Best Personal Loans of May 2022

A personal loan is a type of installment loan in which money is borrowed in a lump sum and repayed over time in fixed monthly payments. Borrowers commonly use personal loans to consolidate debt, because a single loan can replace multiple monthly payments and potentially give you a lower interest rate than you pay on […] The post Best Personal Loans of May 2022 appeared first on My Blog.

Best Personal Loans of May 2022

A personal loan is a type of installment loan in which money is borrowed in a lump sum and repayed over time in fixed monthly payments.

Borrowers commonly use personal loans to consolidate debt, because a single loan can replace multiple monthly payments and potentially give you a lower interest rate than you pay on high-interest debts like credit cards.

Other than a couple of restrictions, including buying a home or paying for education costs, you can get pretty creative with how you use a personal loan. It could give you a leg up to start a business if you can’t get approved for a dedicated business loan. Plus, a personal loan can give you a lifeline if your financial situation changes unexpectedly or help you shoulder big expenses without the high interest of credit cards.

Personal loans offered by online lenders and traditional financial institutions share a lot of standard features. They tend to come in amounts between $5,000 to $40,000, with interest rates between 5% and 36%, and repayment periods between two and seven years (though there are outliers for all of these parameters). Most lenders offer a discounted interest rate if you sign up for automatic payments, typically 0.25 or 0.5 percentage points.

Typically, you need good to excellent credit — a score of at least 670 — but you can find lenders, especially through online platforms, that cater to borrowers with lower scores. A few lenders offer perks, like repayment benefits or a free FICO score, that could make one more attractive for you than another.

But the biggest selling point will likely be the cost of your loan — check your prequalified rates with lenders (it doesn’t affect your credit score) to find the loan with the best interest rate, monthly payment and repayment period for your situation.

Personal Loans at a Glance

Company APR with Autopay Min/Max Loan Amounts Loan Terms
LightStream 3.49% – 19.99% $5,000 – $100,000 Up to 7 years
Credible Personal Loans 3.49% – 35.99% $600 – $100,000 1 – 7 years
Upstart 5.22% – 35.99% $1,000 – $50,000 3 or 5 years
SoFi 5.74% – 21.78% $5,000 – $100,000 2 – 7 years
Figure 5.75% – 31.44% $5,000 – $50,000 3 years
Upgrade 5.94% – 35.97% $1,000 – $50,000 24 – 84 months
Rocket Loans 5.97% – 29.99% $2,000 – $45,000 36 or 60 months
Happy Money 5.99% – 24.99% $5,000 – $40,000 2 – 5 years
Discover 5.99% – 24.99% $2,500 – $35,000 36, 48, 60, 72 or 84 months
Marcus 6.99% – 19.99% $3,500 – $40,000 36 – 72 months
LendingClub 7.04% – 35.89% $1,000 – $40,000 3 or 5 years
Prosper 7.95% – 35.99% $2,000 – $40,000 3 or 5 years
Stilt Starting at 7.99% – 25% $1,000 – $35,000 12, 18, 24 or 36 months
Avant 9.95% – 35.99% $2,000 – $35,000 24 – 60 months
LendingPoint 9.99% – 35.99% $2,000 – $36,500, 24 – 60 months

LightStream

Best for Good to Excellent Credit

Key Features

  • Same-day funding
  • No fees
  • Loans available for low credit scores

LightStream offers fixed-rate personal loans up to $100,000, with funding as soon as the same day you’re approved. Its Rate Beat Program guarantees it’ll offer you the lowest rate you can find — just submit a request with information about a lower rate offered by a competitor, and it’ll offer you that rate minus 0.10 percentage points.

LightStream

APR

3.49% – 19.99%

Loan amounts

$5,000 – $100,000

Minimum credit score

600

Credible

Best for Low Loan Amounts

Key Features

  • Compare rates from top lenders
  • Loans for poor credit available
  • Loan amounts as low as $600

Use Credible’s search engine to find personal loans for as little as $600. Unlike other marketplaces, Credible only gets paid when you accept a loan offer, so it doesn’t sell your information to lenders to pester you. You’ll see prequalified offers and compare lenders side by side, then click through from your Credible dashboard to a lender’s site to apply.

