Best Bank Loans

Wells Fargo is the best big bank and has multiple repayment terms.

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A bank loan is a type of loan that is offered by a bank and can be used for a variety of reasons including financial emergencies, major expenses, and as a way to build up your credit history. Approval for a bank loan is generally dependent on your overall financial profile including your credit score. 

The best bank loans will offer a low annual percentage rate, flexible repayment terms, and little to no fees. They will also provide helpful and accessible customer service agents and will make the application process streamlined and simple.

Best Bank Loans of October 2021

Best Big Bank : Wells Fargo


Wells Fargo

 Wells Fargo

  • Starting interest rate: 5.74%
  • Minimum credit score: Not disclosed 
  • Loan terms (range): 12 to 84 months
Why We Chose It

Wells Fargo has thousands of branches, online banking, and offers competitive rates and same-day funding. 

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Repayment terms up to 84 months

  • No origination fee or prepayment penalties

  • Funding available as soon as same-day

Cons
  • No pre-qualification option

  • New clients must apply in person at a branch

  • Minimum credit score not disclosed up front

Overview
  • Maximum/minimum amount you can borrow: $3,000 to $100,000
  • APR range: 5.74%–24.49% with relationship discount
  • Credit requirements: Although the Wells Fargo website does not disclose a minimum credit score for personal loans, the bank does state that borrowers with excellent credit (760+) will qualify for the best rates depending on their debt-to-income ratio and collateral value. Those with good credit (700-759) will typically qualify for a loan but may not get the best rate. Borrowers with fair credit (621-699) may qualify for a Wells Fargo loan but will likely pay a higher rate.
  • Fees: No origination fee, closing fee, or prepayment penalty. Late fees or returned payment fees may be assessed.
  • Other qualification requirements: Qualifying for a 0.25-0.50% relationship discount includes opting into Autopay from a qualifying Wells Fargo account. Since there is no pre-qualification option, loan applications will require a hard credit inquiry that impacts your credit score.
  • Repayment terms: 12 to 84 months
  • Time to receive funds: Often as soon as same-day or the next business day
  • Restrictions: New customers need to apply in person at a branch. Online and phone applicants must be Wells Fargo account holders.
  • Notes: Most customers will receive a relationship discount of 0.25%. Customers eligible for a relationship discount of 0.50% include those with Wells Fargo Portfolio Checking, Wells Fargo Prime Checking, Private Bank Checking, and Private Bank Interest Checking.

Read the full review: Wells Fargo Personal Loans

Best for Home Improvement Loans : Lightstream


LightStream
  • Starting interest rate: 2.49%
  • Minimum credit score: Varies
  • Loan terms (range): 24 to 144 months
Why We Chose It

LightStream specializes in home improvement loans with fast funding times and your home isn’t required as collateral. 

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Wide range of loan amounts

  • No fees

  • Lengthy repayment terms available

Cons
  • Stringent credit requirements

  • No pre-qualification option

  • No physical branches

Overview
  • Maximum/minimum amount you can borrow: $5,000 to $100,000
  • APR range: 2.49%–19.99% (with 0.50% Autopay discount)
  • Fees: None
  • Minimum recommended credit score: LightStream does not disclose a minimum credit score. It will consider the "unique nature of each individual's credit profile."
  • Other qualification requirements: Applicant must have several years of credit history with a variety of accounts and a good payment history, evidence of ability to save, and stable and sufficient income and assets to repay currents debt obligations in addition to a new loan from LightStream.
  • Repayment terms: 24 to 144 months
  • Time to receive funds: Within the same day of loan approval if approval process and final verification is completed by 2:30 p.m. ET
  • Restrictions: Minimum APR available will depend on the purpose for your loan (auto purchase, home improvement, debt consolidation)
  • Notes: APR of 2.49% is only available for loan amounts between $10,000 and $24,999 with repayment terms of 24 to 36 months. Only applicants with excellent credit are eligible for the lowest rates.

Read the full review: LightStream Personal Loans

Best for Debt Consolidation Loans : Marcus by Goldman Sachs


Marcus
  • Starting interest rate: 6.99%
  • Minimum credit score: 660
  • Loan terms: 36 to 72 months
Why We Chose It

The company specializes in no-fee debt consolidation loans and is backed by a financial powerhouse. 

