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Compare Unsecured Loans With No Collateral

Unsecured loans don’t require collateral and can be used for just about any purpose. Compare loans from multiple lenders that offer unsecured personal loans.

Annie MillerberndNovember 25, 2020
Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

Unsecured loans don’t require you to pledge an asset such as a house or car. Instead, borrowers qualify for unsecured loans based primarily on their credit scores and finances.

The best unsecured loan helps you achieve a goal that can benefit you financially. That could mean getting a loan for debt consolidation, which can reduce your debt and help you pay it off faster. Another good use is for home improvements that increase the value of your home.

If you’re considering an unsecured personal loan, compare other, potentially cheaper options, and make sure the monthly payments don’t stress your budget.

Here are some of the top reasons people get unsecured personal loans, plus lenders that offer those loans.

Summary of Compare Unsecured Loans With No Collateral

Our picks for

Debt consolidation loans

These lenders offer consumer-friendly features for those looking to combine debts.

Payoff

on Payoff's website

Payoff

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Payoff

Min. Credit Score

640

Est. APR

5.99 - 24.99%

Loan Amount

$5,000 - $40,000

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

  • Competitive rates among similar lenders.

  • Offers online educational resources.

  • Offers direct payment to creditors with debt consolidation loans.

Cons

  • No co-sign or secured loan option.

  • Charges origination fee.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score of 640.

  • Minimum credit history: 3 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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Upgrade

on Upgrade's website

Upgrade

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Upgrade

Min. Credit Score

580

Est. APR

7.99 - 35.97%

Loan Amount

$1,000 - $35,000

on Upgrade's website


Min. Credit Score

580

Key facts

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

Pros

  • Allows secured, co-signed and joint loans.

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

  • Rate discount for autopay.

Cons

  • Charges origination fee.

  • Charges late fee.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 580.

  • Minimum annual income: None; average borrower income is $87,000.

  • Minimum credit history: 3 years.

  • Minimum number of accounts on credit history: 2.

  • Minimum monthly free cash flow: $800.

  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: Varies between 55% and 65% including the loan you’re applying for and mortgage payments. To see your post-loan DTI, calculate your monthly payments on a personal loan, and then add them to your debt-to-income calculation.

  • Average loan amount is $10,000.

  • Average repayment term is 40 months.

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/. 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.
Read Full Review
Marcus by Goldman Sachs

on Goldman Sachs's website

Marcus by Goldman Sachs

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Marcus by Goldman Sachs

Min. Credit Score

680

Est. APR

6.99 - 19.99%

Loan Amount

$3,500 - $40,000

on Goldman Sachs's website


Min. Credit Score

680

Key facts

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

Pros

  • No fees.

  • Competitive rates among online lenders.

  • Wide variety of repayment term options.

  • Rate discount for autopay.

  • Offers direct payment to creditors for debt consolidation loans.


Cons

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

  • Funding could take up to four business days.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 680.

  • Must be 18 or over, 19 in Alabama and 21 in Mississippi and Puerto Rico.

  • Must have a valid U.S. bank account and Social Security or Individual Tax I.D. Number.

  • May need to provide proof of income, including recent pay stubs or bank statements.

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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Discover
See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website

Discover® Personal Loans

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Discover

Min. Credit Score

660

Est. APR

6.99 - 24.99%

Loan Amount

$2,500 - $35,000

See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website


Min. Credit Score

660

Key facts

Discover is ideal for consumers with good to excellent credit who want to consolidate high-interest debt.

Pros

  • No origination fee.

  • Option to directly pay creditors.

  • Flexible payment options.

Cons

  • Charges late fees.

  • No refinancing option.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score required: 660; borrowers' average score is about 750.

  • Minimum credit history: Not provided.

  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: Not provided.

Available Term Lengths

3 to 5 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. Not all applications will be approved.
Read Full Review

Our picks for

Home improvement loans

These lenders offer low rates for good-credit borrowers looking to make home renovations.

Lightstream

on LightStream's website

LightStream

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Lightstream

Min. Credit Score

660

Est. APR

4.49 - 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.

  • Competitive rates among online lenders.

  • Rate discount for 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.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 660.

  • Several years of credit history; excellent-credit borrowers have at least five, according to LightStream.

  • 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 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

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
SoFi

Min. Credit Score

680

Est. APR

5.99 - 18.53%

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

  • Soft credit check with pre-qualify.

