Best Installment Loans of May 2024

Installment loans are borrowed funds you repay in equal parts over a period of time. An installment loan can be less risky and more affordable than payday loans.

Annie Millerbernd
Written by
Last updated on May 2, 2024
Edited by
✅ Fact checked and reviewed
Kim Lowe
Edited by
✅ Fact checked and reviewed

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Best Installment Loans of May 2024

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

Upgrade

Visit Lender
on Upgrade's website
on Upgrade's website
Check Rate
on NerdWallet
on NerdWallet
Best for Installment loans

8.49-35.99%

$1,000-$50,000

560

Upstart

Upstart

🏆 Top 3 most visited
4.5
/5
Best for Installment loans for bad credit
Fast funding
Flexible payments

7.80-35.99%

$1,000-$50,000

None

Lightstream

LightStream

4.5
/5
Best for Installment loans

6.99-25.49%

$5,000-$100,000

660

Lending Club

LendingClub

Check Rate
on NerdWallet
on NerdWallet
4.5
/5
Best for Installment loans

8.98-35.99%

$1,000-$40,000

600

RocketLoans

Rocket Loans

4.0
/5
Best for Installment loans

9.12-29.99%

$2,000-$45,000

640

BestEgg

Best Egg

4.5
/5
Best for Installment loans

8.99-35.99%

$2,000-$50,000

600

Universal Credit

Universal Credit

Visit Lender
on Universal Credit's website
on Universal Credit's website
4.0
/5
Best for Installment loans for bad credit

11.69-35.99%

$1,000-$50,000

560

Visit Lender
on Universal Credit's website
on Universal Credit's website
Avant

Avant

4.0
/5
Best for Installment loans for bad credit

9.95-35.99%

$2,000-$35,000

550

Our pick for

Installment loans

Upgrade
Visit Lender
on Upgrade's website
on Upgrade's website
Upgrade

Upgrade

5.0
Est. APR

8.49-35.99%

Loan amount

$1,000-$50,000

Min. credit score

560

Lightstream
Lightstream

LightStream

4.5
Est. APR

6.99-25.49%

Loan amount

$5,000-$100,000

Min. credit score

660

Lending Club
Lending Club

LendingClub

Est. APR

8.98-35.99%

Loan amount

$1,000-$40,000

Min. credit score

600

RocketLoans
RocketLoans

Rocket Loans

Est. APR

9.12-29.99%

Loan amount

$2,000-$45,000

Min. credit score

640

BestEgg
BestEgg

Best Egg

Est. APR

8.99-35.99%

Loan amount

$2,000-$50,000

Min. credit score

600

Our pick for

Installment loans for bad credit

Upstart
Upstart

Upstart

Est. APR

7.80-35.99%

Loan amount

$1,000-$50,000

Min. credit score

None

Universal Credit
Visit Lender
on Universal Credit's website
on Universal Credit's website
Universal Credit

Universal Credit

Est. APR

11.69-35.99%

Loan amount

$1,000-$50,000

Min. credit score

560

Avant
Avant

Avant

Est. APR

9.95-35.99%

Loan amount

$2,000-$35,000

Min. credit score

550

Best online installment loans

We compared dozens of lenders’ minimum credit score requirements, annual percentage rates, fees, special perks and funding times to choose the best installment lenders. Learn more about each lender and why it stands out.

» JUMP TO: How to compare installment loans

Upgrade

Best for: Installment loans for debt consolidation

Why it made the list: Upgrade is NerdWallet’s best debt consolidation lender in 2024. The lender can directly pay off your credit cards and other debts when you consolidate with one of its personal loans, and it offers an APR discount for using the feature.

  • Minimum credit score

    560.

    APR

    8.49% - 35.99%.

    Fees

    • Origination: 1.85% to 9.99%.

    • Late fee: $10.

    • Failed payment fee: $10.

    Loan amount

    $1,000 to $50,000.

    Repayment terms

    3 to 5 years. 7 years on some larger loans.

    Time to fund after approval

    1 day.

