10 Best Personal Loans of 2017

We compared the Best Personal Loans. Personal Loans can be a great alternative to credit cards for large or unexpected expenses. Fast & easy online applications. Get a loan today!

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Personal Loans can be used for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to: unexpected charges (medical emergencies, vehicle repairs, emergency travel, etc.), credit card debt consolidation (credit cards can have much higher interest rates than personal loans), or a large one-time expense (wedding, home remodel, etc.). On the other hand, though they can be a great option to get cash fast, personal loans can also ruin your credit when handled irresponsibly.  

Due to the potentially high interest rates, it can be unwise to use an unsecured loan for a discretionary purchase like a vacation or a shopping spree. Since personal loans aren't secured by any collateral, there's a greater risk involved for lenders (who have no assurance you’ll repay it), and often, higher interest rates. Lenders will likely require a credit check to understand how you’ve historically handled debt, and usually require a general explanation of how you’ll use the money.

Typically, the loan will be fixed rate and fixed term, meaning the amount that you’ll pay per payment interval (most commonly monthly) does not change, and there is a set window of time in which you have to repay the debt before you face any penalties. Take the time to look over your finances before taking out a loan to make sure you only borrow what you are able to repay.

Top 10 Companies

#1
LendingTree
Our Partner
9.9 / 10
  • Loans for Debt Consolidation, Homes, Business, Cars, Vacations, Weddings, Medical Expenses & more
  • Get $1,000 - $35,000 in as little as 24 hours!
  • Unsecured Personal Loans
  • Rates from 5.99% - 35.99% APR
  • Loan terms of 3 mo -15 years
  • Compare up to 5 free offers with no obligation. 
  • When banks compete, you win!
#2
SoFi
Our Partner
9.8 / 10
  • Our #1 Choice for Borrowers with Excellent Credit
  • Up to $100,000 for Debt Consolidation, Home Improvements & More
  • No Origination Fees or Pre-Payment Penalties, Unemployment Protection
  • As low as 5.49% Fixed or 5.17% Variable (with AutoPay)
  • Loan terms of 3-7 years
  • SoFi Borrowers Improved Their Credit Scores Paying Off Credit Card Debt*
#3
Even Financial
Our Partner
9.5 / 10

  • Get personalized loan offers in less than 60 seconds
  • Borrow $1,000 to $100,000 for Debt Consolidation, Large Purchase, Home Improvement, Vacation, and more
  • Rates from 4.99% - 35.99% APR
  • Pay back in 24-84 months
  • Funds available as soon as next business day
  • Loan search is 100% free and does NOT affect your credit score - EVEN’s proprietary technology and algorithms will match you with the best loan offer instantly from its top online consumer lenders
#4
Prosper
Our Partner
9.5 / 10
  • Innovative peer-to-peer loans trusted by 250,000+ 
  • No teaser rates/ hidden fees - 5.99% to 36% APR 
  • Get $2,000 to $35,000 with 3 or 5 years to pay it back
  • Answer a few questions to get your lowest eligible rates instantly.
  • You can pay it off whenever without penalty.
  • Your money goes straight to your bank account via direct deposit. 
  • No prepayment penalties
  • A+ BBB rating
  • 640-740 Credit Score Is Ideal
#5
Payoff
Our Partner
9.4 / 10
  • Payoff Members have raise their credit scores by 40 points.
  • Consolidate all your credit cards to one affordable monthly payment.
  • Fixed-rates between 8%­ and 25% APR.
  • NO prepayment penalties, application fees, late fees, or hidden fees. 
  • Loans for refinancing credit card debt from $5,000 to $35,000
#6
LoanStart
Our Partner
9.4 / 10

 

  • Request $1,000 to $35,000 for Credit Card Consolidation, Home Renovation, Major Purchase, Medical Bills, and anything else you need money for.
  • Completely FREE loan finding service that DOESN’T impact your credit score 
  • APR range from 6.63%-35.99%, minimum credit score 580+
  • Large network of lenders and lending partners.
  • Find out in minutes, repay in 24 to 84 months.
  • APR range from 4.84%-35.99%, minimum credit score 580+.
  • Get money in as soon as one business day.
     
#7
Discover
Our Partner
9.0 / 10
  • Fixed-rate personal loans up to $35,000
  • Check your rate with no impact to your credit
  • No origination fees. No closing costs. No pre-payment penalties.
  • Loan terms from 36 to 84 months
  • Rates ranging from 6.99% to 24.99% APR
  • Funds sent the next business day after you accept loan.
     
#8
LightStream
Our Partner
8.8 / 10
  • Must have good to excellent credit
  • Loans from $5,000 - $100,000
  • Rates from 2.19% - 17.49%* APR with AutoPay
  • Rates vary by loan purpose (see above)
  • Flexible terms
#9
Loans Under 36
Our Partner
8.8 / 10
  • More than 100 partner lenders
  • Borrow loan amount from $1,000 to $5,000
  • Funds wired directly to your account
  • Apply regardless of your credit history
  • Repayment term: 61 days to 72 months
  • Find lenders with under 35.99% APR
  • Free loan matching service
#10
PersonalLoans
Our Partner
8.6 / 10
  • A+ Rating with the BBB
  • $35,000 loans for any credit type!
  • Free service to help you find the right loan for your needs
  • Pay it back in 6-72 months depending on lender terms
  • Max 35.99% APR
  • Loans for any purpose! Students, Cars, Vacations & more! 
Don't see the business you are looking for?