  • 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 18.53% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of September 18, 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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Lending Club
See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website

LendingClub

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
Lending Club

Min. Credit Score

600

Est. APR

10.68 - 35.89%

Loan Amount

$1,000 - $40,000

See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website


Min. Credit Score

600

Key facts

LendingClub is a pioneer of peer-to-peer lending and a good option if you want to consolidate your debt.

Pros

  • Offers co-signed and joint loan options.

  • Offers direct payment to creditors with debt consolidation loans.

  • Soft credit check with pre-qualification.

Cons

  • Borrowers can only choose from two repayment term options.

  • Rates are high compared to other online lenders.

  • Charges an origination fee.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score of 600. LendingClub uses FICO 8 credit scoring model.

  • Minimum credit history of three years.

  • Debt-to-income ratio of less than 40% for single applications, 35% combined for joint applicants.

Available Term Lengths

3 to 5 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: 1% to 6%

  • Late fee: Greater of $15 or 5% of payment after 15-day grace period.

Disclaimer

*All loans made by WebBank, Member FDIC. Your actual rate depends upon credit score, loan amount, loan term, and credit usage and history. The APR ranges from 10.68% to 35.89%. The origination fee ranges from 1% to 6% of the original principal balance and is deducted from your loan proceeds. For example, you could receive a loan of $6,000 with an interest rate of 7.99% and a 5.00% origination fee of $300 for an APR of 11.51%. In this example, you will receive $5,700 and will make 36 monthly payments of $187.99. The total amount repayable will be $6,767.64. Your APR will be determined based on your credit at the time of application. The average origination fee is 5.49% as of Q1 2017. In Georgia, the minimum loan amount is $3,025. In Massachusetts, the minimum loan amount is $6,025 if your APR is greater than 12%. There is no down payment and there is never a prepayment penalty. Closing of your loan is contingent upon your agreement of all the required agreements and disclosures on the www.lendingclub.com website. All loans via LendingClub have a minimum repayment term of 36 months. Borrower must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or be in the United States on a valid long-term visa and at least 18 years old. Valid bank account and Social Security number are required. Equal Housing Lender. All loans are subject to credit approval. LendingClub’s physical address is: 595 Market St suite 200 San Francisco Ca 94105. **Based on approximately 60% of borrowers who received offers through LendingClub’s marketing partners between Jan. 1, 2018, and July 20, 2018. The time it will take to fund your loan may vary.
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Our picks for

Wedding loans

Prosper

on Prosper's website

Prosper

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Prosper

Min. Credit Score

640

Est. APR

7.95 - 35.99%

Loan Amount

$2,000 - $40,000

on Prosper's website


Min. Credit Score

640

Key facts

Peer-to-peer lender Prosper has rates and fees that compare to other lenders for good-credit borrowers.

Pros

  • Option to change your payment date.

  • Offers joint loan.

  • Offers wide range of loan amounts. 


Cons

  • No rate discount for autopay.

  • Charges origination and late fees.

  • Borrowers can choose from only two repayment term options.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 640; borrower average is 726.

  • Minimum credit history: 2 years.

  • Minimum income: No minimum income requirement; borrower average is $113,000.

  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: 50% (excluding mortgage); borrower average is 18% with housing payment.

  • No bankruptcies filed within the past year.

  • At least three open accounts on credit report.

  • Fewer than five credit bureau inquiries in the last six months.

  • Must be at least 18 years old.

  • Must provide social security number and a U.S. bank account.


Available Term Lengths

3 to 5 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: 2.41 to 5%.

  • Late fee: $15 or 5% of unpaid amount (whichever is greater).

  • Insufficient funds fee: $15.

Disclaimer

For example, a three-year $10,000 personal loan would have an interest rate of 11.74% and a 5.00% origination fee for an annual percentage rate (APR) of 15.34% APR. You would receive $9,500 and make 36 scheduled monthly payments of $330.90. A five-year $10,000 personal loan would have an interest rate of 11.99% and a 5.00% origination fee with a 14.27% APR. You would receive $9,500 and make 60 scheduled monthly payments of $222.39. Origination fees vary between 2.41%-5%. Personal loan APRs through Prosper range from 7.95% to 35.99%, with the lowest rates for the most creditworthy borrowers. Eligibility for personal loans up to $40,000 depends on the information provided by the applicant in the application form. Eligibility for personal loans is not guaranteed, and requires that a sufficient number of investors commit funds to your account and that you meet credit and other conditions. Refer to Borrower Registration Agreement for details and all terms and conditions. All personal loans made by WebBank, Member FDIC.
Read Full Review
OneMain

on OneMain Financial's website

OneMain Financial

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
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

  • Option to choose your payment date.

