Personal loans are available from traditional banks, credit unions and online lending platforms. They typically range from $1,000 to $50,000, with few lenders offering loan amounts up to $100,000. However, more than 80% of Americans borrow less than $20,000, according to a Forbes Advisor survey. What’s more, many personal loans can be funded within a few business days so you don’t have to wait to get the money you need.
Best Personal Loans & Current Rates of June 2023
- SoFi – Best Overall Personal Loan
- LightStream – Best for Low-Interest Rates
- LendingPoint– Best for Fast Funding & Below-Average Credit
- Upgrade – Best for Bad Credit
- Universal Credit – Best for Comparing Multiple Offers
- Discover– Best for No Interest, If Repaid Within 30 Days
- Upstart – Best for Loans as Low as $1,000
- Avant – Best for a Range of Repayment Terms
The above personal loan rates and details are accurate as of June 5, 2023. While we update this information regularly, the annual percentage rates (APRs) and loan details may have changed since the page was last updated. Keep in mind, some lenders make specific rates and terms available only for certain loan purposes. Be sure to confirm available APR ranges and loan details, based on your desired loan purpose, with your lender before applying.
We reviewed 29 popular lenders based on 16 data points in the categories of loan details, loan costs, eligibility and accessibility, customer experience and the application process. We chose the 8 best lenders based on the weighting assigned to each category:
- Loan details: 20%
- Loan cost: 35%
- Eligibility and accessibility: 20%
- Customer experience: 15%
- Application process: 10%
Within each major category, we also considered several characteristics, including available loan amounts, repayment terms, APR ranges and applicable fees. We also looked at minimum credit score requirements, whether each lender accepts co-signers or joint applications and the geographic availability of the lender. Finally, we evaluated each provider’s customer support tools, borrower perks and features that simplify the borrowing process—like prequalification options and mobile apps.
Where appropriate, we awarded partial points depending on how well a lender met each criterion.
To learn more about how Forbes Advisor rates lenders, and our editorial process, check out our Loans Rating & Review Methodology.
This online survey of 1,000 Americans who have applied for personal loans in the past was commissioned by Forbes and conducted by market research company OnePoll, in accordance with the Market Research Society’s code of conduct. Data was collected from March 9 to March 23, 2023 and April 12 to 20, 2023. The margin of error is +/- 3.1 points with 95% confidence. This survey was overseen by the OnePoll research team, which is a member of the MRS and has corporate membership with the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR). For a complete survey methodology, including geographic and demographic sample sizes,
Tips for Comparing Personal Loans’
Consider these tips when comparing personal loans:
- Where possible, prequalify. Many personal loan providers offer prospective borrowers the ability to prequalify for a loan. This means the applicant can submit details about their financing needs, income, housing situation and other relevant information to find out what kind of loan amounts, rates and repayment terms they are likely to qualify for. Even better, this process typically only requires a soft credit inquiry so you can shop around without hurting your credit score.
- Consider the purpose of your loan. While personal loans can be used for a pretty broad range of purposes, they are limited to things like consumer debt consolidation, home improvements, vacations, weddings, funerals, large purchases and other personal expenses. For that reason, lenders often restrict the use of personal loans for postsecondary education expenses, business purposes and illegal activities, at a minimum. When considering a lender, confirm that your intended use of the loan is permissible under its borrower agreement.
- Keep an eye out for additional fees. Some lenders offer fee-free personal loans that don’t require borrowers to pay origination fees, late payment fees, prepayment penalties or any other common loan costs. However, this is more the exception than the rule, so it’s important to ask about fees when shopping for the best loan terms. And, if a lender charges an origination fee, find out whether it’s built into the APR or taken out of the loan amount prior to funding, as this may impact the loan amount you need to request.
- Evaluate the lender’s customer support options. If you’ve found a lender that’s prepared to offer the money you need at acceptable terms, there’s one more thing to consider before signing the loan agreement. While customer support may not seem like a big deal in the honeymoon phase of your loan, it can make a huge difference if you encounter issues with payments or face a financial hardship during your repayment period. Review the lender’s customer service resources and read reviews from past and current borrowers to make sure it’s a good fit.
