BEST OF

Best Personal Loans for Pools in 2021

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

Annie MillerberndFebruary 18, 2021
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A pool loan is an unsecured personal loan from a bank, credit union or online lender that can be used for almost any purpose, including installing a swimming pool.

How you pay for a pool depends on things like how much it’ll cost, how much you have in savings and equity, and your credit and income.

An above-ground pool costs about $2,500 on average, while inground pools can cost over $50,000, according to HomeAdvisor. There are many financing options you could choose in that price range, but personal loans and home equity are both popular ways to pay for a new pool.

These lenders offer unsecured personal loans to finance your new swimming pool.

Where to get a swimming pool loan

Loan rates, terms and features vary by lender, so it’s best to compare multiple options. Online lenders allow you to pre-qualify to see rates and terms with no impact to your credit score, and funding can be faster. But you may get a lower rate from your bank.

You can use annual percentage rates, which include any fees a lender charges, to compare the cost between loans.

Online lenders

LightStream provides loans for outdoor home improvement projects up to $100,000. Its APRs for excellent-credit borrowers (above 719 FICO) start around 5% on loans larger than $25,000.

SoFi offers home improvement loans up to $100,000, repaid over two to seven years. The lender charges no fees and is an option for borrowers with good to excellent credit (690 or higher on the FICO scale).

Upgrade’s loans go up to $50,000 and have shorter repayment terms than LightStream and SoFi. It's a good option for borrowers with fair credit (630 to 689 FICO). Upgrade includes a rate discount for setting up autopay, but it also deducts an origination fee from your loan amount.

Banks

Wells Fargo offers personal loans for home improvements up to $100,000. Existing customers may qualify for a rate discount, while new customers must visit a Wells Fargo branch to apply.

USAA is a financial services company offering members of military families personal loans up to $20,000 for nearly any purpose, including swimming pools. Borrowers with excellent credit may qualify for its lowest rates and repayment terms of more than five years.

Credit unions

Credit unions are not-for-profit lenders that may provide low rates and flexible loan terms, especially for borrowers with bad or fair credit. Membership is required to apply for a loan, and eligibility can depend on where you live, what industry you work in or other factors.

Navy Federal Credit Union offers personal loans up to $50,000 that can be used to finance home improvements, including swimming pools, with repayment terms over 60 months. Membership is exclusive to those in military-related professions and their dependents.

Swimming pool loan rates

Personal loan rates generally range from 6% to 36%. The rate you qualify for depends on factors like your income, existing debt, credit history and credit score.

Here are average personal loan rates by credit score.

How's your credit?

Score range

Estimated APR

Excellent

720-850

11.8%

Good

690-719

17.4%

Fair

630-689

23.4%

Bad

300-629

28.7% (Lowest scores unlikely to qualify.)

Source: Average rates are based on aggregate, anonymized offer data from users who pre-qualified in NerdWallet’s lender marketplace between Jan. 1, 2020, and Dec. 31, 2020. Rates are estimates only and not specific to any lender.

Financing your pool: Personal loan vs. home equity loan

Unsecured personal loans and home equity are two options to finance large home improvement projects. Here’s when each option makes sense.

When to get a personal loan

  • You don’t have enough equity in your home to cover the project. Once you know the likely cost of your swimming pool, you can calculate your equity to see if it’s enough.

  • You don’t want to use your home as collateral. Personal loans aren’t secured with collateral, but you risk your home if you don’t repay a home equity loan or line of credit.

  • The project needs to start quickly. Many online lenders say they can fund loans as qcuickly as the same day you apply or the following business day. Banks and credit unions can usually fund a personal loan in under one week.

When to get a home equity loan

  • You want a lower rate. Rates are generally lower than personal loans. HELOCs have variable rates, while home equity loans can have fixed rates. In both cases, rates are often in the single digits.

  • You want to deduct interest on your taxes. Interest on home equity loans may be tax deductible if the money is used to "buy, build or substantially improve the taxpayer's home," according to the IRS. Consult with a tax professional about whether your pool qualifies.

Swimming pool loans: Things to consider

Approval based on credit: Build your credit score before applying for a loan. You’ll need good to excellent credit to qualify for a large loan with a low rate.

Additional costs: Homeowners can spend up to $3,200 per year on maintenance and pool repairs, according to HomeAdvisor. Other potential swimming pool costs include higher homeowners insurance and safety accessories, like a childproof fence.

Lower return on investment: A backyard swimming pool may add to your family’s quality of life, but don’t expect it to increase the resale value of your home as much as other home improvement projects.

Last updated on February 18, 2021

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 Best Personal Loans for Pools in 2021

Frequently asked questions