Best Small Personal Loans

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.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the financial institution.

how to increase cash flow
Logo

We’ve got your back! Student Loan Hero is a completely free website 100% focused on helping student loan borrowers get the answers they need. Read more

How do we make money? It’s actually pretty simple. If you choose to check out and become a customer of any of the loan providers featured on our site, we get compensated for sending you their way. This helps pay for our amazing staff of writers (many of which are paying back student loans of their own!).

Bottom line: We’re here for you. So please learn all you can, email us with any questions, and feel free to visit or not visit any of the loan providers on our site. Read less

When you find yourself in a tight financial situation, whether you’re facing an unexpected medical bill or you need money to cover expenses while you’re job hunting, a personal loan can be a quick solution. Unlike auto loans and home mortgages, which are approved for specific uses, personal loans can be used for a variety of expenses. Many lenders process personal loan applications quickly, so you can have the money in your bank account within days.

Here are the top small personal loan options.

LendingTree

LendingTree can show you some personal loan options for which you qualify based on your creditworthiness, including details such as the loan’s terms, rates and fees. (Disclosure: Student Loan Hero is owned by LendingTree.) You’ll need to enter basic information, such as the type of loan you’re interested in and how much you’d like to borrow, to generate loan offers from lenders.

LendingClub

LendingClub’s unique approach to loans connects potential borrowers with individuals and institutions that want to lend them money — all with the goal of helping people build a better financial future. This model bypasses the middleman (a traditional bank) and allows LendingClub to offer low interest rates on personal loans through individuals and institutions. The lending platform advertises a speedy online application process and a quick response to applications.

Personal loans through LendingClub are approved from $1,000 to $40,000 with interest rates ranging from 6.95% to 35.89%. The personal loans through LendingClub can be used for a wide range of purposes, including refinancing credit card debt, home improvements, unexpected expenses and major purchases and consolidating high-interest debt. These loans cannot be used for education after high school, investments, gambling or anything illegal.

While the interest rates offered through LendingClub can be low, these rates are only available to applicants with “excellent credit.” LendingClub doesn’t provide details about credit scores, but “excellent” credit is generally considered to be a score of 800 or higher.

Pros

  • No application, brokerage or prepayment fees
  • Low interest rate for applicants with excellent credit
  • Fixed interest rates
  • Fixed monthly payments
  • Soft Pull on credit to check rates

Cons

  • Origination fee between 1.00% - 6.00% that’s deducted from the loan total
  • High interest rates for borrowers with less-than-stellar credit
  • Process takes about seven days between application and receiving the money

For applicants with a good credit score, LendingClub is an excellent platform for getting money quickly and easily.

Upgrade

Known for its excellent loan experience, Upgrade is a new online personal loan lender that has quickly established a reputation for its streamlined application process and quick loan approval. Launched in 2017, Upgrade was built on the idea that personal loan applicants should have access to affordable credit and a good online borrowing experience.

Upgrade offers personal loans between $1,000 and $50,000 for 36 or 60 months, and terms range from 7.99% to 35.89%. To apply for a loan, borrowers fill out a one-page online application and receive a list of personal loan offers seconds later. After you accept an offer, Upgrade will send the loan money to your bank account. The transaction could be completed within a day if you clear required verifications.

Pros

  • Fixed payments
  • No prepayment fee
  • Low fixed rates
  • Provides free credit monitoring and educational resources
  • Soft Pull to check your rates

Cons

  • Origination fee of 1.50% - 6.00% that’s deducted from the loan amount
  • Loans with the lowest rates require autopay
  • $10 fee for late or failed payments
  • Late payments, fees and other charges are deducted from loan

With a user-friendly online application process, Upgrade makes it easy to get personal loans. Applicants with a good credit score could have the money in the bank the day after they apply.

Upstart

Upstart, which was founded by former Google employees, began as a platform to provide credit to students and young adults who might not have a long credit history. While it’s expanded and now offers personal loans to almost everyone, Upstart still retains its focus on helping people get “fast and fair credit.”

Unlike some lenders that judge creditworthiness primarily on credit score, Upstart uses an algorithm that takes into account other factors such as education, job history, standardized test scores and your career.