Complete Guide to Personal Loans
What Is a Personal Loan?
A personal loan is a type of lump-sum financing borrowers can get from a traditional bank, credit union or online lender, which they can use for a variety of expenses. Common uses include medical bills, auto repairs, home improvement projects and debt consolidation. Personal loans typically have repayment terms between two and seven years and offer interest rates as low as 3% for high-qualified borrowers.
Related: What Is A Personal Loan?
How Do Personal Loans Work?
Personal loans are typically available from banks, credit unions and online lenders. Prospective borrowers apply for a loan either online or in person and then wait for a decision—approval or denial. If approved, borrowers receive their funds as a lump-sum payment into their bank account, and interest starts to accrue in the first month. Personal loans require fixed monthly payments over the entire loan term, typically between one to seven years. Many personal loans can be funded within a few business days so you don’t have to wait to get the money you need.
Personal Loan Terms People Are Opting For
According to a Forbes Advisor survey of 1,000 U.S. adults who’ve applied for a personal loan, consumers utilize various loan amounts and term lengths.
Our survey found that 44% of respondents borrowed between $1,000 and $4,999, while 21% and 13% borrowed $5,000 to $9,999 and $10,000 to $19,999, respectively. Moreover, 34% of respondents opted for a one-year loan, 26% opted for a two-year loan and 16% opted for a three-year loan.
The loan amount you have access to depends on your creditworthiness and what a specific lender offers. For example, personal loans typically range from $1,000 to $50,000, but some lenders offer up to $100,000. Larger loan amounts are usually reserved for highly qualified applicants because those transactions are riskier for lenders.
Because you’ll owe interest on the entire loan amount, it’s crucial to only borrow the amount you need and nothing more. We also recommend using our personal loan calculator to estimate your monthly payments and ensure you can afford your desired loan amount.
Much like your loan amount, personal loan term lengths play a key role in determining both your monthly payment and interest charges. Loans with shorter terms come with larger monthly payments but less interest overall. Longer term loans, however, offer smaller monthly payments at the cost of more interest paid over the life of your loan.
For example, if you borrow $3,000 over one year with 11% interest, you’d owe $265 per month and $182 in interest overall—a total of $3,182. Now let’s say you extend that same loan over three years. You’d owe $98 per month but $536 in total interest—or $3,536 for the full loan amount and interest. This makes it clear that you can save money by opting for shorter loan terms, but that’s only possible if you’re able to afford the higher monthly payment.
Average Personal Loan Interest Rates By Credit Score
Here are the average estimated interest rates for personal loans based on VantageScore risk tiers, according to Experian. Please note that interest rates are determined and set by lenders. The rates provided are estimations.
Average Personal Loan Interest Rates By Credit Score
|Vantage V4 credit score||Average interest rate|
|Deep subprime (300-499)||15.30%|
|Near prime (601-660)||15.56%|
|Super prime (781-850)||6.59%|
While lenders determine and set rates, as an applicant, you can increase your chances of receiving favorable terms.
Rod Griffin, senior director of consumer education and advocacy at Experian, says, “Consumers with higher credit scores generally will qualify for lower interest rates. To increase your credit scores, make sure you make your payments on time and try to keep your balances low. Missed payments and high [credit] utilization rates, or balance-to-limit ratios, on your credit cards are the two most heavily weighed factors in determining your credit scores. If possible, I recommend checking your credit report and scores three to six months before you apply for a personal loan. This will give you time to take steps to improve your credit standing if necessary.”
5 Reasons to Get a Personal Loan
You can use personal loans for just about any type of personal expense. Most commonly, though, personal loans are good for:
- Emergency expenses. If you need money right away for unexpected expenses like medical bills, funeral costs, car repairs or something else that needs immediate attention, you can use a personal loan.
- Debt consolidation. Personal loans are a great way to consolidate high-interest debt to help save money on interest and streamline your payments.
