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Best Unsecured Personal Loans in 2024

Compare unsecured personal loans with no collateral from multiple lenders.

Jackie VelingAnnie Millerbernd
By
and
Last updated on April 3, 2024
Edited by
✅ Fact checked and reviewed
Kim Lowe
Edited by
✅ Fact checked and reviewed

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Best Unsecured Personal Loans in 2024

Lender
NerdWallet Rating
Est. APR
Loan amount
Min. credit score
Learn more
SoFi

SoFi Personal Loan

Visit Lender
on SoFi's website
on SoFi's website
Check Rate
on NerdWallet
on NerdWallet
Best for Home improvement loans

8.99-29.99%

$5,000-$100,000

None

Discover

Discover® Personal Loans

🏆 Top 3 most visited
5.0
/5
Best for Debt consolidation loans
Fast funding

7.99-24.99%

$2,500-$40,000

660

Upgrade

Upgrade

5.0
/5
Best for Bad credit loans

8.49-35.99%

$1,000-$50,000

560

Lightstream

LightStream

4.5
/5
Best for Home improvement loans

6.99-25.49%

$5,000-$100,000

660

Achieve

Achieve Personal Loans

Check Rate
on NerdWallet
on NerdWallet
4.5
/5
Best for Debt consolidation loans

8.99-35.99%

$5,000-$50,000

620

Happy Money

Happy Money

4.5
/5
Best for Debt consolidation loans

11.72-17.99%

$5,000-$40,000

640

Upstart

Upstart

4.5
/5
Best for Medical loans

7.80-35.99%

$1,000-$50,000

None

Prosper

Prosper

4.5
/5
Best for Medical loans

8.99-35.99%

$2,000-$50,000

560

BestEgg

Best Egg

4.5
/5
Best for Wedding loans

8.99-35.99%

$2,000-$50,000

600

Lending Club

LendingClub

4.5
/5
Best for Wedding loans

8.98-35.99%

$1,000-$40,000

600

Universal Credit

Universal Credit

Visit Lender
on Universal Credit's website
on Universal Credit's website
4.0
/5
Best for Bad credit loans

11.69-35.99%

$1,000-$50,000

560

Visit Lender
on Universal Credit's website
on Universal Credit's website

Our pick for

Home improvement loans

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

Lightstream
Visit Lender
on LightStream's website
on LightStream's website
Lightstream

LightStream

4.5
Est. APR

6.99-25.49%

Loan amount

$5,000-$100,000

Min. credit score

660

SoFi
SoFi

SoFi Personal Loan

Est. APR

8.99-29.99%

Loan amount

$5,000-$100,000

Min. credit score

None

Our pick for

Debt consolidation loans

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

Achieve
Achieve

Achieve Personal Loans

Est. APR

8.99-35.99%

Loan amount

$5,000-$50,000

Min. credit score

620

Discover
Discover

Discover® Personal Loans

Est. APR

7.99-24.99%

Loan amount

$2,500-$40,000

Min. credit score

660

Happy Money
Happy Money

Happy Money

Est. APR

11.72-17.99%

Loan amount

$5,000-$40,000

Min. credit score

640

Our pick for

Medical loans

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

Upstart
Upstart

Upstart

Est. APR

7.80-35.99%

Loan amount

$1,000-$50,000

Min. credit score

None

Prosper
Prosper

Prosper

Est. APR

8.99-35.99%

Loan amount

$2,000-$50,000

Min. credit score

560

Our pick for

Wedding loans

An unsecured loan from one of these lenders can help cover the cost of a wedding.

BestEgg
BestEgg

Best Egg

Est. APR

8.99-35.99%

Loan amount

$2,000-$50,000

Min. credit score

600

Lending Club
Lending Club

LendingClub

Est. APR

8.98-35.99%

Loan amount

$1,000-$40,000

Min. credit score

600

Our pick for

Bad credit loans

These lenders offer unsecured personal loans to borrowers with low credit scores.

