Best of

Best Personal Loans of March 2024

Compare the best personal loans for good and bad credit, debt consolidation, home improvement and more.

Ronita Choudhuri-Wade
By
Last updated on March 1, 2024
Edited by
✅ Fact checked and reviewed
Kim Lowe
Edited by
✅ Fact checked and reviewed

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  • 35+ personal loans reviewed and rated by our team of experts.
  • 20+ years of combined experience covering personal loans and financial topics.
  • Objective, comprehensive star rating system assessing 20+ categories and 70+ data points.
  • Governed by NerdWallet's strict guidelines for editorial integrity.
NerdWallet's personal loans content, including articles, reviews and recommendations, is produced by a team of writers and editors who specialize in consumer lending. Their work has appeared in The Associated Press, USA Today, The New York Times, MarketWatch and many other national, regional and local publications. They have been cited in publications including The Harvard Kennedy School, and appeared on NerdWallet's "Smart Money" podcast as well as local TV and radio.
NerdWallet’s Best-Of Award Winner
Best Personal Loan Overall
SoFi
SoFi Personal Loan
5.0
NerdWallet rating
Get rateon SoFi's website
on SoFi's website
WHY OUR NERDS LOVE ITSoFi stands out with competitive rates, no required fees and multiple rate discounts. It offers fast funding, a wide range of loan amounts and terms, plus perks like free financial advice.
Read our methodology
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Popular lender pick
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Other visitors like them, we think you will too!

Best Personal Loans

Lender
NerdWallet Rating
Est. APR
Loan amount
Min. credit score
Learn more
SoFi

SoFi Personal Loan

Visit Lender
on SoFi's website
on SoFi's website
Check Rate
on NerdWallet
on NerdWallet
🏆 Top 3 most visited
Best for Personal loans for good to excellent credit
Rate discount

8.99-29.99%

$5,000-$100,000

None

Upgrade

Upgrade

5.0
/5
Best for Personal loans for bad to fair credit

8.49-35.99%

$1,000-$50,000

560

Discover

Discover® Personal Loans

5.0
/5
Best for Debt consolidation loans

7.99-24.99%

$2,500-$40,000

660

Lightstream

LightStream

4.5
/5
Best for Home improvement loans

7.99-25.49%

$5,000-$100,000

660

Upstart

Upstart

4.5
/5
Best for Personal loans for short credit history

7.80-35.99%

$1,000-$50,000

None

Happy Money

Happy Money

4.5
/5
Best for Personal loans for credit card consolidation

11.72-17.99%

$5,000-$40,000

640

BestEgg

Best Egg

4.5
/5
Best for Secured loans

8.99-35.99%

$2,000-$50,000

600

Lending Club

LendingClub

Check Rate
on NerdWallet
on NerdWallet
4.5
/5
Best for Joint personal loans

9.57-35.99%

$1,000-$40,000

600

Explore all of our lender picks by category

Our pick for

Home improvement loans

Lightstream
Visit Lender
on LightStream's website
on LightStream's website
Lightstream

LightStream

4.5
Est. APR

7.99-25.49%

Loan amount

$5,000-$100,000

Min. credit score

660

Our pick for

Personal loans for good to excellent credit

SoFi
SoFi

SoFi Personal Loan

Est. APR

8.99-29.99%

Loan amount

$5,000-$100,000

Min. credit score

None

Our pick for

Personal loans for bad to fair credit

Upgrade
Upgrade

Upgrade

Est. APR

8.49-35.99%

Loan amount

$1,000-$50,000

Min. credit score

560

Our pick for

Personal loans for short credit history

Upstart
Upstart

Upstart

Est. APR

7.80-35.99%

Loan amount

$1,000-$50,000

Min. credit score

None

Our pick for

Personal loans for credit card consolidation

Happy Money
Happy Money

Happy Money

Est. APR

11.72-17.99%

Loan amount

$5,000-$40,000

Min. credit score

640

Our pick for

Debt consolidation loans

Discover
Discover

Discover® Personal Loans

Est. APR

7.99-24.99%

Loan amount

$2,500-$40,000

Min. credit score

660

Our pick for

Secured loans

BestEgg
BestEgg

Best Egg

Est. APR

8.99-35.99%

Loan amount

$2,000-$50,000

Min. credit score

600

Our pick for

Joint personal loans

Lending Club
Lending Club

LendingClub

Est. APR

9.57-35.99%

Loan amount

$1,000-$40,000

Min. credit score

600

Best place to get a personal loan

You can get a personal loan from online lenders, banks and credit unions. The best option is one where you can get the rate, terms and features that fit your financial situation.

