BEST OF

Best Pool Loans of December 2022

A swimming pool loan can help you finance your backyard's new centerpiece. Compare unsecured loans with other options.

Aug 1, 2022

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A pool can turn your backyard into a summertime sanctuary. But adding an above-ground or in-ground pool can be expensive, so you may need to finance the project.

One option is a pool loan, which doesn’t require home equity and can have low interest rates for qualified borrowers.

Compare unsecured personal loans to finance your new pool. Plus, learn which features to look for when shopping for a pool loan.

Why trust NerdWallet? NerdWallet’s editorial team has reviewed more than 35 personal loan providers and compared them to find the best pool loans. We selected these lenders based on features like loan amounts, rates, minimum credit score requirements and joint loan availability.

Best Pool Loans

SoFi
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on SoFi's website

SoFi

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
SoFi

Est. APR

7.99-23.43%

Loan amount

$5,000-$100,000

Min. credit score

None
Get rate

on SoFi's website


Min. credit score

None

Key facts

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

Pros

  • No fees.

  • Joint loan option.

  • Rate discount for autopay.

  • Hardship program for borrowers in need.

  • Mobile app to manage loan.

Cons

  • No option to choose initial payment date.

  • 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 23.43% APR reflect the 0.25% autopay discount and a 0.25% direct deposit discount. SoFi rate ranges are current as of 8/22/22 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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Lightstream
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on LightStream's website

LightStream

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Lightstream

Est. APR

6.99-22.49%

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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Upgrade
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on Upgrade's website

Upgrade

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Upgrade

Est. APR

7.96-35.97%

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 8.99%.

  • Late Fee: $10.

  • Failed payment fee: $10.

Disclaimer

Personal loans made through Upgrade feature Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) of 7.96%-35.97%. All personal loans have a 1.85% to 8.99% 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. Personal loans issued by Upgrade's bank partners. Information on Upgrade's bank partners can be found at https://www.upgrade.com/bank-partners/.

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Discover
Get rate

on Discover's website

Discover® Personal Loans

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Discover

Est. APR

6.99-24.99%

Loan amount

$2,500-$35,000

Min. credit score

660
Get rate

on Discover's website


Min. credit score

660

Key facts

Discover personal loans can be a smart way for borrowers with excellent credit to fund home improvement projects.

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: 720.

  • Must be at least 18 years old.

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

  • 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 6.99%-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.

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Wells Fargo Personal Loan
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on NerdWallet's secure website

Wells Fargo Personal Loan

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Wells Fargo Personal Loan

Est. APR

5.74-20.99%

Loan amount

$3,000-$100,000

Min. credit score

None
See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website


Min. credit score

None

Key facts

Wells Fargo personal loans stand out thanks to a wide range of loan amounts and flexible terms, but borrowers can't pre-qualify.

Pros

  • No origination fee.

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

  • Wide variety of repayment term options.

Cons

  • No co-sign or joint loan option.

  • No direct payment to creditors with debt consolidation loans.

  • Must be an existing customer.

Qualifications

  • Must be an existing Wells Fargo customer.

  • Must provide personal information, including Social Security number or Individual Tax Identification Number.

  • Must provide employment and income information; documentation may be required to verify this information.

Available Term Lengths

1 to 7 years

Fees

  • Late fee: $39.

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First Tech Credit Union Personal Loan
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on NerdWallet's secure website

First Tech Credit Union Personal Loan

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
First Tech Credit Union Personal Loan

Est. APR

6.70-18.00%

Loan amount

$500-$50,000

Min. credit score

660
See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website


Min. credit score

660

Key facts

First Tech personal loans are a sound option for members who want a flexible loan with fast funding.

Pros

  • Co-sign, joint and secured loan options.

  • Direct payment to creditors with debt consolidation loans.

  • Options to choose and change your payment date.

  • Fast funding.

Cons

  • Exclusive to credit union members.

  • Reports payments to only one of the three major credit bureaus.

  • No rate discount.

Qualifications

  • Must be a member of First Tech Federal Credit Union.

  • Minimum credit score: 660.

  • Must provide Social Security number and driver's license or other state-issued ID.