    Loan availability

    Loans available in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

LightStream

Best for: Installment loans for good credit

Why it made the list: LightStream offers low rates and high loan amounts to borrowers with good and excellent credit (scores above 689). Lightstream is a rare no-fee lender that offers a discount for setting up autopay, a rate-beat program and a $100 back guarantee if borrowers aren’t satisfied with their loan.

  • Minimum credit score

    660.

    APR

    6.99% - 25.49%.

    Fees

    No fees.

    Loan amount

    $5,000 to $100,000.

    Repayment terms

    2 to 12 years depending on the loan purpose.

    Time to fund after approval

    Same-day funding.

    Loan availability

    Loans available in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

LendingClub

Best for: Online installment loans

Why it made the list: LendingClub offers flexible personal loans to borrowers with fair or good credit (scores from 630 to 719). The lender offers pre-qualification, joint loans, the option to change a payment due date and a Member Center where borrowers can manage their money and credit.

  • Minimum credit score

    600.

    APR

    8.98% - 35.99%.

    Fees

    Origination: 3% to 8%.

    Late fee: The greater of $15 or 5% of the unpaid amount.

    Loan amount

    $1,000 to $40,000.

    Repayment terms

    2 to 5 years.

    Time to fund after approval

    2 business days.

    Loan availability

    Loans available in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

Rocket Loans

Best for: Fast installment loans

Why it made the list: Rocket Loans stands out for its approval and funding time: The lender says approval can take less than five minutes. Borrowers who sign their loan documents before 1 p.m. ET Monday through Friday receive same-day funding.

  • Minimum credit score

    640.

    APR

    9.12% - 29.99%.

    Fees

    • Origination fee: 2.98% to 9.34%.

    • Late fee: $15.

    • Unsuccessful payment fee: $15.

    Loan amount

    $2,000 to $45,000.

    Repayment terms

    3 or 5 years.

    Time to fund after approval

    Same or next-day funding.

    Loan availability

    Loans not available in IA, NV and WV.

Best Egg

Best for: Secured installment loans

Why it made the list: Best Egg offers two types of secured personal loans: vehicle-secured and those secured by a fixture in your home. A vehicle-secured installment loan is common among many online lenders, but a fixture-secured loan is rare. With the latter, you provide a fixture on your home such as cabinets, bathroom vanities or light fixtures as collateral for the loan. In exchange, you could get a lower rate than you would on an unsecured loan, but Best Egg can take the collateral if you fail to repay.

  • Minimum credit score

    600.

    APR

    8.99% - 35.99%.

    Fees

    Origination: 0.99% to 8.99%.

    Loan amount

    $2,000 to $50,000.

    Repayment terms

    3 to 5 years.

    Time to fund after approval

    1 business day.

    Loan availability

    Loans not available in IA, VT, WV or Washington, D.C.

Best online installment loans for bad credit

To choose the best bad-credit installment loans, we compared several lenders’ minimum credit scores, APR ranges, funding time, secured or co-signed loan offerings and credit-building features. Read more about the top installment lenders for bad credit.

Upstart

Best for: Installment loans for fair credit

Why it made the list: Upstart stands out for its underwriting model, which uses artificial intelligence and nontraditional data — like college education, job history and residence — to determine whether borrowers qualify. The lender says borrowers with credit histories that are too thin to produce a credit score may qualify for a personal loan.

  • Minimum credit score

    None.

    APR

    7.80% - 35.99%.

    Fees

    • Origination: 0% to 12%.

    • Late fee: 5% of the unpaid amount or $15; whichever is greater.

    • Returned check fee: $15.

    Loan amount

    $1,000 to $50,000.

    Repayment terms

    3, 5 or 7 years.

    Time to fund after approval

    1 day.

    Loan availability

    Loans available in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

Universal Credit

Best for: Installment loans for bad credit

Why it made the list: Universal Credit is operated by Upgrade, but consumers with bad credit (scores below 630) may qualify more easily with Universal Credit. Though rates are high compared to other lenders, Universal Credit provides a small discount for setting up autopay and access to Upgrade’s credit-building tools.

  • Minimum credit score

    560.

    APR

    11.69% - 35.99%.

    Fees

    • Origination: 5.25% to 9.99%.

    • Late fee: $10.

    • Non-sufficient funds fee: $10.

