Best Online Personal Loans

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38 Lenders reviewed
40 Loan features considered
4 Awarded "Best of 2022"

Online personal loans are installment loans that prospective borrowers can apply for online, without visiting a local branch. As with other personal loans, online loans can be used for various purposes, including debt consolidation, medical bills, travel and relocation, weddings, and emergency expenses. 

The best online personal loans feature competitive interest rates, a range of loan amounts, minimal fees, and flexible repayment terms. Top lenders also have fewer eligibility requirements, streamlined application and underwriting processes, and fast funding times.

Best Online Personal Loans of December 2022

If youre not seeing anything in the results that are a good fit for your needs, consider warranties from these companies:
Company APR Credit Score est. Loan Amount More Details
Best Overall SoFi
4.7
APR With Autopay Discount
7.99% - 23.43%
Recommended Minimum Credit Score
660
This lender does not offer prequalification.
Loan Amount
$5,000 - $100,000
See Details Check Rates
Best for Bad Credit and Small Loans Upgrade
4.3
APR With Autopay Discount
7.46% - 35.97%
Recommended Minimum Credit Score
560
This lender does not offer prequalification.
Loan Amount
$1,000 - $50,000
See Details Check Rates
Best for Fast Funding Rocket Loans
4.2
APR With Autopay Discount
8.42% - 29.99%
Recommended Minimum Credit Score
580
This lender does not offer prequalification.
Loan Amount
$2,000 - $45,000
See Details Check Rates
Best for Debt Consolidation Discover
4.3
APR Range
6.99% - 24.99%
Recommended Minimum Credit Score
Not Disclosed
This lender does not offer prequalification.
Loan Amount
$2,500 - $35,000
See Details Check Rates
Filter (4)

Struggling with bad credit, and having a hard time qualifying for a loan? Try some lenders with more lenient qualifications; you'll find them with our picks for the best personal loans for bad credit.

Best Overall : SoFi

Investopedia's Rating
4.7

  • APR Range: 7.99% - 23.43%
  • Time To Receive Loan: 0 Days
  • Loan Amount: $5,000 - $100,000
Why We Chose It

SoFi offers an exceptionally low minimum APR along with flexible loan amounts and terms, making it an excellent choice for borrowers with good credit.

Pros and Cons
Pros
  • High maximum loan amount: $100,000

  • No origination fees, late fees, or returned payment fees

  • A variety of discounts and bonuses for members

Cons
  • Large loans may take longer to process

Overview

SoFi is an online lender offering personal loans in every state except Mississippi. If your credit score is 650 or higher, it’s an excellent choice thanks to its low minimum APR and lack of fees. Loan rates start relatively low, although you’ll need to take advantage of two discounts to get the lowest rate. You’ll get a 0.25% interest rate discount for setting up autopay and another 0.25% discount for setting up direct deposit. SoFi allows you to pre-qualify and check your rate with no impact to your credit.

Loan amounts start higher than most lenders, ranging from $5,000 to $100,000. Minimum loan amounts may vary by state. You can choose repayment terms of 24 to 84 months, which gives you a bit longer to pay than some other companies. But remember that the longer you take to pay, the more you’ll pay in interest.

There are no prepayment penalties, which isn’t unusual, but SoFi stands out for not charging any late or returned payment fees, either. That doesn’t mean there are no consequences for paying late: If you fail to pay on time or in full you may default on your loan agreement, and this could have severely negative effects on your credit and overall finances.

SoFi delivers loans faster than most, offering same-day funding for eligible borrowers. The lender states that 87% of typical loan applications signed before 7 p.m. on a business day were funded on the same day, aside from Direct Pay loans and refinancing (for a period in 2021). But loan disbursement may take several business days in other cases, and loan amounts over $20,000 may require more underwriting review time.

Satisfied borrowers report that SoFi’s customer service is generally helpful, and appreciate the competitive APRs and fast funding times. Reviews tend toward the negative overall, however, and unhappy customers share difficulties qualifying for loans and slow response times from the SoFi support team.

Best for Bad Credit and Small Loans : Upgrade

Investopedia's Rating
4.3

  • APR Range: 7.46% - 35.97%
  • Time To Receive Loan: 1 Day
  • Loan Amount: $1,000 - $50,000
Why We Chose It

Qualifying for a loan with bad credit can be difficult, but Upgrade’s low credit score requirement of just 550 and minimum loan amounts of $1,000 are good for those with less-than-stellar credit.

