Online lenders are well known for being able to directly deposit your funds to your checking account, which means you can receive your loan much quicker than if you went through a bank or credit union. Most of our top lenders offer same-day funding.
  • Types of loans offered: In addition to interest rates and fees, you can also choose between a variety of loans, such as fixed and variable loans. Fixed rates stay the same throughout the life of the loan, while variable rates fluctuate depending on the economy. These usually start lower and increase during the loan term; however, most lenders cap the interest rates at a certain point. Lenders may also allow cosigned loans, which is when a trusted friend or family member cosigns a loan with you. While this can help you get lower interest rates, it is a risky option since your credit and your cosigner's credit is on the line. If one person defaults, the other is responsible for paying the loan back.
  • Repayment period: If you are able to, it's better to choose a shorter repayment period and save money over the life of the loan. If you pick a long repayment term, you end up paying more over the life of the loan due to interest -- even if your monthly fixed amount is lower. Monevo offers the lowest starting interest rates out of all the top loan comparison marketplaces we reviewed.
  • Nationwide service: Most of our recommended lenders offer their services in most US states.
  • Ease of application: Top online lenders make applying for a loan much simpler and quicker than banks and credit unions. The majority of online lenders and marketplaces will have you fill out one single online application that asks for basic personal and financial information like your name, address, employment information, income information, Social Security number, and loan information before connecting you with your loan offers.
  • Your personal credit history: This last factor depends on you. Whether or not you have good or bad credit determines what type of loans you qualify for. Your creditworthiness is determined by a number of factors, such as your loan repayment history, which gives lenders an idea of how much of a risk you are as a borrower. With a high credit score, your interest rates will be much lower; however, you can still get a loan even with lower credit scores.

Our Top Picks For Personal Loans

Our top lenders and loan marketplaces have a great range of options and interest rates for consumers that are based on their credit, financial situation, reason for a loan, and the type of loan they are searching for.

Best Personal Loan Marketplace: Monevo

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  • Minimum Credit Score: 580
  • APR: 3.09% to 35.99%
  • Loan Range: $1,000 to $100,000
  • Term Length: 3 to 96 months

Why We Like It:

  • Large network of lenders
  • Competitive rates
  • Variety of loan terms

Monevo Inc. is our top pick for the best loan marketplace. They offer personal loans to borrowers in the US and UK who are looking for unsecured personal loans with good terms, high loan amounts, and have fair to excellent credit.

To apply for Monevo, you must meet a few requirements:

  • Be a US citizen or permanent resident
  • Have a valid checking account in your name
  • Be at least 18 years of age

Their application is easy to fill out and takes as little as 60 seconds. All you have to do is choose your desired loan amount, repayment term, and loan purpose from a drop-down list before filling in basic personal information like your income, employment, credit score, education, residence, and Social Security number.

Monevo's award-winning technology forwards your information to their partners to see if they have any real-time loan offers that match your needs. Their lending partners may run a soft credit check (which does not affect your credit) in order to verify your identity and credit score.

Once you receive your loan offers, you can compare them through a clear, organized table that shows you the various loan terms and interest rates. If you choose to follow through with an offer, you can finalize the loan on the lender's website and receive your funds via direct deposit as soon as the next business day.

Best Personal Loan For Bad Credit: 5KFunds

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  • Minimum Credit Score: No minimum credit score
  • APR: 5.99% to 35.99%
  • Loan Range: Up to $35,000
  • Term Length: 2 to 72 months

What We Like:

  • Competitive rates
  • Large network of lenders
  • US-based customer service that can be reached easily by phone or email

5KFunds is a completely free online lender comparison service that allows you to quickly find the best loan for your specific needs, regardless of your credit history. They have an extensive partner network of over 100 lenders that offer competitive interest rates and fast funding.

To apply for a loan from 5KFunds, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Be a US citizen
  • Have a steady stream of income
  • Have a valid bank account, preferably with direct deposit

5KFunds' application process only requires you to fill out some basic financial information. They do not require an initial credit check requirement and pre-approval takes as little as 90 seconds.

If you pre-qualify, you will be contacted by your lender to complete the application process and receive your loan terms from them directly. Some lenders may perform a hard credit check at this time, which lowers your credit score.

5KFunds services are completely free, although partner lenders may charge fees that are disclosed in your loan terms. You can receive your funds directly deposited to your bank account as soon as the next business day.

Best Personal Loan For Fair Credit: Upgrade

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  • Minimum Credit Score: 620
  • APR: 6.99% to 35.97%
  • Loan Range: $1,000 to $50,000
  • Term Length: 36 to 60 months

What We Like:

  • Unsecured loans with fixed interest rates
  • Funds that are directly deposited as quickly as the same business day

Upgrade is a fairly new personal loan company that offers online personal loans for those with fair to excellent credit.

To apply for a loan from Upgrade, you need to meet specific eligibility requirements:

  • Be at least 18 years of age (or 19 in some states)
  • Be a US citizen, permanent resident, or be living in the US with a valid visa
  • Have a valid and verifiable bank account
  • Have a valid email address
  • Live in one of the eligible states
  • Have at least 3 years of credit history

Upgrade's application process can be filled out on Upgrade’s home page. You simply enter some basic information like your loan amount, the reason you want to borrow, and some personal details in order to check your rate.

Once this is done, Upgrade shows you multiple loan options or will notify you that your application has been denied. If you decide on an offer, Upgrade authorizes a hard credit check and verifies your bank account information before directly depositing your cash as soon as the same business day.

