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    AUTHORIZED PARTNER
    • 3.49% to 35.99% APR
    • 2- to 180-month loan term
    • $50,000 maximum loan
    AUTHORIZED PARTNER
    • 5.99% to 29.99% APR
    • 36- to 60-month loan term
    • $35,000 maximum loan
    Compare Offers on Personal Loan Pro
    • 6.95% to 35.89% APR
    • 36- to 60-month loan term
    • $40,000 maximum loan
    by Barbara Friedberg Personal Finance Contributing Editor

    A personal loan can help you finance major expenses and cover unexpected costs. We’ve looked at the factors that set loans apart so you can choose the right personal loan for your needs. Our research team evaluated 33 personal loan companies rated by more than 9,924 customers. Read our guide to choose the best option for you by comparing loan amounts, APRs, minimum credit scores, loan terms, and customer ratings and reviews.

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    Our top picks for personal loans

    We’ve covered the most important information you need to know about getting a personal loan, including your various loan options and how to compare payment terms and annual percentage rates (APRs).

    However, the best personal loan for someone with excellent credit often isn’t an option for borrowers with poor credit. Likewise, the best personal loan for someone with poor credit is often just OK for borrowers with better credit.

    When making our top picks for personal loans, we considered trustworthy personal loan companies that are reviewed by customers on ConsumerAffairs. We weighed several factors: ratings on ConsumerAffairs.com, loan options, loan terms, APRs, credit score requirements, and customer reviews. Consumer Affairs reviewed 33 companies to select this list of our nine favorite best personal loan providers.

    This is why we’ve grouped our favorites below based on who they appeal to. Compare your score to the categories below to see where you fit:

    Our picks for personal loans for good credit

    Here are some of our picks for getting a personal loan with a good credit score.

    Our pick for good credit
    Best Egg

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    Best Egg Details
    • APRs: Starting at 5.99%
    • Term lengths: 3 to 5 years
    • Loan amounts: $2,000 to $35,000

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    Best Egg is an online lender that offers unsecured personal loans ranging from $2,000 to $35,000. Since Best Egg offers loans online, its underwriting costs are often lower than other lenders', which can lower rates.

    APRs for Best Egg personal loans range from 5.99% to 29.99%, but the rate you qualify for depends largely on your personal credit score. Best Egg loans are better suited to people with good to excellent credit scores above 640.

    Best Egg’s loan terms are for up to five years, and its recommended minimum debt for consolidation is $5,000.

    Our pick for debt consolidation
    FreedomPlus

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    Freedom Plus Details
    • APRs: 7.99% to 29.99%
    • Term lengths: 2 to 5 years
    • Loan amounts: $7,500 to $40,000

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    FreedomPlus offers personal loans of up to $50,000. Similar to Best Egg, FreedomPlus also offers loans better for those with higher credit scores and good credit histories. Expect to need a credit score of 670 or higher to qualify for its best rates.

    APRs for FreedomPlus personal loans range from 7.99% to 29.99%. Loan terms for the company’s personal loans are up to five years. Its recommended minimum debt for consolidation is also high, starting at $10,000.

    Our pick for online convenience
    LendingTree

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    LendingTree Details
    • APRs: 2.49% to 29.99%
    • Term lengths: 1 to 5 years
    • Loan amounts: $1,000 to $50,000

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    LendingTree is a marketplace for people looking to compare offers from different lenders. This service lets you compare rates and quotes and then decide which one works best for you. With LendingTree, you can compare up to five personal loan offers within minutes.

    APRs range from 2.49% to 29.99%, but you generally need a credit score above 585 to use LendingTree. Available loan terms vary from one year up to five years.

    Our picks for personal loans for average credit

    If you have an average or fair credit score, you can still find plenty of lenders with reasonable rates and terms. Here are a few of our favorites.

    Our pick for average credit
    Liberty Lending Group

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    Liberty Lending Group Details
    • APRs: 7.99% to 29.99%
    • Term lengths: 2 to 6 years
    • Loan amounts: $2,000 to $100,000

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    Liberty Lending Group offers fixed-rate, unsecured personal loans ranging from $2,000 to $100,000. It also provides loans up to $250,000 for business owners who require a loan to make purchases or cover invoices.

    APRs range between 7.99% and 29.99%, with a minimum qualifying credit score of around 580. This lower credit threshold helps make Liberty Lending Group’s loans more accessible, but be aware that APRs can be on the higher side, especially for smaller loan amounts.

