Best Personal Loans

SoFi offers competitive interest rates and unemployment protection

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Personal loans allow you to borrow money for just about any purpose. Personal loans typically offer flexibility, but costs can vary based on your credit history and the lender you choose. Most personal loans don’t require any form of collateral or security deposit, but late and missed payments show up on your credit report and lower your credit score.

The best personal loans are quick and easy to get. They also feature low interest rates and low fees for qualifying borrowers and no prepayment penalties if you want to pay your balance off early.

Best Personal Loans of November 2021

Best Overall : SoFi


SoFi
  • Interest Rate: Starts at 4.99% (with AutoPay discount)
  • Min. Credit Score: Not available
  • Terms (range): 2 to 7 years
Why We Chose It

SoFi personal loans combine attractive interest rates with impressive benefits, like the ability to temporarily pause your payments if you lose your job. Interest rates start as low as 4.99% with autopay. Qualified borrowers may receive up to $100,000 in funding, making SoFi a solid all-around choice.

Pros and Cons
Pros
  • Low interest rates available for qualified borrowers

  • Unemployment protection available

  • High loan amounts available

Cons
  • Better rates may be available elsewhere

  • Funding may take a few days

  • Good credit required

Overview

SoFi personal loans combine attractive interest rates with impressive benefits, like the ability to temporarily pause your payments if you lose your job. SoFi offers loans of $5,000 to $100,000 with no fees. Interest rates start at 4.99% and go up to 19.63% including an automatic payment discount, depending on your credit history.

Besides your credit score, SoFi will also consider your credit history, income, employment, and other factors when reviewing your loan application. It may take several days between the time of your application and when funds are deposited into your account

To be approved you need to be 18 or older and a U.S. citizen (or permanent resident or visa holder). SoFi loans are currently available in every state except Mississippi.

Read the full SoFi Personal Loans Review

Best for Debt Consolidation : Marcus by Goldman Sachs


Marcus logo
  • Interest Rate: Starts at 6.99%
  • Min. Credit Score: Not Available
  • Terms (range): 36 to 72 months
Why We Chose It

Marcus by Goldman Sachs offers personal loans that may work well for debt consolidation, due in part to long repayment terms of up to 72 months. If you have excellent credit, you may qualify for an interest rate as low as 6.99% with zero fees attached. Loan amounts are available up to $40,000 for qualified applicants. Together, these features might save you money if you can consolidate your expensive credit card debt for a lower rate.

Pros and Cons
Pros
  • Longer repayment terms

  • No fees including late fees

  • Customize your payment due date

Cons
  • Higher rates longer repayment terms

  • Good credit needed to qualify 

  • No cosigners accepted

Overview

Marcus by Goldman Sachs offers personal loans that may work well for debt consolidation, due in part to long repayment terms. Marcus personal loans are available for $3,500 to $40,000 with no fees, including late fees. Interest rates range from 6.99% to 19.99% APR. It’s important to note that you can't use a personal loan from Marcus to refinance student loan debt.

You'll need to be 18 or older (in most states) plus have a valid bank account and Social Security or Individual Tax I.D. Number to apply. Allow one to four business days to receive your funds once approved.

Read the full Marcus personal loan review

Best for Good Credit : LightStream


LightStream logo
  • Interest Rate: Starts at 2.49%
  • Min. Credit Score: Not Available
  • Terms (range): 24 to 144 months
Why We Chose It

LightStream, an online division of SunTrust Bank, offers low interest rates to borrowers with good credit, starting as low as 2.49% for certain types of unsecured personal loans. Well-qualified borrowers may be able to take out a personal loan from LightStream for up to $100,000. Between the stellar interest rates and high maximum loan amounts, LightStream may be a great fit for applicants with solid credit ratings.

Pros and Cons
Pros
  • Unsecured Rates as low as 2.49%

  • Competitor Rate Beat Program

  • Loan Experience Guarantee

Cons
  • Excellent credit needed for lowest rates

  • No preapproval process

  • Online applications only

Overview

LightStream, an online division of SunTrust Bank, offers low interest rates to borrowers with good credit. LightStream personal loans are available from $5,000 to $100,000 with interest rates from 2.49% to 19.99% APR including an automatic payment discount. Lightstream doesn’t charge fees.

You'll have a better chance of approval if your credit reports show several years of credit history, a good mixture of account types (e.g., credit cards, installment loans, etc.), and few to no late payments. You should also be able to prove stable, adequate income to repay a new loan and evidence of savings (e.g., bank deposits, bonds, stocks, etc.).

Once approved, you may be able to access your funds as soon as the same day. However, you cannot use a loan from LightStream to pay for college, refinance a student loan, or fund a business.