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • No fees

  • Flexibility during repayment

  • Discount for Autopay

Cons
  • Stringent credit requirements

  • No cosigners allowed

  • No pre-qualification option

Overview
  • Minimum/Maximum amount you can borrow: $3,500 to $40,000
  • APR range: 6.99%–19.99% (with 0.25% Autopay discount)
  • Fees: None
  • Minimum recommended credit score: A minimum score of 660 is recommended in a July 2020 post entitled "What Credit Score Do You Need for a Personal Loan?" on Marcus's Financial Resources & Guides page.
  • Other qualification requirements: Your debt-to-income ratio may be taken into account. Loans require a hard credit inquiry at the time of application, which may impact your credit score. Marcus uses an automated system to verify income and employment status but may request documents such as pay stubs or personal bank statements.
  • Repayment terms: 36 to 72 months. Borrowers have the flexibility to change payment dates. Those who pay on time for 12 consecutive months are given a on-time payment reward in the form of the option to skip a month and extend their repayment term by 1 month without accruing any interest.
  • Time to receive funds: 1 to 4 business days once you're approved
  • Restrictions: Individual applicants only; no cosigners allowed.
  • Notes: To use the on-time payment reward option, you must request to defer your monthly payment at least 16 days before that payment is due.

Read the full review: Marcus Personal Loans

Best for Cosigners : TD Fit Loan (TD Bank)


TD Bank

 TD Bank

  • Starting interest rate: 6.99%
  • Minimum credit score: 660
  • Loan terms: 36 to 60 months
Why We Chose It

The lender allows for co-signers and doesn’t charge any application fees. 

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Fast funding process

  • No fees

  • Online prequalification

Cons
  • Availability limited to residents of only 15 states

  • You might have to visit a branch to complete the application process

  • Low credit scores won’t qualify

Overview
  • Minimum/maximum you can borrow: $2,000 to $50,000
  • APR range: 6.99%–21.99%
  • Fees: No origination fees or application fees
  • Minimum recommended credit score: 660
  • Other qualification requirements: In addition to your creditworthiness, your employment history and income may be taken into account.
  • Repayment terms: 36 to 60 months
  • Time to receive funds: As soon as the next business day
  • Restrictions: May need to complete the application process in person. Loans cannot be used for business or education purposes. Eligibility is limited to residents of Washington, D.C. and the following states: Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, and Virginia.

Read the full review: TD Bank Personal Loans

Best for Amex Cardmembers : American Express


American Express

 American Express

  • Starting interest rate: Varies 
  • Minimum credit score: Not disclosed 
  • Loan terms: 12 to 36 months
Why We Chose It

American Express offers loans to its cardholders which is convenient and comes with varying loan terms. 

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Pre-qualification option

  • Low APR available for borrowers with excellent credit

  • Can use loan for credit card debt consolidation

Cons
  • Must be an Amex cardholder and receive an offer

  • High minimum amount compared to other lenders

  • A hefty late fee

Overview
  • Minimum/Maximum amount you can borrow: $3,500 to $25,000
  • APR range: AMEX offers competitive APRs comparable to other financial institutions.
  • Fees: No origination fee or prepayment penalty. A charge of $39 will be assessed for late payments or returned payments.
  • Minimum recommended credit score: Company does not disclose a minimum score. Your maximum eligible loan amount will depend on creditworthiness and other factors.
  • Other qualification requirements: Must be an existing American Express cardholder.
  • Repayment terms: 12, 24, or 36 months. Your payment date is not flexible. Your due date is set at the time of loan approval and cannot be changed.
  • Time to receive funds: Once your designated account is verified, you'll typically receive funds within 3 to 5 business days.
  • Restrictions: You can only apply for a personal loan if you receive an offer to apply. Once approved, you will have 3 days to sign your loan agreement or the approval will be withdrawn.
  • Notes: American Express offers pre-qualification for personal loans, meaning no hard credit inquiry is required to apply. Your loan information will be reported to credit bureaus only if your loan is approved and funded. Your loan may not be used for education expenses, business, real estate, securities, vehicle purchases, or to pay down an Amex credit card balance.

Read the full review: American Express Personal Loans

Best for Military Members : USAA


USAA

 USAA

  • Starting interest rate: 7.24%
  • Minimum credit score: Not disclosed
  • Loan terms: 12 to 84 months
Why We Chose It

USAA offers banking services and loans to military members and veterans as well as rate discounts. 

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Discount for Autopay

  • Fast funding process

Cons
  • No pre-qualification option

  • Term requirements for loans of $5,000 or more

  • Relatively low maximum loan amount

Overview
  • Maximum/minimum amount you can borrow: $2,500 to $20,000
  • APR range: 7.24%–17.75%
  • Fees: No prepayment penalties or application fees
  • Minimum recommended credit score: Not disclosed on company website
  • Other qualification requirements: Must meet membership requirements and have a valid USAA Bank account.
  • Repayment terms: 12 to 84 months
  • Time to receive funds: Within 24 hours to your USAA Bank account
  • Restrictions: Financing for 12 to 36 months requires minimum loan amount of $2,500. Financing for 48-month term requires minimum loan amount of $5000. Financing for 60-month term requires minimum loan amount of $10,000. Financing for 72-month term requires minimum loan amount of $15,000. Financing for 84-month term requires minimum loan amount of $20,000. Applications for loan terms longer than 60 months must meet higher credit and risk standards than applications for loan terms 12 to 48 months. 

