BEST OF

Best Personal Loans of August 2022

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

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.

Personal loans have fixed annual percentage rates, generally between 6% and 36%. The loan with the lowest rate is the least expensive — and usually the best choice. Other features, including no fees, soft credit checks and direct payments to creditors if you’re consolidating debt, set some loans apart.

We always recommend you know your credit score and compare personal loans from multiple lenders before making a choice. Here are our picks for the best personal loans:

  • LightStream: Best for home improvement loans.

  • SoFi: Best for good to excellent credit.

  • Marcus by Goldman Sachs: Best for bank loans.

  • Upgrade: Best for fair credit.

  • Upstart: Best for short credit history.

  • Universal Credit: Best for bad credit.

  • Happy Money: Best for credit card consolidation.

  • Discover: Best for debt consolidation.

  • Best Egg: Best for secured loans.

Why trust NerdWallet? NerdWallet's editorial team has reviewed more than 35 personal loan providers and compared them to select the best personal loans. We chose these lenders based on features like star ratings, APR ranges, loan amounts and minimum required credit scores.

Best Personal Loans From Our Partners

Our pick for

Personal loans for good to excellent credit

SoFi
Get rate

on SoFi's website

SoFi

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
SoFi

Est. APR

7.99-22.73%

Loan amount

$5,000-$100,000

Min. credit score

680
Get rate

on SoFi's website


Min. credit score

680

Key facts

SoFi is a strong option for good-credit consumers, offering low rates, no fees and flexible payments.

Pros

  • No fees.

  • Offers co-sign loan options.

  • Offers 0.25 percentage point rate discount for setting up autopay.

  • Offers unemployment protection.

  • Provides mobile app to manage your loan.

Cons

  • No secured or joint loan option.

  • High minimum loan amount.

Qualifications

  • Must legally be an adult in your state.

  • Must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or visa holder.

  • Must be employed, have sufficient income or have an offer of employment to start within the next 90 days.

Available Term Lengths

2 to 7 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: None.

  • Late fee: None.

Disclaimer

Fixed rates from 7.99% APR to 22.73% APR APR reflect the 0.25% autopay discount and a 0.25% direct deposit discount. SoFi rate ranges are current as of 8/1/22 and are subject to change without notice. Not all rates and amounts available in all states. See Personal Loan eligibility details. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. Lowest rates reserved for the most creditworthy borrowers. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including evaluation of your credit worthiness, income, and other factors. See APR examples and terms. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account.

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Our pick for

Personal loans for credit card consolidation

Happy Money
Get rate

on Happy Money (Formerly Payoff)'s website

Happy Money (Formerly Payoff)

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Happy Money

Est. APR

5.99-24.99%

Loan amount

$5,000-$40,000

Min. credit score

600
Get rate

on Happy Money (Formerly Payoff)'s website


Min. credit score

600

Key facts

Happy Money offers loans plus ongoing support to help good-credit borrowers consolidate credit card debt.

Pros

  • Competitive rates among online lenders.

  • Offers direct payment to creditors.

  • Reports payments to all three major credit bureaus.

  • No prepayment or late fees.


Cons

  • Charges origination fee.

  • No rate discount for autopay.

  • Requires several years of credit history.


Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 600.

  • Minimum credit history: Three years.

  • At least two open accounts on credit report.

  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: 50% (excluding mortgage).

  • Free cash flow: At least $1,000.

  • Zero credit delinquencies.

  • Must be able to provide income verification.

  • No bankruptcies filed within the past two years.

  • Must provide Social Security number.

Available Term Lengths

2 to 5 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: 0%-5%.

Disclaimer

This does not constitute an actual commitment to lend or an offer to extend credit. Upon submitting a loan application, you may be asked to provide additional documents to enable us to verify your income, assets, and financial condition. Your interest rate and terms for which you are approved will be shown to you as part of the online application process. Most applicants will receive a variety of loan offerings to choose from, with varying loan amounts and interest rates. Borrower subject to a loan origination fee, which is deducted from the loan proceeds. Refer to full borrower agreement for all terms, conditions and requirements.

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Our pick for

Secured personal loans

BestEgg
Get rate

on Best Egg's website

Best Egg

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
BestEgg

Est. APR

7.99-35.99%

Loan amount

$2,000-$50,000

Min. credit score

600
Get rate

on Best Egg's website


Min. credit score

600

Key facts

Best Egg offers a unique secured loan that works like a home equity loan, but without the risk of losing your home.

Pros

  • Offers wide range of loan amounts.

