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Online Loans in 2019: Compare and Pre-Qualify

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Online loans are convenient and fast. Here are online lenders to consider when applying, plus learn the pros and cons and how to shop for online personal loans.

Our picks for

Online loans for good credit

LightStream, Marcus, and SoFi are options for borrowers with good to excellent credit. These lenders feature competitive rates and low fees.

Lightstream

on LightStream's website

on LightStream's website

Min. Credit Score

660

Est. APR

4.49-17.49%

Loan Amount

$5,000-$100,000

Pros

  • No fees.
  • Co-sign option.
  • Low starting rates.

Cons

  • Does not offer pre-qualification on its website.
  • Requires several years of credit history.
Read full review

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score of 660.
  • No minimum income specified.
  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio varies depending on loan purpose.

Available Term Lengths

  • 2 to 7 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: None.
  • Late fee: None.

Disclaimer: Your loan terms are not guaranteed and may vary based loan purpose, length of loan, loan amount, credit history and payment method (AutoPay or Invoice). Rate quote includes AutoPay discount. AutoPay discount is only available when selected prior to loan funding. 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 $5,000 loan at 12.8% APR with a term of 3 years would result in 36 monthly payments of $168. Some additional conditions and limitations apply. Advertised rates and terms are subject to change without notice. SunTrust Bank is an Equal Housing Lender. ©2019 SunTrust Banks, Inc. All rights reserved. SUNTRUST, LIGHTSTREAM and the LightStream logo are trademarks of SunTrust Banks, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Lending services provided by SunTrust Bank.

Marcus by Goldman Sachs

on Goldman Sachs's website

Min. Credit Score

660

Est. APR

5.99-28.99%

Loan Amount

$3,500-$40,000

Pros

  • No fees.
  • Flexible payment options.
  • Directly pays creditors for debt consolidation loans.

Cons

  • Requires good credit.
  • No co-sign option.
Read full review

Qualifications

  • At least 18 years old (19 in Alabama; 21 in Mississippi and Puerto Rico).
  • Valid U.S. bank account, Social Security number or tax ID.
  • 660+ credit score.

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. To obtain a loan, you must submit additional documentation including an application that may affect your credit score. 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.

SoFi

on SoFi's website

Min. Credit Score

680

Est. APR

5.99-16.79%

Loan Amount

$5,000-$100,000

Pros

  • Low fixed and variable rates.
  • Flexible payment options.
  • Offers member perks.

Cons

  • Strong credit and income required.
  • Can take 7 days to fund.
Read full review

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 680, but typically 700 or higher.
  • Minimum annual income: None; borrowers' average is over $100,000.

Available Term Lengths

  • 2 to 7 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: None.
  • Late fee: None.

Disclaimer: Fixed rates from 5.990% APR to 16.790% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 5.74% APR to 14.700% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of July 17, 2019 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. If approved for a loan, to qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. 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, years of professional experience, income and other factors. See APR examples and terms. Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at 14.95%. Lowest variable rate of 5.74% APR assumes current 1-month LIBOR rate of 2.41% plus 4.28% margin minus 0.25% AutoPay discount. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. 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. To check the rates and terms you qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull.

Our picks for

Online loans for debt consolidation

Laurel Road and Payoff offer loans that help borrowers stay disciplined and pay off debt.

Laurel Road Personal Loan

on Laurel Road's website

Min. Credit Score

700

Est. APR

8.01-16.30%

Loan Amount

$1,000-$45,000

Pros

  • No origination or prepayment fees.
  • Co-sign option.
  • Autopay discounts.

Cons

  • Charges late fees.
  • Lacks flexible payment options.
Read full review

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 700.
  • Minimum income: None specified.
  • Debt-to-income ratio: Not disclosed.

Available Term Lengths

  • 3 to 5 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: None.
  • Prepayment fees: None.
  • Late fees: 5% or $28, whichever is less.
Payoff

on Payoff's website

on Payoff's website

Min. Credit Score

640

Est. APR

5.99-24.99%

Loan Amount

$5,000-$35,000

Pros

  • Low starting rates.
  • Flexible payments.
  • Offers financial guidance.

Cons

  • No co-sign or secured loan option.
  • Does not offer direct payoff to creditors.
Read full review

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score of 640.
  • Minimum credit history: 2 years.
  • Minimum annual income: $40,000.
  • Debt-to-income ratio: less than 50%.

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.

Our picks for

Online loans for bad credit

Avant and OneMain are two options for borrowers with bad credit. Avant offers flexibility with loan repayment, while OneMain is a good choice if you need cash fast.

Avant

on Avant's website

on Avant's website

Min. Credit Score

580

Est. APR

9.95-35.99%

Loan Amount

$2,000-$35,000

Pros

  • Low minimum credit score.
  • Refinancing option.
  • No prepayment fee.