Read the full review: USAA Personal Loans

Best for Relationship Rewards : Citibank


C
  • Starting interest rate: 7.99%
  • Minimum credit score: Not disclosed 
  • Loan terms: 12-60 months
Why We Chose It

Citibank is the best bank loan for relationship rewards due to its thank you points and other customer rewards. 

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Relatively low annual income requirement

  • Discount for Autopay

  • Joint applications allowed

Cons
  • Only available to qualifying Citibank customers

  • No pre-qualification option

  • Slow funding time

Overview
  • Maximum/minimum amount you can borrow: $2,000 to $30,000
  • APR range: 7.99%–23.99% (with Autopay discount)
  • Fees: No origination fee. Possible fees for late payments and returned payments.
  • Minimum recommended credit score: Not disclosed by the company.
  • Other qualification requirements: Must be U.S. citizen or Permanent Resident. Applicants will need an annual income of at least $10,500 and an eligible Citibank account open for 3 months. 
  • Repayment terms: 12 to 60 months
  • Time to receive funds: Within 5 business days (mailed by check)
  • Restrictions: Loan funds are processed by check only. Applications for loan amounts greater than $30,000 must be made by phone (not online). You may only have one additional Citi personal loan open at the time of application, and it must have been originated at least six months prior. Personal loans may not be used for education purposes.

Read the full review: Citibank Personal Loans

Best for Fast Funding : Discover


Discover

 Discover

  • Starting interest rate: 5.99% 
  • Minimum credit score: Varies 
  • Loan terms: 36 to 84 months
Why We Chose It

Discover Bank is one of the largest online banks in the U.S. and offers 100% U.S.-based customer service. Personal loan borrowers can take advantage of zero origination fees, plus same-day loan approvals and funding. Rates start at 5.99% for maximum loan amounts of $35,000.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Ability to check rates without impacting credit score

  • Same-day approval and next-day funding in most cases

  • Option to send funds to creditors directly

Cons
  • No joint applications

  • Lengthier minimum loan term compared to other lenders

  • A hefty late fee

Overview
  • Maximum/minimum amount you can borrow: $2,500 to $35,000
  • APR range: 5.99%–24.99%
  • Fees: No origination fee or prepayment penalties. A $39 fee may be assessed for late payments.
  • Minimum recommended credit score: Not disclosed on company website. Lowest rates are available to customers will the best credit.
  • Other qualification requirements: Discover will consider your FICO score, other credit information such as number of recent inquiries and length of credit history, as well as key factors such as household income. The applicant needs an annual household income of $25,000. Must be a U.S. citizen or Permanent Resident.
  • Repayment terms: 36 to 84 months
  • Time to receive funds: As soon as the next business day.
  • Restrictions: Individual applicants only; no cosigners.
  • Notes: Discover may use third-party vendors to verify income and employment status. It may also use pay stubs for income verification or contact your employer to verify employment. If there are errors on your application, your loan is funded on a weekend, or you request your funds to be delivered by a method other than electronic disbursement.

Read the full review: Discover Personal Loans

Final Verdict

All of the best bank loans that made our list offer attractive features and have some negative aspects as well. Some of the bank loans offer competitive interest rates and high maximum loan amounts such as $100,000. Others offer longer repayment terms up to 84 months and flexible repayment schedules. Overall, we recommend checking out Wells Fargo for a bank loan. The company has a solid company reputation, a long history in the industry, and offers a variety of loans with varying loan terms. It also offers additional banking services and in-branch assistance.

Compare The Best Bank Loans

Lender Starting Interest Rate Minimum Credit Score Loan Terms (range) Maximum Loan Amount
Wells Fargo Best Big Bank 5.74% Not disclosed 12 to 84 months $100,000
Lightstream Best for Home Improvement Loans 2.49% Varies 24 to 144 months $100,000
Marcus by Goldman Sachs Best for Debt Consolidation Loans 6.99% 660 36 to 72 months $40,000
TD Fit Loan (TD Bank) Best for Cosigners 6.99% 660 36 to 60 months $50,000
American Express Best for Amex Cardmembers Varies Not disclosed 12 to 36 months $25,000
USAA Best for Military Members 7.24% Not disclosed 12 to 84 months $20,000
Citibank Best for Relationship Rewards 7.99% Not disclosed 12 to 60 months $30,000
Discover Best for Fast Funding 5.99% Varies 36 to 84 months $35,000
Loan amounts, APR, and repayment period may vary by loan purpose or type.

Guide to Choosing the Best Bank for Your Personal Loan

Are You in Need of a Personal Loan?