  • Provides secured loan option for homeowners.

  • Offers direct payment to creditors with debt consolidation loans.

Cons

  • Origination fee.

  • No rate discounts.

  • No option to choose initial payment date.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 600; borrower average is 700.

  • Minimum credit history: 3 years and 3 accounts.

  • Minimum income requirement is $3,500; borrower average is $80,000. Borrower must have enough cash flow to cover current financial obligations.

  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: 40% or 65% including a mortgage; borrower average is 40%.

  • Employment: Must provide proof of income; part-time employees are eligible.

  • Must provide valid U.S. address and Social Security number.

Available Term Lengths

3 to 5 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: 0.99% - 8.99%.

  • Return fee: $15 if payments are not processed.

Disclaimer

Trustpilot TrustScore as of June 2020. Best Egg personal loans, including the Best Egg Secured Loan, are made by Cross River Bank, a New Jersey State Chartered Commercial Bank, Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender or Blue Ridge Bank, a Nationally Chartered Bank, Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender. “Best Egg” is a trademark of Marlette Holdings, Inc., a Delaware corporation. All uses of “Best Egg” refer to “the Best Egg personal loan”, “the Best Egg Secured Loan”, and/or “Best Egg on behalf of Cross River Bank or Blue Ridge Bank, as originator of the Best Egg personal loan,” as applicable. The term, amount, and APR of any loan we offer to you will depend on your credit score, income, debt payment obligations, loan amount, credit history and other factors. Your loan agreement will contain specific terms and conditions. About half of our customers get their money the next day. After successful verification, your money can be deposited in your bank account within 1-3 business days. The timing of available funds upon loan approval may vary depending upon your bank’s policies. Loan amounts range from $2,000– $50,000. Residents of Massachusetts have a minimum loan amount of $6,500 ; New Mexico and Ohio, $5,000; and Georgia, $3,000. For a second Best Egg loan, your total existing Best Egg loan balances cannot exceed $50,000. Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) range from 7.99%–35.99%. The APR is the cost of credit as a yearly rate and reflects both your interest rate and an origination fee of 0.99%–8.99% of your loan amount, which will be deducted from any loan proceeds you receive. The origination fee on a loan term 4-years or longer will be at least 4.99%. Your loan term will impact your APR, which may be higher than our lowest advertised rate.  You need a minimum 700 FICO® score and a minimum individual annual income of $100,000 to qualify for our lowest APR. To help the government fight the funding of terrorism and money laundering activities, Federal law requires all financial institutions to obtain, verify, and record information that identifies each person who opens an account. What this means for you: When you open an account, we will ask for your name, address, date of birth, and other information that will allow us to identify you. We may also ask to see your driver’s license or other identifying documents. Best Egg products are not available if you live in Iowa, Vermont, West Virginia, the District of Columbia, or U.S. Territories.

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Our pick for

Home improvement loans

Lightstream
Get rate

on LightStream's website

LightStream

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Lightstream

Est. APR

4.99-19.99%

Loan amount

$5,000-$100,000

Min. credit score

660
Get rate

on LightStream's website


Min. credit score

660

Key facts

LightStream targets strong-credit borrowers with no fees and low rates that vary based on loan purpose.

Pros

  • No fees.

  • Rate discount for autopay.

  • Long repayment terms on home improvement loans.

  • Rate Beat program and Experience Guarantee.

Cons

  • No option to pre-qualify on its website.

  • Requires several years of credit history.

  • No direct payment to creditors with debt consolidation loans.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 660.

  • Several years of credit history.

  • Multiple account types within your credit history, like credit cards, a car loan or other installment loan and a mortgage.

  • Strong payment history with few or no delinquencies.

  • Investments, retirement savings or other evidence of an ability to save money.

  • Enough income to pay existing debts and a new LightStream loan.

Available Term Lengths

2 to 7 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: None.

  • Late fee: None.

Disclaimer

Rates quoted are with AutoPay. Your loan terms are not guaranteed and may vary based on loan purpose, length of loan, loan amount, credit history and payment method (AutoPay or Invoice). AutoPay discount is only available when selected prior to loan funding. Rates without AutoPay are 0.50% points higher. To obtain a loan, you must complete an application on LightStream.com which may affect your credit score. You may be required to verify income, identity and other stated application information. Payment example: Monthly payments for a $25,000 loan at 4.98% APR with a term of 20 years would result in 240 monthly payments of $164.71. Some additional conditions and limitations apply. Advertised rates and terms are subject to change without notice. Truist Bank is an Equal Housing Lender. © 2022 Truist Financial Corporation. Truist, LightStream, and the LightStream logo are service marks of Truist Financial Corporation. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Lending services provided by Truist Bank.

