How to Find the Best Personal Loans Online


You’ve examined the options, weighed the pros and cons, and you’ve decided to get a personal loan.

Walking into your local bank branch is a good, conventional option, but you should also consider looking online for a lender. Not only are there a wealth of options, you can shop for personal loans online to find the best rates and terms without ever having to leave your house.

Online personal loans can vary in their rates, terms, and payment options. So knowing what qualities to look for can help ease your search immensely.

Pros and cons of finding personal loans online

There are a ton of benefits to getting an online personal loan, but it’s also not without some potential drawbacks.

Pro: Convenience. The personal loan online application and payment process is entirely web-based. There’s no need to visit a brick-and-mortar branch.

Pro: No hard credit checks. When applying for most types of loans and lines of credit, lenders will perform a “hard pull” of your credit. These hard inquiries can ding your credit score.

Online lenders, however, typically gauge your loan and interest rate eligibility though a “soft” pull, which won’t have an effect on your credit. You will, however, have a hard inquiry once you’re ready to complete a full application for online personal loans with a specific lender.

Pro: No pressure to buy other products. A bank or other lender may give you the sales pitch (or several) to open an account or buy some other product from them in addition to a personal loan. Online lending is usually reserved to just the loan itself.

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Pro: Various lending avenues and perks. In addition to traditional personal loans, online loans are also available through peer-to-peer (P2P) lending. With these options, individual investors provide the funds to back personal loans online. Lenders may also offer other benefits, like more payment flexibility, if needed.

Con: Fees and limitations. Some online lenders, however, may not approve your loan if the amount requested is too small. Others charge fees and extra interest that can make your loan payments more expensive in the long run.

Choosing the right online personal loan

Like any online business, companies offering personal loans online range in credibility and affordability. When searching for online personal loans, start by checking with the Better Business Bureau or Federal Trade Commission to see if your lender in mind is legitimate; does it have any complaints or grievances against it?

Compare terms and conditions if you’ve narrowed your search down to a few lenders. Does one offer a better interest rate, but with too many penalty fees and other surcharges, versus the lender with more flexible terms but a higher APR? And while the internet is worldwide, not all online lenders loan in every state.

Also, take into account how an online personal loan will fit into your budget. Does the lender you choose offer a reasonable rate and repayment period? What’s the loan maximum you’re allowed to borrow according to your credit score? What will your monthly payments be? Ask yourself these questions as you search.

Where to find the best online personal loans

If you’re shopping for personal loans online, start with the best personal loans available today. These are reputable lenders with low interest rates, low fees, and flexible online personal loan options.

Those include SoFi personal loans, which offer a wide breadth of loan amounts, from $5,000 up to $100,000. It also offers competitive interest rates.

Keep in mind that while SoFi’s terms are generous, and fees nonexistent, the site’s approval standards are quite high. Prospective borrowers need to demonstrate a high credit score and low debt-to-income ratio.

Earnest is also a trusted source of personal loans online. Amounts cap out at about $50,000, with competitive interest rates. Earnest personal loans might be a good option for borrowers with less-than-excellent credit, since it evaluates other factors, such as your income, the amount of savings you carry, employment status, and debt repayment history.

Above all else, once you’re armed with this knowledge, don’t be afraid to use discretion in your search. Don’t confuse personal loans with payday loans and zero-credit lenders, which can leave you saddled with triple-digit interest.

With the right strategy in place, you’ll be able to obtain a low-interest personal loan online. Use it to pay down debt or affordably finance major expenses, and you’ll be on track to save money in the long run.

Interested in a personal loan?

Here are the top personal loan lenders of 2018!
LenderRates (APR)Loan Amount 
1 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

  1. Terms and Conditions Apply: SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet SoFi’s underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. To qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. If approved, your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, years of experience, income and other factors. Rates and Terms are subject to change at anytime without notice and are subject to state restrictions. SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Finance Lender Law License No. 6054612. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp., NMLS # 1121636. (
  2. Personal LoansFixed rates from 5.49% APR to 14.24% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 4.98% APR to 11.44% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of December 21, 2017 and are subject to change without notice. Not all rates and amounts available in all states. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, to qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including evaluation of your credit worthiness, years of professional experience, income and other factors. Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at 14.95%. Lowest variable rate of 4.98% APR assumes current 1-month LIBOR rate of 1.34% plus 3.89% margin minus 0.25% AutoPay discount. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account.

2 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.

Citizens Bank Disclosures

  1. Personal Loan Rate Disclosure: Fixed interest rates range from 5.99% – 16.24% (5.99% – 16.24% APR) based on applicable terms and presence of a co-applicant. Lowest rates shown are for eligible applicants, require a 3-year repayment term, and include our Loyalty and Automatic Payment discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty Discount and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. Subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change.
  2. Loyalty Discount: The borrower will be eligible for a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their loan if the borrower has a qualifying account in existence with us at the time the borrower has submitted a completed application authorizing us to review their credit request for the loan. The following are qualifying accounts: any checking account, savings account, money market account, certificate of deposit, automobile loan, home equity loan, home equity line of credit, mortgage, credit card account, student loans or other personal loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. Please note, our checking and savings account options are only available in the following states: CT, DE, MA, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI and VT. This discount will be reflected in the interest rate and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) disclosed in the Truth-In-Lending Disclosure that will be provided to the borrower once the loan is approved. Limit of one Loyalty Discount per loan, and discount will not be applied to prior loans. The Loyalty Discount will remain in effect for the life of the loan.
  3. Automatic Payment Discount: Borrowers will be eligible to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their Citizens Bank Personal Loan during such time as payments are required to be made and our loan servicer is authorized to automatically deduct payments each month from any bank account the borrower designates. If our loan servicer is unable to successfully withdraw the automatic deductions from the designated account two or more times within any 12-month period, the borrower will no longer be eligible for this discount.
7.39% - 29.99%$1,000 - $50,000
Check rate nowon SLH's secure site
4.98% - 14.24%1$5,000 - $100,000
Check rate nowon SLH's secure site
8.00% - 25.00%$5,000 - $35,000
Check rate nowon SLH's secure site
5.99% - 16.24%2$5,000 - $50,000Visit Citizens
5.99% - 35.89%$1,000 - $40,000Visit LendingClub
5.25% - 14.24%$2,000 - $50,000Visit Earnest
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Student Loan Hero Advertiser Disclosure

Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality and will make a positive impact in your life. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print, understand what you are buying, and consult a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time. Please do your homework and let us know if you have any questions or concerns.