Average personal loan interest rates
For good to excellent credit, the average is 10% to 15%
Interest rates on personal loans vary widely, so it can be tough to know whether you’re getting a good offer. Currently, the average rate tends to be 10% to 15% for those with good to excellent credit. If you’re considering applying for a personal loan, it’s a good idea to know average rates. You’ll also want to know the factors that affect your personal rate.
- Interest rates on personal loans range from 3% to 36%.
- Your credit score is one of the most important factors in the interest rate you get: The higher your score is, the better chance you have of qualifying for a lower rate.
- The annual percentage rate (APR) on a personal loan — not the interest rate — gives you the most complete picture of the total cost of the loan.is
What is a good interest rate on a personal loan?
Personal loan interest rates usually range from 3% to 36%, but rates vary by the lender and loan type. Borrowers with excellent credit and adequate income can usually take advantage of lower interest rates.
Currently, the average rate on a personal loan ranges from 10% to 32%. The national average finance rate on a 24-month personal loan from a commercial bank is 9.41%, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Borrowers with excellent credit, lower debt-to-income (DTI) ratios and sufficient income often qualify for lower rates. You may also pay a lower rate if your loan term is shorter or you borrow less money.
In general, a good interest rate falls at or below the average range for your credit score. Keep in mind that many factors (apart from your credit score) will affect your interest rate.
What affects interest rates on a personal loan?
Your financial situation has a big effect on your interest rate, and your credit score is among the most important factors. In most cases, you’ll need a credit score of at least 670 to qualify for a personal loan with a good rate.
Borrowers with very good and excellent credit (740 and above) are generally offered the lowest interest rates. Your credit score takes into account your payment history, credit utilization, length of credit history, credit mix and the number of credit inquiries.
If your DTI ratio is higher than 35% to 40%, you might not qualify for the best interest rate on a personal loan.
The lender will also factor in your income. If your income is on the higher end (coupled with a higher credit score), you should be able to secure an interest rate on the low side.
Lenders will calculate your DTI ratio, which shows how much of your gross monthly income goes toward paying debts. As a general rule, you want a DTI of 35% to 40% or below to qualify. You could still qualify with a higher DTI ratio, but it may mean you’ll pay higher interest rates.
Most personal loans are unsecured, which means they’re not backed by collateral. Unsecured loans are riskier for lenders because they don’t have an asset to sell to recover their losses if you default; this translates to higher rates for borrowers.
Some lenders offer secured personal loans with lower rates; these loans are backed by a vehicle, a savings account or another form of personal property.
Term length and other loan terms also affect interest rates. Personal loan term lengths tend to vary from 12 to 60 months, and loans with longer terms usually have higher interest rates.
Average personal loan rates by credit score
According to research by Bankrate, borrowers with very good to excellent credit (scores between 720 and 850) pay between 10.3% and 12.5%, on average, in interest. Those with bad and fair credit (scores between 300 and 629), on the other hand, pay much higher interest rates — between 28.5% and 32%, on average.
Even if you don’t have excellent credit, you can still secure a decent interest rate. If your credit score is between 690 and 719 (good), for instance, you can expect to find rates of 13.5% to 15.5%. If your credit score is average (between 630 and 689), your rate is likely to fall between 17.8% and 19.9%.
Small changes in your interest rate can significantly affect the amount of interest you’ll pay over the life of the loan. Say you have good credit and secure a $10,000 personal loan for three years at 15%: You’ll end up having paid $2,479.52 in total interest after your 36th payment.
However, if you comparison shop and find a loan with an interest rate of 14%, you could save about $175 in interest. If you have excellent credit and lock in an interest rate of 11%, you’ll only pay $1,785.94 in interest, saving close to $700.
Interest rate vs. APR
When shopping for a loan, you may see the terms interest rate and APR and think they are being used interchangeably — but there is a big difference. They both express the annual cost of credit as a percentage of the loan amount, but the interest rate only accounts for interest, while the annual percentage rate adds in the cost of other loan fees.
For example, say you find a lender that will offer you a personal loan for $10,000 with a 10% interest rate for five years. However, there’s a 3% loan origination fee, which will cost you $300 upfront. You can use an online calculator to compute the APR. With the origination fee included, the APR (or the annual cost of credit) is really 11.324%.
As you’re comparing loans, looking at the APR instead of the interest rate gives you a better idea of the overall cost of the loan. While researching lenders, make sure you know whether the rate you’re seeing is the interest rate or the APR.
How to get a good interest rate
There are a few ways to secure a good interest rate. You might start by improving your credit, if necessary. A small increase in your credit score could seem insignificant, but it can make a big difference in the interest rate a lender offers.
Also, you should comparison shop and weigh all your options. Look for trusted lenders with reasonable rates and loan terms that fit your budget. Many will show you which rates you qualify for with a soft credit check, which won’t affect your credit score. Make sure you gather quotes from various types of lenders, too, including national banks, credit unions, online lenders and small community banks, to find the right rate for you.
- Article sources
- 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.
- Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, “Finance Rate on Personal Loans at Commercial Banks, 24 Month Loan.” Accessed May 1, 2022.
- Experian, “What Is the Best Term Length for a Personal Loan?” Accessed April 30, 2022.
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