    Since the company’s entire process is online, you can get a loan in 24 to 72 hours. Loan terms range from two to six years. However, Liberty Lending Group doesn’t charge prepayment penalties.

    Our pick for fast funding
    LoanMe

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    LoanMe Details
    • APRs: Starting at 9.9%
    • Term lengths: 3 to 15 years
    • Loan amounts: $2,600 to $100,000

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    LoanMe offers personal loans for up to $100,000 with APRs starting as low as 9.9%. The company can verify your personal loan application in three to seven hours, and funding is sometimes available in four hours, including weekends and holidays.

    Our pick for low interest rates
    Credit Direct

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    Credit Direct Details
    • APRs: Starting at 5.99%
    • Term lengths: Up to 5 years
    • Loan amounts: Up to $40,000

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    Credit Direct offers unsecured personal loans for up to $40,000. Additionally, its website is available in both English and Spanish.

    Credit Direct loans come with fixed interest rates as low as 5.99%, but the company doesn’t publish much info regarding the credit score necessary to qualify. Loan terms range up to five years, and there are no hidden fees or early repayment penalties.

    You can complete Credit Direct’s online loan application process in minutes and get the money deposited into your bank account within 24 hours of approval.

    Our picks for personal loans for bad credit

    Even if you have a bad credit score, some lenders will give you a personal loan, though you can expect to pay a higher interest rate. Many lending companies even specialize in providing personal loans to people with poor or no credit history.

    Our pick for bad credit
    NetCredit

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    NetCredit Details
    • APRs: Starting at 34%
    • Term lengths: Up to 5 years
    • Loan amounts: $1,000 to $10,000

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    NetCredit provides personal loans ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 with terms of up to five years. It also offers lines of credit from $500 to $4,500.

    APRs vary by state, but they're generally on the higher side, starting at 34%. Sample loan terms and payment plans are available online so you can get a feel for NetCredit’s repayment plans. The company has no stated credit score minimum, but its APRs go as high as 155% for those with very low credit scores or poor credit histories.

    NetCredit typically transfers funds in one to three business days after it approves the loan application.

    Our pick for short loan terms
    Avio Credit

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    Avio Credit Details
    • APRs: Starting at 130.2442%
    • Term lengths: 2 weeks to 3 years
    • Loan amounts: Up to $5,000

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    Avio Credit is an online lender that offers fixed-rate personal loans, installment loans and lines of credit. Its loans are for up to $5,000, but the company only operates in 10 states at the time of publishing:

    • Alabama
    • Idaho
    • Kansas
    • Missouri
    • North Dakota
    • Rhode Island
    • Texas
    • Tennessee
    • Utah
    • Wisconsin

    Avio Credit’s personal loan APRs are higher than average, typically starting around 130%. For a loan with this high of an APR, it’s important to try to pay the loan back as soon as possible. This is reflected in the company’s relatively short loan terms. Avio Credit accepts borrowers with bad credit, but they must have a minimum monthly income of $1,000.

    You can get an instant decision after completing your loan application, and loan approvals are good for 30 days. However, most borrowers elect to receive funds within one business day.

    Our pick for small loans
    OppLoans

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    OppLoans Details
    • APRs: Starting at 99%
    • Term lengths: 6 months to 3 years
    • Loan amounts: $500 to $4,000

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    OppLoans offers personal loans, including options for borrowers with bad credit and online loans that don’t require credit checks. As such, OppLoans has no specific credit history criteria. If you have a limited credit history or don't have any credit history at all, this company could be an option. Loan amounts range from $500 to $4,000.

    OppLoans APRs start at 99%, but some loans have rates as high as 199%. Loan terms are between three months and two years. With these higher-than-average rates, you should consider paying off the loan as soon as possible, though.

    The company usually supplies funds within 24 hours of approval.

    What is a personal loan?

    Personal loans are short-term loans from banks, online lenders, credit unions, peer-to-peer lenders and other financial institutions. Borrowers can use funds from personal loans for any reason, but popular uses include paying down debt, covering emergency expenses and funding special occasions.

    Typically, borrowers receive lump sums based on their creditworthiness, which they repay with interest over a fixed amount of time. Most personal loan terms range from two to five years. This sets personal loans apart from lines of credit and credit cards, which often lack a fixed repayment schedule.

