Best Unsecured Personal Loans for 2017

Most personal loans are typically unsecured unless you have limited or poor credit history. Borrowers with poor credit may have a harder time finding an unsecured loan, but there are options that don’t require collateral. If your credit is fair or better, you shouldn’t have issues finding a great unsecured loan. So to help you find the best unsecured personal loan, we evaluated over 50 different lenders and listed our top picks below.

Featured Personal Loan Companies

Best Unsecured Loans for Bad Credit (Under 630)

If you have poor credit, you will face more difficulty finding an unsecured personal loan. We've listed a good lender option and strategy. If none of these work, you may need to consider putting up collateral or adding a co-signer to qualify.

Avant

Most borrowers at Avant have credit scores between 600 and 700, so this lender can be a good option if you have a credit score under 650. Avant offers unsecured personal loans up to $35,000 with APRs between 9.95% and 36% and terms of two to five years. One nice thing about Avant is the lender’s repayment flexibility. You can change your due date and amount of your payments online up to one day before they are due. The lender also offers late fee forgiveness, returning the $25 late fee if you make three consecutive on-time payments after the late payment.

Because Avant lends to borrowers with fair to average credit, rates are a little higher than what you see with other online lenders. However, the maximum rate is still much lower than what you’d see with a no-credit-check or payday loan. These types of loans regularly have rates topping 100%, 200% or 300%, whereas the maximum rate at Avant is 36%. Avant is available in all states except Iowa, Colorado and West Virginia.

Best for: Borrowers with credit scores between 600 to 650 who may have had trouble qualifying elsewhere.

  • 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

Cosigned Personal Loan

For borrowers with poor credit dead set on getting an unsecured personal loan, consider finding a cosigner. If you have a credit score below 600, most lenders will want you to put up collateral to secure a personal loan. In general, this is because borrowers with lower credit scores are more likely to make late payments, miss payments or default. One way to avoid this is to get a cosigner with good credit to apply for the loan with you. The lender will evaluate the cosigner’s credit history when making a loan decision.

One major downside of having a cosigner is that you are risking someone else’s credit and money. Because the lender considers the cosigner’s credit history in the loan decision, your cosigner is ultimately responsible for paying back the loan if you can’t. In addition, if you make payments late or miss a payment altogether, your cosigner’s credit score may take a hit. Before you pursue this option, you should carefully think about your ability to repay and discuss all options with your potential cosigner.

Best for: Borrowers with credit scores under 600 who cannot afford to put up collateral.

  • APR: up to 36%
  • Loan terms: 1 to 7 years
  • Days to get funds: 1 - 7
  • Loan amount: $1,000 - $50,000
  • Recommended credit score: N/A

Best Unsecured Loans for Average Credit (630 to 680)

Credit scores between 630 and 680 are typically considered fair to average. If you’re in this category, rest assured as there are many online lenders that offer good unsecured personal loans to borrowers with fair credit.

Lending Club

While the average Lending Club borrower has a credit score of 700, you can still qualify at this lender even if your credit score isn’t that high. In general, we recommend that you have at least fair credit, several years of credit history and a reasonable debt-to-income ratio to apply for a Lending Club loan. Unlike other lenders that offer loans to borrowers with average credit, Lending Club has a better range of rates from 5.99% to 35.89%, with the average rate around 14%. You can borrow up to $40,000 for three or five year terms.

One downside to using Lending Club is that because the lender offer peer-to-peer loans, it can take up to seven days or more to fund your loan offer. However, you can use a Lending Club personal loan for virtually any purpose except postsecondary educational expenses and investing. So if you want to start a business, remodel your home or pay for medical expenses, you can use a Lending Club loan.

Best for: Borrowers with credit scores of at least 640 who can afford to wait for funds.

  • 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

Upstart

For borrowers with credit scores between 620 and 680, Upstart can be a great choice for an unsecured personal loan. You can apply for up to $50,000 through Upstart, with rates between 6.37% and 29.99%. The average rate on a three-year Upstart loan is around 17%, which is comparable to average rates at other online lenders. Upstart will also look at factors besides your credit score when approving you -- factors such as your educational and work history and the length of your credit history. If you have a postsecondary degree and a stable job, you may be able to get approved for a better rate even if your credit score isn’t perfect.

If you’re planning on taking a coding or development bootcamp, Upstart works directly with 17 major bootcamps, including Dev Bootcamp, Fullstack Academy and Hackbright Academy. Upstart will even relax some of its eligibility criteria for applicants accepted into one of these programs. Upstart is available in all states except West Virginia.

Best for: Borrowers with fair to average credit, or borrowers looking to finance a coding bootcamp.

  • 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 Egg

Best Egg is another good option if you don’t have an excellent credit score. To qualify for a loan at Best Egg, we recommend that borrowers have credit scores of at least 640 and decent annual income. If you want to qualify for the best rate at Best Egg, which is 5.99%, the lender states you’ll need a credit score of 700 and annual income of $100,000, meaning that borrowers with lower income or credit scores will still be able to qualify for a loan.

You can borrow up to $35,000 through Best Egg with rates up to 29.99% and terms of three or five years (borrowers with annual incomes of $150,000 or more can borrow up to $50,000). The average APR on a Best Egg loan is around 15%. There are origination fees and late fees attached to each loan, but no prepayment penalties. Like many other lenders in this space, you can receive funds within one day.