Credible

APR

3.49% – 35.99%

Loan amounts

$600 – $100,000

Minimum credit score

560

Upstart

Best for Borrowers Without a Traditional Credit History

Key Features

  • AI-powered lending for partner banks
  • Considers more than your credit history
  • Loan amounts as low as $1,000

Upstart isn’t technically a lender, but it’s not a marketplace, either. You’ll see prequalified rates from partner lenders and apply right through its platform. Upstart’s proprietary AI uses more than the traditional credit score to assess a borrower’s creditworthiness, so you might have a higher chance of approval on the platform if you have no credit score but other positive factors, like education and income.

Upstart

APR

5.22% – 35.99%

Loan amounts

$1,000 – $50,000

Minimum credit score

580

SoFi

Best for SoFi Customers

Key Features

  • No fees
  • Access to member events and perks
  • Discounts for SoFi members

SoFi is a tech platform–turned bank that offers a range of financial services from the convenience of an app. Its personal loans come with no origination fees, prepayment penalties or other hidden fees. If you’re an existing SoFi member — e.g. have a bank account or another loan product — you can qualify for an interest rate discount on a personal loan.

SoFi

APR

5.74% – 21.78%

Loan amounts

$5,000 – $100,000

Minimum credit score

680

Figure

Best for Crypto-Backed Loans

Key Features

  • Next-day funding
  • Powered by Provenance blockchain
  • 0% to 5% origination fee

Figure is an online lender that offers personal loans and other loans products with funding as early as the next day after approval. The company uses blockchain technology to make application processing and loan origination as efficient and transparent as possible. The company’s also offering innovative crypto-backed loans, but you don’t have to be in the crypto game to get a personal loan.

Figure

APR

5.75% – 31.44%

Loan amounts

$5,000 – $50,000

Minimum credit score

680

Upgrade

Best for Raising your Credit Score

Key Features

  • Checking, credit and loans in one platform
  • No prepayment penalties
  • Next day funding

Upgrade is a financial tech company that offers rewards checking, an innovative-payment credit card, credit monitoring and personal loans. The platform is an all-in-one debt payoff and management solution — its personal loans and credit cards are designed with quick repayment in mind, you get free credit monitoring, and you may be able to qualify for a loan with a fair or poor credit score.

Upgrade

APR

5.94% – 35.97%

Loan amounts

$1,000 – $50,000

Minimum credit score

580

Rocket Loans

Best for Transparent Process

Key Features

  • Same day funding
  • No prepayment penalties
  • All-online application

Apply online for a personal loan from Rocket Loans to see prequalified offers in less than a minute. You can complete your application entirely online, including income and identity verification, so no phone calls or snail mail from lenders. Funding could come within a couple of business days.

Rocket Loans

APR

5.97% – 29.99%

Loan amounts

$2,000 – $45,000

Minimum credit score

580

Happy Money

Best for Debt Consolidation

Key Features

  • Specially designed for credit card payoff
  • Borrow from community-based lenders
  • Origination fee between 0% and 5%

Happy Money is a financial tech company that works with community based lenders — credit unions and mission-driven institutions — to provide The Payoff Loan, a personal loan designed for credit card debt consolidation. See loan offers and choose among the lowest monthly payment, lowest interest rate or quickest payoff date to align with your financial goals.

Happy Money

APR

5.99% – 24.99%

Loan amounts

$5,000 – $40,000

Minimum credit requirement

600

Discover

Best for Flexible Repayment Options

Key Features

  • No fees (except late fees)
  • Repayment assistance options
  • Free FICO credit score

Discover personal loans are straightforward, fee-free loans up to $35,000 with a minimum credit score of 660. Discover offers flexible repayment programs in case your financial situation changes and you have trouble keeping up with payments. You could apply for payment deferral, a short-term shift to interest-only payments or extend your repayment period for lower monthly payments.