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Our pick for

Personal loans for short credit history

Upstart
Get rate

on Upstart's website

Upstart

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Upstart

Est. APR

5.42-35.99%

Loan amount

$1,000-$50,000

Min. credit score

None
Get rate

on Upstart's website


Min. credit score

None

Key facts

Upstart is a good option for those who have short credit histories and promising financial futures.

Pros

  • Accepts borrowers new to credit.

  • Able to fund loans within one business day.

  • Offers direct payment to creditors with some debt consolidation loans.

  • Allows borrowers to choose and change payment date.

Cons

  • Borrowers can choose from only two repayment term options.

  • Charges origination fee.

  • No mobile app to manage the loan.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: None.

  • Minimum credit history: None, this lending platform accepts borrowers with credit history too limited to produce a FICO score.

  • Minimum gross income: $12,000.

  • Employment: Full-time job, full-time job offer starting in 6 months, a regular part-time job, or another source of regular income.

  • Must have U.S. residential street address where borrower resides (unless military personnel on active duty).

  • Must be at least 18 years old.

  • Valid email account required.

  • Personal bank account with U.S. routing number required.

Available Term Lengths

3 to 5 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: 0% - 8%.

  • Late fee: 5% of past due amount or $15, whichever is greater.

Disclaimer

Your loan amount will be determined based on your credit, income, and certain other information provided in your loan application. Not all applicants will qualify for the full amount. Minimum loan amounts vary by state: GA ($3,100), HI ($2,100), MA ($7,000), NM ($5,100), OH ($6,000).This offer is conditioned on final approval based on our consideration and verification of financial and non-financial information. Rate and loan amount are subject to change based upon information received in your full application. This offer may be accepted only by the person identified in this offer, who is old enough to legally enter into contract for the extension of credit, a US citizen or permanent resident, and a current resident of the US. Duplicate offers are void. Closing your loan is contingent on your meeting our eligibility requirements, our verification of your information, and your agreement to the terms and conditions on the www.upstart.com website.The full range of available rates varies by state. The average 5-year loan offered across all lenders using the Upstart platform will have an APR of 21.4% and 60 monthly payments of $24.62 per $1,000 borrowed. For example, the total cost of a $10,000 loan would be $14,775 including a $582 origination fee. APR is calculated based on 5-year rates offered in the last 1 month. There is no down payment and no prepayment penalty. Your APR will be determined based on your credit, income, and certain other information provided in your loan application. Not all applicants will be approved. If you accept your loan by 5pm EST (not including weekends or holidays), you will receive your funds the next business day. Loans used to fund education related expenses are subject to a 3 business day wait period between loan acceptance and funding in accordance with federal law.

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Our pick for

Personal loans for fair credit

Upgrade
Get rate

on Upgrade's website

Upgrade

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Upgrade

Est. APR

6.95-35.97%

Loan amount

$1,000-$50,000

Min. credit score

560
Get rate

on Upgrade's website


Min. credit score

560

Key facts

Upgrade offers personal loans plus credit-building tools; you'll need strong cash flow to qualify.

Pros

  • Secured and joint loans.

  • Multiple rate discounts.

  • Mobile app to manage loan payments.

  • Direct payment to creditors with debt consolidation loans.

  • Long repayment terms on home improvement loans.

Cons

  • Origination fee.

  • No option to choose your payment date.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 560.

  • Minimum number of accounts on credit history: 1 account.

  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: 75%, including the loan you're applying for.

  • Minimum length of credit history: 2 years.

  • Minimum income requirement: None. Lender accepts income from alimony, retirement, child support, Social Security and other sources.

Available Term Lengths

2 to 7 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: 1.85% to 8%.

  • Late Fee: $10.

  • Failed payment fee: $10.

Disclaimer

Personal loans made through Upgrade feature Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) of 6.95%-35.97%. All personal loans have a 1.85% to 8% origination fee, which is deducted from the loan proceeds. Lowest rates require Autopay and paying off a portion of existing debt directly. Loans feature repayment terms of 24 to 84 months. For example, if you receive a $10,000 loan with a 36-month term and a 17.59% APR (which includes a 13.94% 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 $341.48. Over the life of the loan, your payments would total $12,293.46. 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.

