Compare Personal Loans

From loan basics and service features to additional fees and customer experience, we research everything you need to compare personal loans and make a decision. Learn how our editors compare the different factors of personal loans below.
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How we Compare Personal Loans

Loan Basics - 20%
Service Features - 20%
Qualification - 20%
Additional Fees - 20%
Customer Experience - 20%

Loan Basics

When looking into securing a personal loan, there are some important factors to consider.

First and foremost, in order to obtain an online quote you will usually have to specify the purpose of the loan. Then think about the potential amount of the loan you’re considering. Typical loan amounts range from $1,000 to $35,000. The amount you can get approval for will vary according to the lender, and is dependent on your income, credit scores, and the terms of your loan, as well as other factors. Remember, never take out a loan you can’t afford to pay back. We suggest you examine your income and monthly expenses to accurately determine the maximum amount you can afford to pay every month.

The interest rate refers to the cost you’ll pay to take out the loan. For personal loans, you’ll want to look at the Annual Percentage Rate (APR), which is the interest rate charged for a whole year, including any fees or additional costs associated with the transaction. Not all lenders offer the same APR, but it is always based on your credit scores and other application information. The better your credit scores, the lower your APR will likely be since the lender’s risk is diminished. Also look for a personal loan with a fixed interest, meaning the APR will not change throughout the life of the loan, making it easier to plan repayments.

If you want to challenge items on your credit report, view our 10 Best Credit Repair Services list.

The term of the loan is the amount of time you have to repay it, which is typically between six months and three years. The shorter your loan’s term, the fewer payments you’ll make and the less interest you’ll pay in the long run. However, keep in mind that the monthly payments will be larger. On the other hand, if you have a longer loan term, your payments will be smaller each month, but you will pay more interest during the life of the loan.

The average response time is the time it takes to get an answer on whether or not your loan is approved. And the average disbursement time is how long it generally takes to get the money into your hands or into the hands of the creditors it is meant to pay off.

 

Personal Loans with the Best Loan Basics:

Service Features

There are several features and stipulations to keep in mind when applying for a personal loan. Each state has different rules and regulations when it comes to personal loans, and not all lenders are licensed in every state. If you are not eligible for a loan because of the state you live in, try looking at another provider or think about visiting a local bank or credit union instead.

Some lenders also offer direct deposit to checking accounts.  All of the Top 10 Personal Loan providers will deposit your funds directly into your checking account. Commonly the funds are deposited by the next business day, but some lenders offer same-day or overnight deposit. If you are using the personal loan to consolidate debt or pay off multiple credit cards, some lenders pay creditors directly which is a convenient, time-saving step. Inquire about these options if this is something you would prefer.

Loan providers also understand that taking out a loan is a major decision, and many give their customers the opportunity to change their minds after the loan has been approved and the funds has been moved to the borrower’s account. If this is offered, the company will generally give you a 24-hour cancellation window to change your mind, from when the money has been deposited in your account.

 When repaying the loan, most lenders will allow you to pay online and/or set up autopay debits from your checking account (autopay can often qualify you for a lower interest rate). All of the Top 10 companies provide this option. 

You could also opt for some other service features designed to help you in times of need. Credit insurance insures your debt if you were to die or suffer some disability. Unemployment protection would waive payments during a set period of joblessness. Redraw facility would be the option to take out in cash a portion of what you have already paid down in case of some emergency.

Personal Loans with the Best Service Features:

LendingTreeSoFiEven FinancialLoanMePayoffDiscoverLightStreamPersonalLoansLending Club
Direct DepositYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Pay Creditors DirectlyYesYesNoNoNoYesNoNoYes
24 Hour CancellationNoNoNoNot StatedNot StatedNoNot StatedNot StatedYes
Make Payment OnlineYesYesYesNoNoYesNoYesNo
AutopayYesYesYesNoYesYesYesNoNo
Credit InsuranceYesNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNo
Unemployment ProtectionNoYesYesNoNoNoNoNoNo
Redraw FacilityYesNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNo

Qualification

Whether you are dealing with a loan matching service or direct lender, all lenders will eventually require your social security number to do a credit check. Online matching services will sometimes initially do a soft pull, but when you are ultimately matched with the lender there will be a hard pull. As we mentioned, personal loans are unsecured, so the risk is higher on the lender's side. By checking your credit, a lender will be able to see how you’ve managed previous debt and get an indication of how you may manage a loan with them. The minimum credit score accepted is typically in the low 600s, but of course this depends on the lender.

Other things they will want to take a look at depends on the entity you are dealing with. Lenders might want to know your debt to income ratio, they also may require you to verify your employment, job title, and salary. Still others might want to know the highest level of education you progressed to and even your GPA in some cases. In some cases lenders might require your monthly housing costs and verification of your liquid, non-liquid, and retirement assets.