Best Personal Loan For Good Credit: GuideToLenders

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  • Minimum Credit Score: N/A
  • APR: 4.99% to 35.99%
  • Loan Range: $1,000 to $40,000
  • Term Length: 24 to 84 months

What We Like:

  • Peer-to-peer online marketplace
  • Competitive rates

Guide to Lenders offers a P2P online marketplace to connect borrowers with interested investors.

To qualify, you must meet a few requirements:

  • You must be a US citizen
  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Have a verifiable bank account
  • Have a steady source of income

Applicants can receive multiple offers based on their credit after filling out a secure form, which is a simple form that only takes a few minutes. You only need to provide some basic information like your name, annual income, date of birth, email, phone number, and zip code.

If you are preapproved for any loans, you can compare them and choose the best loan offer for your situation. Guide to Lenders does not authorize a hard credit pull, but your lender will conduct one after you have chosen a loan in order to check your credit history.

Best Personal Loan For Excellent Credit: SoFi

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Minimum Credit Score: 660 APR: 5.95% to 14.75% for fixed rates with AutoPay, 5.825% to 14.365% for variable rates with Autopay Loan Range: $5,000 to $100,000 Term Length: 3, 5, or 7 years

Why We Like It:

  • Competitive low rates
  • High loan amounts up to $100,000
  • Flexible loan terms
  • Unemployment protection program
  • No origination fees, closing costs, or prepayment penalties.

Social Finance, also known as SoFi, is an online lender that provides loans and exclusive benefits for individuals with excellent credit.

SoFi looks at several factors including credit history, a high-income career (or potential high-income career in a growing field), degree, education, financial history, and payment history in order to determine if you are a reliable borrower. You must also meet a few other requirements:

  • Be a US citizen or permanent resident
  • Be over 18 years of age
  • Live in one of the eligible states

To apply, you simply create a username and password and fill out some basic personal information like your education and career. After SoFi has processed your information and performed a soft credit check, you can see which loans you are eligible for. From there you can choose between a fixed or variable rate loan.

Once you have chosen a loan, SoFi authorizes a hard credit check and if you are approved, you must upload documentation (like your driver’s license or paystub) and choose a bank account for your funds before signing the loan agreement.

In addition to their loans, SoFi also provides many value-added benefits, such as an unemployment protection program and exclusive networking events.

Best Personal Loan For Credit Card Debt Consolidation: FreedomPlus

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Minimum Credit Score: 660 APR: 4.99% to 29.99% Loan Range: $7,500 to $35,000 Term Length: 2 to 5 years

Why We Like It:

  • Discounts for credit card consolidation (if you allow FreedomPlus to send the money directly to your creditors)
  • Quick approval and funding, sometimes in as little as 72 hours

FreedomPlus is a major player in the personal loan market and specifically offers consolidation loans for borrowers who want to pay off credit card debt.

To apply for FreedomPlus, you must meet a few requirements:

  • Have a valid ID
  • Be over 18 years of age
  • Be a US citizen
  • Live in one of the eligible states

You will need to select a loan amount and credit score before providing basic personal information like your name, email, and employment. FreedomPlus will initially do a soft pull on your credit to see if you pre-qualify for a loan.

If you have any questions, you can speak with a loan consultant on the phone to discuss the details of your loan and finalize your application.

Best Personal Loan For Student Loans: Credible

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  • Minimum Credit Score: 680
  • APR: 4.99% to 35.99%
  • Loan Range: $1,000 to $100,000
  • Term Length: 24 to 84 months

Why We Like It:

  • Fixed interest rates
  • Large network of lenders

Credible offers personal loans through a loan marketplace to consumers with excellent credit.

To apply for Credible, you must:

  • Be a US citizen or permanent resident
  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Have a valid checking account in your name
  • Have good to excellent credit

You can receive your personalized loan offers in just a couple of minutes by filling out a single online form.

You simply have to create an account and enter some basic personal and financial information. Credible authorizes a soft credit check to learn more about your financial history, which they can complete quickly since they work with the three major credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion).

If you pre-qualify, you are sent your loan offers by Credible's vetted lenders. You can choose your desired loan and complete the full application with your lender.

Credible's client support team keep in touch with you through the entire loan process. Customers can contact them through phone, email, or chat to speak directly with a representative.

Best Personal Loan For Major Purchases: LightStream

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  • Minimum Credit Score: 660
  • APR: 3.09% to 14.24% with AutoPay (rates vary by loan purpose)
  • Loan Range: $5,000 to $100,000
  • Term Length: 2 to 7 years

Why We Like It:

  • No extra fees
  • $100 loan experience guarantee and the ability to beat any qualifying rate
  • Available nationwide
  • Autopay discount

LightStream is our top pick for major purchases due to their high loan amount and lower-than-average rates. They provide fast funding times and a wide range of loan terms.

LightStream is unique in the fact that your interest rate is based on the reason you take out your loan. To apply for LightStream, you must meet several requirements:

  • Be at least 18 years of age (or your state's minimum age requirement)
  • Have an excellent credit score
  • Have a credit history of at least five years
  • Have a low debt-to-income ratio
  • Have a minimum $50,000 annual income
  • Have a history of on-time payments

You can apply directly on LightStream's website and choose the type of loan you want to take out. If your credit history isn't ideal, you can apply with a cosigner to qualify for better loan terms.

LightStream doesn't require a pre-approval process and instead authorizes a hard pull from Experian and Equifax. This look at your financial history helps determine your loan amount, term length, monthly payment, and interest rates.

After you have created your account and entered your personal information, you must upload documents proving your identification and income. Once your application is processed, you will be notified if you are approved and you can receive your funds as quickly as the same business day.

Contact: Please contact us with any questions at [email protected]