For example, if a fast and convenient loan application is important to you, then consider an online lender. On the other hand, if lower rates and in-person support matter, then a bank loan or credit union loan could be the better option.

» MORE: Online vs. in person loan: How to choose

How to choose the best personal loan

Here are things to consider as you shop around and compare personal loans.

Pre-qualification. Most online lenders let you pre-qualify and check your estimated interest rate. This process involves a soft credit check, which won’t affect your credit score. It pays to take steps to pre-qualify for a loan and compare multiple lenders and loan features.

Annual percentage rates. Because APRs include interest rates and fees, they offer an apples-to-apples cost comparison for borrowers deciding between personal loan offers. Use our personal loan calculator to see monthly payments and total costs on personal loans.

Funding time. The time it takes to get a personal loan can depend on the type of lender. Many online lenders will approve your application and send funds the same or next day after you apply. Banks and credit unions may take up to a week.

Repayment terms. Having a wide variety of repayment terms gives you the option to get a shorter-term loan and pay less interest or a longer term and have a low monthly payment. Based on your budget, one may make more financial sense than the other.

Loan amount. Depending on how much money you need, certain lenders could be a better fit than others. Some lenders offer small to midsize loan amounts, like $2,000 to $50,000, while a few provide up to $100,000. Determining the amount you need will help you compare and decide.

Special features. See if the lender you’re considering offers any perks that could help you reach your financial goals. You may benefit from features like autopay rate discounts, unemployment protection or financial planning.

Personal loan interest rates and fees

Personal loan interest rates differ by lender, and the rate you receive depends on factors like your credit score, income and debt-to-income ratio. Here’s what interest rates on personal loans look like, on average:

Borrower credit rating

Score range

Estimated APR

Excellent

720-850.

13.40%.

Good

690-719.

15.86%.

Fair

630-689.

18.93%.

Bad

300-629.

21.14%.

Source: Average rates are based on aggregate, anonymized offer data from users who pre-qualified in NerdWallet’s lender marketplace from Jan. 1, 2024, through Jan. 31, 2024. Rates are estimates only and not specific to any lender. The lowest credit scores — usually below 500 — are unlikely to qualify. Information in this table applies only to lenders with maximum APRs below 36%.

Some lenders charge origination fees to cover the cost of processing the loan. Lenders typically deduct the fee before sending you the funds. This one-time upfront fee is included in the loan’s annual percentage rate, so consider this when comparing costs between lenders.

Other fees to watch out for include late fees and charges for insufficient funds, which is when you don’t have enough in your bank account to cover the loan’s monthly payment.

How to get a personal loan

  1. Check your credit. Your credit score is a primary factor in whether you qualify for a personal loan and the rate you receive. Resolve any errors that might be hurting your score and, if you can, pay down debts to reduce your DTI ratio. Get a free credit report with NerdWallet or at AnnualCreditReport.com.

  2. Pre-qualify with multiple lenders. Pre-qualifying gives you an idea of the rate and terms you can expect. Compare pre-qualified offers to find the lowest APR and monthly payments that fit your budget.

  3. Apply. The formal application process requires documents to verify your identity and income. Once approved, you’ll typically receive your loan funds within a week.

Pros and cons of personal loans

Depending on your financial situation and the loan’s purpose, a personal loan can be the right move or one you should sidestep.

Pros

Lower starting APRs than credit cards. For consumers with strong credit, personal loans typically have lower APRs than credit cards. While some credit cards offer 0% interest during an introductory period, the rates are generally higher after the period ends.

Fixed rates and monthly payments. Personal loans have fixed rates and monthly payments over a set term, so you always know what you owe and for how long. Other financing options like home equity lines of credit have variable rates that can mean fluctuating monthly payments.

Flexible loan amounts. Depending on the lender and your creditworthiness, you may have access to personal loan amounts of $1,000 to $100,000. This range meets a wide variety of expenses, from small emergencies to large home improvement projects.