Upgrade
Upgrade

Upgrade

Est. APR

8.49-35.99%

Loan amount

$1,000-$50,000

Min. credit score

560

Universal Credit
Visit Lender
on Universal Credit's website
on Universal Credit's website
Universal Credit

Universal Credit

Est. APR

11.69-35.99%

Loan amount

$1,000-$50,000

Min. credit score

560

What is an unsecured personal loan?

An unsecured personal loan is a loan from an online lender, a bank or a credit union that doesn’t require collateral to guarantee the loan. Loan amounts range from $1,000 to $100,000 and are paid back monthly in terms typically ranging from two to seven years.

The best use of an unsecured loan is one that improves your finances. This could mean getting a loan for debt consolidation, which can reduce your debt and help you pay it off faster, or for a home improvement project, which can increase the value of your home.

What is the difference between secured and unsecured loans?

A secured loan requires you to offer collateral as part of the loan agreement. Examples of collateral include your car, your house or a savings or retirement account.

Because secured loans are backed by an asset, borrowers who have lower credit scores may qualify for a better interest rate or higher loan amount compared with an unsecured loan. But there’s a catch — if you fail to repay a secured loan, the lender can seize your collateral.

With an unsecured loan, you don’t risk collateral, but it may be harder to qualify. Lenders look at credit score, credit history, income and existing debt when deciding whether to approve you. If you fail to repay an unsecured loan, your credit will take a hit.

Pros and cons of secured and unsecured loans

Pros

Cons

Secured loans

  • If you have a low credit score, you may have an easier time qualifying compared with an unsecured loan.

  • If you fail to repay the loan, the lender can seize the collateral.

Unsecured loans

  • No collateral is required, so you won’t risk losing an asset.

  • You’ll need a strong credit score and solid finances to get the best offer.

» MORE: Secured vs. unsecured loan: What’s the difference?

How do unsecured loans work?

To get an unsecured loan, you’ll need to apply with a bank, a credit union or an online lender that offers personal loans.

If you’re approved, you’ll receive the money in a lump sum in your account. You’ll then repay the loan in monthly installments spread out over a set repayment term.

Monthly payments are typically fixed, meaning they won’t change over the life of the loan.

What is the interest rate on an unsecured personal loan?

The interest rate on an unsecured personal loan typically ranges from 6% to 36%. It’s expressed as an annual percentage rate (APR) and includes interest and any fees associated with the loan.

For example, if you apply for a $7,000 unsecured personal loan at 15% APR and choose a two-year repayment term, you’ll make monthly payments of $339. The loan will cost $1,146 in total interest.

🤓

Nerdy Tip

You can use NerdWallet’s personal loan calculator to plug in your potential loan amount, repayment term and APR to see what your monthly personal loan payments would be.

Here’s a look at average personal loan interest rates, based on your credit bracket.

Borrower credit rating

Score range

Estimated APR

Excellent

720-850.

12.37%.

Good

690-719.

14.87%.

Fair

630-689.

18.40%.

Bad

300-629.

21.93%.

Source: Average rates are based on aggregate, anonymized offer data from users who pre-qualified through NerdWallet from April 1, 2024, through April 30, 2024. Rates are estimates only and not specific to any lender. The lowest credit scores — usually below 500 — are unlikely to qualify. Information in this table applies only to lenders with maximum APRs below 36%.

Common uses for unsecured personal loans

Though an unsecured personal loan can be used for almost any purpose, NerdWallet recommends using one when it can improve your finances. Debt consolidation and home improvement are two common examples.

Unsecured personal loans for debt consolidation

Debt consolidation involves combining debt from multiple sources into a single monthly payment, ideally at a lower interest rate. Using an unsecured personal loan to consolidate debts can save money on interest and give you an end date to work toward.

Unsecured personal loans for home improvement

Using an unsecured personal loan for home improvement is an option if you don’t have a lot of equity in your home or want to avoid using your home to secure the loan. By financing important repairs or updates, you can potentially increase the value of your home.

Other ways to use unsecured personal loans

You can use an unsecured personal loan to pay for medical expenses that aren’t covered by insurance or savings. However, it can be an expensive way to finance health-related costs, and you may have cheaper options, so shop around before you apply.

