A personal loan can help you cover almost any personal expense — but before you get one, it’s important to compare as many lenders as you can to find the right loan for you.
As you consider lenders, keep in mind that the best personal loans should provide competitive interest rates, a wide selection of loan terms, and inclusive eligibility requirements:
- Best personal loans for every situation
- Other personal loans to consider
- How to qualify for a personal loan
- How to take out a personal loan
- How to get the best personal loan rates
- Ways to use a personal loan
- Personal loan FAQs
- Credible’s partner lenders
Best personal loans for every situation
Each borrower has their own unique needs and financial circumstances. Thankfully, a wide variety of personal loan lenders offer loans to fit nearly every situation.
Here are Credible’s partner lenders that offer personal loans:
Best for: Consolidating high-interest debt
Achieve personal loans range from $10,000 to $50,000 with terms from two to five years. If you use at least 85% of your loan funds to pay off existing debt, you could get a better rate. You might also qualify for a lower rate by adding a cosigner or showing proof of retirement savings.
- Could get a better rate by using at least 85% of the loan to consolidate debt, adding a cosigner, or showing proof of retirement savings
- Quick approval decisions
- Fast loan funding
- Must borrow at least $10,000
- Origination fees from 1.99% to 6.99%
- Not available in Nevada
Best for: Borrowers with poor credit
With Avant, you can borrow $2,000 to $35,000 with repayment terms from two to five years. If you’re approved, you could get your funds as soon as the next business day.
- Accepts poor and fair credit scores
- Fast loan funding
- Variety of loan uses
- Not available in Colorado, Iowa, Hawaii, Vermont, Nevada, New York, or West Virginia
- Origination fees of up to 4.75%
- Charges late and dishonored payment fees
Best for: Borrowers with excellent credit
Axos Bank offers personal loans from $10,000 to $50,000 with repayment terms from three to six years. If you’re approved, you could get your funds as soon as the next business day.
Keep in mind that you’ll need good to excellent credit to qualify for a loan from Axos Bank.
- Fast loan funding
- Variety of loan uses
- No prepayment penalty
- Could be difficult to qualify if you don’t have good credit
- Origination fees from 0% to 2%
- Charges late and insufficient funds fees
Best for: Borrowers with good credit
With Best Egg, you can borrow $2,000 to $50,000 with terms from two to five years. In addition to your credit score, Best Egg also considers more than 1,500 proprietary credit attributes from sources that include external data providers and your “digital footprint” — which means you might have an easier time qualifying with Best Egg compared to traditional lenders.
Ways to use a personal loan
You can use a personal loan to cover almost any personal expense — though some lenders might restrict their loans for certain purposes. For example, you can only use Happy Money personal loans to consolidate credit card debt.
Here are some potential expenses you could cover with a personal loan:
Covering medical expenses is a common source of debt. A personal loan could help you pay for your procedures, then pay them off over a period of time.
If your car needs repairs, a personal loan could get you the funds you need quickly — depending on the lender you choose, you might get your funds as soon as the same or next business day.
Vacations can come with a variety of expenses, such as travel and lodging — all of which could be covered by a personal loan.
If you use a personal loan to pay off your debt, you might qualify for a lower interest rate than you’ve been paying. This could save you money on interest and potentially help you pay off your debt faster.
A personal loan for home improvements could get you the money you need for home improvements, repairs, or a remodel.
Additionally, home improvement personal loans sometimes offer longer repayment terms that could help keep your monthly payments low — for example, you could have up to 12 years to repay a LightStream home improvement loan.
You can use a personal loan for almost any personal expense — this includes major purchases such as cars, boats, or recreational vehicles.
No matter if you’re moving to another state or just across town, it can be expensive. With a personal loan, you can cover various expenses that come with moving, such as renting a truck or hiring movers.
Check Out: Is Using a Personal Loan for Taxes a Good Idea?
Personal loan FAQs
Here are the answers to several commonly asked questions about personal loans:
- What is a personal loan?
- Which is better: a credit card or a personal loan?
- What interest rate can I expect?
- What is the difference between APR and interest rate on a personal loan?
- Do personal loans have fees?
- Can I get a personal loan with bad credit?
- Do personal loans hurt my credit?
- How many years can I finance a personal loan?
- How much will I qualify for?
- How can I get a quick loan online?
- Is it better to get a personal loan from my bank?
- Can I pay my loan off early?
- What happens if I can’t pay back my loan?
- What is the difference between a secured loan and an unsecured loan?
What is a personal loan?
A personal loan is a type of installment loan — meaning you borrow a specific amount of money and make payments over a set period of time. Personal loans typically range from $600 up to $100,000 or more with repayment terms from one to seven years, depending on the lender.
Most personal loans are unsecured, so you don’t have to worry about collateral. Also keep in mind that unlike revolving credit (such as credit cards), you can’t access your loan amount more than once. If you want to borrow more, you’ll have to take out another loan.
Check Out: How to Check If a Personal Loan Company Is Legitimate
Which is better: a credit card or a personal loan?
When deciding between a personal loan vs. credit card, the right option for you will ultimately depend on your needs and spending habits. Here are a few pros and cons to keep in mind as you compare the two:
|Credit Cards||Will have access to a revolving credit line that you can use repeatedlyCould potentially earn rewards on your purchasesOften come with benefits like extended warranty and return protections||Typically have higher interest rates than personal loansMonthly payment can fluctuate based on your spending habitsGenerally come with variable rates, meaning your rate could go up in the future|
|Personal loans||Usually have lower interest rates than credit cardsCome with fixed monthly paymentsWill have a pre-set payoff date||Might be harder to qualify for if you have poor or fair creditMonthly payments are usually higher than a credit card’s minimum paymentsMight come with additional fees, such as origination fees|
What interest rate can I expect?
