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Looking for the best personal loan option for your financial needs? Compare our list of the leading personal loan lenders and marketplaces of 2021, 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.
Last Updated: July 18, 2021
2021 Best Personal Loans Services in America
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:
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.
Why We Like It:
Credible offers personal loans through a loan marketplace to consumers with excellent credit.
To apply for Credible, you must:
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.
Why We Like It:
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:
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.
What We Like:
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:
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.
What We Like:
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:
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.
Upgrade Disclaimer: Personal loans made through Upgrade feature APRs of 6.98%-35.89%. All personal loans have a 1.5% to 6% 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/.
What We Like:
Guide to Lenders offers a P2P online marketplace to connect borrowers with interested investors.
To qualify, you must meet a few requirements:
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.
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:
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:
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.
Why We Like It:
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:
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.
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APR representative example: Assuming a loan of $10,000 with a 72 month (3 year) repayment period, 7.99% interest rate and 11.51% APR, and a $350 origination fee, the borrower will receive $9,650 after the loan funds and will repay $313.32/month (for a total amount repaid of $11,279.43).
It's easy for borrowers to fall victim to a scam, especially when their options are limited by having bad credit and lenders try to take advantage of their situation. Before you take out a loan, keep an eye out for the following in order to find a reputable lender:
Personal loans can be used for a variety of reasons. Whether you need the funds for an emergency, home improvement, debt consolidation, or a major life event, these loans are flexible enough for any purpose.
Your credit may take a slight hit once you submit your application -- usually around 5 points due to the initial credit inquiry. (If you make multiple inquiries within a few weeks, it will only count as one.)
Once you receive your personal loan, your credit may be affected due to your new higher debt (unless you are taking out a debt consolidation loan for credit card debt).
Thankfully, you can build your credit history by making regular on-time payments on your personal loan.
A bad credit loan is a specific kind of personal loan for borrowers with poor, bad, or no credit. These usually come with lower amounts, and higher interest rates; borrowers may even have to put up collateral in case they default.
Any loan for consumers with bad credit carries high interest rates, but there are some unexpected benefits to taking out these personal loans:
A personal loan is a large cash fund you can borrow for personal use, like paying off consolidated debt, investing in your home, a vacation, or wedding.