Best Personal Loan for Debt Consolidation

How we picked the companies to evaluate:

NerdWallet reviewed and rated personal loan products offered by the 15 largest traditional banks and by digital lenders that met these criteria: They cap interest rates at 36%, the maximum rate allowed by some states and considered affordable by consumer advocacy groups; they serve consumers in more than one state; and they have significant online search volume. Some of the lenders we reviewed are NerdWallet partners, some are not.

How we chose the winner:

NerdWallet scored all lenders against six categories and 20 subcategories. We weighted five of the categories in this way:

  • 25% - Features that do not negatively impact consumers’ credit scores, including performing soft credit checks to pre-qualify and reporting payments to all three credit bureaus.
  • 25% - Features that do not impose added costs for consumers, including no origination fees and lower rates for autopayments.
  • 20% - Features that cater to consumers’ needs, including flexible payment structures and refinancing options.
  • 20% - Available and convenient customer points of contact and support.
  • 10% - Transparency of lender rates, terms, fees and common questions.

The sixth category is unweighted and discretionary. A lender’s rating may be lowered one-half star (on a scale of one to five stars) if it has faced governmental regulatory action in the past five years, been accused by a reputable source of predatory practices or has a poor online reputation based on consumer complaints.

To determine the award winner, we grouped lenders that offer rates, loan amounts and other features that make sense for debt consolidation. Within that group, the lender with the highest score was the winner.

How we verified our data:

NerdWallet writers sent a comprehensive list of 40-plus questions to all loan companies we reviewed. We interviewed lenders to better understand their products and confirm details. NerdWallet writers and editors also cross-checked fees, rates and other features on each company's website. At least three people verified the scores and ratings we gave to lenders.