Rates on personal loans continue to climb, with the average increasing for a third consecutive week. Monday's rate average was up 59 basis points from the previous Monday, piling onto a full percentage point increase over the previous two weeks. The average is now up to 20.6% APR, a stark change over the 19.01% APR reading of March 27.
The lowest rate reported by our surveyed lenders this week was again 5.99% APR, while the highest remains 36.00% APR.
The average loan amount dipped notably this week, shedding almost $1,372 to rest at $20,205. Meanwhile, the average loan term returned to 50 months after averaging 49 months for the last few weeks.
Despite the average rate sharply increasing for those with Good, Fair and Poor credit, borrowers with Excellent credit saw a modest decrease in rates. The overall rate across all credit tiers increased by 59 basis points week over week.
|Personal Loan APRs by Credit Quality|
|Credit Quality||Average APR Last Week||Average APR This Week||Week over Week Change|
Personal loan rates rose over the course of 2022 due to major interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve. To fight the highest inflation rates seen in 40 years, the Fed not only raised the federal funds rate at each of its last nine rate decision meetings, but often hiked the rates by historically large increments. Indeed, six of the nine increases were by 0.50% or 0.75%.
The Federal Reserve and Personal Loan Rates
Generally speaking, moves in the federal funds rate translate into movement in personal loan interest rates, in addition to credit card rates. But the Federal Reserve's decisions are not the only rate-setting factor for personal loans. Also important is competition, and in 2022, the demand for personal loans increased substantially.
Though decades-high inflation has caused the Fed to raise its key interest rate an eye-popping 4.75% since last March, average rates on personal loans haven't risen that dramatically. That's because high borrower demand required lenders to aggressively compete for closed loans, and one of the primary ways to best the competition is to offer lower rates. Though personal loan rates did increase in 2022, the fierce competition in this space prevented them from rising as much as the federal funds rate.
As for 2023, inflation has started to tame, though it's still relatively high. As a result, the Fed is contemplating when to step off the gas on rates. Market forecasts currently predict one more quarter-point increase from the Fed and then a rate plateau, perhaps followed by a rate decrease still this year. The Federal Reserve's next rate-setting committee meeting concludesMay 3.
|Lender||Average APR||Average Loan Term (months)||Average Loan Amount|
|Bankers Healthcare Group||16.21%||87||$70,121|
|All Lenders Above||20.60%||50||$20,205|
What Is the Predicted Trend for Personal Loan Rates?
If the Fed raises the federal funds rate higher in 2023, personal loan rates could also increase. However, with competition for personal loans still stiff, upward movement in loan rates could be dampened even in light of an increased federal funds rate, perhaps leaving averages not far from current levels.
Because most personal loans are fixed-rate products, all that matters for new loans is the rate you lock in at the outset of the loan (if you already hold a fixed-rate loan, rate movements will not affect your payments). If you know you will certainly need to take out a personal loan in the coming months, it's likely (though not guaranteed) that today's rates will be better than what you can get in the next few months, if the Fed does indeed hike rates further.
It's also always a wise move to shop around for the best rates. The difference of a percentage point or two can easily add up to hundreds or even thousands of dollars in interest costs by the end of the loan, so searching out your best option is time well invested.
Lastly, don't forget to consider how you might be able to reduce your spending to avoid taking out a personal loan in the first place, or how you could begin building an emergency fund so that future unexpected expenses don't sink your finances and cause you to require additional personal loans.
Rate Collection Methodology Disclosure
Investopedia surveys and collects average advertised personal loan rates, average length of loan and average loan amounts from 16 of the nation's largest personal lenders each week, calculating and displaying the midpoint of advertised ranges. Average loan rates, terms, and amounts are also collected and aggregated by credit quality range (for excellent, good, fair, and bad credit) across 29 lenders through a partnership with Even Financial. Aggregated averages by credit quality are based on actual booked loans.
Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. "Open Market Operations."
CME Group. "CME FedWatch Tool."
Federal Reserve Open Market Committee 2023 Meeting Calendar