Advertiser Disclosure

Small Personal Loans in 2019: Compare Your Options

Feb. 13, 2019
Loans, Personal Loans
At NerdWallet, we adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity to help you make decisions with confidence. Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners. Here’s how we make money.

A small personal loan can be a quick, convenient option to pay an immediate expense, like a medical bill or car repair, if you don’t have emergency savings or alternative ways to cover the expense. The nonprofit Pew Charitable Trusts says affordable small-dollar loans should have:

  • Monthly payments that are not more than 5% of your monthly income.
  • Fixed monthly payments and no balloon payments.
  • Loan terms between 3 and 12 months.

Minimum loan amounts differ among lenders, so compare multiple personal loans to find the right one. Here are our picks for personal loans for small dollar amounts.

Small loans from online lenders: Starting at $1,000

Few online lenders offer loans as small as $1,000. Four that do are Laurel Road, LendingClub, Upgrade and Upstart. These lenders target borrowers with fair to good credit.

5.0 NerdWallet rating

• APR: 8.01% - 16.30% (with autopay).

• Loan amount: $1,000 - $45,000.

• Loan terms: 3 to 5 years.

• Minimum credit score: 700.

• Time to funding: 5 business days.

• Fees: No origination fee; late fee is the lesser of 5% of payment or $28.

Read our review.

Check Rate Click to pre-qualify on NerdWallet.
4.0 NerdWallet rating

• APR: 6.95% - 35.89%.

• Loan amount: $1,000 - $40,000.

• Loan terms: 3 or 5 years.

• Minimum credit score: 600; borrowers average 699.

• Time to funding: In as few as 3 days.

• Fees: Origination fee of 1% - 6% of loan amount; fees for late payment, unsuccessful payment and personal check use.

Read our review.

Check Rate Click to pre-qualify on NerdWallet.

 

4.0 NerdWallet rating

• APR: 7.99% - 35.89%.

• Loan amount: $1,000 - $50,000.

• Loan terms: 3 or 5 years.

• Minimum credit score: 620.

• Time to funding: 24 hours.

• Fees: Origination fee of 1.5% - 6% of loan amount.

Read our review.

Check rate Click to pre-qualify on NerdWallet.
4.0 NerdWallet rating

•APR: 8.89% - 35.99%

•Loan amount: $1,000 - $50,000

•Loan terms: 3 to 5 years

•Minimum credit score: 620

•Time to funding: Next business day

•Fees: Origination fee of 0% - 8% of loan amount. Fees for late payment and unsuccessful payment

Read our review

Check Rate Click to pre-qualify on NerdWallet.

 

Small loans from online lenders: Starting at $1,500 and $2,000

OneMain and Avant offer loans starting at $1,500 and $2,000, respectively, and are good options for borrowers with bad credit. Loans from Best Egg, Prosper and Rocket Loans start at $2,000 and typically require good credit.

4.0 NerdWallet rating

• APRs: 16.05% - 35.99%.

• Loan amount: $1,500-$30,000.

• Loan terms: 2 to 5 years.

• Minimum credit score: None, but borrowers average 600 to 650.

• Time to funding: Same day.

• Fees: Origination and late fees; both vary by state.

Read our review.

Check rate Click “Check rate” to pre-qualify on NerdWallet.
.
4.5 NerdWallet rating

• APR: 9.95% - 35.99%.

• Loan amount: $2,000 - $35,000.

• Loan terms: 2 to 5 years.

• Minimum credit score: 580.

• Time to funding: As soon as the next business day.

• Fees: Administrative fee of 4.75% of loan amount; fees for late payment and unsuccessful payment.

Read our review.

Check rate Click to pre-qualify on NerdWallet.

 

4.0 NerdWallet rating

•APR: 5.99% - 29.99%

•Loan amount: $2,000 - $35,000

•Loan terms: 3 or 5 years

•Minimum credit score: 640; average is 700

•Time to funding: As fast as one day

•Fees: Origination fee of 0.99% - 5.99% of loan amount, late fee of $15

Read our review

Check Rate Click to pre-qualify on NerdWallet.
3.5 NerdWallet rating

•APR: 6.95% - 35.99%

•Loan amount: $2,000 - $40,000

•Loan terms: 3 or 5 years

•Minimum credit score: 640; borrowers average 710

•Time to funding: 1 to 3 days after approval

•Fees: Origination fee of 2.4% - 5% of loan amount; fees for late payment and unsuccessful payment

Read our review

Check Rate Click to pre-qualify on NerdWallet.

 

4.0 NerdWallet rating

• APR: 5.98% - 29.99%.

• Loan amount: $2,000 to $45,000.

• Loan terms: 3 or 5 years.

• Minimum credit score: 640.

• Time to funding: Typically 24 hours.

• Fees: Origination fee of 1% - 6% of loan amount; fees for late payment, unsuccessful payment and personal check use.

Read our review.

Check Rate Click to pre-qualify on NerdWallet.

Best online lenders for small personal loans

LenderMinimum loan sizeGet started
Laurel Road
5.0 NerdWallet rating
$1,000
at Laurel Road
LendingClub
4.0 NerdWallet rating
$1,000
at LendingClub
Upgrade
4.0 NerdWallet rating
$1,000
at Upgrade
Upstart
4.0 NerdWallet rating
$1,000
at Upstart
OneMain Financial
4.0 NerdWallet rating
$1,500
at OneMain
Avant
4.5 NerdWallet rating
$2,000
at Avant
Best Egg
4.0 NerdWallet rating
$2,000
at Best Egg
Prosper
3.5 NerdWallet rating
$2,000
at Prosper
Rocket Loans
4.0 NerdWallet rating
$2,000
at Rocket Loans
Click “Check Rate” to pre-qualify on NerdWallet and receive personalized rates from multiple lenders.

Small loans from credit unions

For some borrowers, a local credit union is the best place to get a small-dollar loan. Credit unions are not-for-profit institutions built to serve their members, and many look at more than your credit score when they assess you for a loan.

Many federal credit unions offer payday alternative loans, typically between $200 and $1,000, to borrowers with low credit scores. By law, federal credit unions can charge maximum annual percentage rates of 18% for personal loans and 28% for payday alternative loans.

» MORE: How to get a credit union personal loan

Small loans from banks

Not all major banks offer personal loans, and many that do offer larger loans. Citibank and PNC are two banks that offer small personal loans in addition to competitive interest rates and rate discounts for existing customers.

Citibank loans start at $2,000, and customers with Citibank checking accounts can get rate discounts for making automatic loan payments. PNC’s loans start at $1,000, and existing customers receive a 0.25% rate discount if they set up payments from their checking accounts.

» MORE: Top banks offering personal loans

Compare your options for small personal loans

Where to get a small personal loanTypical requirements
Online lenders
  • Have a credit score and credit history.
  • Have a regular source of income.
Credit unions (federal or state)
  • Live, work or worship in the area.
  • Become a member by depositing $25 in a savings account.
  • Have a credit score and credit history.
Some major banks
  • Become a bank customer.
  • Have a good credit score and credit history.
  • Have a regular source of income.
Rent or utility assistance funds, charities, nonprofits, religious organizations
  • Live in the service area.
  • Meet income eligibility guidelines.
Your employer
  • Offers paycheck advance option.
Pawnshops
  • Item to pawn.

Alternatives to small personal loans

You have options other than taking a small loan with interest and potentially fees. NerdWallet recommends exhausting cheaper alternatives first, even if you need the money for an emergency. Take the quiz to explore your options:

Recap: Small personal loans

About the authors