Best Online Personal Loans in 2017

With so many options online, it can be overwhelming to decide which online personal loan is right for your. To help you out, we researched over thirty different personal loan companies to find the best online personal loans for all types of borrowers and needs.

Best Online Personal Loans for Good Credit (680 - 850)

Getting a personal loan online with a great credit score should be no problem. In fact, you’ll want to shop around to see who can give you the best deal.

LightStream

We think LightStream is one of the best personal loan companies for borrowers with good to excellent credit. This is because the lender has low interest rates, rate discounts, large loan amounts, no fees and long loan terms. Borrowers at LightStream can take out a personal loan for up to $100,000 with rates between 2.19% to 17.99% and terms from two to seven years. There are few restrictions on how you can use your loan, so you can remodel your house, purchase a vehicle, pay down debt or pay for unexpected expenses. The only exceptions to this are using a loan for postsecondary education -- including refinancing student loans -- business purposes or to refinance an existing LightStream loan.

Another thing to like about LightStream is the lender’s rate discount and guarantee programs. If you enroll in AutoPay, you will receive a 0.5% percentage point discount on your personal loan. The lender also has a Rate Beat Program, beating a quoted APR from another lender by 0.1%. The quoted APR must be for a fixed-rate loan with the same amount, term, purpose and payment method. Finally, the lender also offers a $100 guarantee that you will be satisfied with the loan application and approval experience.

Best for: Borrowers with good to excellent credit, and borrowers who will enroll in AutoPay.

  • APR: 2.19% - 17.49% with AutoPay
  • Loan term: 2 to 7 years
  • Origination fee: None
  • Loan amount: $5,000 - $100,000
  • Varies, same-day funding available to get funds

SoFi

Like LightStream, we also recommend SoFi for borrowers with good to excellent credit. We also think SoFi is a great choice for borrowers who want extra services or a personal touch with their borrowing experience. SoFi provides free career development services, entrepreneurship programs and community events for its borrowers and members. These services and events include happy hours, social or event outings, educational seminars, resume review, one-on-one career mentoring, mock interviews, help with salary negotiation, access to investors and more. What’s more, the lender offers student loans, mortgages and wealth management services, making it a convenient one-stop shop for your financial needs.

With SoFi, you can take out a personal loan from $5,000 to $100,000 with three, five or seven year terms. The average APR is around 8.5%, but fixed rates range from 5.7% to 14.24%. You can also elect to get a variable rate on your loan. There are no origination fees or prepayment penalties. In general, we recommend borrowers have credit scores of at least 660 to 680 to improve their chances of qualifying for a SoFi personal loan.

Best for: Creditworthy borrowers, especially those that want extra perks or loan products.

  • APR: 5.49% - 14.24% with AutoPay (variable rates also available)
  • Loan term: 3, 5 or 7 years
  • Origination fee: None
  • Loan amount: $5,000 - $100,000
  • 3+ days to get funds

Best Online Personal Loans for Average Credit (650 - 680)

Many online personal loan companies focus specifically on borrowers who may not be served by traditional funding options.

Best Egg

What we like about Best Egg is that the lender is very clear on what it takes to qualify for specific APRs and loan amounts. For instance, you should have a credit score of at least 640 to qualify, and if you want to qualify for the lowest rate available, which is 5.99%, you’ll need a credit score of 700 and an annual income of $100,000. If you decide to take out a personal loan with Best Egg, you’ll be able to borrow from $2,000 to $35,000 with rates going up to 29.99% and terms of either three or five years. Funding at Best Egg is also quick, taking as fast as one business day. Best Egg does have origination fees, ranging from 0.99% to 5.99% of the loan amount. In general, larger loans and longer terms will mean higher origination fees. There are also late payment and returned payment fees of $15. However, there are no checking processing fees or prepayment penalties.

Best for: Borrowers with average or better credit and high annual income.