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Our pick for

Bank loans

Marcus by Goldman Sachs
Get rate

on Goldman Sachs' website

Marcus by Goldman Sachs

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Marcus by Goldman Sachs

Est. APR

6.99-24.99%

Loan amount

$3,500-$40,000

Min. credit score

730
Get rate

on Goldman Sachs' website


Min. credit score

730

Key facts

Among banks that offer personal loans, Marcus stands out for low rates, no fees, flexible payment options and a transparent online application process.

Pros

  • No fees.

  • Wide variety of repayment term options.

  • Offers 0.25 percentage point rate discount for setting up autopay.

  • Offers direct payment to creditors for debt consolidation loans.


Cons

  • No co-sign, joint or secured loan option.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 720 FICO.

  • May need to provide proof of income, including recent pay stubs or bank statements.

  • May need to provide Social Security number, Individual Tax ID number or a photo ID.

Available Term Lengths

3 to 6 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: None.

  • Late fee: None.

Disclaimer

Your loan terms are not guaranteed and are subject to our verification of your identity and credit information. Rates range from 6.99% to 24.99% APR, and loan terms range from 36 to 72 months. For NY residents, rates range from 6.99%-24.74%. Only the most creditworthy applicants qualify for the lowest rates and longest loan terms. Rates will generally be higher for longer-term loans. To obtain a loan, you must submit additional documentation including an application that may affect your credit score. The availability of a loan offer and the terms of your actual offer will vary due to a number of factors, including your loan purpose and our evaluation of your creditworthiness. Rates will vary based on many factors, such as your creditworthiness (for example, credit score and credit history) and the length of your loan (for example, rates for 36 month loans are generally lower than rates for 72 month loans). Your maximum loan amount may vary depending on your loan purpose, income and creditworthiness. Your verifiable income must support your ability to repay your loan. Marcus by Goldman Sachs is a brand of Goldman Sachs Bank USA and all loans are issued by Goldman Sachs Bank USA, Salt Lake City Branch. Applications are subject to additional terms and conditions. Receive a 0.25% APR reduction when you enroll in AutoPay. This reduction will not be applied if AutoPay is not in effect. When enrolled, a larger portion of your monthly payment will be applied to your principal loan amount and less interest will accrue on your loan, which may result in a smaller final payment. See loan agreement for details.

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Our pick for

Personal loans for bad credit

Universal Credit
Get rate

on Universal Credit's website

Universal Credit

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Universal Credit

Est. APR

11.69-35.93%

Loan amount

$1,000-$50,000

Min. credit score

560
Get rate

on Universal Credit's website


Min. credit score

560

Key facts

A Universal Credit loan is an option for bad-credit borrowers with high debt-to-income ratios, but rates are high compared to similar lenders.

Pros

  • Offers direct payment to creditors with debt consolidation loans.

  • Fast funding.

  • Offers multiple rate discounts.

  • Offers free credit score access.

Cons

  • Charges origination fee.

  • Borrowers can choose from only two repayment term options.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 560.

  • Minimum number of accounts on credit history: 1 account.

  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: 75%, including mortgage and the loan you’re applying for.

  • Minimum length of credit history: 2 years.

  • Minimum income requirement: None. Lender accepts income from alimony, retirement, child support, Social Security and other sources.

Available Term Lengths

3 to 5 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: 5.25% to 8%.

  • Late fee: Up to $10.

Disclaimer

Personal loans made through Universal Credit feature Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) of 11.69%-35.93%. All personal loans have a 5.25% to 8% origination fee, which is deducted from the loan proceeds. Lowest rates require Autopay and paying off a portion of existing debt directly. Loans feature repayment terms of 36 to 60 months. For example, if you receive a $10,000 loan with a 36-month term and a 28.47% APR (which includes a 22.99% yearly interest rate and a 7% one-time origination fee), you would receive $9,300 in your account and would have a required monthly payment of $387.05. Over the life of the loan, your payments would total $13,933.62. 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 .

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Our pick for

Debt consolidation loans

Discover
Get rate

on Discover's website

Discover® Personal Loans

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Discover

Est. APR

5.99-24.99%

Loan amount

$2,500-$35,000

Min. credit score

720
Get rate

on Discover's website


Min. credit score

720

Key facts

Discover personal loans can be a smart way to consolidate or refinance debt for borrowers with excellent credit.

Pros

  • No origination fee.

  • Option to pre-qualify with a soft credit check.

  • Fast funding.

  • Mobile app to manage loan.

Cons

  • May charge late fee.

  • No co-sign or joint loan option.

  • No rate discount.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 660.

  • Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

  • Must be at least 18 years old.

  • Must have a minimum household income of $25,000.

Available Term Lengths

3 to 7 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: None.

  • Late fee: $39.

Disclaimer

This is not a commitment to lend from Discover Personal Loans. Your approval for a loan is determined once you apply and is based on your application information and credit history. Your APR will be between 5.99%-24.99% based upon creditworthiness at time of application for loan terms of 36-84 months. For example, if you get approved for a $15,000 loan at 10.99% APR for a term of 72 months, you'll pay just $285 per month. Our lowest rates are available to consumers with the best credit. Many factors are used to determine your rate, such as your credit history, application information and the term you select. Not all applications will be approved.

Read Full Review

What is a personal loan?

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

Personal loans are typically unsecured, which means they don’t require collateral. Lenders instead 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.

When should I get a personal loan?

Personal loan funds can be used for almost any purpose, but taking a loan makes most sense when:

  • It’s the least expensive form of financing.

  • It’s used for something with the potential to increase your financial standing, like debt consolidation or home improvements.

  • You can manage the monthly payments without stressing your budget.

In contrast, a personal loan used for 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 first, such as community assistance or payment plans.

Survey: How people use personal loans

A NerdWallet survey published in November 2021 revealed that nearly 3 in 10 Americans (29%) took out a personal loan within the past 12 months, borrowing an estimated $385 billion.

The average loan amount was $5,210, according to the survey, and the three most common uses for a personal loan by those surveyed were:

  • Debt consolidation. Of the 550 people surveyed, 40% percent used a personal loan to consolidate debt. Debt consolidation combines your debt into one loan, ideally with a lower interest rate that reduces your total debt and helps you pay it off sooner.

  • Big events. The survey found that 39% of recent personal loan borrowers used a loan to manage the cost of a large event, which might include a wedding or vacation.

  • Emergency expenses. According to the survey, 35% of respondents used a personal loan to cover an emergency.

Personal loan interest rates and fees

Personal loan interest rates vary by lender, and the rate you receive depends on factors like your credit score, income and debt-to-income ratio.

Borrowers with high credit scores generally receive lower rates, from about 11% to 15%, while those with low credit scores may get an APR around 25%. Here’s what interest rates on personal loans look like, on average:

How's your credit?

Score range

Estimated APR

Excellent

720-850.

10.6%.

Good

690-719.

15.5%.

Fair

630-689.

19.6%.

Bad

300-629.

25.6%.

Source: Average rates are based on aggregate, anonymized offer data from users who pre-qualified in NerdWallet’s lender marketplace from Jan. 1, 2022, to July 31, 2022. Rates are estimates only and not specific to any lender. The lowest credit scores — usually below 500 FICO — are unlikely to qualify. Information in this table applies only to lenders with APRs below 36%.

Some lenders charge origination fees to cover the cost of processing the loan. Lenders deduct the fee from the loan proceeds or roll it into the balance. 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, insufficient funds fees and prepayment fees, which are penalties for paying off your loan early.

Best place to get a personal loan

You can get a personal loan from online lenders, banks and credit unions. The best option depends on 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.

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 damaging 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.

How to choose the best personal loan

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

Soft credit check. Most online lenders let you check your estimated interest rate by performing a soft check of your credit during pre-qualification. This won’t affect your credit score, so it pays to take the steps to pre-qualify for a loan with multiple lenders and compare rates 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 estimated rates and payments based on credit scores.

Repayment terms. Having a wide variety of repayment term options gives you the option to get a shorter term 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, one lender could be more attractive than another. Some lenders offer small to midsize loan amounts, like $2,000 to $40,000, while others provide loans up to $100,000. Determining the amount you need ahead of time will help you compare and decide.

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

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.

After you compare offers and select a loan with the lowest rate and payments that fit your budget, you'll formally apply for the loan.

The loan application may require additional personal information, including employment status and education history. You may also need to authorize the lender to pull your credit reports and verify your income.

Your first loan payment is usually due within 30 days of loan approval and funding.

Explore loans and lenders in each of these categories:

See other uses for personal loans:

Last updated on August 2, 2022

Methodology

NerdWallet’s review process evaluates and rates personal loan products from more than 35 financial institutions. We collect over 45 data points from each lender, interview company representatives and compare the lender with others that seek the same customer or offer a similar personal loan product. 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. 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.

This methodology applies only to lenders that cap interest rates at 36%, the maximum rate most financial experts and consumer advocates agree is the acceptable limit for a loan to be affordable. 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 August 2022

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