Discover

APR

5.99% – 24.99%

Loan amounts

$2,500 – $35,000

Minimum credit score

660

Marcus

Best for On-Time Payment Rewards

Key Features

  • No fees
  • Skip-a-payment reward for on-time repayment
  • Customize your monthly payment

Marcus is the personal banking arm of Goldman Sachs, offering individual savings, investing, credit cards and loans. Its personal loans are available to borrowers with good credit for up to $40,000, with no fees — not even late fees. And it rewards you for on-time payment: Make your monthly payment on time for 12 months in a row, and you can defer payment for a month with no additional interest accrued.

Marcus

APR

6.99% – 19.99%

Loan amounts

$3,500 – $40,000

Minimum credit score

670

LendingClub

Best for Bad Credit Loans

Key Features

  • Borrow up to $40,000
  • Funding within 48 hours
  • No prepayment penalty

LendingClub is an online marketplace bank offering checking accounts and personal loans for consumers. Take out personal loans up to $40,000 for terms of three to five years. (You might know the platform for peer-to-peer lending, which is how it started, but as of 2020, LendingClub only offers traditional personal loans.)

LendingClub

APR

7.04% – 35.89%

Loan amounts

$1,000 – $40,000

Minimum credit score

600

Prosper

Best for Peer-to-Peer Borrowing

Key Features

  • Peer-to-peer lending
  • Next-day funding
  • No prepayment penalty

Prosper is an online peer-to-peer lending company that lets individuals and institutions invest in personal loans to support borrowers and earn returns through debt securities. Prosper handles the loan application, origination and management, so you don’t work directly with funders, but you can rest assured that the interest you pay goes back to real people, not just banks.

Prosper

APR

7.95% – 35.99%

Loan amounts

2,000 – $40,000

Minimum credit score

600

Stilt

Best for Non-U.S. Citizens and Visa Holders

Key Features

  • No SSN or U.S. citizenship required
  • No prepayment penalty
  • Summar

Stilt helps new residents and other underserved individuals access credit in the U.S. You don’t need a Social Security number to apply, just a U.S. address and bank account. The platform assesses your creditworthiness using non-traditional factors, including education, employment and utility payments. It’ll check your credit history, but makes loans available to borrowers with limited or no credit.

Stilt

APR

7.99% – 25%

Loans amounts

$1,000 – $35,000

Minimum credit score

n/a

Avant

Best for Fair Credit Loans

Key Features

  • Next-day funding
  • Low minimum credit score
  • Not available in New York

Avant personal loans are available for borrowers in any state except New York. Get a loan up to $35,000 as soon as the next business day after you’re approved. Most Avant borrowers have FICO credit scores between 600 and 700, so this platform is a good option for borrowers with fair credit.

Avant

APR

9.95% – 35.99%

Loan amounts

$2,000 – $35,000

Minimum credit score

580

LendingPoint

Best for Fair Credit Borrowers

Key Features

  • Next-day funding
  • No co-sign loans
  • Not available in Nevada or West Virginia

LendingPoint uses proprietary algorithms to assess creditworthiness using factors that go beyond the traditional FICO score. It offers unsecured personal loans as well as e-commerce and point-of-sale financing. With a minimum credit score of 600, this could be a good option for borrowers with fair credit scores, though it doesn’t offer co-signed loans, which can be useful for low-credit borrowers.

LendingPoint

APR

9.99% – 35.99%

Loan amounts

$2,000 – $36,500

Minimum credit score

600

Types of Personal Loans

“Personal loan” is a broad category of lending that you can apply to almost any financial need. Lenders often advertise things like home improvement loans, wedding loans, timeshare loans or adoption loans — but these are all technically just personal loans, structured the same way.

A few key differences to look out for are:

  • Debt consolidation loans: Many people use personal loans for credit card debt consolidation or refinancing — replacing one or many debts with another. It can simplify  repayment and reduce your interest rate. When you take out a personal loan for this purpose, the lender usually sends the money directly to your other creditors, instead of to you.
  • Secured loan: A secured loan of any kind is one backed by collateral — that’s an asset you put on the line to turn over to the lender in case you can’t repay the loan. For mortgages, the collateral is your home; for auto loans, it’s the vehicle. Secured personal loans are also available, and you could put up anything of value as collateral, like a boat, jewelry, fine art or investment funds.
  • Unsecured loan: Unsecured loans are those without any collateral backing them. This increases the risk for the lender, so you usually have to have excellent credit and income to qualify.