  • APR: 5.99% - 29.99%
  • Loan term: 3 or 5 years
  • Origination fee: 0.99% - 5.99%
  • Loan amount: $2,000 - $35,000 (up to $50,000 for qualified borrowers)
  • 1+ days to get funds

Upstart

We recommend Upstart for average or better credit borrowers who want a larger loan amount. Upstart provides loans up to $50,000 with rates between 8.96% and 29.99%, though the average APR on a three-year loan is around 17%. Like Best Egg, there are origination fees, which range from 1% to 6% of the loan amount, and late payment and returned payment fees of $15. To qualify at Upstart, you’ll need a minimum credit score of 620 and a verifiable source of income (or a full-time job starting within six months). The average Upstart borrower has a credit score closer to 700 and annual income of $100,000.

One thing that makes Upstart stand out is the lender’s partnerships with major coding and development bootcamps across the country. The lender partners with over 15 bootcamps, including Dev Bootcamp, Hackbright Academy and more, to offer financing for these programs. If you’re accepted into one of the programs, Upstart will even waive certain eligibility criteria: namely, you won’t need a four-year college degree or a job offer starting within six months to qualify.

Best for: Borrowers with average or better credit, and borrowers who want to take a coding or programming course.

  • APR: 7.37% - 29.99%
  • Loan term: 3 or 5 years
  • Origination fee: 1% - 6%
  • Loan amount: $1,000 - $50,000
  • 1+ days to get funds

Best Online Personal Loans for Bad Credit (Under 650)

Even if you have thin or shaky credit history, you should still be able to find a personal loan from a reputable source.

Avant

We recommend Avant because the lender has competitive interest rates for borrowers with average and below average credit scores. Many lenders that give loans to borrowers with lower credit scores are predatory -- they have high interest rates, high fees and short payback times. Avant, on the other hand, makes unsecured personal loans up to $35,000 with APRs between 9.95% and 36% and terms from two to five years. The average Avant borrower has a credit score between 600 and 700. In general, we recommend that borrowers have scores of at least 580 to improve their chances of qualifying at Avant.

Another thing to like about Avant is the lender provides borrowers a great deal of payment flexibility. Not only are there no check processing fees, but you can also change upcoming and future payments up to one day before they are due on the lender’s website or mobile app. The lender also grants “late fee forgiveness” and refunds its $25 late fee to borrowers who make three consecutive on-time payments after one late payment.

Best for: Borrowers with credit scores of at least 580 to 600.

  • APR: 9.95% - 35.99%
  • Loan term: 2 to 5 years
  • Origination fee: 0.95% - 4.75%
  • Loan amount: $1,000 - $35,000
  • 1+ days to get funds

OneMain Financial

OneMain Financial is one of the few online personal loan companies that provides loans to borrowers with credit scores under 620. In fact, almost half of the company’s loans went to borrowers with credit scores under 620. Because the lender makes loans to borrowers with thin credit history, you may be required to secure your loan with collateral (typically your paid-off, insured car). While you should think carefully about taking out a secured loan, you will likely get a lower interest rate. Speaking of interest rates, OneMain Financial has rates between 9.99% and 35.99% on loans from $1,500 to $25,000, though the 9.99% rate is only available to borrowers who choose to secure their loan. Terms range from three to six years.

One big drawback to OneMain Financial is that you will probably be required to visit a branch location to complete your application. The lender does state that roughly 83% of Americans live within 25 miles of a branch location, but this can be an undue burden for some borrowers. The lender does make online loans through its iLoan brand, but the average borrower there has a credit score between 600 and 750, so it may not be a great fit for those with credit scores under 620.

Best for: Borrowers with credit scores under 620 who are okay making a branch visit.

  • APR: 9.99% - 36.00%
  • Loan term: 3 to 6 years
  • Origination fee: Varies by state
  • Loan amount: $1,500 - $25,000
  • 1+ days to get funds

Best Online Personal Loans with a Cosigner

While many online lenders don’t offer cosigned personal loans, there are a few exceptions to this rule.

Citizens Bank

There are two things we like about Citizens Bank: you don’t need to be a member of Citizens Bank to take out a cosigned personal loan and the bank has great rates and terms. To qualify, you or your cosigner will need good credit history and annual income of at least $24,000 and to be a citizen or permanent resident of the U.S. or Puerto Rico. You’ll be able to complete an online application and receive funds within three or more business days. You can borrow between $5,000 to $50,000 with rates from 5.99% to 16.25%. Terms range from three to seven years. There are some restrictions on loan use as you cannot use the loan for home improvement, postsecondary education or business purposes.