    Loan amount

    $1,000 to $50,000.

    Repayment terms

    3 or 5 years.

    Time to fund after approval

    1 day.

    Loan availability

    Loans available in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

Avant

Best for: Installment loans for low credit scores

Why it made the list: Avant has one of the lowest minimum credit score requirements (550) among the personal loan lenders that NerdWallet reviews. The lender also offers single-digit starting APRs, which is somewhat rare among bad-credit lenders. Avant offers a wide repayment term range of one to five years and can fund a loan as quickly as one day.

  • Minimum credit score

    550.

    APR

    9.95% - 35.99%.

    Fees

    • Origination fee: 0% to 9.99%.

    • Late fee: Typically $25.

    • Returned check fee: $15.

    Loan amount

    $2,000 to $35,000.

    Repayment terms

    1 to 5 years.

    Time to fund after approval

    1 day.

    Loan availability

    Loans not available in HI, IA, ME, NY, VT or WV.

How to compare installment loans

Review borrowing requirements: Try to find the lender’s qualification criteria, including minimum income and maximum debt-to-income ratio. Some installment lenders display this information on their website. If not, a website like NerdWallet may include it in a review.

Check the APR: Annual percentage rate — the interest rate plus any additional fees a lender charges — is the best cost-comparison tool for loans and other types of credit. The best installment loan is usually the one with the lowest APR and affordable monthly payments. Compare lenders’ APR ranges and pre-qualify with multiple lenders to see which one makes you the best offer.

Calculate monthly payments: A low-rate loan is ideal, but if the monthly payments don’t fit your budget, you may need a longer repayment term or to shop for more offers to find one with affordable monthly payments. Since missed payments can damage your credit score, it’s important to find a loan that you can comfortably repay each month.

Look for funding speed: Some lenders can provide funds the same or next day after you apply, while others may take up to a week to deposit the loan into your account. Find a lender that offers fast funding if you need it.

Compare other features: If you have two competitive offers, compare other loan features, like credit-building tools, budgeting help and the ability to change your payment date.

How to get an online installment loan

1. Review your credit report

Check your credit report to see what a lender will see when evaluating your application. You can view your credit report for free on NerdWallet or at AnnualCreditReport.com. If you spot any errors, correct them before you apply.

2. Check in with your budget

Look at your income and expenses to see how much you can afford to pay toward the loan each month. Then, use an installment loan calculator to determine what APR and repayment term you’d need to get affordable monthly payments.

3. Pre-qualify

Many lenders let you preview potential loan offers through pre-qualification. You’ll enter some information about your credit and income — as well as the loan you want — and the lender will show you possible loan amounts, rates and repayment terms. Pre-qualifying doesn’t affect your credit score, so you can review offers from multiple lenders to find the best one.

4. Accept a loan offer

Once you’ve chosen a lender, you’ll formally apply for a personal loan. Gather documents like W-2s, pay stubs and bank statements to make the application process go smoothly. At this time, the lender will do a hard credit pull, and your credit score will temporarily dip.

Installment loans for bad credit: What to know

The best bad-credit installment lenders offer loans with APRs below 36%, which is the highest rate most consumer advocates say an affordable loan can have. Many lenders that offer such loans require good or fair credit, but there are ways to boost your chances of approval.

  • Get a joint or co-signed personal loan. Adding someone with a higher credit score or income to the application can improve your chance of qualifying or getting a lower rate. A co-borrower on a joint personal loan shares access to the funds and information about the loan. A co-signer cannot access the loan funds. In both cases, your co-applicant must repay the loan if you don’t.

  • Get a secured personal loan. Putting up collateral for the loan — like a car or savings account — gives the lender something valuable to take if you stop making payments, meaning a secured loan may be easier to qualify for. Weigh the benefit of getting a secured loan against the risk of losing your collateral.

  • Ask for less money. Lenders try not to provide loans that are too large for the borrower to repay. A lender may decide you qualify for a smaller installment loan than you requested. If you can combine a smaller loan with borrowing alternatives to cover your expense, you may have a better chance of approval.

🤓

Nerdy Tip

Some installment lenders charge triple-digit APRs to consumers with bad credit. Interest on these loans can cost more than the original amount borrowed, so consider them a last resort after you’ve exhausted alternatives to high-interest loans.

