BEST OF

Best Online Personal Loans in 2021

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

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Online loans are a convenient and fast option for borrowing money. These loans have annual percentage rates between 6% and 36%, and amounts range from $1,000 to $100,000.

Some online lenders work with bad-credit borrowers (629 or below FICO score). Lenders that accept borrowers with good and excellent credit (a FICO of 690 or above) sometimes offer features like rate beat guarantees or the option to skip a monthly payment. Online lenders typically allow borrowers to pre-qualify to see personalized rates on personal loans before applying.

Compare these online lenders and learn the pros and cons of online personal loans. Then, find out what to look for in a lender.

Summary of Best Online Personal Loans in 2021

Our picks for

Online loans for good credit

SoFi
Check rate

on SoFi's website

SoFi

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
SoFi

Est. APR

4.99 - 19.63%

Loan Amount

$5,000 - $100,000

Min. Credit Score

680
Check rate

on SoFi's website


Min. Credit Score

680

Key facts

SoFi offers online personal loans with consumer-friendly features for good- and excellent-credit borrowers.

Pros

  • No fees.

  • Offers co-sign and joint loan options.

  • Offers .25% rate discount for setting up autopay.

  • Offers unemployment protection.

  • Provides mobile app to manage your loan.

Cons

  • No secured loan option.

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 4.99% APR to 19.63% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of August 11, 2021 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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Lightstream
Check rate

on LightStream's website

LightStream

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Lightstream

Est. APR

4.49 - 20.49%

Loan Amount

$5,000 - $100,000

Min. Credit Score

660
Check 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.

  • Competitive rates among online lenders.

  • Offers .5% rate discount for setting up autopay.

  • Special features including rate beat program and satisfaction guarantee.

Cons

  • No option to pre-qualify on its website.

  • Requires several years of credit history.

  • Does not offer 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

Your loan terms, including APR, may differ based on loan purpose, amount, term length, and your credit profile. AutoPay discount of .50% points is only available when selected prior to loan funding. Rates without AutoPay will be .50% points higher. To obtain a loan, you must complete an application on LightStream.com which may affect your credit score. Subject to credit approval. Conditions and limitations apply. Advertised rates and terms are subject to change without notice. Payment example: Monthly payments for a $10,000 loan at 6.14% APR with a term of 3 years would result in 36 monthly payments of $304.85. Truist Bank is an Equal Housing Lender. ©2021 Truist Financial Corporation. SunTrust, Truist, LightStream, the LightStream logo, and the SunTrust 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 picks for

Online loans for debt consolidation

Payoff
Check rate

on Payoff's website

Payoff

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Payoff

Est. APR

5.99 - 24.99%

Loan Amount

$5,000 - $40,000

Min. Credit Score

600
Check rate

on Payoff's website


Min. Credit Score

600

Key facts

Payoff offers loans and ongoing support to help fair- and 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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Marcus by Goldman Sachs
Check rate

on Goldman Sachs's website

Marcus by Goldman Sachs

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Marcus by Goldman Sachs

Est. APR

6.99 - 19.99%

Loan Amount

$3,500 - $40,000

Min. Credit Score

660
Check rate

on Goldman Sachs's website


Min. Credit Score

660

Key facts

Marcus personal loans stand out with zero fees and a wide range of repayment terms.

Pros

  • No fees.

  • Wide variety of repayment term options.

  • Offers .25% 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: 660 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. 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 picks for

Online loans for fair credit

Upgrade
Check rate

on Upgrade's website

Upgrade

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Upgrade

Est. APR

5.94 - 35.47%

Loan Amount

$1,000 - $50,000

Min. Credit Score

560
Check 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

  • Allows secured and joint loans.

  • Offers a wide range of repayment terms.

  • Offers a 0.5% rate discount for setting up autopay.

  • Offers significant rate discount for checking account customers.

  • Offers rate discount with direct payment to creditors on debt consolidation loans.

Cons

  • Charges origination fee.

  • No co-signed loan option.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 560; borrower average is 678.

  • Minimum annual income: None; borrower average is $78,000.

  • Minimum number of accounts on credit history: Two accounts.

  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: Less than or equal to 75%, including mortgage and calculating in your new personal loan.

Available Term Lengths

2 to 7 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: 2.9% to 8%.

Disclaimer

Personal loans made through Upgrade feature APRs of 5.94%-35.47%. 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/. Accept your loan offer and your funds will be sent to your bank or designated account within one (1) business day of clearing necessary verifications. Availability of the funds is dependent on how quickly your bank processes the transaction. From the time of approval, funds should be available within four (4) business days. Funds sent directly to pay off your creditors may take up to 2 weeks to clear, depending on the creditor.

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Upstart
Check rate

on Upstart's website

Upstart

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Upstart

Est. APR

5.38 - 35.99%

Loan Amount

$1,000 - $50,000

Min. Credit Score

None
Check 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

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 21.97% and 36 monthly payments of $35 per $1,000 borrowed. For example, the total cost of a $10,000 loan would be $12,646 including a $626 origination fee. APR is calculated based on 3-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.