    Unlike a car loan or a mortgage, personal loans are unsecured in most cases. This means you don’t have to provide collateral, but the resulting risk to the lender drives up interest rates. The annual percentage rate of your loan often depends on your:

    • Income level
    • Credit history
    • Credit score
    • Employment history
    • Repayment capacity

    Types of personal loans

    You can take out an unsecured personal loan for a variety of reasons, and you don’t have to agree to use the money for any specific purpose. Before you apply for a personal loan, it helps to know the various types available. Here are some of the most common loan options.

    Unsecured personal loans
    The majority of personal loans are unsecured, which means they’re not backed by collateral. Like with most loans, the lender grants you funds based on your credit score, credit history and ability to repay the loan. However, the lack of collateral makes it more difficult for lenders to get their money back should you default. This risk tends to make interest rates higher on unsecured debt.
    Secured personal loans
    A secured personal loan is backed by collateral that the lender can repossess if you default. Because this situation makes lenders more secure, they usually offer better rates for secured loans. The downside is that you need to have viable collateral already and, should you fall behind on payments, you may lose that collateral.
    Fixed-rate loans
    A fixed-rate loan has an interest rate that stays the same over the entire term, meaning your payments stay consistent throughout the life of your loan. Fixed-rate loans are easier to budget around, and there’s no worry that a financial situation outside of your control will drive the cost of your loan up.
    Variable-rate loans
    Variable-rate loans may start with a fixed rate for a time, but eventually the interest rate begins to fluctuate based on a predefined benchmark. These loans can save you money initially because they often have lower starting rates than their fixed counterparts. However, they’re also much riskier. Variable-rate loans are often better for shorter-term loans because there’s less time for the rates to fluctuate.
    Personal line of credit
    While not technically loans, personal lines of credit may appeal to people considering unsecured personal loans. Unlike a loan, which provides a flat dollar amount upfront, a personal line of credit preapproves you for an amount that you can draw from over time. Personal lines of credit have variable interest rates and are typically more affordable than a credit card cash advance.
    Debt consolidation loans
    A debt consolidation loan lets you take out one loan to pay back multiple other loans, consolidating the debt into a single monthly payment. Some debt consolidation loans also allow you to get a better interest rate or term, saving you money each month.

    Personal loans vs. credit cards

    Although they operate differently, both personal loans and credit cards appeal to people that need money soon. To decide which one is right for you, it helps to understand their functional difference.

    • A credit card represents a line of credit from which you can borrow money at any time, up to your credit limit. This means you have more flexibility in how much debt you take on, and you also have more flexibility in how you pay that money back. While it’s a good idea to avoid interest by paying off your credit card each month, there’s usually a minimum payment you can make that’s lower than your actual balance. Your remaining debt does continue to generate interest while it’s unpaid, though.
    • A personal loan gives you funds upfront as a lump sum, which you repay in installments for a predetermined period of time. This means there’s more of a commitment involved, but personal loans often come with better interest rates than credit cards. As a result, personal loans are usually better for situations where you need a larger amount of money that you wouldn’t be able to pay off before your credit card interest rate kicks in.

    When deciding which option is better for you, think about how you’d prefer to receive funds and which one costs you less in interest. If the answer isn’t immediately clear, get offers for each and run the numbers to see for yourself.

    Think about how you’d prefer to receive funds and which one costs you less in interest"

    Pros and cons of personal loans

    Given their multitude of uses, personal loans are a great option for a lot of people. However, it’s always smart to acknowledge the potential shortcomings of any financial decision. We’ve outlined some of the pros and cons of personal loans below so that you can make an informed decision before you apply.

    Pros

    • Various types available
    • Decent interest rates for better credit scores
    • Often don’t require collateral
    • Payments are more consistent than with lines of credit or credit cards

    Cons

    • Risk to your credit history
    • Less flexibility than some options
    • Consolidation can create a debt loop
    • Scams are common

    Who are the best personal loan companies near me?

    If you prefer face-to-face communication, it's a good idea to work with a local company. We compared personal loan options from companies across the U.S. to help you find reputable lenders where you live. Analyze your options and compare terms to choose the one that best suits your needs.

    How to get a personal loan

    Once you’ve evaluated your options and decided that you want a personal loan, the next step is to start the application process. While lenders' processes may vary slightly, the steps to obtaining a personal loan are typically the same:

    1. Calculate your credit score. There are multiple ways to check your credit score. Just be careful about where you enter sensitive information and make sure the service you use is legitimate. This step is important because it lets you know where you stand going into the lending process.
    2. Find lenders willing to offer you loans. Look around for options that fit your situation, and then reach out for quotes and terms. Comparing these offers is arguably the most important step to getting a good loan, so don’t limit yourself to the first offer you get.
    3. Apply to the best one for you. The application process varies depending on the lender you use, but typically lenders run credit checks to determine your creditworthiness and interest rate. If you’re approved, the time to receive your funds depends on the lender.

