Personal Loan Provider Rating Methodology

Applying for personal loan from provider

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If you need quick cash for an unexpected expense or emergency, to pay for a wedding, or to repair or renovate your home, a personal loan could be a great way to cover your costs. There are many options available, and you can usually get funded in a matter of days. Personal loans are accessible to people with varying financial situations, including those with excellent credit and less-than-perfect credit. 

Given the many options available, figuring out which loan is right for you can be a daunting task. We reviewed and rated more than 40 providers to help you narrow down your options. The companies on our list were put through a rigorous evaluation process, and this guide covers the criteria we used to rate each one.

Our Review Process

We looked at 41 of the top personal loan companies, and analyzed each one in the following categories with the accompanying weights:

  1. Costs of Loan (29%): Criteria include APR, origination fees, late payment fees, prepayment penalties, etc.
  2. Loan Terms (22%): Criteria include minimum and maximum loan amounts, minimum and maximum repayment terms, how long it takes to receive the loan funds, etc.
  3. Borrower Requirements (33%): Criteria include credit and income requirements, state availability, whether co-borrowers/co-signers are allowed, whether you need to become a member to take out a loan (such as at a credit union), etc.
  4. Additional Features (16%): Criteria include whether you can pre-qualify for a loan, if you can change your due date, if the lender will send funds directly to creditors, if unemployment protection is offered, etc.

We weighted each criterion based on its relative importance for personal loan borrowers. The ratings were totaled to give each company an overall score from 0 to 5.

Data Collection

  • Data collection: We collected over 1,300 data points about 41 personal loan providers; data was collected from company websites and company representatives.
  • Competitive analysis: We conducted a competitive analysis to identify the top personal loan lenders. This analysis helped us determine key evaluation criteria and methodologies that are commonly used to assess personal loans.
  • Literature review: We reviewed market share and revenue data of top lending institutions using market insight databases like Statista, Plunkett, and Gale.
  • Customer survey: We conducted a survey of 1,097 U.S. personal loan customers to better understand the factors that influence borrowing decisions, and to better understand customer sentiment toward specific lenders. We polled people who were planning to get a loan soon, people who currently have a loan, and people who have previously had a loan from one of our chosen lenders.

Choosing the Right Personal Loan for You

Many factors go into finding the right personal loan. After carefully considering consumer needs, we evaluated and rated more than 40 personal loan providers. In each of our provider reviews, we addressed some of the most important questions you should ask to make an informed borrowing decision. 

Ultimately, choosing the best personal loan is an individual decision—the main factors to look at are:

  • Availability
  • APR
  • Loan amounts
  • Other fees
  • Funding time
  • Repayment schedule

All of our reviews were written using publicly available information, including information from customer support representatives and company media representatives. That said, personal loan providers frequently revise their loan costs, terms, and features. Our reviews are provided only for informational purposes and should not be used as financial or legal advice or in place of consultation with a professional.

Our Team

Hannah Kang

Research Manager, Performance Marketing
Hannah Kang

Hannah has been conducting research for over a decade, with a recent focus on providing data-driven recommendations from synthesizing quantitative data with qualitative data on services and products across finance, health, and lifestyle. 

Prior to joining the Performance Marketing team as a Research Associate, Hannah conducted research for Fortune 500 companies and multinational biotech companies including Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, and Takeda. Her experience leading rigorous studies for FDA reviews shaped her standard of research integrity which guides her work at Performance Marketing.

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Fatima Aslam

Research Analyst
Fatima Aslam

Fatima is a Research Analyst for the Performance Marketing team at Dotdash Meredith where she facilitates research and leads data analysis for the editorial team.

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Brendan Harkness

Senior Finance Editor, Performance Marketing
Brendan Harkness

Brendan has been writing and editing content for nearly a decade, with a recent focus on finance, credit cards, and banking. As a senior editor for Investopedia, he edits and fact-checks reviews of financial products and services.

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