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8 Online Loans: Shop for Personal Loans in 2020

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Compare offers from multiple online lenders to find the one with the best rate and features.

Online loans are a convenient alternative to banks and credit unions. These loans can have annual percentage rates between 6% and 36%, and amounts range from $1,000 to $100,000.

Some online lenders specialize in fast funding, while others cater to bad-credit borrowers. Lenders that accept borrowers with good and excellent credit and little existing debt sometimes offer features like a rate-beat guarantee or the option to skip a monthly payment.

Online lenders typically allow borrowers to pre-qualify, so you can see the rate you'd be offered on a personal loan before applying. You can also apply online as opposed to finding a local bank branch.

If you're not already a customer at a bank that offers personal loans, you may find a lower rate online.

Compare these online lenders and learn the pros and cons of an online loan. Then, find out what to look for while you shop.

Summary of Online Loans: Shop for Personal Loans in 2020

LenderNerdWallet Rating Est. APRMin. Credit ScoreLearn More
Lightstream

LightStream

on LightStream's website

Best for: Online loans for good credit

5.49 - 20.49%

660

on LightStream's website

SoFi

SoFi

on SoFi's website

Best for: Online loans for good credit

5.99 - 19.96%

680

on SoFi's website

Marcus by Goldman Sachs

Marcus by Goldman Sachs

on Goldman Sachs's website

Best for: Online loans for debt consolidation

6.99 - 19.99%

660

on Goldman Sachs's website

Payoff

Payoff

on Payoff's website

Best for: Online loans for debt consolidation

5.99 - 24.99%

640

on Payoff's website

Avant

Avant

on Avant's website

Best for: Online loans for bad credit

9.95 - 35.99%

580

on Avant's website

OneMain

OneMain Financial

on OneMain Financial's website

Best for: Online loans for bad credit

18.00 - 35.99%

None

on OneMain Financial's website

Upgrade

Upgrade

on Upgrade's website

Best for: Online loans for fair credit

7.99 - 35.97%

600

on Upgrade's website

Upstart

Upstart

See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website

Best for: Online loans for fair credit

6.27 - 35.99%

620

See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website

Our picks for

Online loans for good credit

Lightstream

on LightStream's website

LightStream

Lightstream

Min. Credit Score

660

Est. APR

5.49 - 20.49%

Loan Amount

$5,000 - $100,000

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.

  • Co-sign option.

  • Low starting rates.

Cons

  • Does not offer pre-qualification on its website.

  • Requires several years of credit history.

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 on 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 now Truist is an Equal Housing Lender. © 2020 Truist Financial Corporation. SunTrust®, Truist, LightStream®, the LightStream logo, and the SunTrust logo are service marks of Truist Financial Corporation. All rights reserved. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Lending services provided by SunTrust now Truist Bank.

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SoFi

on SoFi's website

SoFi

Min. Credit Score

680

Est. APR

5.99 - 19.96%

Loan Amount

$5,000 - $100,000

on SoFi's website


Min. Credit Score

680

Key facts

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

Pros

  • Low fixed and variable rates.

  • Flexible payment options.

  • Offers member perks.

Cons

  • Does not offer direct payment to creditors with debt consolidation loans.

  • Does not offer refinance options.

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 5.99% APR to 19.96% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of May 14, 2020 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, 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 picks for

Online loans for debt consolidation

These lenders offer loans that help borrowers stay disciplined and pay off debt.

Marcus by Goldman Sachs

on Goldman Sachs's website

Marcus by Goldman Sachs

Marcus by Goldman Sachs

Min. Credit Score

660

Est. APR

6.99 - 19.99%

Loan Amount

$3,500 - $40,000

on Goldman Sachs's website


Min. Credit Score

660

Key facts

Marcus loans stand out for low rates, no fees, and flexible loan terms and payment options.

Pros

  • No fees.

  • Flexible payment options.

  • Directly pays creditors for debt consolidation loans.

  • Rate discount with autopay.

Cons

  • Requires good credit.

  • No co-sign option.

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.

  • For debt consolidation loans, you may be required to send part of the loan directly to your creditors.

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. 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.

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Payoff

on Payoff's website

Payoff

Min. Credit Score

640

Est. APR

5.99 - 24.99%

Loan Amount

$5,000 - $35,000

on Payoff's website


Min. Credit Score

640

Key facts

Payoff offers loans and ongoing support to help good-credit borrowers consolidate credit card debt.

Pros

  • Low starting rates.

  • Competitive rates among similar lenders.

  • Offers direct payment to creditors with debt consolidation loans.

  • Offers online educational resources.

Cons

  • No co-sign or secured loan option.

  • Charges origination fee.

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.

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Our picks for

Online loans for bad credit

These lenders are available for borrowers with bad credit, offering flexibility and fast funding.

Avant

on Avant's website

Avant

Min. Credit Score

580

Est. APR

9.95 - 35.99%

Loan Amount

$2,000 - $35,000

on Avant's website


Min. Credit Score

580

Key facts

Avant's low starting rates make it a good option for borrowers with low credit scores and income.

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.

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

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. Minimum loan amounts may vary by state. If approved, the actual rate and loan amount that a customer qualifies for may vary based on credit determination and other factors. An administration fee of up to 4.75% will be deducted from the loan proceeds. Avant branded credit products are issued by Webbank, member FDIC

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OneMain

on OneMain Financial's website

OneMain Financial

OneMain

Min. Credit Score

None

Est. APR

18.00 - 35.99%

Loan Amount

$1,500 - $20,000

on OneMain Financial's website


Min. Credit Score

None

Key facts

OneMain is an option for bad-credit borrowers, but it comes with high starting rates and an origination fee.

