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Best Personal Loans for May 2019

April 30, 2019
Loans, Personal Loans
At NerdWallet, we strive to help you make financial decisions with confidence. To do this, many or all of the products featured here are from our partners. However, this doesn’t influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

The best personal loan helps you reach a financial goal, whether it’s paying off debt or funding a large expense. 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 over 25 personal loan companies to find the best online rates and loan features. We categorized our top picks into four categories:

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


Best personal loans for good to excellent 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
Laurel Road
5.0 NerdWallet rating
8.01% - 16.30% (with autopay)
LightStream
5.0 NerdWallet rating
3.99% - 16.99% (with autopay)
Marcus
5.0 NerdWallet rating
5.99% - 28.99%
SoFi
5.0 NerdWallet rating
5.74% - 16.24% (with autopay)
Pre-qualify on NerdWallet and receive a personalized rate from multiple lenders.

» MORE: Personal loans for good credit


Best personal loans for average to 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 or need help building credit.

LenderTypical APR rangeGet started
Avant
4.0 NerdWallet rating
9.95% - 35.99%
OneMain Financial
4.0 NerdWallet rating
16.05% - 35.99%
Upgrade
4.0 NerdWallet rating
7.99% - 35.89%
Upstart
4.0 NerdWallet rating
7.69% - 35.99%
Pre-qualify on NerdWallet and receive a personalized rate from multiple lenders.

» 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
Laurel Road
5.0 NerdWallet rating
8.01% - 16.30% (with autopay)Yes, in some instances
Marcus
5.0 NerdWallet rating
5.99% - 28.99%Yes
Payoff
4.5 NerdWallet rating
5.99% - 24.99%No
Pre-qualify on NerdWallet and receive a personalized rate from multiple lenders.

» MORE: Personal loans for debt consolidation


Best personal loans for home improvement

A personal loan is an option for financing home improvements if you don’t have a lot of equity in your home or don’t want to max out your credit cards. We chose lenders with low rates and loan amounts large enough to cover most home improvement projects.

LenderTypical APR rangeLoan amountsGet started
Earnest
4.5 NerdWallet rating
6.99% - 18.24%$5,000 - $75,000
LightStream
5.0 NerdWallet rating
3.99% - 16.99% (with autopay)$5,000 - $100,000
Marcus
5.0 NerdWallet rating
5.99% - 28.99%$3,500 - $40,000
SoFi
5.0 NerdWallet rating
5.74% - 16.24% (with autopay)$5,000 - $100,000
Pre-qualify on NerdWallet and receive a personalized rate from multiple lenders.

» MORE: Personal loans for home improvement

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.