Read the full LightStream personal loans review

Best for Fair Credit : Upstart


Upstart logo
  • Interest Rate: Starts at 6.76%
  • Min. Credit Score: 600
  • Terms (range): 3 year or 5 year
Why We Chose It

Upstart is an online lending platform founded by a group of former Google employees. Because the platform uses artificial intelligence to consider alternative data, you may be more likely to qualify even if your credit is less than perfect, making Upstart a solid option for borrowers with a fair credit rating. 

By using alternative data in its applications, Upstart has been able to approve 26% more applicants since late 2017. Typical rates with Upstart are between 6.76% and 35.99%. Qualified applicants can borrow from $1,000 to $50,000.

Pros and Cons
Pros
  • No prepayment penalty

  • Alternative data considered when you apply

  • Soft credit pull to get your initial quote

Cons
  • A high maximum APR 

  • Potentially High origination fees

  • Online applications only

Overview

Upstart is an online lending platform founded by a group of former Google employees. Because the platform uses artificial intelligence to consider alternative data, you may be more likely to qualify even if your credit is less than perfect, making Upstart a solid option for borrowers with a fair credit rating. Qualified applicants can borrow from $1,000 to $50,000 with rates between 6.76% and 35.99%.

By using alternative data in its applications, Upstart has been able to approve 26% more applicants than traditional lenders in 2020. However, origination fees can cost up to 8% of your borrowed amount. Late fees are either $15 or 5% of the past due amount—whichever is greater. Returned check fees (or ACH return fees) are $15. You'll also be charged $10 if you switch from paperless monthly statements to mailed copies. 

You can't qualify with a bankruptcy, public record, or currently past-due account on your credit report. You could access funds as soon as the next day, once you accept the terms, two days if you accept after 5pm EST. Residents of Iowa and West Virginia are not eligible to borrow from Upstart.

Best for Bad Credit : Avant


Avant

Avant

  • Interest Rate: Starts at 9.95%
  • Min. Credit Score: 600-700 average approved credit score
  • Terms (range): 24 to 60 months
Why We Chose It

A personal loan from Avant may be a solution to consider if you need to borrow money but you have challenged credit. Qualified borrowers may receive up to $35,000 in funding and interest rates start as low as 9.95%. While that might not be the lowest rate you can find on a personal loan, it's considerably lower than the starting point for many alternative personal loans for bad credit.

Pros and Cons
Pros
  • Competitive interest rates for bad credit

  • Fast access to funds

  • Start with a soft credit pull

Cons
  • Interest rates may be high

  • Maximum loan amount is low

  • An administrative fee may be charged

Overview

A personal loan from Avant may be a solution to consider if you need to borrow money but you have challenged credit. Loans are available from $2,000 to $35,000 with APRs from 9.95% to 35.99%. While that might not be the lowest rate you can find on a personal loan, it's considerably lower than the starting point for many alternative personal loans for bad credit.

Also note that Avant may charge an administration fee of up to 4.75%, deducted directly from your loan amount. Late fees may be charged as well, if your payment becomes past due. 

In addition to your credit score, Avant will also review your income to see if you qualify and for what loan amount. Loan funds are usually deposited in your account by the next business day. 

Read the full Avant personal loans review.

Best Runner Up : Best Egg


BE
  • Interest Rate: Starts at 5.99%
  • Min. Credit Score: 640
  • Terms (range): 36 to 60 months
Why We Chose It

Best Egg is known for their highly-rated customer service and competitive rates. Best Egg has some of the best rates out there even with the origination fee. Applicants can get personal loans with rates as low as 5.99% and terms starting at 36 months.

Pros and Cons
Pros
  • Check their initial rate without affecting credit

  • Competitive rates offered

  • Can take out more than one loan

Cons
  • High income required for the lowest rates

  • Origination fees required

  • No joint applications

Overview

Best Egg is known for their highly-rated customer service and competitive rates. Best Egg has some of the best rates out there even with the origination fee. Applicants can get personal loans with rates from 5.99% to 35.99% APR for loans of $2,000 to $35,000.

Applicants need to have an income of at least $100,000 to qualify for the lowest rates, and a minimum credit score of 700. Loans are typically funded in one to three business days. You can borrow more than one loan from Best Egg, but your combined loans cannot be more than $50,000.

Read the full Best Egg personal loan review

Best Bank : Wells Fargo


Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo

  • Interest Rate: Starts at 5.74%
  • Min. Credit Score: Not Available
  • Terms (range): 12 to 84 months
Why We Chose It

Wells Fargo is one of the nation's biggest banks. If you don't want to visit one of their 7,200 branches across the U.S., you can access info on their website — existing customers can apply online or over the phone.

Pros and Cons
Pros
  • No origination fees or prepayment penalties

  • Fast funding times

  • Relationship discounts available

Cons
  • New customers need to apply in person

  • $3,000 minimum loan amount

Overview

Wells Fargo is one of the nation's biggest banks. If you don't want to visit one of their 7,200 branches across the U.S., existing customers can apply online or over the phone. Loans are available from $3,000 to $100,000 with interest rates from 5.74% to 24.24% APR.