Upstart offers personal loans from $1,000 to $50,000 with terms between three and five years, and rates range from 7.54% to 35.99%. But these terms don’t apply in every state. Upstart does not offer loans in West Virginia or Iowa, and the minimum loan is $7,000 in Massachusetts, $6,000 in Ohio, $5,100 in New Mexico and $3,100 in Georgia.

The platform’s online application process takes minutes. The form asks for your highest level of education, your primary source of income and how much you have in savings. You’ll get a rate within minutes. If your application is approved and you accept the loan, you’ll have the money in your account the next business day.

Upstart personal loans can be used for almost anything, including educational expenses, but there is a three-business-day waiting period for education-related loans.

Pros

  • No down payment
  • No prepayment penalty
  • Soft Pull on your credit to get rates
  • Qualifications not solely based on credit

Cons

  • Smaller loans not available in all states
  • Origination fee between 0.00% - 8.00%
  • Charges late, paper copy and returned check fees

Upstart is an excellent choice for young adults who are still in school or haven’t built up a credit history. With Upstart’s easy application process and expediency, qualified candidates can have a loan within 24 hours of applying.

Tower Federal Credit Union

Tower Federal Credit Union was formed in 1953 by seven people who each contributed $5. It has since grown into the largest federal credit union in Maryland, with more than 185,000 members around the world. Because it is a member-owned cooperative, Tower Federal Credit Union is not required to pay stockholders and can use profits to keep rates and fees low.

Tower Federal Credit Union’s Signature personal loans can be used for almost anything, including bill consolidation, home improvement or buying a vehicle that costs less than $5,000.

Like all credit unions, Tower Federal Credit Union requires membership, but it’s not difficult to join. A lifetime membership costs $15, and the credit union’s website provides a long list of businesses and organizations for which you can either work, donate or volunteer to be eligible to join.

Tower Federal Credit Union’s Signature personal loans typically are for between 12 to 72 months with rates in the range of 8.74% – 11.74%. While the credit union doesn’t publish guidelines for its credit qualifications, it does state that loan approval is based on your creditworthiness and ability to repay the loan.

Pros

  • Joining the credit union is easy
  • Low interest rates
  • Loans can be used for almost anything

Cons

  • Phone payments incur a $9 fee
  • $20 late payment fee

Taking a few minutes to join Tower Federal Credit Union may be worth your time since it offers low interest rates compared to many other lenders. With good credit, you could be approved for excellent personal loan terms.

Apple Federal Credit Union

Apple Federal Credit Union, which was founded in 1956 and is based in northern Virginia, prides itself on personalized customer service. Apple is a nonprofit, member-owned financial cooperative, which allows it to keep loan rates low.

To apply for a personal loan from Apple Federal Credit Union, you must first join the credit union. This process is quick, and there are many ways to qualify for membership. Members originally had to be affiliated with a northern Virginia school system, but now it is open to anyone who lives, works, worships, volunteers or attends school in Fairfax, Frederick or Prince William counties or the cities of Manassas, Manassas Park or Fairfax. Employees of some businesses are eligible (see Apple Federal Credit Union’s website for a list), or you can join an eligible organization such as the NVADACA. Membership also is open to members of qualified applicants’ households, and all applicants must be at least 18.

Signature personal loans, which can be up to $50,000, can be used for anything from medical bills to debt consolidation. Rates are as low as 9.24% and are based on an evaluation of your credit and the loan amount.

To apply for a Signature loan, you’ll need to provide a government-issued photo ID, such as a driver’s license or military ID, and a recent pay stub, W-2 form or filed and signed tax returns if you are self-employed.

Pros

  • Low rates
  • Terms from 12 to 60 months
  • Fixed-rate payments
  • Considers repayment history, capacity and desire to repay, not just credit history
  • No prepayment penalty
  • Allows up to three skipped payments after at least 12 consecutive on-time payments

Cons

  • $25 fee for each approved skipped payment
  • Website doesn’t state minimum loan amounts

For people with connections to northern Virginia, Apple Federal Credit Union can be a good lender to get a personal loan. While there is a membership fee, a low-interest personal loan from Apple Federal Credit Union could be worth the effort.

Interested in a personal loan?