Personal Loan Costs to Consider

When you evaluate personal loan offers, you’ll probably focus on the interest rate, because that has a significant impact on the long-term cost of the loan. But there are other costs to consider.

Before accepting any loan offer or signing the agreement, make sure you know how much you’ll pay (if anything) in these common costs:

  • APR: Annual percentage rate is what’s often referred to as your interest rate and usually the most prominently advertised feature of your loan. Personal loan interest rates tend to fall between 5% and 35%. A higher credit score and shorter repayment period can lower the interest rate, while a lower credit score and longer repayment period can increase it.
  • Origination fee: Many lenders take a bite out of your loan upfront, so you won’t receive 100% of the loan amount. Origination fees are usually around 2% or 3% of your loan amount, and lenders subtract them from the original loan amount you receive.
  • Late fee: Your loan agreement will likely come with a fee for late payments, usually a percentage of the payment due or sometimes a flat fee. Those fees are added to your loan balance when you’re late making a monthly payment.
  • Prepayment penalties: They’re becoming less common, but some lenders still include prepayment fees in loan agreements. If you pay off part or all of the loan early, usually within a determined period after receiving it, the lender could charge you an additional fee. The prepayment fee is usually a percentage of the total loan balance at the time you pay it off.

The other thing that’ll help you determine whether a loan offer is right for you are the repayment terms. Along with any additional costs, look for the basics, including how long you have to repay and how much your monthly payments will be.

Who Can Take out a Personal Loan?

Any individual can apply for a personal loan for just about any purpose.

Many lenders advertise loans for specific purposes, like vacation, weddings or home improvements — but those are usually marketing details. You can use personal loan funds almost any way you want, except for some uses that are restricted to dedicated types of loans, including buying a home and paying for education.

Unsecured personal loans tend to be tougher to qualify for than those dedicated loans, because they aren’t attached to any collateral or government backing.

A few companies look into alternative factors to forecast your ability to repay a loan, but most are looking for traditional creditworthiness, including:

  • Credit score and credit history: Lenders usually want to see a credit score of at least 720 for personal loans, though some “bad credit loans” might be accessible for borrowers with scores as low as 640.
  • Debt-to-income ratio: Your debt-to-income ratio (DTI) is the difference between how much you make each month and how much you owe in mortgage and other debt payments, like credit card debt and existing loans. Lenders typically want to see a DTI no higher than 43%, but the lower the better.
  • Income: Lenders typically require you to prove a regular source of income that shows your likely ability to make monthly payments. You can show this through pay stubs if you’re employed, or a recent tax return if you’re self-employed. If you don’t have either of those (or they don’t accurately reflect your expected income), contact a lender before submitting your application to make sure you can work out an alternative way to prove your income.

Where to Get a Personal Loan

You can find personal loans through several types of platforms, including:

  • Banks and credit unions, where you could keep all of your banking, credit cards, investing and insurance under one financial institution. 
  • Online lenders, companies that only offer loans, but not other banking or financial services.
  • Marketplaces, like Fiona, AmOne or OppLoans, which aggregate offers from multiple lenders and let you see pre-approved rates with a soft credit check. Some marketplaces also let you handle the entire loan application and origination process through their platform, while others simply connect you with lenders to complete the process on their site or over the phone.

How to Get a Personal Loan

Follow these steps to get a personal loan:

  • Consider your financial options. Is a personal loan the best way to meet your needs? You might have alternatives, like delaying a purchase and saving the money.
  • Review your finances. Figure out a monthly payment you can comfortably fit into your life for the next few years, and use that as a guide when reviewing loan offers.
  • Check your credit score. Personal loan lenders generally look for borrowers with good or excellent credit scores — about 700 or higher. Even those that accept borrowers with lower scores use your credit history to determine your repayment terms and interest rate. Know where you stand before applying by checking your credit score.
  • Compare lenders. You’re off to a good start! Checking reviews like this and comparing loan offers through marketplaces can help you see lenders side by side easily. Check lender requirements and options for loan terms before applying and dinging your credit history.
  • Get pre-qualified. Either through a marketplace or directly on a lender’s site, you can give a little information to go through a soft credit check (that won’t affect your credit score) and get pre-qualified for a loan. You’ll see an interest rate and repayment terms a lender could offer you based on the credit check, so you can decide whether it’s worth putting in a full application.
  • Review the loan details. Look over offers carefully to make sure the terms, including the monthly payment, repayment period and any fees, fit with your financial plan.
  • Complete an application. Choose a loan you want, and fill out an application with the lender. You’ll go through a hard credit check (which shows up on your credit report as a request for credit and could lower your score temporarily), and likely be officially approved for the loan.
  • Receive the funds. Personal loan funds typically go straight into your bank account (unless you’re using them for debt consolidation), and many online lenders fund loans within the same day or the next day after you’re approved. 
  • Set up a payment plan. Most lenders offer better interest rates if you set up automatic payments, which you can do through the lender’s website if you’re comfortable with it. If you’re paying back other debts at the same time, use a repayment method like the debt snowball or avalanche to determine where to direct your money whenever you’ve got extra to put toward your financial goals.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Personal Loans

There are a lot of questions about how to acquire personal loans and which ones are the best. We’ve rounded up the answers to the most commonly asked questions.

Which Bank is Best for Personal Loans?

The offer you get for a personal loan from any institution depends on your credit history, income and existing debt. Shop online or use a lending marketplace to compare options before applying and dinging your credit report. If you have a low credit score (below 700), look for online lending platforms that use innovative algorithms to assess creditworthiness with factors beyond your credit report, like education and bill payments. If you have a stellar credit and debt payment history, look for lenders that offer rewards like on-time payment bonuses and auto-pay discounts on interest.

Which Bank Has the Easiest Personal Loan Approval?

While they’re steadily improving, most traditional banks have lengthier personal loan approval processes than online lenders. With a traditional bank, you might have to connect with a loan officer on the phone, mail in or drop off paper application materials and wait several days for approval. Online lending companies use technology to assess your application quickly and make loan offers almost instantly. Funding typically comes within one business day, and some even offer same-day funding.

What is the Easiest Loan to be Approved For?

Unsecured personal loans can be harder to qualify for than other types of loans, because they aren’t backed by collateral, like mortgages and auto loans; or supported by future potential earnings, like student loans. Secured personal loans can be easier to qualify for, even with a low credit score, because you put up collateral, like jewelry, a boat or investment funds, to mitigate the lender’s risk in case you don’t repay. Auto loans tend to be the easiest types of loans to qualify for, even with low income or credit scores, because they’re relatively small and are backed by collateral (a vehicle).

How Much will a Bank Lend for a Personal Loan?

Most personal loan lenders offer loans up to around $40,000, but some offer personal loans as high as $100,000. Banks typically make minimum personal loans of around $5,000, while online lenders often lend as little as $1,000 or less. Repayment terms range between two and seven years, so you can work with a lender to land on a repayment plan that gives you a monthly payment you can accommodate.

What is the Minimum Income for a Personal Loan?

How much income you need to qualify for a loan depends on the amount you want to take out, how much debt you already have and how long you’ll have to repay the loan. Lenders might set their own minimum income to qualify for a personal loan, or they might just want to see that you have regular income every month. Generally what’s more important than a minimum income amount is your debt-to-income ratio, the amount of debt payments you owe each month compared with your monthly income. Lenders want to see this to assess whether you can accommodate another loan payment.

What is the Monthly Payment on a $10,000 Loan?

Your monthly payment for a personal loan depends on your repayment period (how many months or years you have to repay the loan) and your interest rate. You should be able to see your estimated monthly payment in a loan offer before you apply, so you can figure out whether it’s a fit for you. A couple of examples: A $10,000 loan with a fixed 7% APY and three-year repayment term would come with a $309 monthly payment. A $10,000 loan with 17% interest and a seven-year term would come with a $204 monthly payment.


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