  • Offers joint and secured loans.

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

  • Offers online educational resources.

Cons

  • Rates are high compared to other online lenders.

  • Charges origination fee.

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

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: None.

  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: None.

  • Minimum income: Not disclosed; 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 $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.
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Our picks for

Boat loans

Wells Fargo Personal Loan
See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website

Wells Fargo Personal Loan

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
Wells Fargo Personal Loan

Min. Credit Score

600

Est. APR

5.74 - 24.24%

Loan Amount

$3,000 - $100,000

See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website


Min. Credit Score

600

Key facts

An option for existing Wells Fargo customers, offering rate discounts and a co-sign option.

Pros

  • Offers secured loan option.

  • Offers free credit score access.

  • Offers direct payment to creditors with debt consolidation loans.

Cons

  • Borrowers without existing Wells Fargo accounts required to apply in person.

  • No option to pre-qualify.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 600; most borrowers have scores above 660.

Available Term Lengths

1 to 7 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: None.

Read Full Review
First Tech Credit Union Personal Loan
See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website

First Tech Credit Union Personal Loan

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
First Tech Credit Union Personal Loan

Min. Credit Score

None

Est. APR

7.70 - 18.00%

Loan Amount

$500 - $50,000

See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website


Min. Credit Score

None

Key facts

First Tech offers loans for its members, with low starting rates and no origination fee.

Pros

  • Does not charge origination fee.

  • Offers direct payment to creditors with debt consolidation loans.

  • Option to directly pay off creditors.

Cons

  • No option to pre-qualify.

  • Must meet membership requirements.

Qualifications

  • No minimum credit score required.

  • 2 years of credit history.

Available Term Lengths

2 to 7 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: None.

  • Prepayment fee: None.

  • Late payment: Up to $25.

  • Returned payment: $28.

Read Full Review

Our picks for

Medical loans

An unsecured loan from any of these lenders can be used for dental, cosmetic and medical procedures.

Upstart

on Upstart's website

Upstart

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Upstart

Min. Credit Score

580

Est. APR

6.16 - 35.99%

Loan Amount

$1,000 - $50,000

on Upstart's website


Min. Credit Score

580

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.

Cons

  • Borrowers can choose from only two repayment term options.

  • Charges origination fee.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 580.

  • Minimum credit history: none, this lender 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

1)This offer is conditioned on final approval based on our consideration and verification of financial and non-financial information. Rate and loan amount are subject to change based upon information received 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 contract for the extension of credit, a US citizen or permanent resident, and a current resident of the US. Duplicate offers received are void. Closing your loan is contingent on your meeting our eligibility requirements, our verification of your information, and your agreement to the terms and conditions on the www.upstart.com website. 2) § 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. 3) ‡ 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 15% and 36 monthly payments of $33 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
Avant

on Avant's website

Avant

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
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

  • Able to fund loans within one business day.

  • Soft credit check with pre-qualification.

  • Option to change your payment date.

Cons

  • Charges origination fee.

  • No option to include co-signer.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score of 580.

  • At least $20,000 in gross annual income.

Available Term Lengths

2 to 5 years

Fees

  • Administrative fee: Up to 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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Common uses for unsecured personal loans

Most financial experts advise against borrowing for discretionary purposes, like weddings or vacations, for which there can be less expensive options. At the same time, some people prefer the fixed payments and terms associated with personal loans.

Here are NerdWallet’s recommendations, based on what you plan to use the loan for.

Why choose an unsecured loan: Debt consolidation involves combining debt from multiple sources into a single monthly payment, ideally at a lower interest rate. Using a personal loan to consolidate means one payment over a fixed period, giving you an end date to work toward.

Why choose an unsecured loan: A home improvement loan is a good idea if you don’t have a lot of equity in your home or want to avoid using your home to secure the loan. Unsecured home improvement loans typically have higher, fixed interest rates but shorter repayment terms than home equity loans and lines of credit.