Cons

  • No co-sign or secured loan option.
  • Does not offer direct payment to creditors for debt consolidation loans.
Read full review

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score of 580.
  • At least $20,000 in gross annual income.

Available Term Lengths

  • 2 to 5 years

Fees

  • Administrative fee: 4.75%.
  • Late fee: $25 (most states).
  • Unsuccessful payment fee: $15 (most states).

Disclaimer: Example: A $5,700 loan with an administration fee of 4.75% and an amount financed of $5,429.25, repayable in 36 monthly installments, would have an APR of 29.95% and monthly payments of $230.33. The actual rate and loan amount that a customer qualifies for may vary based on credit determination and other factors. Avant branded credit products are issued by WebBank, member FDIC.

OneMain

on OneMain Financial's website

on OneMain Financial's website

Min. Credit Score

None

Est. APR

18.00-35.99%

Loan Amount

$1,500-$20,000

Pros

  • Fast funding.
  • Co-sign option.
  • Free credit score access.

Cons

  • May charge origination fee.
  • High rates.
Read full review

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: None, average is 600 to 650.
  • Minimum credit history: Not provided.
  • Minimum annual income: None; average is $49,000.

Available Term Lengths

  • 2 to 5 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: Varies by state.

Disclaimer: Not all applicants will qualify for larger loan amounts or most favorable loan terms. Loan approval and actual loan terms depend on your ability to meet our credit standards (including a responsible credit history, sufficient income after monthly expenses, and availability of collateral). Larger loan amounts require a first lien on a motor vehicle no more than ten years old, that meets our value requirements, titled in your name with valid insurance. Maximum annual percentage rate (APR) is 35.99%, subject to state restrictions. APRs are generally higher on loans not secured by a vehicle. The lowest APR shown represents the 10% of loans with the most favorable APR. Monthly payment amounts shown are calculated using the APR for the 10% of loans with the most favorable APR. Active duty military, their spouse or dependents covered under the Military Lending Act may not pledge any vehicle as collateral for a loan. OneMain loan proceeds cannot be used for postsecondary educational expenses as defined by the CFPB’s Regulation Z, such as college, university or vocational expenses; for any business or commercial purpose; to purchase securities; or for gambling or illegal purposes. Borrowers in these states are subject to these minimum loan sizes: Alabama: $2,100. California: $3,000. Georgia: Unless you are a present customer, $3,100 minimum loan amount. Ohio: $2,000. Virginia: $2,600. Borrowers (other than present customers) in these states are subject to these maximum unsecured loan sizes: Florida: $8,000. Iowa: $8,500. Maine: $7,000. Mississippi: $7,500. North Carolina: $7,500. New York: $20,000. Texas: $8,000. West Virginia: $7,500. An unsecured loan is a loan which does not require you to provide collateral (such as a motor vehicle) to the lender.

Summary of Online Loans in 2019: Compare and Pre-Qualify

LenderBest ForEst. APRMin. Credit ScoreLearn More
Lightstream

LightStream

on LightStream's website

Online loans for good credit

4.49-17.49%

660

on LightStream's website

Marcus by Goldman Sachs

Marcus by Goldman Sachs

on Goldman Sachs's website

Online loans for good credit

5.99-28.99%

660

on Goldman Sachs's website

SoFi

SoFi Personal Loan

on SoFi's website

Online loans for good credit

5.99-16.79%

680

on SoFi's website

Laurel Road Personal Loan

Laurel Road Personal Loan

on Laurel Road's website

Online loans for debt consolidation

8.01-16.30%

700

on Laurel Road's website

Payoff

Payoff

on Payoff's website

Online loans for debt consolidation

5.99-24.99%

640

on Payoff's website

Avant

Avant

on Avant's website

Online loans for bad credit

9.95-35.99%

580

on Avant's website

OneMain

OneMain Financial

on OneMain Financial's website

Online loans for bad credit

18.00-35.99%

None

on OneMain Financial's website

LenderBest ForEst. APRMin. Credit ScoreLearn More
Lightstream

LightStream

on LightStream's website

Online loans for good credit

4.49-17.49%

660

on LightStream's website

Marcus by Goldman Sachs

Marcus by Goldman Sachs

on Goldman Sachs's website

Online loans for good credit

5.99-28.99%

660

on Goldman Sachs's website

SoFi

SoFi Personal Loan

on SoFi's website

Online loans for good credit

5.99-16.79%

680

on SoFi's website

Laurel Road Personal Loan

Laurel Road Personal Loan

on Laurel Road's website

Online loans for debt consolidation

8.01-16.30%

700

on Laurel Road's website

Payoff

Payoff

on Payoff's website

Online loans for debt consolidation

5.99-24.99%

640

on Payoff's website

Avant

Avant

on Avant's website

Online loans for bad credit

9.95-35.99%

580

on Avant's website

OneMain

OneMain Financial

on OneMain Financial's website

Online loans for bad credit

18.00-35.99%

None

on OneMain Financial's website

» MORE: Best personal loans for good, bad credit

The pros and cons of online personal loans

Lending experiences vary by lender and loan, but you’ll generally encounter the following pros and cons with online loans:

PROS:

  • Convenience: With online loans, you can complete the entire loan process — from pre-qualification to signing — from your computer or, in many cases, your phone. Some banks offer an online loan option, but you must visit a branch to complete the application.
  • No-risk estimates: Most online lenders allow you to pre-qualify and see estimated rates without committing to a loan or affecting your credit score. Banks and credit unions typically require a hard check for this preliminary step. (All lenders, whether online or brick-and-mortar, typically require a hard credit check before you finalize a loan.)
  • Credit plus more: Online lenders look at more than your credit score and credit report when making an approval decision — they may consider your education or occupation, or ask to scan your bank account transactions to assess your financial behavior. This can improve your chances of getting a loan if you’re new to credit or have a low score.
  • Quick, simple shopping: It’s easy to compare rates from multiple lenders: Online pre-qualification takes a few minutes, and comparison sites allow borrowers to see loan offers from multiple lenders after filling out a single application form. You can do this on NerdWallet’s lender marketplace.
  • Debt help: Some online lenders allow borrowers who take a loan to consolidate debt the option to send money directly to creditors, improving the chances of successfully paying off debt.

CONS:

  • Costlier than credit unions: On average, loans from online lenders are not as cheap as those from credit unions. Since each online lender uses its own underwriting formula, you may get different rates from each one. It’s essential to compare rates from multiple lenders before you take an online loan.
  • Sometimes not so simple: The application process for some types of personal loans — including secured and co-sign loans — can be more complex than that for unsecured personal loans, where approval is based largely on income and credit history.
  • Large loans only: Loans under $500 may be hard to find at rates below 36%. Most online lenders have loan minimums of $2,000. A local credit union, while not as immediate, is usually the best place to look for small loans.
  • Predators lurk: Reputable online lenders compete alongside predatory online lenders. Reputable lenders check your credit and ability to repay the loan, with annual percentage rates that top out at 36%. Predatory lenders advertise that they don’t look at credit. You pay the cost of this added risk, in the form of APRs that can top 400%.

How much will it cost?

As with most credit products, the rate you receive on an online loan depends a lot on your credit score. The better your score, the lower your rate and the less interest you’ll pay over the life of the loan. The interest rate also affects your total monthly payment, as does the term length; a longer term means lower monthly payments, but more interest.

Use our personal loan calculator to estimate your monthly payments based on your credit score.

How to shop for an online personal loan

Here are a few questions to ask as you search for online loans:

How's your credit? Many online lenders consider additional factors, such as your education history or profession, but in conjunction with your credit score and credit history. If your score is average or poor, it's worth taking steps to build your credit.

» MOREPreview your credit score for free

Is the APR below 36%? The sum of the interest rate and all fees is known as the annual percentage rate, and the APR you receive largely depends on your credit. Financial experts and consumer advocates agree that 36% APR is the acceptable limit for a loan to be affordable to a borrower. If an online lender offers rates above 36%, that’s a sign the loan is unaffordable, even if the monthly payment fits your budget.

» MOREWhat’s a good rate on a personal loan?

Is your documentation ready? You can easily get rate quotes by providing your name, date of birth, the last four digits of your Social Security number and other information you enter from memory, but once you decide to move forward with an application, lenders will require documentation, including a form of identification and proof of income, such as a pay stub or W-2. You’ll upload the documentation electronically; many lenders accept screenshots or phone photos in addition to scanned documents or PDFs.

» MOREHow to pre-qualify for a personal loan

Next step: Pre-qualify on NerdWallet

Pre-qualifying with multiple lenders allows you to compare rates, terms and loan features, and choose the online loan that best fits your budget and financial goals. You can pre-qualify on NerdWallet with lenders that partner with us. Doing so won't affect your credit score.

Last updated on July 18, 2019

Methodology

NerdWallet's ratings for personal loans award points to lenders that offer consumer-friendly features, including soft credit checks, no fees, transparency of loan rates and terms, flexible payment options, accessible customer service, reporting of payments to credit bureaus and financial education. We also consider the number of complaints filed with agencies like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. This methodology applies only to lenders that cap interest rates at 36%, the maximum rate financial experts and consumer advocates agree is the acceptable limit for a loan to be affordable. NerdWallet does not receive compensation of any sort for our reviews.

To recap our selections...

NerdWallet's Online Loans in 2019: Compare and Pre-Qualify