Best Personal Loans: Summed Up

RankCompany NameStrengths
1LendingTreeBest Overall
2SoFiLoan Basics, Service Features
3Even FinancialService Features
4ProsperLoan Basics

How We Compare Personal Loans

Select 2 personal loans companies to compare
vs
Loan Basics - 20%
Service Features - 20%
Qualification - 20%
Additional Fees - 20%
Customer Experience - 20%

Customer Questions & Answers

What happens if I can’t pay?

If you think that you will either be late or miss a payment, we suggest contacting your lender immediately.

Oftentimes, lenders will charge fees for late payments. If you miss a payment altogether, or have an outstanding payment for more than a month, lenders have the right to report this to the credit bureaus, which will impact your credit negatively. Late payments are one of the biggest factors in low credit scores and should be avoided whenever possible.

By contacting your lender before your payment is late, this shows them you're trying to find a solution to the problem. As a result, they may be more willing to waive late payment fees, give you more time to pay without reporting it to the credit bureaus, or renegotiate the terms of your loan.

Why do some lenders have Early Payment Fees for paying off a loan early?

A lender makes money from the interest that is charged every month. If a borrower repays the loan earlier than expected, lenders will not receive the full amount of expected interest. As a result, some lenders charge early payment fees to make up for the interest they would lose.

However, not all lenders do this, so we suggest looking for a loan that gives you the freedom to pay it off and get out of debt as soon as possible.

What is an Origination Fee?

When you take out a loan, oftentimes there is an origination or processing fee. This is a one-time payment that helps lenders cover the costs of processing the loan, like paying for the credit check or labor for the time it takes to set up the loan.

Never trust a company that requires you to pay them before they deposit the funds in your account!!! This is a common practice for scammers. Reputable companies will deduct the origination fee from the loan amount. For instance, if you take out a $1000 loan with a $50 origination fee, $950 will be deposited into your account.

What is a credit score?

Your credit score quantifies the information in your credit report. This allows lenders to set a standard for loan approvals and quickly assess an applicant’s credit standing.

Not all lenders calculate credit scores the same way, and depending on the scoring model, your score can vary. However, most models are very similar, so by looking at one credit score, you’ll get a general idea of what your score will be using another method.

What is a credit report?

Your credit report consists of historical information about how you’ve managed debt in the past and gives lenders and idea of how you will manage the debt you would have with them if approved for the loan. It includes information about past and present lines of credit, current debt with other lenders, your payment history, any accounts that have gone into collections, actions taken against you for non-payment, and more.

What is the interest rate and how is it determined?

The interest rate is the cost you pay to take out a loan, and is calculated as a percentage of your base loan amount. Interest rates are determined by the lender during the underwriting process, and usually directly correlate to the strength of the applicant's credit score. The stronger your credit is, the more likely you will receive a favorable interest rate.

The yearly interest rate and additional lender fees are often combined into one rate known as the Annual Percentage Rate (or APR). By looking at the APR, you can get a good understanding of how much you’ll pay for the loan, and help you budget your monthly loan payments.

Who can get a personal loan?

Anyone can apply for a personal loan. However, each lender has different requirements for who is eligible for a loan and typically looks at applicants’ credit history, current debt-to income ratio, and a number of other factors to determine how much of a risk you are to default on your loan. This process is called underwriting. If you have great credit, no other debts, and have a steady job with a regular income, lenders will see you as less likely to default on your loan and are more likely to approve you with more favorable terms. If you do not meet the lenders criteria, you will likely be denied for the loan, or be faced with extremely high interest rates.

Since all lenders have different underwriting requirements, it’s possible to be denied by one lender and be accepted by another. This is why shopping around is important.

What can I use a Personal Loan for?

From a planned expense (like remodeling your home or planning a wedding) to the unexpected (like medical emergencies or repairing your car after an accident), a personal loan can be used for almost anything. In addition to paying for large expenses, Personal Loans are often used to consolidate debt at a lower interest rates. This is known as refinancing and is particularly useful to those trying to pay off credit card debt, as credit cards often have higher interest rates than personal loans.

Will Personal Loan companies keep my personal information safe?

When it comes to online personal loans, even reputable companies may need to share your Personal Identifying Information (PII) to provide the best loan options. However, this does not mean your PII is less secure or more vulnerable than it would be with a traditional lender like a bank or credit union. This has to do with the way online personal loan companies operate.

Online personal loan companies fall into 3 categories:

Direct Lenders – These operate in much the same way as banks or credit unions do. The companies accept applications, process them and provide the loans themselves.

Loan Matching Services – These companies accept your application or information and match you to lenders that may be able to offer you a loan.

Peer-to-peer Lending – In this business model, individual investors become personal loan lenders which are matched with qualified borrowers.

Many of the best and most reputable online personal loan companies are loan-matching or peer-to-peer lending services. Their rise in popularity has a lot to do with the marketplace aspect of these business models (ability to provide one-stop-shop multiple offers from multiple lenders, instead of applying one-at-a-time with individual lenders). However, if you use this type of service, at some point the actual lender will need your PII to complete the loan application.

Reputable companies may share varying amounts of PII with their partner lenders in order to provide matches, or to help you continue the application process once you’ve accepted a loan offer. Either way, the best online personal loan companies take the security of your information very seriously, and have strict rules for lenders they work with to ensure your PII is only used for its intended purpose, in a secure/safe way. This is why we strongly recommend reading the company’s Privacy Policy, which outlines how your PII will be used, before sharing any sensitive information.

You do want to look out for companies who sell your PII to 3rd parties for marketing purposes or directly to lenders (rather than coordinate the matching themselves). This is when your information can become compromised. If you do find a company that sells PII, just see if there’s a way to opt-out (some companies ask you to send an email or click the “unsubscribe” button). If opting-out isn’t available, or there is no privacy policy, it’s safer to just stay away.

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