Top 6 Banks for the Best Personal Loans

best personal loans

Thanks to the growth of online lending, you have more options for personal loans than ever before. The question is, which one do you choose? We’ve done some of the legwork for you, putting together this list of some of the best personal loans out there — but comparing your options is just one step in the process of using personal loans responsibly.

Think twice about it

You never want to jump into a new loan until you’ve exhausted every other possibility, even if you do have one of the best personal loans available. After all, the end goal is to avoid debt as much as possible.

For instance, if you’re thinking about a personal loan to:

  • Consolidate federal student loans, make sure you know the federal protections you’ll be losing (e.g., income-driven repayment plan options, deferment, forbearance).
  • Consolidate private student loans, try refinancing them instead.
  • Pay off your credit cards, try getting lower interest rates from your credit card issuers first.
  • Buy a new car, consider keeping the one you already have if it’s still in good shape.
  • Splurge on a vacation, wedding, or other expense, take a step back and consider more affordable alternatives that you can cover with cash, if not now, then after building up some savings.

The more debt you have, the more important these considerations should be.

Only borrow as much as you need

Just because you qualify for more doesn’t mean you should take it. Do the math and ask for just the amount you need. If there’s an origination fee, make sure you work this into your figure, as that comes off the top. For instance, if you borrow $5,000 and the origination fee is 3 percent, you’ll only receive $4,850. Take note, though: There are banks on this list that charge no origination fee at all.

Shop around for the best deal, relative to what you need

That’s where the following list comes into play. Yes, you want the best personal loan rates and fewest fees. But you also have to weigh those things with what you qualify for based on your credit score and other loan criteria, as well as how much you want to borrow.

Make your payments on time, every time

Never miss a payment, and pay more when you can. (It’s a different story if there’s a prepayment penalty, though none of the best personal loan companies on this list will penalize you for paying your loan off early.)

Where to find the best personal loans

1. SoFi

  • No stated minimum FICO score, but needs to be good
  • Borrow from $5,000 to $100,000
  • Terms of 3, 5, or 7 years
  • Fixed and variable rate personal loans
  • Variable rates are capped
  • Interest rate discount with AutoPay
  • No origination fees or prepayment penalty
  • Requires excellent payment history and debt-to-income ratio
  • Loan availability varies by state
  • Easy online application
  • eSign for your loan
  • Funds deposited directly into your bank account
Visit SoFi

2. Earnest

  • No stated minimum FICO score
  • Borrow between $2,000 and $50,000
  • Terms of 1, 2 or 3 years
  • No origination fee or prepayment penalty
  • Flexible underwriting that considers multiple factors
  • Must be currently employed or have offer letter
  • Positive cash flow and a month or more of expenses in savings
  • Low levels of consumer (non-educational and non-mortgage) debt
  • Positive payment history, with few late payments and overdraft, NSF or late fes
  • No recent bankruptcies or accounts in collections
  • Loan availability varies by state
  • Easy online application with response time of 2 business days
  • Funds disbursed directly to your bank account
Visit Earnest

3. Citizens Bank

  • No stated minimum FICO, but “a reasonably strong credit history” is needed
  • Borrow $5,000 to $50,000
  • Terms between 3 and 7 years
  • Offers both fixed and variable rate personal loans
  • No origination or application fees
  • No prepayment penalty
  • Minimum gross income of $24,000 annually
  • Interest rate discounts for autopay and loyalty
  • Online application
  • Option to add a co-applicant
  • eSign all loan documents
  • Fast loan application response
  • Funds paid directly into your bank account

Visit Citizens Bank

4. Upstart

  • Minimum FICO score of 640
  • Borrow $1,000 to $50,000
  • Terms of 3 or 5 years
  • Origination fee up to 6%
  • No prepayment penalty
  • No minimum gross income required
  • No minimum credit history required
  • No maximum debt-to-income ratio
  • Considers your education, area of study, and job history
  • Easy online application
  • eSign for your loan
  • Funds direct-deposited into your bank account
Visit Upstart

5. Payoff

  • Minimum FICO score of 660
  • Borrow $5,000 to $35,000
  • Terms between 2 and 5 years
  • Origination fee up to 5%
  • No prepayment penalty
  • Debt-to-income ratio of less than or equal to 50%
  • At least 3 years of good credit history
  • At least 2 open trade lines in good standing
  • No current delinquencies
  • Loan availability varies by state
  • Easy online application
  • eSign for your loan
  • Funds direct deposited into your bank account
Visit Payoff

6. Avant

  • Minimum FICO score of 580
  • Borrow $1,000 to $35,000
  • Terms between 2 and 5 years
  • Loan availability varies by state
  • Easy online application
  • No minimum gross income required
  • No minimum credit history required
  • No maximum debt-to-income ratio required
  • eSign for your loan
  • Funds direct-deposited into your bank account
Visit Avant

When you’re looking for the best personal loan companies, don’t simply prioritize those with the best personal loan rates. Take into account the loan terms, fees, and other requirements before deciding which option is the smartest choice for your specific circumstance.

Interested in a personal loan?

Here are the top personal loan lenders of 2017!
LenderRates (APR)Loan Amount 
1 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for SoFi.

2 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.

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. (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org)

Personal Loans: ​*​Fixed rates from 5.70% APR to 14.24% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 4.79% APR to 10.89% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of September 1, 2016 and are subject to change without notice. Not all rates and amounts available in all states. See Personal Loan eligibility details. 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 4.79% APR assumes current 1-month LIBOR rate of 0.79% plus 4.25% 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.


Citizens Bank Disclosures

1

Personal Loan Rate Disclosure: Variable rate, based on the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) published in The Wall Street Journal on the twenty-fifth day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month. As of January 1, 2017, the one-month LIBOR rate is 0.76%. Variable interest rates range from 5.75% - 15.50% (5.75% - 15.50% APR) and will fluctuate over the term of your loan with changes in the LIBOR rate, and will vary based on applicable terms and presence of a co-applicant. 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(see examples), and include Loyalty1 and Automatic Payment 2 discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty Discount1 and Automatic Payment2 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.

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 Citizens Bank 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, Citizens Bank 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.

Automatic Payment Benefit: 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 Citizens Bank’s loan servicer is authorized to automatically deduct payments each month from any bank account the borrower designates. If Citizens Bank’s loan servicer is unable to successfully withdraw the automatic deductions from the designated account three or more times within any 12-month period, the borrower will no longer be eligible for this benefit.


4.79% - 14.24%1 $5,000 - $100,000Visit SoFi
5.75% - 16.24%2$5,000 - $50,000Visit Citizens
5.67% - 29.99%$1,000 - $50,000Visit Upstart
8.00% - 25.00%$5,000 - $35,000Visit Payoff
9.95% - 36.00%$1,000 - $35,000Visit Avant
Advertiser Disclosure

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.

Published in Debt, Financial Tips, Personal Loans