If you are a member of Citizens Bank, the bank also has some rate discount programs, letting you get a rate discount up to 0.50%. You can receive a 0.25% deduction on your rate if you have an existing account with the bank. This includes a checking account, savings account, money market account, CD, mortgage, loan or credit card. You can also receive an additional 0.25% deduction if you enroll in autopay from your Citizens Bank checking account. Citizens Bank personal loans are available to residents in all states and Puerto Rico.

Best for: Larger loan amounts, and existing Citizens Bank members (but you don’t need to be a member to apply).

  • APR: 6.00% - 16.25%
  • Loan term: 3 to 7 years
  • Origination fee: None
  • Loan amount: $5,000 - $50,000
  • 3+ days to get funds

Lending Club

Two reasons we like Lending Club are that it’s one of the few online lenders that allows borrowers to apply with a cosigner and it offers a full range of rates and terms. Unlike some online lenders that allow cosigning, Lending Club makes a full range of loan amounts from $1,000 to $40,000 with rates from 5.99%. Loans are made in three or five year terms. To qualify at Lending Club, we recommend your cosigner have good annual income, a good credit score, little non-mortgage debt and lengthy credit history. For reference, the average Lending Club borrower has a 700 credit score, a $76,000 salary, an 18% debt-to-income ratio (excluding mortgage debt) and credit history of 17 years. The closer your cosigner can be to these averages, the higher your chance of getting approved.

Lending Club charges origination fees from 1% to 6% on its loans, so keep in mind that when you apply for a loan, the origination fee will be subtracted from the amount disbursed to you. And because Lending Club is a marketplace lender, investors will need to fund your loan offer, which means that funding can take longer compared to other online lenders. In fact, the average funding time is around seven days.

Best for: Borrowers applying with a cosigner who has good credit, high annual income or little non-mortgage debt.

  • APR: 5.99% - 35.89%
  • Loan term: 3 or 5 years
  • Origination fee: 1% - 6%
  • Loan amount: $1,000 - $40,000
  • 7+ days to get funds

Summary of the Best Online Personal Loans

To help you make a quick comparison, we’ve summarized our top picks for online personal loans in the table below.

Best for…LenderRates
Good credit (680 - 850)LightStream2.19% - 17.49% with AutoPay
SoFi5.49% - 14.24% with AutoPay (variable rates also available)
Fair to average credit (650 - 680)Best Egg5.99% - 29.99%
Upstart7.37% - 29.99%
Bad credit (under 650)Avant9.95% - 35.99%
OneMain Financial9.99% - 36.00%
Applying with a cosignerCitizens Bank6.00% - 16.25%
Lending Club5.99% - 35.89%

How to Find the Best Online Personal Loan

One of the great things about applying for a personal loan online is that most lenders let you check your rate without affecting your credit score. It’s therefore in your best interest to shop around to get a good rate. We recommend checking your rate at least a few lenders to see if you can shave some percentage points off your APR. Some lenders may even have rate match or beat programs allowing you to get an even lower APR or a money back guarantee. Still, other lenders may provide repayment flexibility, special services or other perks that can make their loans an attractive option.

Another thing to consider is whether your bank or credit union offers personal loans. Many banks, such as Citizens Bank and Wells Fargo, make unsecured and secured personal loans and lines of credit with competitive interest rates and very high loan amounts. At many banks and credit unions, personal loans can go up to $50,000, $100,000 or more. What’s more, many banks will also give you an APR discount if you already have a qualifying account with them (typically a checking, savings, CD or money market account or a loan/mortgage). Depending on your bank and your relationship with it, the bank may also be willing to overlook certain flaws in your application to approve you or get you a good rate.

Finally, consider whether the lender charges fees. Origination fees, typically 1% to 6% of the loan, are normally deducted from the amount of money that is disbursed to you. For instance, if you take out a $10,000 personal loan with a 2% origination fee, only $9,800 will be put in your bank account. Other lenders may charge check processing fees, annual fees or prepayment penalties. Be sure to read the fine print of the loan agreement carefully to understand all of the fees associated with the loan.

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