Pros and Cons
Pros
  • Low minimum credit score requirement

  • Discounts for autopay and direct payments to creditors

  • Excellent customer reviews

Cons
  • Must pay an origination fee of 2.9%–8.0%

Overview

Unlike some lenders for bad credit, Upgrade provides relatively inexpensive loans with generous terms and perks, like low APRs, several discounts, and some extra time before payments are counted late. Borrowers with bad credit usually get higher interest rates, but Upgrade allows co-signers to help you qualify and/or get a better rate. You can get one discount for setting up autopay, and another for paying off a portion of your debt directly when consolidating. And with some extra work, you can get a 20% rate reduction by opening a new Upgrade reward checking account.

Upgrade loans come with an origination fee of 2.9%–8.0%, and if you have poor credit your fee may be on the higher end of that range. Late and returned payment fees are a bit more forgiving than average—payments made more than 15 days late will be charged up to $10, and returned payments will be charged $10 as well.

Upgrade’s minimum loan amount of $1,000 is one of the smallest among lenders we reviewed, with a maximum of $50,000. Small loan options are useful because you don’t have to borrow any more than you need, reducing the chance of getting caught with more debt than you can pay back. You can choose up to 84-month repayment terms for your loan, if you need it; the shortest possible term is 24 months.

You can check your pre-qualification status with Upgrade before applying, without damaging your credit score. Depending on your financial circumstances, Upgrade may offer you a secured loan as well as an unsecured loan.

Most reviewers thought the loan application process was fast and easy, and just about everyone seems to think customer service is helpful and friendly.

Best for Fast Funding : Rocket Loans

Investopedia's Rating
4.2

  • APR Range: 8.42% - 29.99%
  • Time To Receive Loan: 1 Day
  • Loan Amount: $2,000 - $45,000
Why We Chose It

Many lenders today offer next-day funding, but Rocket Loans is one of few companies to boast same-day funding for personal loans. Note, however, that not every borrower may receive the funds the same day they apply.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Same-day funding for eligible borrowers

  • Low minimum credit score requirement: 580

  • Available in most states

Cons
  • No joint applications or co-signers allowed

  • Origination fee of 1%–6%

  • Won’t send loan funds directly to creditors

Overview

If you’re facing an emergency or need to pay off creditors before a due date, you may not be able to wait a few business days to get a loan. Consider Rocket Loans, which may be able to deposit your loan proceeds in your bank account the same day you apply. But this depends on Rocket Loans’ ability to verify your personal and bank information, and any processing time by your bank, so it may take longer. And note that Rocket Loans won’t send funds directly to your creditors — you’ll have to do that yourself.

All personal loans from Rocket Loans have the same APR range, and the same terms (36 or 60 months). But when applying you’ll be asked to explain why you need the loan; you can choose from debt consolidation, home improvement, auto services, and other, which could include personal expenses or travel, for instance. 

You’ll pay a one-time origination fee of 1%–6%, and this fee is deducted from the loan proceeds, so take this into account when specifying how much money you’d like to borrow. Late payment fees are $15, but you’ll get a grace period of 10 days after your due date before payments are actually counted late. Take note that payments made after 2 p.m. ET will be counted on the next business day, which isn’t typical. Returned payments will also be charged $15 each.

Rocket Loans is widely accessible, offering personal loans in 47 states; Nevada, Iowa, and West Virginia are excluded. You can check your rate before applying without damaging your credit, and if approved, you can take advantage of a small discount by setting up autopay for your loan payments. You won’t be able to change your due date.

Rocket Loans has generally good customer reviews. Happy customers speak well of just about everything to do with the loan process, from the application to the funding times to the customer support. These reviews stand out all the more when you consider how poorly most banks fare.

Best for Debt Consolidation : Discover

Investopedia's Rating
4.3

  • APR Range: 6.99% - 24.99%
  • Time To Receive Loan: 1 Days
  • Loan Amount: $2,500 - $35,000
Why We Chose It

Discover checks all the boxes if you need a debt consolidation loan: reasonable APRs, quick funding, and payments sent directly to creditors.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • No origination or administrative fees

  • Will send payments to creditors or deposit in bank account

  • Next-day funding

Cons
  • No joint applications or co-signers allowed

  • Relatively low maximum loan amount

  • No discounts available

Overview

If you’re struggling to pay down multiple debts or credit cards with high interest rates or you’re overwhelmed by monthly payments, consolidating your debts with a single personal loan, ideally at a lower interest rate, could save you money and give you peace of mind. Discover offers convenient debt consolidation loans that can help you gain some control over your finances.