Why choose an unsecured loan: A personal loan for a wedding is a good option if you’re going to borrow anyway and can get a lower rate than you would on a credit card. Because you borrow a set amount, you’ll also avoid the temptation of overspending.

Why choose an unsecured loan: Some unsecured loans come with the benefits of online pre-qualification and fast funding. They also don’t require a down payment, but they can have higher rates since you’re not using collateral.

Why choose an unsecured loan: Whether you’re looking to finance a dental, medical or cosmetic procedure, a personal loan can help with expenses not covered by insurance or savings. It can be an expensive way to finance health-related expenses, and you may have cheaper options, so shop around before you apply.

How to compare unsecured loans

Here are some features of unsecured loans you can compare across lenders.

Annual percentage rate. The APR represents the entire cost of the loan, including the interest rate and any fees the lender tacks onto the loan. Many lenders offer APRs between 6% and 36% and should let you know APR ranges upfront.

Fixed or variable rate. Many unsecured loans have fixed rates, meaning the interest rate you’re approved for is the one you’ll pay for the entire loan term. Some lenders offer a variable-rate option, which is subject to change over the life of the loan.

Monthly payments. Your APR and repayment term translates to a monthly payment. Review that amount and compare it across lenders to understand how the loan could fit into your budget.

Time to fund. Some lenders can fund a loan the same business day you apply for it, while others fund it by the next business day. You can help move the application process along by being prepared with the appropriate documentation and responding promptly to lender questions.

Loan features. Some lenders offer perks like free access to your credit score, financial education resources or networking opportunities.

How to qualify for a personal loan

Lenders may have different qualification requirements, and they all weigh those requirements differently, but there are some general factors that help you qualify for low rates.

Good credit. Good- and excellent-credit borrowers (above 689 FICO) typically get the lowest APR on a personal loan. Some lenders cater to fair- and poor-credit borrowers (300-689 FICO), but the best terms and rates are reserved for those with high credit scores.

» MORE: Not sure if you qualify for a loan? See what credit score you need to get one

Low debt-to-income ratio. Many lenders check if your debt-to-income ratio is low enough to support monthly repayments. Some say borrowers need a 40% DTI or lower to qualify, but others have higher limits.

Stable credit history. Lenders favor borrowers who can show that they’ve consistently made on-time payments across multiple accounts — which can be credit cards, auto loans or other installment loans — over a number of years. Aim for at least two or three years of credit history across two or three accounts.

Steady income. Having a steady income can signal to a lender that you'll have the funds available to repay your loan.

Pre-qualifying for a personal loan with an online lender lets you see potential loan terms, including the loan’s interest rate, loan amount and payments. You can then compare offers to find the loan that gives you an amount you need and a payment you can afford.

Applying for an unsecured loan

Once you've pre-qualified, the application process can vary by lender. Online lenders, bank lenders and credit unions have different application processes.

Online applications: If you're applying for a loan online, you can typically complete the entire process without having to make a phone call. In some cases, your loan can be funded the same or next business day.

Bank applications: Some banks have online applications, but many require an in-person visit to complete the process. Banks may also require you have an existing account before you apply.

Credit union applications: You usually need to be a member of a credit union to borrow money from it. Membership is often tied to where you live or work, or organizations you're involved with, but some credit unions allow anyone to be a member.

Here's what you usually need for an unsecured loan application:

  • Phone number.

  • Social Security number.

  • Employer information.

  • Education history.

  • Financial information, like retirement assets, home equity and bank account information.

Unsecured loan alternatives

You may want to consider alternatives along with a personal loan. There are a variety of personal loan alternatives, depending on what you're financing.

0% APR credit card: These cards work well if you need to finance a wedding, repay medical bills or consolidate debt. You need good or excellent credit to qualify and debt small enough to be repaid in the card's 12- to 18-month, interest-free period.

Credit unions: Credit unions tend to offer lower interest rates to members with fair or poor credit (a score under 690) than banks or online lenders do. Federal credit unions cap their APRs at 18%.

Home equity loans and HELOCs: These are good options for home renovations if you're comfortable using your home as collateral and have enough equity to qualify.

A home equity loan can give you a longer repayment term and typically a lower rate than a personal loan. A home equity line of credit lets you use funds as needed, and you only pay interest on what you use.

» MORE: Decide how to fund a renovation with our home improvement loan tool

Last updated on November 25, 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 Compare Unsecured Loans With No Collateral

Frequently asked questions