Personal loans have fixed annual percentage rates, generally between 6% and 36%. The loan with the lowest rate is the least expensive — and usually the best choice. Other features, including no fees, soft credit checks and direct payments to creditors if you’re consolidating debt, set some loans apart.
We spent hours reviewing loans from more than 30 personal loan lenders to find the best rates and loan features. We always recommend you know your credit score and compare loans from multiple lenders before making a choice.
The Truth About Personal Loans
Let’s be clear — personal loans are just a form of credit. They are not mortgages or other loans that will affect your credit score. Instead, personal loans can help you pay off debt, stimulate your credit or improve your credit score.
But credit scores aren’t everything, so make sure to get at least three different lenders’ offers for rates and loan features before making a final decision.
You’re best off going with the lowest rate available, and sometimes — especially in 2017 — you can save even more by using a “conversion” credit card.
Credit cards generally offer higher APR rates than personal loans, but their monthly payments are usually cheaper. You can transfer all of your balances to a personal loan, and then pay it off with your credit card.
Top 10 Best Loan Companies in America
EverQuote is a personal loan comparison site. The company has raised $47 million in venture capital funding.
EverQuote is the top choice for those seeking the lowest rates. There’s no need for a credit score or income verification — just fill out a brief questionnaire about your loan and your credit score. EverQuote scores and evaluates your loan and estimates your monthly payments.
OurStateLoan is a personal loan comparison site. Unlike most other comparison sites, OurStateLoan has its own proprietary Lending Platform that gets directly into the credit data of borrowers, pulling it directly from credit bureaus, consolidating multiple loans into a single loan and allowing borrowers to estimate their monthly payments.
Lending Club is a marketplace lending site.
At Lending Club, you submit a loan application for a loan, and individual lenders will submit their own, then choose which loan they want to fund. You’ll then receive notification when the loan is funded and when the loan has been paid off.
Lending Club will fund your loan at the average interest rate set by a voting group of lenders. The groups have the ability to reject, alter or extend the loan terms. In 2011, Lending Club introduced the Lending Club Credit Score, a composite score from TransUnion and Equifax with additional data from social security number, date of birth, banking information and credit file information. Your score isn’t available until you have approved the loan.
The interest rate can range from 6.
The $1 billion-dollar personal loans giant is entering the loan space as the largest player in the market. This will also be Quicken Loans’ first consumer lending product, but it isn’t the first financial services company to join the loan business.
The company already makes a ton of loans and has a very deep and complex customer service network. Many people are already familiar with the company through its mortgage and mortgage-backed securities divisions.
The personal loans will come with one of two introductory rates. These loans are good for 12 months at a rate of 18.99% or 24.99%. You can cancel the loans at any time before their term ends.
These products can be used to consolidate existing debt or to buy your first home.
Loan Interest Rate: Rates are variable and fixed, with an APR ranging from 15% to 36%.
Loans Require A Security/Conditional Obligation
Fees: None for a fixed rate loan, but some loans have fees ranging from $10 to $24. Fees are typically $15 to $20 for a non-fixed rate loan.
Some types of loans are unable to be disbursed without a good credit score, although many reputable lenders are willing to work with a score of 620 or lower. Interest rates are generally higher than a credit card, but once you factor in the fact that you’ll never have to pay it off, interest payments can end up being less than what you’d pay on a credit card.
Fees. Firms like Fundation have a fairly flat fee structure: your entire $1,000 loan cost you $19.00.
Honor Credit offers loans up to $25,000. This loan has fixed rates, so you won’t get locked into a rate with a penalty if your credit score lowers — a common feature on credit cards. Interest is only paid on the loan amount — no portion is covered by finance charges.
Aiding students and families, this is a safe option for people who have to arrange a small payment every month. Interest rates range from 6% to 20%. You can finance a maximum of $15,000 in three, six or 12 months.
LendEDU is one of the newer players in the personal loan arena. Loans are available for up to $10,000. Interest rates are fixed, so you won’t get stuck with a rate that’s far higher than your current loan.
You can qualify for loan amounts as small as $1,000.
After graduating from college, many young people struggle with student loans, and that struggle can create major financial hardship in the years following graduation. And although student loans generally are a good investment by lowering the costs of higher education, the cost of living after college can still be very high.
SoFi provides personal loans with fixed annual interest rates. To qualify, you must be a member of SoFi, have excellent credit and be approved for a loan.
In order to qualify, you must:
Make a minimum 3.5% down payment on a loan.
Be a SoFi member for at least three months before making a loan request.
Have a minimum salary of at least $100,000.
Be able to make payments at a variable interest rate equal to your SoFi salary.
Earnest is one of the largest and most innovative online lenders. They offer you the option of taking a personal loan through a debit card or a check.
Earnest has one of the lowest rates on the market, 7.24% APY, one of the best 0% intro APR offers and a cash advance feature that allows you to pay overpayments early. The company lets you take out a personal loan amount up to $40,000 and to refinance existing debt at up to 0% APR.
Personal loans from Earnest come with the same terms and conditions as those from other lenders, but some personal loans come with an introductory 0% APR period.
Cash-advance loans from Earnest come with the same terms and conditions as those from other lenders, but some personal loans come with an introductory 0% APR period.
Better Money Habits
If you think your family is having difficulty paying off credit card debt, for example, talk with a credit counselor before applying for a loan. Credit counselors have access to and understand most credit card information, so they can see how you pay off your balances and how you can improve your credit score. But they can’t make loans.
It’s up to you to use credit wisely, pay down your debt, and keep your credit score high enough to qualify for a loan in the first place.
You should also know how your interest rate will change in the future. This can help you determine if you’ll get a better rate on another loan if you qualify.
Personal loans can help people get out of a tight financial situation or raise money to fund a new business. Just make sure you consider your needs, credit history and finances, and only take out a personal loan if you can pay off your debt over the next year.
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What Are the Best Loan Companies in America for 2019? originally appeared on usnews.com
Update 01/15/19: This article was originally published on Dec. 7, 2017, and has been updated with new information.
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