Discover Personal Loans: 2021 Review

Discover personal loans can be a smart way for borrowers with good credit to consolidate or refinance debt.
Jackie VelingAug 27, 2021

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Our Take

5.0

NerdWallet rating 

The bottom line: Discover’s seamless online experience, strong customer support and borrower perks make it one of the best lenders for good-credit applicants.

Best Personal Loan for Debt Consolidation

Discover

on Discover's website

Min. Credit Score

660

Est. APR

6.99 - 24.99%

Loan Amount

$2,500 - $35,000

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • No origination fee.

  • Offers direct payment to creditors with debt consolidation loans.

  • Offers mobile app to manage loan.

  • Able to fund loans the next business day.

  • Wide variety of repayment term options.

Cons

  • Charges late fee.

  • No co-signed, joint or secured loan options.

  • No rate discount for autopay.

Compare to Other Lenders

Discover
Marcus by Goldman Sachs
Payoff
NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
Est. APR

6.99 - 24.99%

Est. APR

6.74 - 19.74%

Est. APR

5.99 - 24.99%

Loan Term

3 to 7 years

Loan Term

3 to 6 years

Loan Term

2 to 5 years

Loan Amount

$2,500 - $35,000

Loan Amount

$3,500 - $40,000

Loan Amount

$5,000 - $40,000

Min. Credit Score

660

Min. Credit Score

660

Min. Credit Score

600

Compare estimated rates from multiple lenders

Compare Rates

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Full Review

Discover offers unsecured personal loans that can be used for almost any purpose for borrowers with good credit (690 FICO or higher).

The online bank provides a quick and fully digital application process. If approved, Discover can deposit the funds in as little as one business day, and borrowers can manage loan payments from the Discover mobile app.

Discover’s rates do not include an autopay discount. However, the lender has other perks, like a wide range of repayment terms, refinancing options, a free monthly credit report and a 30-day loan guarantee.

Discover is best for borrowers who:

  • Have good or excellent credit.

  • Want to consolidate or refinance high-interest debt.

  • Want quick access to funds.

Discover at a glance

Affordability

  • APRs are consistent among lenders targeting similar borrowers.

  • No origination or prepayment fees.

  • Charges late fee.

  • No rate discount for autopayments.

Loan flexibility

  • Offers only unsecured loans.

  • Funds loans the next day.

  • Offers direct payment to creditors for debt consolidation loans.

  • Offers refinancing option.

  • Available in all 50 states.

Transparency

  • Soft credit check to pre-qualify.

  • Clearly discloses rates, fees and terms on website.

  • Offers FAQ that answers key borrower questions.

Customer experience

  • Offers multiple customer contact channels and seven-day support.

  • Offers mobile app to manage loan.

  • Provides financial education.

Key terms to know about personal loans

Annual percentage rate is the interest rate on your loan plus all fees, calculated on an annual basis and expressed as a percentage. Use the APR to compare loan costs from multiple lenders.

An origination fee is a one-time, upfront fee that some lenders charge for processing a loan. The fee can range from 1% to 10% of the loan amount, and lenders typically deduct it from your loan proceeds.

The debt-to-income ratio divides your total monthly debt payments by your gross monthly income, giving you a percentage. Lenders use DTI — along with credit history and other factors — to evaluate a borrower's financial ability to repay a loan.

Lenders that offer pre-qualification typically do so using a soft credit check, which allows you to see rates and terms you qualify for without affecting your credit score. If you accept the loan offer, the lender will perform a hard check to confirm your information. Hard checks knock a few points off your credit score.

» COMPARE: Best bank loans

Where Discover stands out

Debt consolidation: Discover is one of NerdWallet's best lenders for debt consolidation. It offers a consolidation calculator that shows you potential savings with a Discover personal loan. Once you apply and are approved, Discover will send loan funds directly to your creditors within one business day.

Customer support: Discover has a team of U.S.-based loan specialists, available seven days a week during extended business hours to answer questions. Customers can also access online financial education, including free articles about managing debt and financing major expenses with a personal loan.

30-day loan guarantee: Discover offers a unique 30-day money-back guarantee, meaning customers can return loan funds for any reason within that period and pay zero interest. Requests to cancel your loan must be made in writing, sent by mail and include a check for the amount of the loan. If you use your loan to pay creditors directly, you can’t return the funds after they have been sent.

Credit scorecard: Every month, Discover provides customers with a free FICO scorecard, which shows credit utilization, missed payments, inquiries, credit length and total accounts. This can help you keep an eye on your score and monitor changes as you pay off your loan.

Refinancing option: Borrowers can use a Discover loan to refinance an existing personal loan, either from Discover or another lender. If you qualify for a lower rate, you could save money on interest and pay off your debt faster.

Where Discover falls short

No rate discount for autopay: Unlike other lenders, Discover doesn't offer a rate discount for setting up autopayments. The discount usually ranges from 0.25 to 0.5 percentage point and lowers the loan’s annual percentage rate.

Charges late fee: Discover charges a $39 late fee for missed payments after a three-day grace period. However, that’s the only fee the lender charges, meaning if you pay on time and in full, you will not pay fees on your loan.

No co-signed, joint or secured loan options: Discover offers only unsecured personal loans. This means you cannot secure a loan with collateral, nor can you add an additional borrower or co-signer to be approved at a lower rate or for a larger loan amount.

How to qualify for a Discover loan

Discover doesn’t disclose many borrower requirements, but according to the lender, it reviews credit history, recent credit activities and credit inquiries when evaluating an application. Here’s what you need to qualify:

  • Minimum credit score: 660; borrower average is 750.

  • Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

  • Must be at least 18 years old.

  • Must have a minimum household income of $25,000.

Loan example: A three-year, $10,000 loan with a 17.4% APR would cost $359 in monthly payments. You’d pay $2,924 in total interest on that loan.

Pre-qualify on NerdWallet

NerdWallet recommends comparing loans to find the best rate for you. Click the button below to pre-qualify on NerdWallet. You may receive personalized rates from multiple lenders that partner with us. Pre-qualifying will not impact your credit.

Apply on Discover

You can fill out an application on the Discover website or apply by phone. After entering your desired loan amount, loan purpose and repayment term, Discover will present loan options for which you pre-qualify.

Personal Loans Rating Methodology

NerdWallet’s review process evaluates and rates personal loan products from more than 30 lenders. We collect over 45 data points from each lender, interview company representatives and compare the lender with others that seek the same customer or offer a similar personal loan product. 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. 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.

This methodology applies only to lenders that cap interest rates at 36%, the maximum rate most financial experts and consumer advocates agree is the acceptable limit for a loan to be affordable. NerdWallet does not receive compensation for our star ratings. Read our editorial guidelines.