  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: 50%.

  • Minimum monthly income: $700 if living with others; $1,000 if renting; $1,500 if you own your home.

  • Minimum credit history: At least two established accounts.

Available Term Lengths

2 to 7 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: None.

  • Late fee: Varies.

  • Returned check fee: $28.

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Alliant Personal Loan
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on NerdWallet's secure website

Alliant Personal Loan

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Alliant Personal Loan

Est. APR

6.24-27.24%

Loan amount

$1,000-$50,000

Min. credit score

620
See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website


Min. credit score

620

Key facts

Alliant’s personal loans, with their wide range of amounts, fast funding and rate discount are a strong option for members with fair and good credit.

Pros

  • Fast funding.

  • Wide range of loan amounts.

  • Rate discount for autopay.

  • Option to choose initial payment date.

Cons

  • Exclusive to credit union members.

  • No option to pre-qualify with a soft credit check.

  • No co-sign or joint loan option.

  • No direct payment to creditors with debt consolidation loans.

Qualifications

  • You must be an Alliant Credit Union member for at least six months to apply for a personal loan.

  • Minimum credit score: 620.

  • Loan approval is based on payment method, creditworthiness and ability to repay.

Available Term Lengths

1 to 5 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: None.

  • Prepayment fee: None.

  • Late fee: Varies.

Read Full Review

What is a pool loan?

A pool loan is a personal loan you receive in a lump sum and repay with interest in fixed monthly installments.

The pool isn’t collateral for this type of loan because it’s unsecured, meaning there is no collateral necessary. Instead, a lender uses information about you such as your credit, income and other debts to decide whether you qualify for a loan and what annual percentage rate to offer you.

Pool loan amounts can be $1,000 to $100,000, and they’re usually repaid over two to seven years. You can expect a rate between 6% and 36% on this loan, but the lowest rates often go to borrowers with good or excellent credit (690 FICO or higher).

Where to get a pool loan

Banks, credit unions and online lenders offer pool loans, but each lender has its own borrower criteria and loan features.

Banks: Existing bank customers can sometimes qualify for lower rates, larger loans or special discounts. In general, banks prefer borrowers with good credit and strong income.

Credit unions: Borrowers with fair or bad credit (689 or lower FICO) may be more likely to qualify for a credit union loan. These not-for-profit organizations may look beyond a low credit score and review your membership history to qualify you.

Online lenders: Online lenders vary in their qualification requirements and loan features. Some bad-credit lenders tailor their loans to borrowers with low scores or thin credit histories, for example. Others offer special features to well-qualified borrowers.

How to get a pool loan

The process to get a personal loan generally involves four steps:

  1. Get a pool estimate. Work with a contractor to agree on a cost estimate for the project before you start loan shopping. Once you know how much you need, you can choose a lender that offers that amount. Unlike with credit cards and credit lines, you can’t borrow more once you get the loan.

  2. Pre-qualify. Online lenders and some banks and credit unions allow you to pre-qualify for a personal loan and see potential loan offers, including rates and monthly payments, without affecting your credit score.

  3. Compare lenders. If you get similar pool loan offers, compare not only rates and terms, but also other loan features. Some lenders can fund a loan within a day or two, while others offer extended repayment terms for larger home improvement projects.

  4. Gather documents and apply. Collect documents most lenders require on an application — like W-2s, bank statements and a government-issued ID — to move the process along faster. Most lenders can make an approval decision within a day or two and fund a loan within a week.

How to compare pool loans

Loan amount: Depending on the type of pool you choose, you may need to find a lender that offers large personal loans. Many lenders cap loan amounts at $50,000, but some offer loans up to $100,000. Borrowers typically need strong credit and incomes to qualify for the largest pool loans.

Affordability: Use the APR to compare the cost of multiple loan offers and other financing options. The option with the lowest APR is the least expensive and usually the best offer. Also, check the monthly payments against your budget to be sure you can afford them.

Repayment term options: The repayment term helps determine the size of the monthly payment. Pool loans with longer terms have lower monthly payments, but they cost more in total interest. Some lenders only offer three- or five-year repayment terms, but others are more flexible.