No collateral. Unlike home equity loans that require you to secure the loan with your house, unsecured personal loans don’t require collateral. You risk hurting your credit if you can’t repay, but you won't lose any assets.

Cons

Maximum APRs can be high. If you have a low credit score, APRs on personal loans can be higher than credit card APRs.

Possible fees. Borrowers may have to pay fees — like origination or late fees — along with their loan payments.

Increase in debt. Taking a personal loan adds debt to your budget, so it's important to factor in the additional obligation and feel comfortable about paying it off.

Summary of personal loan pros and cons

Pros

Cons

  • Lower starting APRs than credit cards.

  • Fixed rates and monthly payments.

  • Flexible loan amounts.

  • No collateral is needed.

  • Maximum APRs can be high.

  • Fees are possible, depending on the lender.

  • Increases the debt you owe.

Next step: Pre-qualify for a personal loan

You can pre-qualify on NerdWallet and see rates from lenders that partner with us. Pre-qualifying triggers a soft credit check, which doesn't impact your score.

PRE-QUALIFY ON NERDWALLET

Explore personal loans and lenders in each of these categories:

Last updated on March 1, 2024

Methodology

NerdWallet’s review process evaluates and rates personal loan products from more than 35 technology companies and financial institutions. We collect over 50 data points from each lender and cross-check company websites, earnings reports and other public documents to confirm product details. We may also go through a lender’s pre-qualification flow and follow up with company representatives. NerdWallet writers and editors conduct a full fact check and update annually, but also make updates throughout the year as necessary.

Our star ratings award points to lenders that offer consumer-friendly features, including: soft credit checks to pre-qualify, competitive interest rates and no fees, transparency of rates and terms, flexible payment options, fast funding times, accessible customer service, reporting of payments to credit bureaus and financial education. Our ratings award fewer points to lenders with practices that may make a loan difficult to repay on time, such as charging high annual percentage rates (above 36%), underwriting that does not adequately assess consumers’ ability to repay and lack of credit-building help. We also consider regulatory actions filed by agencies like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. We weigh these factors based on our assessment of which are the most important to consumers and how meaningfully they impact consumers’ experiences.

NerdWallet does not receive compensation for our star ratings. Read more about our ratings methodologies for personal loans and our editorial guidelines.

To recap our selections...

NerdWallet's Best Personal Loans of March 2024

  • LightStream: Best for Home improvement loans
  • SoFi Personal Loan: Best for Personal loans for good to excellent credit
  • Upgrade: Best for Personal loans for bad to fair credit
  • Upstart: Best for Personal loans for short credit history
  • Happy Money: Best for Personal loans for credit card consolidation
  • Discover® Personal Loans: Best for Debt consolidation loans
  • Best Egg: Best for Secured loans
  • LendingClub: Best for Joint personal loans

Frequently asked questions

  • A personal loan is money borrowed from a bank, a credit union or an online lender that you repay in equal monthly installments, usually over two to seven years.

    Lenders have different requirements but generally consider your credit profile, income and debts during the loan approval process. If you fail to repay the loan, your credit can take a hit.

  • After you’re approved for a personal loan, a lender will deposit the funds, minus any origination fee, in a lump sum into your bank account within a few days. Once you have the money, you can use it for nearly any purpose.

    Repayment typically starts 30 days after receiving the money. You can pay the fixed monthly amount directly, or some lenders let you set up auto-pay from your bank account. The monthly payments continue until the loan term ends, or earlier if you make additional payments toward your loan.

  • Getting a personal loan makes the most sense when:

    Using a personal loan for a wedding or discretionary expenses like a vacation can be expensive. NerdWallet recommends using savings for nonessentials to avoid finance charges.

    If you're borrowing for emergency or medical expenses, consider less-expensive alternatives, such as community assistance or payment plans.

  • Once you’ve submitted your application, lenders can let you know if you qualify usually within one to two days. You can receive your funds the same day or within a week, depending on the lender.

  • Credit score requirements vary among personal loan lenders. Some lenders accept borrowers with good or better credit only; others will loan to bad-credit borrowers. Learn how to get a loan with bad credit.

  • Borrowers with low income may qualify for a personal loan offered by lenders with softer income requirements. Some lenders require proof of steady income, rather than a minimum income amount. Including all sources of income — child support, alimony or Social Security payments — on your application can help you qualify for a loan.

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