6 Best Consumer Loans and Lines of Credit of 2018

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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.

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In an ideal world, we’d all have enough income and savings to never have to borrow money. But in reality, only 24% of Americans have no debt, according to a 2016 survey by CreditCards.com. For the rest of us, consumer loans and lines of credit can help us finance necessary purchases we can’t afford on our own.

But countless lenders offer various consumer loans and lines of credit. That can make it hard to know which product is best for you. To help you decide, we’ll cover the difference between the two and some of the top options available.

The difference between consumer loans and lines of credit

Consumer loans are essentially any kind of loan you can take out as an individual, including mortgages, auto loans, student loans, and personal loans. They come with a set monthly payment and repayment term, and the account closes once you’ve repaid the debt.

Lines of credit, however, are a form of revolving credit, which means that you can borrow money up to your credit limit, pay it off, and then borrow again. A line of credit can be secured by collateral — such as in the case of a home equity line of credit — or unsecured, such as with a personal line of credit.

While consumer loans often give you a choice between a fixed and variable interest rate, lines of credit typically charge variable rates only.

To avoid making things too complicated, the only consumer loans we’ll cover in our roundup below are personal loans, which you can typically use for just about anything.

Also, while credit cards are a type of unsecured line of credit, we won’t cover them here. Instead, we’ll focus on personal lines of credit you can get from a bank, credit union, or online lender.

The best consumer loans and lines of credit

With so many options available, it can be hard to know where to start. To help you get an idea of what you can expect, we’ve put together a list of six of the top consumer loans and lines of credit.

Personal Loans
Lender Best for
Citizens Bank Low rates
SoFi Large loans
Upgrade Small loans
Lines of Credit
Lender Best for
KeyBank Unsecured line of credit
Regions Bank Secured line of credit
SunTrust Large line of credit

Top 3 consumer loans

As you review each of the loan options we’ve listed, pay attention to rates and fees, repayment terms, and other features each lender offers borrowers.

Citizens Bank: Best for low rates

In February 2018, the average interest rate on a 24-month personal loan was 10.22%, according to the Federal Reserve. With Citizens Bank, though, you might get rates as low as 5.99%.

What’s more, the lender offers interest rate discounts if you have an eligible account with Citizens Bank and if you set up automatic payments. In total, you can reduce your rate by up to 0.50%. Other highlights include:

  • Fixed rates from 5.99% to 18.99%
  • Borrow from $5,000 to $50,000
  • Repayment terms between three and seven years
  • No fees

Additional information

  • Strong credit history and an annual income of at least $24,000 needed to qualify
  • No collateral required
Visit Citizens Bank

SoFi: Best for large loans

If you’re planning a big home improvement or another high-cost project, SoFi allows you to borrow from $5,000 up to $100,000. Many other personal loan companies don’t even come close to that level. Here are some more details to know about SoFi personal loans:

  • Rates from 5.81% to 15.37%
  • Repayment terms of three, five, and seven years
  • Variable and fixed interest rates
  • No fees

Additional information

  • Special community benefits include rate discounts on future loans, unemployment protection, community events, career coaching, and more
  • No collateral required
Visit SoFi

Upgrade: Best for small loans

Some of the best personal loan companies require that you borrow at least $5,000 to $10,000. But if you don’t need anywhere near those amounts, consider Upgrade. Loans start at $1,000 and go as high as $50,000. Here’s what else you need to know about the lender:

  • Rates from 6.87% to 35.97%
  • Repayment terms of three or five years
  • Fixed interest rates
  • Origination fees between 1% and 6%

Additional information

Visit Upgrade

Top 3 personal lines of credit

Depending on what you need, one of the following lines of credit can be better than the others. Consider the monthly payment amount, credit limit, annual fee, and availability.

KeyBank: Best for an unsecured credit line

Unsecured debt can be expensive, but KeyBank offers a decent interest rate range on its Preferred Credit Line.

Depending on your creditworthiness, your variable APR will be between 9.99% and 15.24%, as of June 13, 2018. That’s lower than the average credit card interest rate, which was 15.32% in February 2018, according to the Federal Reserve. But be sure to double-check the latest rates on the KeyBank website.

Here are some other highlights to keep in mind:

  • Credit limits from $2,000 to $50,000
  • Monthly payment of $50 or 0.83% of the outstanding principal balance plus interest, fees, and past due amounts.
  • Access funds online, in a branch, or by writing a check
  • Variable interest rates
  • $50 annual fee

Additional information

  • Live in one of the following states to open a line of credit: Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Indiana, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennslyvania, Utah, Vermont, or Washington
  • Line of credit can be used as overdraft protection for KeyBank checking account
  • No collateral required
Visit KeyBank

Regions Bank: Best for a secured line of credit

If you don’t qualify for an unsecured line of credit or you’d prefer a lower interest rate, Regions Bank’s Savings Secured Line of Credit might be worth considering. As of June 13, 2018, the bank offers variable rates starting from 6.75% APR. Check Regions Bank’s website for the most up-to-date rates.