    Your repayment term may begin immediately or be delayed. Regardless, once it starts, make payments on time for the rest of the loan term. If you can repay your loan early without incurring penalties, the less interest you pay in the long run.

    Personal loans FAQ

    What is a good interest rate on a personal loan?
    When it comes to interest rates, lower is better, and personal loan interest rates usually range from 5% to 36%. If you have bad credit, your rates may be much higher, though. Checking with a few lenders helps you find a good rate for your situation.
    How do I know if a loan company is legitimate?
    Before you apply for a loan, make sure the company is legitimate by:
    • Checking online reviews
    • Verifying it’s licensed in your state
    • Looking for transparent pricing
    • Noting any high-pressure sales tactics
    • Comparing its offer to the competition

    Remember that if an offer sounds too good to be true, it likely is.

    What is the difference between secured and unsecured loans?
    Secured loans require you to put up some asset as collateral, which means the lender can repossess that asset should you default on the loan. Unsecured loans don’t require collateral, but their interest rates are usually higher because the lender has no way to get paid if you default.
    Do unsecured loans hurt your credit?
    While an unsecured loan can hurt your credit, the difference between secured and unsecured loans is insignificant in this regard. If you default on an unsecured loan, expect to see a negative impact on your credit score. Your lender can also put your account in collections and even take legal action.
    Is it a good idea to get a personal loan?
    It depends. Personal loans are a viable option for many circumstances. While other types of loans have specific requirements for use, personal loans can be used on anything from medical expenses to consolidating debt. If you’re in a pinch and need cash fast, a personal loan could be the right option for you. The most important consideration is your ability to pay it back.
    What can be used as collateral for a secured loan?
    If you’re interested in a secured loan, work with your lender to figure out what you can use as collateral. Common options include:
    • Your home
    • Your car
    • Your investments
    • Your savings
    How fast can I get a loan?
    The duration of the application process depends on your lender. Some lenders approve borrowers the same day. Other lenders may take several weeks to fund a loan. If the speed of the loan matters to you, ask the lender how fast you can get funding before you commit.

    If you need money very soon and can repay the whole loan quickly, consider a higher-interest payday loan.

    Bottom line

    Personal loans are a great way to finance a variety of expenses over a short term. Like with any loan, just make sure you can afford the payments and avoid spending too much on interest. That’s why it’s smart to shop around for a good rate from a reputable lender.

    Not sure how to choose?

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      Personal loan company information

      AUTHORIZED PARTNER
      OppLoans

      OppLoans specializes in quick and affordable personal loans up to $4,000. If approved, the money may be in your hands within 24-hours with interest rates generally lower than payday or title loans. They also provide personal, one-on-one customer service for the care you need during these stressful times.

      • Fast Funding: If OppLoans approves your personal loan, you may be able to receive your cash within a day’s time.
      • Affordable: Their interest rates are generally lower than any payday or title loan. In fact, your APR with OppLoans could be half of a typical payday loan.
      • Excellent customer care: Because of their friendly, one-on-one customer care, OppLoans has received incredibly high marks in written customer reviews.
      • Easy application: You can apply for an OppLoan with ease on their website, and the application does not affect your FICO® credit score.
      AUTHORIZED PARTNER
      LoanMe

      LoanMe offers unsecured installment loans to consumers and businesses. The company's primary focus is to provide personal or small business lending solutions. The company offers loans from $2,600 to $100,000 for purposes such as debt consolidation or costs associated with starting a new business. LoanMe streamlines the loan application process, making it easier for consumers.

      • Loan range: LoanMe offers personal loans ranging from $2,600-$100,000. This wide range gives consumers several options to choose a loan amount that meets their needs, even if they do not own a home.
      • Direct deposit: With application approval, consumers can receive their loan funds via direct deposit into a checking account.
      • Automatic payment withdrawals: LoanMe automates the loan repayment process, withdrawing loan payments from the borrower's bank account based on an agreed-upon repayment schedule.
      • Three ways to apply for a loan: Applicants can call the company toll-free to begin the loan application process with a live agent, complete the process online or use the company's website to request a callback from a live agent.
      Read 526 Reviews
      FreedomPlus

      FreedomPlus is an online lender that offers personal loans in the range of $10,000 to $40,000. Interested consumers can visit their website and fill out an application online. FreedomPlus goes beyond your credit report to help you qualify for a loan.