Pros

  • Fast funding.

  • Offers joint and secured loan options.

  • Free credit score access.

Cons

  • May charge origination fee.

  • High rates.

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. Depending on the state where you open your loan, the origination fee may be either a flat amount or a percentage of your loan amount. Flat fee amounts vary by state, ranging from $25 to $400. Percentage-based fees vary by state ranging from 1% to 10% of your loan amount subject to certain state limits on the fee amount. 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: $14,000. An unsecured loan is a loan which does not require you to provide collateral (such as a motor vehicle) to the lender.

Read Full Review

Our picks for

Online loans for fair credit

These lenders offer loans to borrowers with at least a 620 credit score.

Upgrade

on Upgrade's website

Upgrade

Upgrade

Min. Credit Score

600

Est. APR

7.99 - 35.97%

Loan Amount

$1,000 - $35,000

on Upgrade's website


Min. Credit Score

600

Key facts

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

Pros

  • Credit health tools.

  • Hardship plans.

  • Directly pays creditors for debt consolidation loans used to pay off credit cards.

Cons

  • Origination and late fees.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 600.

  • Minimum annual income: None, but most applicants earn more than $30,000.

  • Minimum monthly free cash flow: $800.

  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: 60%.

  • Unavailable to borrowers in: Iowa or West Virginia.

Available Term Lengths

3 to 5 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: 2.9% to 8%

Disclaimer

Personal loans made through Upgrade feature APRs of 7.99%-35.97%. All personal loans have a 2.9% to 8% origination fee, which is deducted from the loan proceeds. Lowest rates require Autopay and paying off a portion of existing debt directly. For example, if you receive a $10,000 loan with a 36-month term and a 17.98% APR (which includes a 14.32% 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 $343.33. Over the life of the loan, your payments would total $12,359.97. 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. Personal loans issued by Upgrade's lending partners. Information on Upgrade's lending partners can be found at https://www.upgrade.com/lending-partners/.

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Upstart
See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website

Upstart

Upstart

Min. Credit Score

620

Est. APR

6.27 - 35.99%

Loan Amount

$5,000 - $30,000

See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website


Min. Credit Score

620

Key facts

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

Pros

  • Accepts borrowers new to credit.

  • Fast funding.

Cons

  • Origination and late fees.

  • No secured or co-sign option.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 580.

  • Minimum credit history: None.

  • Minimum annual income: $12,000.

  • Max debt-to-income ratio: 45%.

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

This offer is conditioned upon final approval from an Upstart Powered bank or licensed lender which is based on consideration and verification of financial and non-financial information. Rate and loan amount are subject to change based upon information provided 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 a contract for the extension of credit and who currently resides in the United States. Duplicate offers received are void. Closing your loan is contingent upon meeting certain eligibility requirements and your agreement to the terms and conditions of Upstart and a bank or a licensed lender partnered with Upstart. Loans are originated by Upstart Powered banks and licensed lenders on the Upstart platform. Loans in Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, and Nebraska are made by Cross River Bank, an FDIC-insured New Jersey state chartered commercial bank. Loan amounts from $5k-$30k* 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. The minimum loan amount in MA is $7,000. The minimum loan amount in Ohio is $6,000. The minimum loan amount in NM is $5,100. The minimum loan amount in GA is $3,100. APRs from X-Y, loan term (3 or 5 year loan terms), amount of monthly payment** **The full range of available rates varies by state. The average 3-year loan offered across all lenders using the Upstart platform will have an APR of X% and 36 monthly payments of $Y per $1,000 borrowed. There is no down payment and no prepayment penalty. Average APR is calculated based on 3-year rates offered in the last 1 month. 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.

Read Full Review

» MORE: Quick loans: Best lenders for fast cash

The pros and cons of online loans

Loan features vary across online lneders, but you’ll generally encounter these 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 some cases, your phone. Some banks offer an online loan option, but you typically 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 and some banks: 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. If you're an existing customer at a bank that offers personal loans, that bank could offer you a lower rate as well. 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%.

Online personal loans vs. payday loans

Payday loans are quick ways to get a small amount of cash — usually less than $1,000 — and you don't need good credit to get one. But payday loans are expensive, and the companies that offer them usually prioritize their own profits over consumers’ interests, charging triple-digit interest rates and fees for late payments.

Many payday loans have repayment periods of two weeks to a month. If you fail to pay the loan back on time, the lender may withdraw money directly from your account, potentially incurring overdraft charges on top of the lender's late fee.

If you’re looking for a small loan, online personal loans are less expensive, even if your credit is bad. Many can fund a loan for as little as $1,000 on the same business day that you apply for it.

How much will an online loan cost?

The rate you receive on an online loan depends a lot on your credit score and debt-to-income ratio. 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.

Calculate your monthly payments with NerdWallet's personal loan calculator.

How to shop for a loan online

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.

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.

» MORE: What’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.

» MORE: How 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 May 11, 2020

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: Shop for Personal Loans in 2020

  • LightStream: Best for Online loans for good credit
  • SoFi: Best for Online loans for good credit
  • Marcus by Goldman Sachs: Best for Online loans for debt consolidation
  • Payoff: Best for Online loans for debt consolidation
  • Avant: Best for Online loans for bad credit
  • OneMain Financial : Best for Online loans for bad credit
  • Upgrade: Best for Online loans for fair credit
  • Upstart: Best for Online loans for fair credit

Frequently asked questions