- Home improvements and repairs. If you have an upcoming home improvement project, you can take out a personal loan to help finance the costs. You can also use personal loans for unexpected home repairs or maintenance expenses.
- Auto financing. While auto loans are the most common way to finance a vehicle, personal loans also can help you get the job done. Personal loans have fewer restrictions on the types of cars you can purchase, but they typically charge higher interest rates than traditional auto loans.
- Moving costs. The cost of moving can add up quickly. If you don’t have cash on hand, personal loans can help you finance the costs.
How People Are Using Personal Loans
Consumers use personal loan funds for a wide range of expenses, according to a Forbes Advisor survey of 1,000 U.S. adults who’ve applied for a personal loan. Our survey found that 22% of respondents used personal loan funds for debt consolidation, while 21% and 20% used the funds for monthly living expenses and home improvements, respectively.
How Did You Primarily Use the Funds From Your Personal Loan?
|Type of expenses||% of respondents|
|Monthly living expenses||21%|
|Financing a vehicle||12%|
Whether you plan to use personal loan funds for monthly living expenses, debt consolidation, home improvements or another permitted expense, we recommend only doing so if you can afford the monthly obligation. If you’re unsure how much a personal loan will cost you, the Forbes Advisor personal loan calculator estimates your monthly payments.
When you take out a personal loan, you’ll repay the loan amount and any interest and fees. This means your expense will cost more than the price tag you see. For example, let’s say you have auto repairs of $2,000 and you take out a one-year loan with an interest rate of 11%. You would owe $121.16 in interest, bringing your total balance to $2,121.16.
If you want to avoid interest and fees, you may also consider borrowing money from friends or family, which 21% of respondents said they do. However, if you opt for a family loan, it’s still a good idea to draft and sign an agreement that outlines the terms, including the repayment schedule, to ensure a successful arrangement.
Pros and Cons of Personal Loans
- Interest rates and monthly payments remain fixed throughout the life of the loan
- Fewer qualification requirements than other financing methods, such as lower minimum credit score requirements
- You can use personal loans for a variety of reasons
- You have to repay the full amount of your loan, even if you end up not needing it all
- Borrowers pay interest on the full loan amount
- Possible origination fees between 1% and 8% of the loan amount
Best Place to Get a Personal Loan
You can get personal loans from three types of institutions:
- Online lenders. These are often technology-based non-bank companies that offer a small range of lending products, including personal loans. Online lenders typically offer low interest rates, loans that are available nationally and can provide funds within 24 to 48 hours.
- Banks. Many local and national banks offer personal loans in addition to other financial products, such as checking and savings accounts. If you have an existing relationship with a bank, you may want to consider opening your personal loan through that bank.
- Credit unions. These are local to your community and tend to offer applications both online and in person. Credit unions require membership, so be sure to check if you’re eligible.
The best place to get a personal loan is where you can access the most favorable terms and loan limits that fit your needs.
Related: Where To Get A Personal Loan
How to Get a Personal Loan
While the process varies by lender, follow these general steps to apply for a personal loan:
- Check your credit score. Start by checking your credit score for free through your credit card issuer or another website that offers free scores. This will give you an understanding of your creditworthiness and your qualification chances. Aim for a score of at least 610; however, a score of at least 720 will yield the most favorable terms.
- If necessary, take steps to improve your credit score. If your score falls below 610 or you want to boost your score to receive the best terms possible, take time to improve your credit score before applying, such as lowering your credit usage or paying off unpaid debts.
- Determine how much you need to borrow. Once you check your credit score, calculate how much money you want to borrow. Remember, though, you’ll receive your money as a lump sum, and you’ll have to pay interest on the entire amount—so only borrow what you need.
- Shop around for the best terms and interest rates. Many lenders will let you prequalify prior to submitting your application, which lets you see the terms you would receive with just a soft credit inquiry. Prequalifying lets you shop around for the best rates without hurting your credit score.
- Submit a formal application and await a lending decision. After you find a lender that offers you the best terms for your situation, submit your application online or in person. Depending on the lender, this process can take a few hours to a few days.