Discover Personal Loans: 2023 Review

Discover personal loans can be a smart way for borrowers with good and excellent credit to consolidate or refinance debt.
By Jackie Veling and  Ronita Choudhuri-Wade 

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Our Take

5.0

NerdWallet rating 

The bottom line:

Discover’s online experience, strong customer support and borrower perks make it a top lender for good- and excellent-credit applicants.

Discover
Est. APR
6.99-24.99%
Loan amount
$2,500-$35,000
Min. credit score
660
Get rate

on Discover's website

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • No origination fee.
  • Option to pre-qualify with a soft credit check.
  • Fast funding.
  • Mobile app to manage loan.

Cons

  • May charge late fee.
  • No co-sign or joint loan option.
  • No rate discount.

Compare to Other Lenders

Discover
SoFi
Lending Club
NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
Est. APR

6.99-24.99%

Est. APR

7.99-23.43%

Est. APR

8.30-36.00%

Loan term

3 to 7 years

Loan term

2 to 7 years

Loan term

3 to 5 years

Loan amount

$2,500-$35,000

Loan amount

$5,000-$100,000

Loan amount

$1,000-$40,000

Min. credit score

660

Min. credit score

None

Min. credit score

600

Compare estimated rates from multiple lenders

Compare Rates

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Full Review of Discover® Personal Loans

Discover offers unsecured personal loans that can be used for almost any purpose for borrowers with good or excellent credit scores.

The lender accepts personal loan applications online or over the phone with a Discover loan specialist. If approved, Discover can deposit the funds in as little as one business day, and borrowers can manage loan payments from a mobile app.

Unlike some competitors, Discover doesn’t offer opportunities for rate discounts; however, the lender has other perks like a wide range of repayment terms, a free monthly credit scorecard and a 30-day loan guarantee.

Table of Contents

Discover personal loans at a glance

Minimum credit score

660.

APR

6.99% - 24.99%.

Fees

Late fee: $39.

Loan amount

$2,500 to $35,000.

Repayment terms

3 to 7 years.

Time to fund after approval

Next business day.

Loan availability

Loans available in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C.

This is not a commitment to lend from Discover Personal Loans. Your approval for a loan is determined once you apply and is based on your application information and credit history. Your APR will be between 6.99%-24.99% based upon creditworthiness at time of application for loan terms of 36-84 months. For example, if you get approved for a $15,000 loan at 10.99% APR for a term of 72 months, you'll pay just $285 per month. Our lowest rates are available to consumers with the best credit. Many factors are used to determine your rate, such as your credit history, application information and the term you select. Not all applications will be approved.

Where Discover personal loans stand out

Debt consolidation: Discover is a good option for debt consolidation. Qualified applicants may qualify for a low rate, and if approved, Discover will send loan funds directly to your creditors within one business day. Discover offers an online consolidation calculator that shows potential savings with a Discover personal loan.

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 the Discover Online Account Center to view their progress on payments and begin the payoff process at any point in the loan term.

30-day loan guarantee: Discover offers a unique 30-day money-back guarantee where customers can cancel their loan for any reason, return the funds 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 from another lender. If you qualify for a lower rate, you could save money on interest and pay off your debt faster.

Where Discover personal loans fall short

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

Late fee: Discover may charge a $39 late fee for payments not received by the due date. Many lenders offer a grace period for making a payment past its due date.

No co-signer, joint or secured loan options: Discover offers unsecured personal loans only. This means you cannot add a borrower or co-signer or secure a loan with collateral. These options can help borrowers get approved, or receive a lower rate or larger loan amount.

How to qualify for a Discover personal 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.

  • Minimum annual household income: $25,000.

  • Must be at least 18 years old.

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

Before you apply

  • Check your credit. You can get your free credit report on NerdWallet or at AnnualCreditReport.com. Doing so will help you spot and fix any errors before you apply.

  • Calculate your monthly payments. Use a personal loan calculator to determine what APR and repayment term you’d need to get a loan with affordable monthly payments.

  • Make a plan to repay the loan. Review your budget to see how the loan’s monthly payments impact your cash flow. If you have to cut other expenses to repay the loan, it’s better to know that before you borrow.

  • Gather your documents. Discover requires proof of income, which can be a W-2 or pay stub, as well as proof of address and a Social Security number. Having these documents handy can speed up the application process.

How to apply for a Discover personal loan

Here are the steps to apply for a Discover loan.

  1. Decide how much you need. Understand how much you need from a personal loan by looking at your monthly budget and cash flow. This is also a good time to get your documents together to help with verification during the application process.

  2. Pre-qualify with Discover over the phone or online. You’ll be asked how much you want to borrow and what the funds are for, as well as some personal information like your name, birthday and address. You will also be asked about your income, employment and whether you own your home. There’s no hard credit pull at this stage.

  3. Preview loan offers and accept the one that fits your budget. Discover may show up to five loan offers with different rates, terms and monthly payments. Once you find a loan offer that works for you, you’ll submit a formal personal loan application. This could require verification with documents like W-2s, pay stubs and bank statements. Discover will do a hard credit check when you apply, so your credit score could temporarily dip. After applying, a loan specialist from Discover may reach out to you to confirm the information you provided.

  4. Make a plan to repay the loan. Discover reports payments to all three major credit bureaus, so on-time payments will help build your credit score, but missed payments will hurt it. Setting up automatic payments and keeping an eye on your budget are two ways to manage your loan payments.

Compare Discover with other lenders

Personal loan lenders offer different rates, loan amounts and special features, so it pays to weigh other options. The best personal loan is usually the one with the lowest APR.

Discover is one of the best options for borrowers with excellent credit, but SoFi and LendingClub are strong lenders with wider options.

Discover vs. SoFi

Both SoFi and Discover offer borrowers fast funding and the convenience to manage a loan with an app. SoFi loans have an autopay rate discount and no fees. However, SoFi’s starting rates and minimum loan amounts are higher than Discover’s.

Discover vs. LendingClub

LendingClub boasts a wider loan amount range than Discover, but its loan terms can be shorter. LendingClub also accepts lower credit scores. Discover’s APR range is lower, and it doesn’t charge an origination fee.

How we rate Discover personal loans

NerdWallet writers rate lenders against a rubric that changes each year based on how personal loan products evolve. Here’s what we prioritized this year:

Category

Star rating

Affordability

Transparency

Loan flexibility

Customer experience

Overall

Affordability An affordable loan has low rates and fees compared to other similar loans and may offer rate discounts. Transparency A transparent lender makes information about the loan easy to find on its website, including rates, terms and loan amounts. Transparency also means allowing users to pre-qualify online to preview potential loan offers and reporting payment information with the major credit bureaus. Loan flexibility A flexible loan is one that lets users customize terms and payments. That means offering a wide range of repayment term options, allowing the borrower to change their payment date, offering loans in most states and funding it quickly. Customer experience A good customer experience can include a fully online application process, financial education on the lender’s website and a customer service team that’s available most of the time and can be reached multiple ways.

Ready to apply? Use the button below to head to Discover's website to pre-qualify.

on Discover's website

Methodology

NerdWallet’s review process evaluates and rates personal loan products from more than 35 financial institutions. 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 more about our ratings methodologies for personal loans and our editorial guidelines.

Frequently asked questions