Here are the top personal loan lenders of 2019!
LenderAPR RangeLoan Amount 
1 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

  1. Fixed rates from 5.990% APR to 16.990% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 5.74% APR to 14.70% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of March 18, 2019 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. See APR examples and terms. Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at 14.95%. Lowest variable rate of 5.72% APR assumes current 1-month LIBOR rate of 2.49% plus 4.28% 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. To check the rates and terms you qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull.
    See Consumer Licenses.
  3. Minimum Credit Score: Not all applicants who meet SoFi’s minimum credit score requirements are approved for a personal loan. In addition to meeting SoFi’s minimum eligibility criteria, applicants must also meet other credit and underwriting requirements to qualify.
  4. SoFi Personal Loans are not available to residents of MS. Maximum interest rate on loans for residents of AK and WY is 9.99% APR, for residents of IL with loans over $40,000 is 8.99% APR, for residents of TX is 9.99% APR on terms greater than 5 years, for residents of CO, CT, HI, VA, SC is 11.99% APR, and for residents of ME is 12.24% APR. Personal loans not available to residents of MI who already have a student loan with SoFi. Personal Loans minimum loan amount is $5,000. Residents of AZ, MA, and NH have a minimum loan amount of $10,001. Residents of KY have a minimum loan amount of $15,001. Residents of PA have a minimum loan amount of $25,001. Variable rates not available to residents of AK, TX, VA, WY, or for residents of IL for loans greater than $40,000.
  5. 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 Financing Law License No. 6054612. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp., NMLS # 1121636. (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org)

2 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for Payoff.

Payoff Disclosures

  1. All loans are subject to credit review and approval. Your actual rate depends upon credit score, loan amount, loan term, credit usage and history. Currently loans are not offered in: MA, MS, NE, NV, OH, and WV.

3 Important Disclosures for FreedomPlus.

FreedomPlus Disclosures

  1. All loans available through FreedomPlus.com are made by Cross River Bank, a New Jersey State Chartered Commercial Bank, Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender. All loan and rate terms are subject to eligibility restrictions, application review, credit score, loan amount, loan term, lender approval, and credit usage and history. Eligibility for a loan is not guaranteed. Loans are not available to residents of all states – please call a FreedomPlus representative for further details. The following limitations, in addition to others, shall apply: FreedomPlus does not arrange loans in: (i) Arizona under $10,500; (ii) Massachusetts under $6,500, (iii) Ohio under $5,500, and (iv) Georgia under $3,500. Repayment periods range from 24 to 60 months. The range of APRs on loans made available through FreedomPlus is 5.99% to a maximum of 29.99%. APR. The APR calculation includes all applicable fees, including the loan origination fee. For Example, a four year $20,000 loan with an interest rate of 15.49% and corresponding APR of 18.34% would have an estimated monthly payment of $561.60 and a total cost payable of $7,948.13. To qualify for a 5.99% APR loan, a borrower will need excellent credit on a loan for an amount less than $12,000.00, and with a term equal to 24 months. Adding a co-borrower with sufficient income; using at least eighty-five percent (85%) of the loan proceeds to directly pay off qualifying existing debt; or showing proof of sufficient retirement savings, could help you also qualify for the lowest rate available.

4 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.

Citizens Bank Disclosures

  1. Personal Loan Rate DisclosureFixed interest rates from 6.79% – 20.89% (6.79% – 20.89% APR) based on applicable terms. Lowest rates range from 5.99%-18.99% (5.99%-18.99% APR), 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.

5 Important Disclosures for LendingPoint.

LendingPoint Disclosures

  • Loan approval is not guaranteed. Actual loan offers and loan amounts, terms and annual percentage rates (“APR”) may vary based upon LendingPoint’s proprietary scoring and underwriting system’s review of your credit, financial condition, other factors, and supporting documents or information you provide. Origination or other fees from 0% to 6% may apply depending upon your state of residence. Upon LendingPoint’s final underwriting approval to fund a loan, said funds are often sent via ACH the next non-holiday business day. LendingPoint makes loan offers from $2,000 to $25,000, at rates ranging from a low of 9.99% APR to a high of 35.99% APR, with terms from 24 to 48 months. The loan offer(s) shown reflect a 28 day payment cycle which is being offered as a courtesy as many of our customers are paid on a biweekly schedule and thus this may better align the loan payment dates with your actual income receipt schedule.

