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Best Personal Loans for 2018

Nov. 14, 2018
Loans, Personal Loans
NerdWallet adheres to strict standards of editorial integrity to help you make decisions with confidence. Some of the products we feature are from partners. Here’s how we make money.
We adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity. Some of the products we feature are from our partners. Here’s how we make money.

The best personal loan helps you reach a financial goal, whether it’s paying off debt or funding home improvements. The loan with the lowest annual percentage rate is the least expensive — and usually the best choice. But other features, including no fees, soft credit checks and whether lenders directly pay creditors if you’re consolidating debt, set some loans apart.

We spent hours reviewing loans from more than 25 personal loan companies to find the best online rates and loan features. We categorized our top picks into three categories:

We always recommend you know your credit score and compare rates from multiple lenders before making a choice.


Best personal loans for good credit

Borrowers with good to excellent credit scores (690 and above) may have their pick of personal loan companies. Those on our list of best lenders have low rates and typically no fees. SoFi offers high loan amounts, up to $100,000, while Marcus has flexible loan terms, letting borrowers choose their monthly payment amounts and loan terms.

LenderTypical APR rangeGet started
Discover
4.5 NerdWallet rating
6.99% - 24.99%
FreedomPlus
3.5 NerdWallet rating
7.93% - 29.99%
LendingClub
4.0 NerdWallet rating
6.16% - 35.89%
LightStream
5.0 NerdWallet rating
3.34% - 16.99% (with autopay)
Marcus
5.0 NerdWallet rating
6.99% - 24.99%
SoFi
5.0 NerdWallet rating
6.26% - 15.49% (with autopay)

» MORE: Personal loans for good credit


Best personal loans for bad credit

Borrowers with troubled credit histories are more likely to qualify with lenders that accept bad to average credit (300-689). The best lenders consider factors beyond your credit score and offer flexibility if you miss a payment, for example, or need help building credit.

LenderTypical APR rangeGet started
Avant
4.5 NerdWallet rating
9.95% - 35.99%
LendingPoint
3.0 NerdWallet rating
15.49% - 35.99%
OneMain Financial
4.0 NerdWallet rating
16.05% - 35.99%
Upgrade
4.0 NerdWallet rating
6.99% - 35.97%

» MORE: Personal loans for bad credit


Best personal loans for debt consolidation

Getting a personal loan is one way to consolidate credit card debt, and some lenders augment your payoff efforts by directly paying your creditors with the money you borrow. Our list also includes lenders whose starting rates are lower than typical credit card rates.

LenderTypical APR rangeDirect payments to creditorsGet started
Discover
4.5 NerdWallet rating
6.99% - 24.99%Yes
FreedomPlus
3.5 NerdWallet rating
7.93% - 29.99%Yes
LendingClub
4.0 NerdWallet rating
6.16% - 35.89%Yes, to select borrowers
Marcus
5.0 NerdWallet rating
6.99% - 24.99%No
SoFi
5.0 NerdWallet rating
6.26% - 15.49% (with autopay)No

» MORE: Personal loans for debt consolidation

Most online lenders let you check your rate without affecting your credit, so it doesn’t hurt to pre-qualify for a loan with multiple lenders. Click the button below to see estimated rates from lenders on NerdWallet.

Before you get a loan

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. Read our editorial guidelines.