Before making the decision about getting a personal loan, assess your needs and your current situation and decide if it is right for you. Review your needs and determine if they currently require a personal loan. Consider things like what the loan is for, how you will repay it, how soon you need it, and what you need to do to qualify for the loan. Take note of your FICO score because the higher your credit score, the better interest rate you can receive. 

Common reasons to get a personal loan include debt consolidation, making a large purchase, or a financial emergency. 

Compare Bank Loan Lenders

When comparing bank lenders, you will want to keep several important factors in mind so that you’re fairly comparing the loans. Consider the following when comparing bank loan lenders:

  • Loan amounts: Consider the minimum and maximum loan amounts and ensure the amount you need falls within that range. 
  • Interest rates: Check out the interest rates and compare them with other lenders to ensure you’re getting a competitive rate and not over-paying. 
  • Fees: Know the fees before you sign the loan documents. Look at the cost of things like origination fees, prepayment penalties, and late fees. 
  • Repayment periods: How long will you have to repay the loan? Are the terms flexible? Make sure you will be able to meet the repayment schedule and not fall behind. 
  • Funding time: If you need the money tomorrow and the funding time is seven days, the loan won’t work for you. Find out how long the loan takes to fund and how you will receive the funds. 

Apply for a Bank Loan

After you have made your bank selection and chosen your bank loan, you’re ready for the application process. Having your finances in order such as making on time payments and providing steady income will improve your chances of getting approved and getting a low interest rate. Typically, the higher your FICO score, the lower your rate, which saves you money over the life of the loan. 

You will need to provide your identification, social security number, and proof of income. Proof of income requirements vary by bank but may be found in the form of bank statements, pay stubs, and/or tax returns. You will submit your documents and fill out the application either online or in person at a bank branch. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Do All Banks Offer Personal Loans?

No, not all banks offer personal loans. Bank of America, one of the biggest financial institutions in the country, doesn’t carry them, for example. Most personal loans are unsecured, meaning they are not backed up by an asset that the lender can take if you default, and some banks don't want the risk. Others just don't want to deal with the expense of lending and servicing relatively small, 4- and 5-figure amounts.

Other large banks that do not offer unsecured personal loans are Capital One and Chase.

What Do I Need to Qualify for a Personal Bank Loan?

If you’re looking to get a bank personal loan, you need to get your paperwork in order first. Before applying, check your credit score and pull your credit report through AnnualCreditReport.com. This will give you an idea of whether or not you’ll qualify for a bank personal loan, as well as how low your interest payments will be.

Most banks require good to excellent credit from personal loan applicants. So you might need a higher credit score than you would for, say, a secured loan (one that does require collateral, like an auto loan or mortgage) or even a credit card. Still, if you have a solid repayment history, avoid maxing out your credit cards, and can prove your creditworthiness, there’s a strong chance you’ll qualify for a bank personal loan.

Do I Need to Be an Existing Bank Client to Get a Loan?

If you’re interested in a personal loan from a bank you don't have a relationship with, make sure that being a client isn’t a requirement before applying. Not all banks request personal loan borrowers be account holders, but some do—or they offer better terms to current clients. Also, you might need to open a checking or savings account there to take advantage of auto-pay discounts on the loan (the payments have to come from an in-house account).

What Are Alternatives to Bank Loans?

While many banks offer personal loans, there are some limitations. As noted above, many require you to have an account with the bank before taking advantage of a personal loan. Others might take longer to get you your loan. You might want to explore the below alternatives to banks for personal loans.

  • Credit Unions: If you have less-than-stellar credit, you may want to reach out to credit unions near you for personal loans. While many require an account with the credit union to be open first, many are competitive with APRs and low amounts to borrow. This is helpful if you don’t need to borrow too much to cover an emergency.
  • Online lenders: Many online lenders, or non-brick-and-mortar banks, give you quick and easy access to personal loans. You can see if you prequalify before applying, which doesn’t hurt your credit. If you do decide to apply, you can do so within a few minutes online, rather than visiting a branch in-person. After approval, you can usually get funds fairly quickly—sometimes within a day. The best online lenders offer little to no fees, flexible repayment terms, and competitive APRs.

The best banks for personal loans vary in your needs, but many have competitive offers for a variety of different potential borrowers. Before you choose to take out a personal loan with a bank, make sure you review all your options, including alternatives, first. Depending on your needs and how quickly you need money, you may find some banks or lenders are more friendly than others. If it takes you days or weeks to apply for a loan and get your money, that won't help in a time-sensitive situation.

Methodology

We researched and reviewed more than 20 different lenders that offer bank loans before narrowing it down to our top choices. We considered factors such as starting interest rates, borrower requirements, and if the bank has online banking and physical branches. It was important for us to recommend bank loans that come from reputable institutions with positive overall ratings and years in the industry.

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