Joint loan option: If you share the home where you’re putting the pool in, you may be able to get a joint loan. Adding a co-borrower can improve your chances of qualifying, getting a larger loan or receiving a lower rate. A co-borrower is equally responsible for payments and has equal access to the funds.

How much do pools cost?

The cost of a pool can vary significantly depending on what materials you use, whether it’s in- or above-ground, and additional features.

An in-ground pool can cost $20,000 to $100,000, according to HomeAdvisor, a website that connects homeowners with contractors. An above-ground pool can cost from $800 to $15,000.

Pool loan rates

How's your credit?

Score range

Estimated APR

Excellent

720-850.

10.6%.

Good

690-719.

15.7%.

Fair

630-689.

19.4%.

Bad

300-629.

25.2%.

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

Pool loan example: A $60,000 pool loan repaid over six years at a 12% APR would require monthly payments of $1,173. You’d pay $24,456 in total interest on that loan.

Pool loan pros and cons

Pros

  • No collateral. Unsecured pool loans don’t require collateral, meaning the lender can’t take your possessions if you fail to repay. Instead, your credit score will drop.

  • Fast funding. Some lenders send loan funds the same or next day once you’re approved. Others can fund a loan within a couple of business days.

  • Wide range of repayment terms. Repayment terms on pool loans are usually between two and seven years. Some lenders, like LightStream and Navy Federal, offer longer repayment terms for home improvement projects.

Cons

  • Rates can be high. Compared with home equity loans and lines of credit, which often have single-digit APRs, personal loans can have high rates.

  • Large monthly payments. Because you usually have less than 10 years to repay a personal loan, the monthly payments are often higher than a longer-term loan, like a home equity line of credit.

  • No tax benefits. If you finance a home improvement project with equity, you can usually deduct the interest from your taxes. There are no tax deductions with a personal loan.

Pool loan alternatives

Financing a pool can be a years-long commitment. Compare personal loans with other financing options to find the one that fits best with your plans.

Home equity loans

A home equity loan is a second mortgage that’s structured similarly to a personal loan. APRs and monthly payments are fixed. If you’re comfortable using your home as collateral for the loan, home equity loans can be a low-rate financing option.

Here’s what you can expect if you use a home equity loan to pay for a pool:

  • Maximum loan amount: 85% of your home’s value, minus what you owe on the mortgage.

  • Repayment term: Up to 15 years.

  • APRs: Start around 5%.

Home equity lines of credit

A HELOC is an open credit line that you can draw on as you need to, making it ideal for projects that last a long time or have surprise costs. HELOCs have variable interest rates, so your monthly payments could fluctuate. Like home equity loans, rates are often in the single digits, so it may be a low-cost way to add a pool.

Here’s what you can expect if you use a HELOC to pay for a pool:

  • Maximum loan amount: 85% of your home’s value, minus what you owe on the mortgage.

  • Repayment term: A 10-year draw period followed by a 20-year repayment period is common.

  • APRs: Start around 4.5%.

Cash-out refinance

A cash-out refinance replaces your current mortgage with a new, larger loan. You “cash out” the difference between your new loan and the amount owed, and use it to pay for the pool. Because it’s a brand-new mortgage, you’ll have to have your home appraised and pay closing costs, and the loan will have new terms. This is worth considering only if current rates are lower than what you’re paying.

Here’s what you can expect if you use a cash-out refinance to pay for a pool:

  • Loan amount: 80% to 90% of your home’s value, minus what you owe on the mortgage.

  • Repayment term: 15 years and 30 years are common mortgage repayment terms.

  • APRs: Start between 4% and 5%.

In-house financing

Your contractor may offer you an in-house financing option, usually through a third-party lender. Because this offer is specific to a new pool, loan amounts may be larger than a personal loan and repayment terms may be longer.

Compare this offer with other financing options to be sure you’re getting a good deal.

Loan amounts, repayment terms and rates can vary by company, but here’s what to expect if you finance through a contractor:

  • Loan amount: Up to about $200,000.

  • Repayment term: Up to 20 years.

  • APRs: Start between 3% and 5%.

Last updated on August 1, 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.

Frequently asked questions