If your credit score and/or income have improved since you originally took on the debt, a debt consolidation loan could be a wise move. Discover allows you to check your rate without hurting your credit, giving you a chance to see if applying would be worthwhile. Although the maximum loan amount is relatively small, at $35,000, this may be plenty for many borrowers. If it’s not enough, you may still benefit by refinancing a portion of your debt with Discover. Loan terms range from 36 to 84 months.

Loan proceeds can be sent as soon as the next business day after approval, either directly to your creditors or deposited in your bank account. Take note that Discover personal loans can’t be used to pay off secured debt, Discover credit cards, or post-secondary education.

Discover’s personal loans are available in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. The lender doesn’t disclose a specific credit score requirement, but it does require an income of at least $25,000 to be considered for a loan. You can apply online or by calling (866) 248-1255. Interestingly, Discover offers a money-back guarantee — if you decide you don’t want the loan within 30 days, return the money by check and the loan will be canceled. You’ll get a full refund for any interest charges.

Like many big banks, Discover’s customer reviews are decidedly not good. Although some people are simply upset they weren’t approved, and many of the complaints are about credit cards, many others voice concerns about unhelpful customer support.

Compare the Best Online Personal Loans of December 2022

Overall Rating Best For
APR Range
Average Origination Fee
Late Fee
Time To Receive Loan
Loan Amount
Latest Repayment
Reset All
SoFi
4.7
Best Overall 7.99% - 23.43% 0.00% - 0.00% $0.00 - $0.00 0 Days $5,000 - $100,000 84 Months Check Rates
Hide, not for me
Upgrade
4.3
Best for Bad Credit and Small Loans 7.46% - 35.97% 1.85%–8.99% $10.00 1 Day $1,000 - $50,000 84 Months Check Rates
Hide, not for me
Rocket Loans
4.2
Best for Fast Funding 8.42% - 29.99% 1.00% - 6.00% $15.00 - $15.00 1 Day $2,000 - $45,000 60 Months Check Rates
Hide, not for me
Discover
4.3
Best for Debt Consolidation 6.99% - 24.99% 0.00% - 0.00% $39.00 - $39.00 1 Days $2,500 - $35,000 84 Months Check Rates
Hide, not for me
*APR ranges for some companies include a discount for automatic payments or existing bank customers.

Final Verdict

With so many popular lenders to choose from, finding the right personal loan can be intimidating, especially if you need a large amount of money. While some online lenders, like Discover, are useful for debt consolidation, others, like Upgrade, offer loan options for eligible borrowers with poor credit. The overall best online personal loans, however, are offered through SoFi. 

SoFi offers personal loans up to $100,000 with repayment terms from 24 to 84 months. APRs are competitive, and there are no origination, late payment, or prepayment fees. While SoFi’s qualification requirements are more stringent than some providers, the lender offers flexible loans to meet a range of borrowing needs.

Guide for Choosing the Best Online Personal Loans

Why Should You Apply for an Online Personal Loan? 

Online personal loans can be used for a broad range of purposes, and are often more accessible than traditional loans. For that reason, many borrowers opt for an online loan over financing from a traditional bank or credit union. 

Here are some common circumstances where an online personal loan may be appropriate:

  • You’re facing emergency expenses for things like auto repairs, medical bills, or a funeral
  • You need same- or next-day access to funds
  • You have credit card debt and want to streamline payments with debt consolidation
  • You want access to more competitive rates than those available through local banks and credit unions
  • It’s difficult or impossible to visit a bank in person
  • You don’t qualify for a personal loan through a traditional lender

Comparing Online Personal Loan Lenders

With so many online lending platforms to choose from, it can be difficult to identify the provider that best fits your borrowing needs. Consider these factors when comparing online personal loan lenders:

  • APR range: Personal loan APRs generally range from 2% to around 35% or higher, with the most competitive rates reserved for the most qualified applicants. Where possible, pre-qualify with lenders to see the rate you’re likely to qualify for before applying and undergoing a hard credit inquiry
  • Loan amounts: Depending on the lender, online personal loan amounts start as low as $300 and extend up to $100,000. Consider how much you need to borrow and choose a lender that’s willing to extend as much—or as little—as you can comfortably afford to repay. Many lenders offer online payment calculators to help determine the monthly cost of various loan amounts. 
  • Repayment terms: Loan terms are generally between 12 and 60 months. However, some lenders offer lengthier or more flexible terms than others. Keep in mind that shorter repayment terms result in larger monthly payments, and choose a lender with terms that fit your budget. 
  • Ease of application: Online lenders have convenient application processes that don’t require visiting a branch in person. Still, some lenders have more rigorous applications than others. What’s more, minimum qualification requirements vary by lender, so it's important to choose a provider that’s likely to approve your application. 
  • Funding speed: If you need the money quickly, compare loan options based on each lender’s standard funding speed. While some offer same-day funding, next-day disbursements are more common and others take several business days to process. Keep in mind that the time it takes to receive funds can depend on your financial institution. 
  • Lender reputation: Before committing to a lender, read online reviews and, where possible, talk to friends and family who’ve already worked with that financial institution. Reviews can offer valuable insight into how long the approval process takes, the quality of the lender’s customer support team, and whether average borrowers actually qualify for competitive rates.

