Best unsecured loans

Loans without collateral that offer flexible funding for any reason

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Best Egg, Achieve Personal Loans and Upstart
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Unsecured loans are loans that are not backed by collateral, such as a car or home. Most personal loans are unsecured, and they are popular for people who want to consolidate high-interest credit card debt or finance a large purchase.

The best unsecured loans come with low interest rates, reasonable loan fees (or no fees) and flexible repayment terms.

Key insights:

  • Unsecured personal loans can be used for nearly any purpose.
  • These loans do not require collateral.
  • The best unsecured loans make it easy for borrowers to apply and get funding entirely online.

Our top 4 picks for unsecured personal loans

To make our choices for the best unsecured loans, we collected 806 data points (26 individual data points for 31 lenders) from popular lenders and lending marketplaces, including customer reviews and overall ratings from ConsumerAffairs readers. We used these data points to evaluate factors that impact borrowers most, including credit score requirements, loan limits, repayment terms and annual percentage rates (APRs), before making our final selections.

Our picks may be Authorized Partners who compensate us. This does not affect our recommendations or evaluations but may affect the order in which the companies appear.

  • Maximum loan amount: $50,000
  • Repayment terms: 36 or 60 months
  • Minimum credit score required: 300
  • ConsumerAffairs rating:3.1

Upstart is an online lending marketplace that connects borrowers with a range of financial products, including unsecured personal loans. Borrowers can request loans in amounts from $1,000 to $50,000, depending on their needs, and funding can take place as soon as the next business day.

Personal loans from Upstart’s lending partners come with origination fees from 0% to 10% of the loan amount, and rates range from 6.5% to 35.99% at the time of publishing.

One detail to note about Upstart is that it considers more than just credit scores when assessing loan applications and determining rates. In fact, the company says it looks at factors such as level of education and employment to help applicants get the rate they deserve. This makes it more accessible for borrowers with less-than-stellar credit.

Some of Upstart's features that we like are:
  • Pre-qualify online with no impact on your credit score
  • Access funds as soon as one business day after applying
  • Loans amounts from $1,000 to $50,000
Some of the downsides of borrowing from Upstart:
  • Origination fees on many personal loans
  • Only two repayment terms to choose from
  • High maximum interest rate

Upstart has minimal reviews from ConsumerAffairs readers. While the reviews for Upstart that we do have at the time of publishing are negative reviews, they may not reflect overall borrower sentiment toward the company.

Best Egg
  • Maximum loan amount: $50,000
  • Repayment terms: 36 to 60 months
  • Minimum credit score required: 600
  • ConsumerAffairs rating:4.8

Best Egg is an online loan servicer that offers unsecured loans in amounts from $2,000 to $50,000. Borrowers can check their rate with no impact on their credit score before they apply, and funding can take place in as little as 24 hours.

A one-time origination fee of 0.99% to 8.99% of the loan amount applies to each loan from Best Egg, and APRs range from 8.99% to 35.99% at the time of publishing, based on creditworthiness. While Best Egg loans can be used for a wide range of purposes, the lender advertises that its loans are great for debt consolidation or financing large expenses like adoption or home improvements.

Co-signers are not allowed on Best Egg loans, and you must have a 600 or higher credit score to qualify.

Some of Best Egg's features that we like are:
  • Check approximate rate without a hard credit check
  • Loans up to $50,000 for some borrowers
  • Quick funding times
Some of the downsides of borrowing from Best Egg:
  • High maximum APR
  • Origination fees on every loan
  • Relatively high minimum credit score requirement

While a few reviewers said they struggled to get approved for a loan and were ultimately denied even with good credit, most reviews are positive. Debrecca of Reynoldsburg, Ohio, said this about her loan experience: "Best Egg is very quick to get you approved and the funds into your account. Also, if you have to call customer service, everyone is so friendly and eager to help. I will use BestEgg whenever I need a loan due to their great customer service."

Achieve Personal Loans
  • Maximum loan amount: $50,000
  • Repayment terms: 24 to 60 months
  • Minimum credit score required: 620
  • ConsumerAffairs rating:4.4

Achieve Personal Loans, previously known as FreedomPlus, has a fast and easy loan process, with same-day decisions available, and borrowers typically receive their funding within 24 to 72 hours. Loan amounts range from $5,000 to $50,000, and borrowers can repay their loan over 24 to 60 months, depending on their needs.

Achieve Personal Loans come with an origination fee from 1.99% to 6.99% of the loan amount, and APRs range from 7.99% to 29.99% at the time of publishing.

Applications are assessed according to a number of factors, including net income, existing combined debt amount and creditworthiness. Borrowers need a minimum credit score of at least 620, which means that borrowers with lower credit may need to use a co-signer, which Achieve does allow. Applicants can get pre-qualified online with no impact on their credit.