There are no origination, closing, or prepayment fees, but there may be fees for late or returned payments. Applicants need to sign up for autopay from a qualifying Wells Fargo bank account to qualify for rate discount.

Funds may be available as soon as the same day or next business day. If you’re new to Wells Fargo, you have to go into a physical branch to apply. Existing customers can apply for a personal loan online or by phone.

Read the full Wells Fargo review

Best Credit Union : First Tech Credit Union


FTFCU
  • Interest Rate: Starts at 6.70%
  • Min. Credit Score: Not available
  • Terms (range): 24 to 84 months
Why We Chose It

First Tech Credit Union offers those with low to fair credit access to better rates and minimal fees. Plus, membership requirements aren’t as strict—to qualify you need to sign up to be a member of the Financial Fitness Association or the Computer History Museum and open a savings account. The credit union offers one of the most competitive rates for unsecured personal loans, starting at 6.70%.

Pros and Cons
Pros
  • Applications with co-borrowers allowed

  • No application or origination fees

  • Offers a higher maximum loan amount

Cons
  • Membership requirements to apply

  • More competitive rates elsewhere with high credit

Overview

First Tech Credit Union offers those with low to fair credit access to better rates and minimal fees. Plus, membership requirements aren’t as strict—to qualify you need to sign up to be a member of the Financial Fitness Association or the Computer History Museum and open a savings account.

Loans are available from $500 to $50,000 with rates starting at 6.70% APR. Applicants need to be the age of majority in their state, and the credit union will consider their income and existing debts. Funds are available as soon as the next business day.

Final Verdict

SoFi is our top choice thanks to competitive rates and an easy online application process. But if you don’t have good enough credit, or have excellent top-level credit, you may get better rates shopping around elsewhere.

Because credit scores and borrowed amounts vary, there’s not a perfect lender for everyone. However, if you find a lender like SoFi that’s a good fit for your requirements, you may have found a winner. Check out this personal loan calculator to learn more about what you can expect to pay with SoFi or any of the other best personal loan companies from this list.

Compare Best Personal Loans

Lender APR Range Minimum Loan Amount Maximum Loan Amount Terms Recommended Credit Score
SoFi Best Overall 4.99%–19.63% with autopay $5,000 $100,000 2–7 years Not Available
Marcus by Goldman Sachs Best for Debt Consolidation 6.99%–19.99% $3,500 $40,000 36–72 months Not Available
LightStream Best for Good Credit 2.49%–19.99% with autopay $5,000 $100,000 24–144 months Not Available
Upstart Best for Fair Credit 6.76%–35.99% $1,000 $50,000 3 or 5 years 600
Avant Best for Bad Credit 9.95%–35.99% $2,000 $35,000 24–60 months 600+
Best Egg Best Runner Up 5.99%–35.99% $2,000 $35,000 36–60 months 640
Wells Fargo Best Bank 5.74%–24.24% with relationship discount $3,000 $100,000 12–84 months Not Available
First Tech Credit Union Best Credit Union Starts at 6.70% $500 $50,000 24–84 months Not Available
Loan amounts, APR, and repayment period may vary by loan purpose or type.

What Is a Personal Loan?

A personal loan is a predetermined amount of money given to an individual by a bank or private lender. It is usually unsecured and carries a fixed interest rate. The borrower must agree to the loan rate and terms and make on-time monthly payments until it is fully paid back. A personal loan can be used for a number of things including paying off or consolidating debt, paying medical expenses, or making a large purchase.  

How Do Personal Loans Work?

Personal loans work by lending a borrower money if they meet certain qualifications that are set by the lender. The money is paid back over time with interest. The borrower usually makes monthly payments of principal and interest to repay the loan. A personal loan is often a more affordable option than a credit card because the interest rate is usually lower. 

What Are the Qualification Requirements for a Personal Loan?

Qualification requirements for a personal loan vary based on the loan amount, who is lending the money, and the type of loan. Typical personal loan qualification requirements are:

  • Minimum FICO score usually in the 600s
  • Income requirements 
  • Debt-to-income ratio
  • Address history for the past two years
  • 18+ years old
  • Valid social security number
  • Bank statements showing proof of income and positive banking history


How Much Do Personal Loans Cost?

Some of the fees associated with personal loans are origination fees, prepayment penalties, late fees, and administrative fees. However, not all lenders charge the same fees. It’s important to check with the lender before getting a personal loan. Despite what fees the lender charges, the largest cost is going to be what you’re paying in interest. The average interest rate for a personal loan is 9.58%.

Methodology

There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of personal loans available. We researched and reviewed dozens of them before deciding on our top contenders. We chose these specific personal loans as the best personal loans based on the loan amount, loan term, associated fees, interest rate, and application process.

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. Federal Reserve. "Consumer Credit - G.19." Accessed July 20, 2021.