How to Apply for a Personal Loan Online

The application process for online personal loans is lender-specific. However, most lenders follow the same general application and underwriting process. Follow these basic steps to apply for a personal loan online:

  1. Complete an online application. Navigate to the lender’s website and start an application by providing necessary information such as employment and income details, Social Security number, loan purpose, and how much you intend to borrow. Depending on the lender, this may involve pre-qualifying to see the rate you might receive, which usually doesn’t require a hard credit check. 
  2. Review and accept the loan offer. Some online lenders provide multiple loan offers based on the information provided as part of pre-qualification. After pre-qualifying, select an appropriate loan offer to continue your application and verification process. 
  3. Await verification and approval. Once you choose a loan offer, the lender will conduct a deeper review of your application and begin the verification process. This is generally the point at which a lender performs a hard credit inquiry, which will appear on your credit reports and can impact your credit score. You may need to submit additional documentation to verify your income and employment.
  4. Receive funds. After verifying your loan application, the lender will disburse loan funds to the account specified in your application or directly to your creditors. Depending on the lender, funds may be available as soon as the same day, while other providers may take several business days to disburse funds. From there, most lenders let customers manage their accounts through an online portal or mobile app.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is a Personal Loan?

A personal loan is a type of installment loan that can be used to cover practically any cost, like medical bills, auto repair, travel and vacations, weddings, and emergencies. Many people use them for credit card debt consolidation. Personal loans are typically available through traditional banks, credit unions, and online lenders.

Funds are dispersed as a lump sum, and interest begins to accrue on the entire loan amount from day one—typically at an annual percentage rate between 2% and 35%. Borrowers make equal monthly payments over a set loan term or may choose to pay the loan off early.

What Are the Benefits of Getting an Online Personal Loan?

Just like a traditional loan, online personal loans can provide cash when it’s needed most. However, online loans offer many advantages over borrowing from a brick-and-mortar lender. The main benefits of getting an online personal loan include:

  • Ability to quickly pre-qualify for a rate without a hard credit inquiry
  • Convenient online application process
  • Less strict qualification requirements
  • Competitive rates and fees
  • Accelerated approval and funding times

Is It Safe to Get a Personal Loan Online?

Getting a personal loan online is as safe as getting financing from a traditional bank, as long as the lender has a secure website and is otherwise reputable. Before submitting personal information online, prospective borrowers can confirm that the lender has an up-to-date SSL certificate, and all data is adequately protected via encryption. Applicants can also read reviews and look up complaints lenders have received from agencies such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Can You Get an Online Personal Loan With No Credit Check?

Finding an online loan (or any type of financing) with bad credit can be difficult. If you’re searching for bad credit loans, you may find lenders that advertise “no credit check loans” or “guaranteed approval.” Any such promises should be a red flag. According to the Federal Trade Commission, a lender that isn’t interested in your credit score or history might be running an advance-fee loan scam.

Can I Get a Personal Loan Online Instantly?

Many online lenders offer instant approval (if you can qualify) when you apply for financing. However, instant loan approval isn’t the same as instant access to your loan proceeds.

Once you qualify for a loan, the lender may require you to complete some additional steps. For example, you may need to send documentation verifying your identity and income. Some lenders offer next-day or even same-day loan disbursement, but the time it takes to get your loan depends on many factors, including the lender’s ability to verify your information and your own bank’s processing time.

How We Chose the Best Online Personal Loans

Our team evaluated 38 lenders and collected 1,520 data points before selecting our top choices. We weighed more than 20 criteria and gave a higher weight to those with a more significant impact to potential borrowers. 

The top picks were selected based on factors like membership requirements (weighted 15%), average fixed APR (weighted 15%), and average origination fees (weighted 10%). 

We also took into account the flexibility of repayment terms, helpful features like prequalification, and whether a co-signer or joint applications are permitted to ensure borrowers get the best possible experience. For further information about our selection criteria and process, our complete methodology is available.

Article Sources
Investopedia requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy.
  1. U.S. Federal Trade Commission. "Advance-Fee Loans."