If your credit line is $5,000 or more and you set up automatic payments, you could qualify for a rate discount of up to 0.50%. Other highlights include:

  • Credit limit ranges from $250 to $100,000
  • Monthly payment of 5% of your outstanding balance or $10, whichever is greater
  • Access funds online, by phone, in a branch, or by writing a check
  • Variable interest rates
  • $50 annual fee

Additional information

  • Live in one of the following states to open a line of credit: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, or Texas
  • Can use line of credit as overdraft protection for Regions Bank checking account
  • Credit limit can be up to 100% of available balance in a Regions savings or money market account
Visit Regions Bank

SunTrust: Best for a large line of credit

If you need a jumbo-sized line of credit, the SunTrust Personal Credit Line Plus offers credit limits from $25,000 all the way up to $500,000. As of June 13, 2018, you could qualify for a variable interest rate between 7.90% and 8.70% APR. Check SunTrust’s website for the latest rates.

You could also get a 0.25% interest rate reduction if you sign up for automatic payments from a SunTrust bank account.

Here’s what else you need to know about the Personal Credit Line Plus:

  • Terms up to four years
  • Variable interest rates
  • No annual fee
  • No collateral required

Additional information

  • Live in one of the following places to open a line of credit: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennesee, Virginia, Washington, D.C., or West Virginia
  • Need at least $100,000 in verifiable assets to qualify
Visit SunTrust

How to choose between consumer loans and lines of credit

A consumer loan is typically better if you have one specific reason to borrow money and don’t anticipate needing credit on an ongoing basis. In contrast, getting a line of credit is a good idea if you anticipate needing to borrow on an ongoing basis. For example, small businesses often get a line of credit to help leverage ongoing short-term cash needs.

Also consider a line of credit if you want a lower variable rate, but understand that it might increase in the future. To determine which one is better, consider your needs and preferences.

Picking the right lender

While we’ve listed a few different lenders above for consumer loans and lines of credit, these aren’t the best for everyone. In addition to considering other top personal loan companies, look at other lenders that offer lines of credit.

Specifically, take a look at your local credit unions. Credit unions often charge lower interest rates and fees than banks because they’re not-for-profit organizations. This means that they return profits to their members in the form of better products and services.

As you shop around, compare not only interest rates but also other details, such as the monthly payment amount, fees, and repayment terms. Doing your due diligence can put you in a better position to pick the loan or line of credit that works best for you and your situation.

Note: Student Loan Hero has independently collected the above information related to personal lines of credit. KeyBank, Regions Bank, and SunTrust have neither provided nor reviewed the information shared in this article.

Interested in a personal loan?

Here are the top personal loan lenders of 2018!
LenderAPR RangeLoan Amount 
1 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

  1. Personal LoansFixed rates from 7.08% APR to 15.37% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 5.81% APR to 14.11% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of August 10, 2018 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 5.81% APR assumes current 1-month LIBOR rate of 2.07% plus 4.175% 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. 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. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Terms and Conditions ApplySOFI 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 4.99% 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 4.99% APR loan, a borrower will need excellent credit on a loan of $15,000 with a term of 24 months, and qualify for at least two of the following discounts: (1) add a co-borrower who has sufficient income; (2) use at least fifty percent of the loan proceeds to directly pay off existing debt; or (3) show proof of having at least forty-thousand dollars in retirement savings – contact FreedomPlus for further details.

4 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.

Citizens Bank Disclosures

  1. Personal Loan Rate DisclosureFixed interest rates from 6.49% – 19.49% (6.49% – 19.49% 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 15.49% APR to a high of 34.49% 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 6.16% to 35.89%. 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 time of application. The origination fee ranges from 1% to 6% and the average origination fee is 5.49% as of Q1 2017. 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 or longer.


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.

7.73% – 29.99%$1,000 - $50,000Visit Upstart
5.81% – 15.37%1$5,000 - $100,000Visit SoFi
6.87% – 35.97%*$1,000 - $50,000Visit Upgrade
8.00% – 25.00%2$5,000 - $35,000Visit Payoff
4.99% – 29.99%3$10,000 - $35,000Visit FreedomPlus
5.99% – 18.99%4$5,000 - $50,000Visit Citizens
15.49% – 34.49%5$2,000 - $25,000Visit LendingPoint
6.16% – 35.89%6$1,000 - $40,000Visit LendingClub
6.99% – 18.24%7$5,000 - $75,000Visit Earnest
9.95% – 35.99%8$2,000 - $35,000Visit 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.