Some of Achieve's features that we like are:
  • Same-day loan decisions and fast funding upon approval
  • Co-signers permitted
  • Flexible repayment terms
Some of the downsides of borrowing from Achieve:
  • 620 minimum credit score requirement
  • High minimum loan amount of $5,000
While some reviewers complain about slow customer service and origination fees, the majority of our readers’ reviews are positive. Many reviews praised the company for its seamless loan process and helpful customer service.

Shon of Holdrege, Nebraska, said the following about their application process: "This was by far the easiest and fastest loan process my wife and I have ever experienced! I have waited longer to be approved for a car with my local bank."

  • Maximum loan amount: $50,000
  • Repayment terms: Two to five years
  • Minimum credit score required: 640
  • ConsumerAffairs rating:3.4

Prosper offers a range of loan products, including home equity loans and personal loans. Its unsecured personal loans are offered in amounts ranging from $2,000 to $50,000, and borrowers can choose to repay over 24 to 60 months, depending on their needs.

APRs range at the time of publishing from 6.99% to 35.99% based on creditworthiness, yet borrowers should know that an upfront origination fee of 1% to 5% will be deducted from their loan amount.

Prosper lets applicants check their rate with no impact on their credit score, and funding can take place as soon as the next business day.

One interesting detail to note about Prosper is the fact that it's a peer-to-peer lending platform. This means loan funds come from individual investors instead of big banks. However, there are high late fees as well as check payment and nonsufficient funds fees.

Additionally, the company states the minimum credit score required is 640. Applicants with low credit scores are encouraged to apply with a co-applicant.

Some of Prosper's features that we like are:
  • Flexible repayment terms
  • Competitive APRs for those with good or excellent credit
  • Quick funding
Some of the downsides of borrowing from Prosper:
  • High penalty fees
  • Not a direct lender
While a few reviewers complain about being denied a loan despite having good credit, the majority of reviews are positive.

Carlitha of Denver, Colorado, said: "Prosper is a peer-to-peer loan company. Individuals helped finance the loan. It was a quick and easy process. Funds were available within five business days of my application. I recommend it to anyone with good to great credit."

How to get an unsecured loan

You should take the time to compare all the best unsecured loan options side by side before applying. This means looking at the loan limits each lender offers — and also reading over the fine print. Fortunately, the best lenders that offer personal loans let you check your rate without a hard inquiry on your credit report, which makes it considerably easier to compare offers from multiple lenders.

Once you find a loan offer that suits your needs, you can move forward with an application by providing information including your full name and address, Social Security number, employment and income information, and monthly mortgage or rent amount.

In some cases, you may be required to provide supporting documentation, such as recent pay stubs, W-2s, tax returns or utility bills. Once you’re approved, the lender should provide the funds within one to seven business days.

Bruce Mohr, a senior investment advisor at Credit Sage with over 15 years of experience, says you'll want to compare rates on all offers to find the lowest rate possible. He adds that fees are a part of almost all loan offers, and "they may build up over time." According to Mohr, you should be watching out for origination fees, prepayment penalties, late payment fees and other hidden fees that may be buried in the fine print.

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    Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

    What is an unsecured loan?

    An unsecured loan is a loan that does not need to be secured with collateral. These loans typically come with fixed interest rates, fixed monthly payments and a set repayment schedule that will not change over the life of the loan.

    What is the difference between a secured and unsecured personal loan?

    Secured loans require collateral, whereas unsecured personal loans do not. With a secured loan, the asset you put up as collateral can be seized if you fail to repay the loan.

    Can I get an unsecured loan if I have bad credit?

    Some lenders offer unsecured loans for people with bad credit or fair credit. However, individuals with subpar credit typically pay higher loan fees and interest rates.

    What is the most common unsecured loan?

    The most common unsecured loan is a personal loan. An unsecured loan lets the borrower use the funds for virtually anything they want, whether it’s to consolidate debt or finance a large purchase, like a home appliance or wedding.

    Does an unsecured personal loan affect my credit score?

    Borrowing money with a personal loan can impact your credit score in several ways. First, applying for a loan results in a hard inquiry on your credit, which can negatively impact your credit score in the short term. That said, a personal loan can also help your credit score if you make on-time payments.

    Bottom line

    The best unsecured personal loans can help you get the funding you need at a rate that makes repayment affordable. An unsecured personal loan gives you the freedom to spend the loan money on virtually anything you want, whether you need to consolidate and pay down high-interest credit card debt or you want to finance a large purchase.

    Whatever your reasoning is for needing funding, you'll want to take the time to compare loan options to find the best deal. This means checking around for the best rate you can qualify for and comparing loans based on how much you can borrow and how long you have to pay the money back.

    ConsumerAffairs writers primarily rely on government data, industry experts and original research from other reputable publications to inform their work. To learn more about the content on our site, visit our FAQ page. Specific sources for this article include:
    1. Experian, “What Affects Your Credit Scores?” Accessed Nov. 27, 2022.
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