You can also use an unsecured loan to fund a one-time, big expense like a move, wedding or vacation, though we recommend paying with savings whenever possible to avoid finance charges.

Video preview image

How to get an unsecured personal loan

Lenders may have different qualification requirements, but there are some general factors that help you qualify for low rates.

Good credit: Good- and excellent-credit borrowers (690 credit score or higher) typically get the lowest APR on a personal loan. Some lenders cater to fair- and bad-credit borrowers (689 credit score or lower), but the best terms and rates are reserved for those with high credit scores.

Low debt-to-income ratio: Many lenders check whether your debt-to-income ratio is low enough to support monthly repayments. Some say borrowers need a 45% 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.

How to apply for an unsecured personal loan

Pre-qualify: Make sure to shop around for the best unsecured personal loan. An easy way to do this is by pre-qualifying with multiple lenders, which allows you to see your potential loan amount and rate without affecting your credit score. Though not all lenders offer pre-qualification, most online lenders do.

Apply: Once you’ve chosen a lender, it’s time to apply for the loan. Many applications are completely online and require you to submit personal details, such as your name, address, contact details and Social Security number.

You’ll also need to submit documentation — usually proof of identity, employment and income.

Get funded: Once you’re approved, funding time can vary by lender. But in some cases, your loan can be funded the same or next business day after you’re approved.

Plan for monthly payments: Your first payment generally comes due 30 days after closing your loan. Take time to adjust your budget to ensure on-time monthly payments. This can help you avoid late fees and hits to your credit.

Unsecured personal loan alternatives

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

0% APR credit card: These cards work well if you need to finance a major expense, 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 interest-free promotional period, which can extend up to 21 months.

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 (HELOC) lets you use funds as needed, and you only pay interest on what you use.

Last updated on April 3, 2024

Methodology

NerdWallet’s review process evaluates and rates personal loan products from more than 35 technology companies and financial institutions. We collect over 50 data points from each lender and cross-check company websites, earnings reports and other public documents to confirm product details. We may also go through a lender’s pre-qualification flow and follow up with company representatives. 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. Our ratings award fewer points to lenders with practices that may make a loan difficult to repay on time, such as charging high annual percentage rates (above 36%), underwriting that does not adequately assess consumers’ ability to repay and lack of credit-building help. 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.

NerdWallet does not receive compensation for our star ratings. Read more about our ratings methodologies for personal loans and our editorial guidelines.

To recap our selections...

NerdWallet's Best Unsecured Personal Loans in 2024

  • LightStream: Best for Home improvement loans
  • SoFi Personal Loan: Best for Home improvement loans
  • Achieve Personal Loans: Best for Debt consolidation loans
  • Discover® Personal Loans: Best for Debt consolidation loans
  • Happy Money: Best for Debt consolidation loans
  • Upstart: Best for Medical loans
  • Prosper: Best for Medical loans
  • Best Egg: Best for Wedding loans
  • LendingClub: Best for Wedding loans
  • Upgrade: Best for Bad credit loans
  • Universal Credit: Best for Bad credit loans

Frequently asked questions

  • A loan that's unsecured is one you don't need collateral, like a car or savings account, to secure. Instead, a lender considers your credit score, existing debts, income and other factors about you on a personal loan application.

  • Lenders vary in their requirements for borrowers. A good credit score (690 or higher), a low debt-to-income ratio and a credit history of at least a few years will help you qualify in most cases. Some lenders tailor their loans to bad- and fair-credit borrowers, so you may have options even with less-than-desirable credit. You can pre-qualify to see what loan rates and terms you could qualify for.

  • If you borrow an unsecured loan, your credit will be affected in two ways. When you formally apply for the loan (which is different from pre-qualifying), the lender will do a hard credit inquiry, which causes a temporary dip in your credit score. The lender will also report your monthly payments to the credit bureaus, which can help you build credit with on-time payments.

  • Unsecured loans are safe when they come from reputable lenders. A lender should check your ability to repay the loan, be transparent about the loan's overall cost and help you build credit.

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