6 Important Disclosures for LendingClub.

LendingClub Disclosures

All loans made by WebBank, Member FDIC. Your actual rate depends upon credit score, loan amount, loan term, and credit usage & history. The APR ranges from 6.95% to 35.89%*. The origination fee ranges from 1% to 6% of the original principal balance and is deducted from your loan proceeds. For example, you could receive a loan of $6,000 with an interest rate of 7.99% and a 5.00% origination fee of $300 for an APR of 11.51%. In this example, you will receive $5,700 and will make 36 monthly payments of $187.99. The total amount repayable will be $6,767.64. Your APR will be determined based on your credit at the time of application. The average origination fee is 5.49% as of Q1 2017. In Georgia, the minimum loan amount is $3,025. In Massachusetts, the minimum loan amount is $6,025 if your APR is greater than 12%. There is no down payment and there is never a prepayment penalty. Closing of your loan is contingent upon your agreement of all the required agreements and disclosures on the www.lendingclub.com website. All loans via LendingClub have a minimum repayment term of 36 months. Borrower must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or be in the United States on a valid long term visa and at least 18 years old. Valid bank account and Social Security number are required. Equal Housing Lender. All loans are subject to credit approval. LendingClub’s physical address is: LendingClub, 71 Stevenson Street, Suite 1000, San Francisco, CA 94105.

†Per reviews collected and authenticated by Bazaarvoice in compliance with the Bazaarvoice Authentication Requirements, supported by anti-fraud technology and human analysis. All reviews can be reviewed at reviews.lendingclub.com

**Based on approximately 60% of borrowers who received offers through LendingClub’s marketing partners between January 1, 2018 to July 20,2018. The time it will take to fund your loan may vary.


7 Important Disclosures for Earnest.

Earnest Disclosures

  1. Earnest does not lend in Alabama, Delaware, Kentucky, Nevada, or Rhode Island.

8 Important Disclosures for Avant.

Avant Disclosures

* The actual rate and loan amount that a customer qualifies for may vary based on credit determination and other factors. Funds are generally deposited via ACH for delivery next business day if approved by 4:30pm CT Monday-Friday. Avant branded credit products are issued by WebBank, member FDIC.

** Example: A $5,700 loan with an administration fee of 4.75% and an amount financed of $5,429.25, repayable in 36 monthly installments, would have an APR of 29.95% and monthly payments of $230.33


* Important Disclosures for Upgrade Bank.

Upgrade Bank Disclosures

* Your loan terms are not guaranteed and are subject to our verification and review process. You may be asked to provide additional documents to enable us to verify your income and your identity. This rate includes an Autopay APR reduction of 0.5%. By enrolling in Autopay your payments will be automatically deducted from you bank account. Selecting Autopay is optional. Annual Percentage Rate is inclusive of a loan origination fee, which is deducted from the loan proceeds. Late payments or subsequent charges and fees may increase the cost of your fixed rate loan. All loans made by WebBank, member FDIC. Please refer to Upgrade’s Terms of Use and Borrower Agreement for all terms, conditions and requirements.

** Accept your loan offer and your funds will be sent to your bank via ACH within one (1) business day of clearing necessary verifications. Availability of the funds is dependent on how quickly your bank processes this transaction. From the time of approval, funds should be available within four (4) business days.

5.74% – 16.99%1$5,000 - $100,000

Visit SoFi

7.54% – 35.99%$1,000 - $50,000

Visit Upstart

7.99% – 35.89%*$1,000 - $50,000

Visit Upgrade

5.99% – 24.99%2$5,000 - $35,000

Visit Payoff

5.99% – 29.99%3$7,500 - $40,000

Visit FreedomPlus

6.79% – 20.89%4$5,000 - $50,000

Visit Citizens

9.99% – 35.99%5$2,000 - $25,000

Visit LendingPoint

6.95% – 35.89%6$1,000 - $40,000

Visit LendingClub

6.99% – 18.24%7$5,000 - $75,000

Visit Earnest

9.95% – 35.99%8$2,000 - $35,000

Visit Avant

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