When you apply for a loan, lenders will require that you submit personal information. This application information includes your name, Social Security number, government-issued identification, home address, phone number, email address, checking account information, and possibly more. They also require that the applicant be at least 18 years of age, and some require US citizenship or permanent residency.

 

Personal Loans with the Best Qualification:

LendingTreeSoFiEven FinancialLoanMePayoffDiscoverLightStreamPersonalLoansLending Club
Minimum Credit ScoreDepends on Lenders660Depends on LendersNot Stated660660680580600
Debt/Income RatioUp to 45%NoneNot StatedNot Stated50% or lessNot StatedN/ANot Stated18.32%
Employment VerificationYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Income VerificationYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Education VerificationNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNo
Monthly Hosting Cost VerificationNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNo
Value of HomeNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNo
Liquid Assests VerificationNoNoNoNoNoNoYesNoNo
Retirement Assets verificationNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNo

Additional Fees

At the outset of the loan, many lenders charge application and origination fees. The application fee is what the lender charges to cover the expenses of processing the loan. The origination fee is usually expressed as a percentage of the entire loan amount (usually 1%-5%). Some of the lenders on our Top Ten List waive these two fees entirely. 

You will have to pay interest for each month you have the loan, so if you're able to pay it off earlier than expected, it will save some money. However, since lenders make their money from the interest earned on the loan, this also means they will not be making as much as they would if you stuck with your scheduled payments each month. As a result, some lenders will penalize you with early payment penalties. Many online lenders give you the freedom to repay the loan as early as you can, and get out of debt faster.

Just like any other creditor, if you have late or missed loan payments, you may be charged additional fees. Additionally, lenders have the right to report late payments to the credit bureaus, which could have a negative impact on your credit. If you think you will be behind on a payment or have to miss one completely, we highly suggest contacting your lender beforehand. They may be able to renegotiate the terms of your loan or waive the fee altogether. At the end of the day, the lender wants to be repaid, so they may be motivated to work with you to ensure they don’t lose their money.

Lenders may also charge you a check processing fee if you pay by paper check instead of online, and a returned check fee if that check bounces.

 

Personal Loans with the Best Additional Fees:

LendingTreeSoFiEven FinancialLoanMePayoffDiscoverLightStreamPersonalLoansLending Club
Application FeeYesNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNo
Origination FeeYesNoNoYesYesNoNoYesYes
Late Payment FeeYesYesYesNoNoYesNoYesYes
Returned Check FeeNoYesYesNoNoYesNoNoNo
Check Processing FeeNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNo
Prepayment FeeYesNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNo

Customer Experience

To measure the quality of customer interaction with a given personal loan provider we look at several factors. We take into consideration the number and subject matter of complaints as reported by the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB), a U.S. government agency who since 2011 has compiled over 1.1 million complaints about financial institutions, banks, and other lenders. We also consider the Better Business Bureau grade as well as statistically significant BBB complaint percentages. We also take into consideration the company's Trustpilot score. 

Personal Loans with the Best Customer Experience:

Full Personal Loans Comparison

Loan BasicsService FeaturesQualificationAdditional FeesCustomer Experience
LendingTree Personal Loans10.010.010.010.09.7
SoFi Personal Loans10.010.09.010.09.9
Even Financial Personal Loans9.010.09.59.59.5
Prosper Personal Loans9.59.59.59.59.5
LoanMe Personal Loans9.59.09.59.89.5
Payoff Personal Loans9.59.010.09.59.0
LoanStart Personal Loans9.59.09.59.09.8
Discover Personal Loans9.010.08.09.09.0
LightStream Personal Loans10.09.09.08.08.0
Loans Under 369.09.08.58.59.0
PersonalLoans8.09.68.08.19.3
Lending Club Personal Loans8.08.09.38.09.0
Laurel Road Personal Loans9.08.08.08.09.0
Upstart Personal Loans8.08.08.08.08.0
SignatureLoan Personal Loans7.88.08.09.07.0
LendingPoint Personal Loans8.08.08.08.07.0
Money Lion Personal Loans7.57.57.57.55.0
Avant - Personal Loans5.05.08.05.08.9
Backed Inc. Personal Loans0.00.00.00.00.0
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Latest Reviews

Reviews help other customers make decisions. Share your experience with Personal Loans
P
Pankaj s
7/16/2017
I am Pankaj Sharma from Ludhiana Punjab India.is it can possible for Indians or not I need it for emergency period of my this time life. My cell phone number is +918872008701

M
michael
7/16/2017
loan process started easy and pain free.

J
Judy B
7/7/2017
I need a loan that can help me pay my bills l desperately need it I don't want my checking account to bounce can you please help me

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