Credible’s partner lenders offer personal loan rates starting at 5.4%+ . Keep in mind that the interest rates you’ll be offered depend primarily on three factors:
- Your credit score
- The repayment term you choose
- The lender you pick
|How’s Your Credit?||Credit Score Range||Average Minimum Rate|
|Excellent||750 – 850||13.93%|
|Good||700 – 749||18.33%|
|Fair||640 – 699||22.12%|
|Poor||300 – 639||26.62%|
|Disclosure: This data is for a $10,000 loan amount.1|
What is the difference between APR and interest rate on a personal loan?
The annual percentage rate (APR) and interest rate on a personal loan both refer to borrower costs — though they’re slightly different.
- The interest rate is how much you pay each year to borrow money, expressed as a percentage. Personal loan interest rates are usually fixed, which means your rate and payments won’t ever change. However, some lenders also offer variable-rate loans — meaning your rate and payment could fluctuate over the life of the loan.
- The APR includes not only the interest rate but also other loan fees, such as origination fees. This gives you a more complete picture of your loan costs compared to just the interest rate.
Learn More: Refinancing a Personal Loan: Can It Be Done?
Do personal loans have fees?
This depends on the lender — while some lenders charge personal loan fees, others don’t. Some potential fees that could come with personal loans include:
- Origination fees, which are deducted before your loan is disbursed
- Late fees, which are charged if you miss your payment due date
- Returned payment fees, which are assessed if you don’t have the funds in your bank account to cover your loan payment
Check Out: Home Equity Loan vs. Personal Loan: Which Is Right for You?
Can I get a personal loan with bad credit?
While you typically need good to excellent credit to qualify for a personal loan, some lenders offer personal loans for bad credit. Keep in mind, though, that borrowers with poor credit generally receive higher interest rates compared to borrowers with good credit.
You could also consider applying with a cosigner to improve your chances of getting approved. Having a cosigner might also help you get a better interest rate, which can save you money on your loan.
Learn More: Comparing Credit Score Ranges
Do personal loans hurt my credit?
When you apply for a new loan, the lender will use a hard credit check to determine how likely you are to repay the loan. This could cause a temporary drop in your credit score — typically five points or less.
But this dip is usually only temporary, and your score will likely go back up in a few months. Plus, if you make on-time payments on your new personal loan, you might see further improvements to your credit.
See: How Personal Loans Impact Your Credit Score
How many years can I finance a personal loan?
Personal loan terms generally range from three to seven years. Available terms vary by lender, so be sure to consider multiple lenders to find a term that fits your needs.
Also keep in mind that the longer the term, the more interest you’ll pay — so it’s usually a good idea to choose the shortest term you can afford.
Learn More: Personal Loans for College Students
How much will I qualify for?
Personal loans can range from $600 to $100,000 or more. But the actual amount you’ll qualify for when applying for a personal loan will depend on two factors: the lender’s loan limit and how much of your available monthly income will be required to make your loan payments.
For example, while some lenders will approve $100,000 personal loans, you’ll also have to meet their debt-to-income requirements.
Check Out: How to Find a $35,000 Personal Loan Without Stressing
How can I get a quick loan online?
Several online lenders offer simple online application processes to get a personal loan. Additionally, many of these lenders offer approval decisions within just a few minutes.
The time to fund an online personal loan is usually about five business days — but some lenders can fund your loan as soon as the same or next business day after approval.
Learn More: Swimming Pool Loans: Finance with a Personal Loan
Is it better to get a personal loan from my bank?
This depends on your bank. With some banks, borrowers who already have accounts could qualify for loyalty discounts if they take out a personal loan with them. If your bank offers these discounts or other perks, you might be able to reduce your overall loan costs.
However, it’s still important to compare as many lenders as you can in addition to your bank. This way, you can be sure you’re getting the right loan for your needs.
Check Out: Personal Loans From Banks: Where to Get Loans
Can I pay my loan off early?
If you can afford it, paying off your loan early can be a great way to save money on interest charges. Many personal loan lenders don’t charge prepayment penalties (fees assessed if you pay off your loan ahead of schedule), but some do.
Tip: If you take out a loan with one of Credible’s partner lenders, you won’t have to worry about prepayment penalties.
What happens if I can’t pay back my loan?
Most personal loans are unsecured and don’t require collateral, so your assets aren’t at risk if you default on your loan. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t consequences.
If you fall behind on your loan payments, the lender will report it to the credit bureaus, which could severely damage your credit score. A loan default can remain on your credit report for up to seven years, which could affect your eligibility for other types of credit later on.
Keep in mind: Lenders can also send your account to collections and pursue legal action against you to force you to repay the loan.
What is the difference between a secured loan and an unsecured loan?
While most personal loans are unsecured, some lenders also offer secured personal loans. Here’s how they compare:
- Secured loans require collateral, such as a vehicle or other item of value. Because these loans are less risky to the lender, they tend to come with lower interest rates compared to unsecured loans. You might also have an easier time getting approved for a secured loan if you have bad credit. However, if you can’t keep up with your payments, the lender could seize your property.
- Unsecured loans don’t require collateral. These loans are riskier for lenders, so they often come with stricter requirements as well as smaller loan amounts. You’ll likely need good to excellent credit to qualify for an unsecured loan.
Credible’s partner lenders
If you’re ready to find your personal loan, Credible can help: You can compare your prequalified rates from our partner lenders in the table below in two minutes.