Best for: Borrowers with high annual incomes and credit scores of at least 640.

  • 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

Best Unsecured Personal Loans for Good Credit (680 and Above)

If you have a credit score of at least 680 and solid credit history, you shouldn’t have any major issues getting an unsecured personal loan.

SoFi

There are lots of reasons to like SoFi: competitive interest rates, large loan amounts, flexible terms and unemployment protection. Through SoFi, you can borrow between $5,000 to $100,000 for all types of purposes, including debt consolidation, home improvement, relocation or wedding expenses. One thing you cannot use a SoFi personal loan for is educational expenses. Rates at SoFi are very competitive between 5.7% and 14.24%, so you’ll need to have good to excellent credit to qualify. We recommend that you have a credit score of at least 680 to apply at SoFi.

Another thing we like about SoFi is the unemployment protection and career development services. If you lose your job through no fault of your own, SoFi will defer your monthly payments and even help you find another job. Even if you don’t lose your job, you can still use the lender’s career coaching and development services. The lender also hosts networking and social events for its borrowers. SoFi is available in all states except Mississippi and Nevada.

Best for: Borrowers with good to excellent credit who may want to borrow more than $30,000.

  • 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

Citizens Bank

You don’t even need to be a member of Citizens Bank to get a great deal on an unsecured personal loan. To qualify for a Citizens Bank personal loan, you’ll need to have strong credit (so any credit score above 680) and at least $24,000 in annual income. You can borrow between $5,000 and $50,000 with rates typically between 5.99% and 16.25%. One benefit of using Citizens Bank is that the lender offers a great deal of repayment flexibility: terms range from three to seven years and you can choose either a fixed or variable interest rate. There are also no origination fees, prepayment penalties or application fees.

Unlike other banks, Citizens Bank does not require a branch visit or an existing account to complete your loan application. You can also check your rate online without affecting your credit score (many banks will require you to agree to a hard credit pull to get a loan offer). Rates at Citizens Bank are also similar to, and in some cases, better than rates offered by other banks and online lenders.

Best for: Borrowers with good to excellent credit and at least $25,000 in annual income.

  • 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

Earnest

Earnest is a great option for an unsecured personal loan, provided you’re not looking to consolidate debt. Earnest is geared towards financially savvy borrowers with good to excellent credit, meaning the lender looks for borrowers with little to no debt, good credit history and no recent bankruptcies or accounts in collection. Because of this, we do not recommend Earnest for debt consolidation, but if you are looking to make a big purchase, invest in your future or pay for other large expenses, Earnest is an excellent choice. You can apply for up to $50,000, and rates are between 5.25% and 12%. Terms range from one to three years, and there are no origination fees, late fees or prepayment penalties.

One downside to Earnest is that you cannot check your rate online. If you want to get a rate from Earnest, you will need to complete an application and consent to a hard credit pull, which can affect your credit score. Therefore, we only recommend applying to Earnest if you meet the lender’s eligibility guidelines. Earnest is available in all states except Alabama, Delaware, Kentucky, Mississippi, Nevada and Rhode Island.

Best for: Financially responsible, creditworthy borrowers who need funds for a major purchase or expense.

  • APR: 5.25% - 12.00%
  • Loan term: 1 to 3 years
  • Origination fee: None
  • Loan amount: $2,000 - $50,000
  • 1+ days to get funds

Summary of Best Unsecured Personal Loans

In the table below, we have summarized the best unsecured personal loans for borrowers with poor, average and good credit.

Best for…LenderAPR
Bad credit (under 630)Avant9.95% - 35.99%
Cosigned personal loan5% - 36%
Average credit (630 to 680)Lending Club5.99% - 35.89%
Upstart7.37% - 29.99%
Best Egg5.99% - 29.99%
Good credit (680 and above)SoFi5.49% - 14.24% with AutoPay (variable rates also available)
Citizens Bank6.00% - 16.25%
Earnest5.25% - 12.00%

How We Picked the Best Unsecured Personal Loans

We looked at over 50 different lenders to find the best unsecured personal loans. In our research, we considered the following factors:

  • Competitive APRs: In many states, the maximum APR allowed on a personal loan is 36%. Many questionable payday and alternative installment loans will charge much higher APRs (sometimes as high as 1,000%). We only looked at lenders that charged 36% or less.
  • Lender credibility: Credibility is important when getting a loan, so we looked at each lender’s reputation based on Better Business Bureau (BBB) ratings, third party reviews, user reviews and the company’s website.
  • Range of loan amounts and terms: Lenders should offer a variety of loan amounts and repayment terms to cater to a variety of borrowers. We considered lenders that offered $25,000 or more and at least several maturity options.
  • Fair fees: Fair fees means no origination fee over 6%, no late fees over $25 or 5% monthly past due or prepayment penalties. We did not include lenders who charged more than this.
  • Transparent rate and fee disclosure: Any reliable lender will present rates and fees upfront, so borrowers can understand the total cost of the loan before accepting.
  • Geographic reach: In general, we only considered lenders that were available in many states, with most being available in at least 35 to 40 states across the U.S. A lender may offer great rates and terms, but if it’s only available in one state, we cannot recommend it for a broad audience.

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