      Read 507 Reviews
      Credit Direct

      Credit Direct Loans offers unsecured loans up to $40,000. You can complete the application, receive a loan proposal and contract and sign the contract electronically. The money is deposited into your checking account. Credit Direct Loans is licensed to provide loans in Arizona, California, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia.

      Read 80 Reviews
      AUTHORIZED PARTNER
      NetCredit

      NetCredit is a personal loan company offering loans up to $10,000. The company is a subsidiary of Enova International, Inc. Net Credit has a creative My RightFit ToolTM to help consumers customize their loan amount and repayment terms.

      • Easy application: The online NetCredit loan application process promises a quick response. If eligible for a loan, the borrower receives an offer which she can accept immediately, or she can request a modified loan.
      • Payment options: Borrowers select their own personalized repayment schedule. Additionally, NetCredit offers the customer an automatic payment option, so the borrower won’t forget to pay their loan payment.
      • No prepayment penalties and flexible repayment options: NetCredit helps build credit through regular reporting to 2 credit bureaus. The borrower can modify their payment amounts and won’t incur penalties for paying the loan off early.
      • No hidden fees: Borrowers of NetCredit promise no fees; borrowers only pay the company the interest and principal payment amounts for their loan. Their CLearCost for MeTM assures no additional or hidden fees.
      • Customer service options: NetCredit offers borrowers great customer service options, both by phone and by e-mail.
      Read 1020 Reviews
      AmOne

      AmOne takes a unique approach to helping individuals and business access the financial services they need. Instead of providing direct services, AmOne matches borrowers with suitable lenders. AmOne specializes in personal, unsecured, debt consolidation, small business and start up business loans. After completing a simple application, users are given a list of loan options. The borrower can pick the lender on their own or use one of AmOne’s consultants. The AmOne service helps the consumer narrow his or her borrowing options and make an informed credit decision.

      Read 243 Reviews
      Prosper

      Prosper is the country's first peer-to-peer lending marketplace. The company has provided more than $2,000,000,000 in loans. Loan interest rates range from 5.99% for the most credit worthy borrowers to 36.00% APR for consumers with lower credit ratings.  Borrowers can obtain loans from $2,000 up to $35,000.

      Read 56 Reviews
      OneMain Financial

      OneMain Financial has been in business since 1912. In 1998, their parent company, Travelers Group, merged with Citicorp and created Citigroup, a global financial services company.  In 2011, after many acquisitions, the company became OneMain Financial with 2,000 branches across 48 states.  This personal lender combines a variety of lending solutions with a comprehensive website complete with financial education articles, calculators and tools.

      Read 3110 Reviews
      LendingClub

      Lending club is the biggest peer lending marketplace. The company was launched in 2007, and it was originally one of Facebook's applications. Lending Club makes loans up to $35,000.

      Read 287 Reviews
      Avant

      Avant, formerly AvantCredit is a personal loan company that’s helped 350,000 customers. Borrowers can access between $2,000 and $35,000 for debt consolidation, home improvement and/or emergencies. The company has a 96% satisfaction rating.

      Read 171 Reviews
      Pioneer Military Credit

      Pioneer Services is a personal loan company dedicated to lending to active or retired members of the military. The company has been in business for more than 25 years, and it has awarded loans to more than 1.4 million military families. Pioneer Services is the military division of MidCountry Bank, a company that makes VA home loans to eligible active-duty and retired veterans. The website provides an extensive learning center with specialized money topics to help the military population.

      Read 24 Reviews
      Lendmark Financial

      Founded in 1996, Lendmark Financial Services offers individuals personal loans across the U.S. The company is headquartered in Covington, GA.

      Read 120 Reviews
      LendUp

      LendUp was founded to aid those with less than perfect credit scores. The lender provides access to personal loans and credit cards, as well as special financial education geared toward escaping the debt cycle, financial planning and credit management. The company offers single payment loans up to $250, installment loans up to $500 and prime loans up to $1,000.

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      by Barbara Friedberg Personal Finance Contributing Editor

      Barbara Friedberg, MBA, MS is a former investment portfolio manager with decades of financial experience. Friedberg taught Finance and Investments at several universities. Her work has been featured in U.S. News & World Report, Investopedia, Yahoo!Finance and many more publications.

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