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Our pick for

Online loans for bad credit

OneMain
Check rate

on OneMain Financial's website

OneMain Financial

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
OneMain

Est. APR

18.00 - 35.99%

Loan Amount

$1,500 - $20,000

Min. Credit Score

None
Check rate

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

  • Option to choose your payment date.

  • Offers joint and secured loans.

  • Able to fund a loan the same or next business day.

  • Offers direct payment to creditors on debt consolidation loans.

Cons

  • Rates are high compared to other online lenders.

  • Charges origination fee.

  • No rate discount for autopay.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: None.

  • Minimum income: None; average is $45,000.

Available Term Lengths

2 to 5 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: $25 to $400 or 1 - 10%.

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 $300. 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: North Carolina: $7,500. New York: $20,000. An unsecured loan is a loan which does not require you to provide collateral (such as a motor vehicle) to the lender.

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Our pick for

Fast online loans

RocketLoans
See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website

Rocket Loans

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
RocketLoans

Est. APR

5.97 - 29.69%

Loan Amount

$2,000 - $45,000

Min. Credit Score

640
See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website


Min. Credit Score

640

Key facts

Rocket Loans offers online personal loans to borrowers with fair credit and over two years of credit history.

Pros

  • Soft credit check with pre-qualification.

  • Competitive rates among fair-credit lenders.

  • Offers a .3% rate discount for setting up autopay.

  • Able to fund loans the same day.

  • Offers small loans of $2,000.

Cons

  • Charges origination fee.

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

  • No option to choose or change your payment date.

  • Borrowers can choose from only two repayment term options.

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

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 640; borrower average is 710.

  • Minimum credit history: Over two years.

  • Minimum annual income: $24,000; borrower average is $85,000.

  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: 40% or 70% including mortgage; borrower average is 14%.

  • Must be at least 18 years old (19 in Alabama and Nebraska).

  • Must provide Social Security number.

Available Term Lengths

3 to 5 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: 1% to 6%.

  • Late fee: $15 after 10-day grace period.

  • Unsuccessful payment fee: $15.

Disclaimer

All personal loans are made by Cross River Bank, a New Jersey state chartered commercial bank, Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender. All loans are unsecured, fully amortizing personal loans. Eligibility for a loan is not guaranteed. Please refer to our Disclosures and Licenses page for state required disclosures, licenses, and lending restrictions. Borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent U.S. resident alien at least 18 years of age (in Nebraska and Alabama a borrower must be at least 19 years of age). All loan applications are subject to credit review and approval. Offered loan terms depend upon your credit profile, requested amount, requested loan term, credit usage, credit history and other factors. Not all borrowers receive the lowest interest rate. To qualify for the lowest rate, you must have excellent credit, meet certain conditions, and select autopay. Rates and Terms are subject to change at any time without notice. Please refer to RocketLoans.com and our Terms of Use for additional terms and conditions.

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Pros and cons of online loans

Loan features vary across online lenders, but you’ll generally encounter these pros and cons with online loans:

Pros

  • Convenience: 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 may need to visit a branch to complete the application.

  • No-risk estimates: Most online lenders allow you to pre-qualify and preview estimated rates without affecting your credit score. (All lenders require a hard credit check before you finalize a loan.)

  • Quick, simple shopping: 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. Alternatively, some banks may only service loans in person or require you to visit a branch at some point during the application process.

  • Credit plus more: Some 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.

  • Debt help: Some online lenders allow borrowers who get a debt consolidation loan to send money directly to creditors, subtracting the burden of paying individual credit cards.

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. If you're an existing customer at a bank that offers personal loans, that bank could offer you a lower rate as well. Compare rates from multiple lenders before you take an online loan.

  • No face time: Some online lenders have physical locations, but many offer loan servicing online only. This can be a challenge if you ever prefer to speak to a lender face to face.

  • Smallest loans not available: Loans under $500 may be hard to find at rates below 36%. Many online lenders have loan minimums between $1,000 and $2,000. A local credit union may be able to provide smaller loans.

  • Predators lurk: Reputable online lenders compete alongside predatory online lenders. Reputable lenders check your credit and ability to repay the loan, with APRs that top out at 36%. Predatory lenders advertise that they don’t check 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 triggering 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.

Here’s an example: Assume you want to borrow $15,000 at an APR of 10%. You apply with two lenders and qualify for two different loan terms.

Lender 1

Lender 2

Loan term

24 months

60 months

Interest cost

$1,612

$4,122

Monthly payment

$692

$318

Total cost

$16,612

$19,122

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.

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. 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.

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.

Last updated on September 17, 2021

Methodology

NerdWallet’s review process evaluates and rates personal loan products from more than 30 lenders. 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 our editorial guidelines.

To recap our selections...

NerdWallet's Best Online Personal Loans in 2021

Frequently asked questions