How to find an installment loan near you

An online search for “installment loans near me,” may turn up high-interest lenders that promise fast approval and no fees or credit check. Though these loans may be fast and easy to get, they may come with high interest rates.

Here are some tips to find an affordable installment loan near you:

  • Consider a bank. If you’ve banked locally for a while and your accounts are in good standing, you may be able to get an affordable installment loan. Banks are known to have tighter borrowing requirements than other lenders, but long-term customers may have an advantage. Even major banks like Wells Fargo, U.S. Bank and Bank of America provide small loans with low fees to existing customers. Call and ask your bank if they have any options for you before borrowing elsewhere.

  • Look for a credit union. Credit unions are not-for-profit organizations, and many offer personal loans to their members. Federal credit unions cap personal loan APRs at 18%, and some offer small payday alternative loans with months-long repayment terms and rates capped at 28%. You must be a member to borrow from a credit union.

  • Shop online. Fortunately, you don’t have to live near a bank or credit union to borrow money; you can apply for an installment loan from your computer or mobile phone. It can be difficult to tell a predatory online lender from a safe one, so look for a lender’s rates and terms page or call and ask before applying for a loan. Online lenders that charge affordable rates typically don’t try to keep them a secret.

Many banks, credit unions and online lenders let you pre-qualify online with no credit impact. Compare offers from multiple lenders to find the most affordable option.

Online alternatives to installment loans

Buy now, pay later

Buy now, pay later” is an installment plan you can use for a large online purchase, like a laptop or mattress. When you check out, the retailer may offer to let you split your purchase into (usually four) payments, the first due upon purchase, and the other three in two-week increments. BNPL plans typically don’t charge interest or require a hard credit pull, but because it can be easy to lose track of the due dates, it’s best to use it for one purchase at a time.

Cash advance apps

You may be able to borrow a small amount of money with low or no fees using a cash advance app. These apps provide advances as large as $500 to consumers with no credit check and mostly optional fees. Payment is withdrawn from your bank account on your next payday, so this option will only work if your budget can withstand that gap in your next paycheck.

Other ways to make money

If you have enough extra time, consider picking up online work like freelancing, testing websites and taking surveys. The amount you can make this way can vary, but if you take up freelancing, for example, you can build a client base over time to make more money.

Consider your offline options, such as family loans, a local financial assistance program, babysitting, selling items you no longer use or starting a dog walking business.

Frequently asked questions about installment loans

  • An installment loan is a loan you borrow in a lump sum and repay with interest in (usually monthly) installments. These loans are from $1,000 to $100,000 and can have repayment terms from months to several years.

  • Any type of loan you borrow all at once and repay in smaller increments is an installment loan. Auto loans, student loans, mortgage loans and personal loans are all examples of installment loans.

  • An installment loan can affect your credit when you get one and when you repay one.

    • When you get it: If you pre-qualify to preview loan offers, your credit score won’t be affected. If you accept a loan offer and submit a formal application, the lender will do a hard credit check that causes your score to temporarily dip.

    • When you repay it: An installment loan has the biggest potential to impact your credit during repayment. On-time loan payments help build your credit and show positive payment history, but even one missed payment can cause a significant drop in your score.

  • Reputable lenders check your credit history to determine whether you’ll be able to repay a new installment loan. Some lenders offer no-credit-check installment loans, but those loans are riskier to the lenders, and they make up for that risk by charging sky-high interest rates.

  • Some lenders, including Avant and Universal Credit offer unsecured installment loans to bad-credit borrowers. Borrowers with the lowest credit scores may not qualify on their own, but could get a co-signed, joint or secured loan to improve their chances.

Last updated on May 2, 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 Installment Loans of May 2024

  • Upgrade: Best for Installment loans
  • LightStream: Best for Installment loans
  • LendingClub: Best for Installment loans
  • Rocket Loans: Best for Installment loans
  • Best Egg: Best for Installment loans
  • Upstart: Best for Installment loans for bad credit
  • Universal Credit: Best for Installment loans for bad credit
  • Avant: Best for Installment loans for bad credit
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