10 Easy Ways You Can Find the Best Personal Loan Rates

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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. 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 to help you understand what you are buying. Be sure to consult with 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.

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.

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Need to borrow some cash but want to do it in the cheapest way possible? Personal loans might be your best bet.

Personal loan rates are usually lower than rates on other unsecured debt, such as credit cards. Currently, the average personal loan rate is 9.76%, well below the 14.89% average on interest-charging credit card accounts, according to the most recent consumer credit report from the Federal Reserve Bank.

But it’s not enough to beat credit card rates; you also want to find the best personal loan rates. Fortunately, the process can be simple and painless. Here’s how you can get started.

10 tips for finding the best personal loan rates

With a bit of time and effort, you can follow these tips to get the best personal loan interest rates.

1. Improve your credit

If you want access to the best personal loan rates, you need to maintain a positive credit history and high credit score.

But if your credit isn’t as great as you’d like it to be, you can improve your credit in a matter of months by:

  • Getting added as an authorized user on an existing credit card account
  • Opening a secured credit card and using it responsibly
  • Checking your credit reports for errors and fixing any mistakes

You also should practice ongoing healthy credit habits, including:

These financial habits will help you improve your credit score in no time. Remember: The higher your credit score is, the lower your personal loan rates likely will be.

2. Look for top personal loan providers

Different kinds of lenders will be able to meet different needs, and you’ll want to find one that provides what you’re looking for.

From a specific feature to low fees and rates, you can find what you want by checking different types of personal loan providers:

The only way to know you’re getting the best possible personal loan rates is to check the terms and options different lenders offer.

Our roundup of the best low-interest personal loans is a good place to start your search.

3. Get multiple offers for personal loan rates

Not every lender has the same criteria for approving borrowers. Because each lender has its own formula for setting your personal loan rates, it’s smart to put each one to the test.

First, get rate offers from different lenders. Look for lenders that offer personalized rates generated with soft credit checks, which won’t ding your credit. Lenders can generate accurate rate offers with a few details from you, allowing you to compare personal loans and find the best one for you.

4. Compare personal loan APRs — not just base rates

Interest is a significant loan cost. But loan origination fees, applications fees, and other charges also can add up.

Start by comparing the annual percentage rate (APR) for each personal loan offer. A personal loan APR is calculated to include all fees and interest and to reflect your true loan costs. Make sure you’re not paying more than you bargained for with a low personal loan rate thanks to fees and other charges.

5. Choose a shorter personal loan term

The faster the lender gets its money back, the less risk the loan carries. That’s why lenders often reserve their best personal loan rates for short-term loans repaid in three to five years or less.

If you want to get low personal loan rates, try to choose the shortest personal loan term. Go for the shortest offer that allows you to both borrow the amount you need and keep monthly payments manageable.

6. Pay attention to total loan costs and payments

As you’re working to get the best personal loan interest rates, it’s important to keep an eye on how different terms will affect your monthly payments and total costs.

Use our personal loan payment calculator to see how different terms will affect the following factors:

  • Total costs: These are all the charges you’ll pay over the life of the loan. Total costs will be higher with long-term personal loans since they carry higher rates and are repaid more slowly.
  • Monthly payments: These also should be affordable. While a short-term personal loan will come with lower interest rates, it also will increase monthly payments. You’ll need to choose a loan length that results in affordable payments so you won’t fall behind.

7. Opt for variable rates on your personal loan

Next, consider fixed or variable personal loan rates.

A fixed rate usually starts a little higher but doesn’t change over the life of the loan. A variable rate, on the other hand, is initially lower but will adjust with current interest rates, often rising as the months pass.

Still, choosing a variable rate can help you secure a lower personal loan interest rate. It will make the most sense for short-term personal loans, which you’re likely to pay off before your rate gets too high.

8. Add a personal loan cosigner

If you have poor or fair credit (a FICO score of 580 to 680 or so), lenders might approve you for a loan. However, you’ll likely face higher personal loan rates.

One way to avoid this is to “borrow” the good credit of someone you trust by asking them to cosign your personal loan. When you add a cosigner to your personal loan application, the lender considers the credit histories of you and your cosigner as well as other financial information.

Because your cosigner’s better credit is taken into consideration, a cosigner can help you access the best personal loan rates, even if you couldn’t qualify on your own.

9. Consider a secured personal loan

The term “personal loan” often refers to an unsecured personal loan that doesn’t require collateral.

A secured loan, on the other hand, is guaranteed by collateral — a valuable asset the borrower owns. Secured personal loans can be borrowed using assets such as home equity, auto equity, or even savings or investments.

An asset also acts as a guarantee of the personal loan, lowering the lender’s risk and making it more likely to approve bad-credit personal loans. Also, many lenders will offer lower personal loan rates when the account is secured by an asset.

10. Sign up for personal loan rate discounts

Lastly, check to see if your lender offers personal loan rate discounts. For example, many lenders offer a small rate discount, usually 0.25%, to borrowers who enroll in automatic debit payments.

Lenders often include this discount in their advertised rates, so make sure you take it into consideration as you compare rates. And once you have the loan, enroll in autopay to make your best personal loan rate even better.

As you shop for a personal loan, weigh each option against your own situation and needs to make the right choice. By knowing and comparing your options, you can get the best personal loan interest rates out there.

Interested in a personal loan?

LendingTree allows you to compare rates from multiple lenders by filling out one easy form. 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. 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 to help you understand what you are buying. Be sure to consult with 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.

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. 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 to help you understand what you are buying. Be sure to consult with 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.

RATES (APR)loan amount
5.99% – 17.88%1 $5,000 to $100,000
5.69% – 35.99% $1,000 to $50,000
6.98% – 35.89%* $1,000 to $50,000
99.00% – 199.00%2 $500 to $4,000
5.99% – 24.99%3 $5,000 to $35,000
5.99% – 29.99%4 $7,500 to $40,000
compare rates on Lendingtree now
1 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

  1. Fixed rates from 5.99% APR to 17.88% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 6.49% APR to 14.70% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of November 4, 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 6.49% APR assumes current 1-month LIBOR rate of 1.81% plus 3.08% 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. If you lose your job through no fault of your own, you may apply for Unemployment Protection. SoFi will suspend your monthly SoFi loan payments and provide job placement assistance during your forbearance period. Interest will continue to accrue and will be added to your principal balance at the end of each forbearance period, to the extent permitted by applicable law. Benefits are offered in three month increments, and capped at 12 months, in aggregate, over the life of the loan. To be eligible for this assistance you must provide proof that you have applied for and are eligible for unemployment compensation, and you must actively work with our Career Advisory Group to look for new employment. If the loan is co-signed the unemployment protection applies where both the borrower and cosigner lose their job and meet conditions.
  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 Opploans.

Opploans Disclosures

Direct Deposit required for payroll.

Opploans currently operates in these states: . *Approval may take longer if additional verification documents are requested. Not all loan requests are approved. Approval and loan terms vary based on credit determination and state law. Applications processed and approved before 7:30 p.m. ET Monday-Friday are typically funded the next business day.

  1. To qualify, a borrower must (i) be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident; (ii) reside in a state where OppLoans operates; (iii) have direct deposit; (iv) meet income requirements; (v) be 18 years of age (19 in Alabama); and, (vi) meet verification standards.
  2. NV Residents: The use of high-interest loans services should be used for short-term financial needs only and not as a long-term financial solution. Customers with credit difficulties should seek credit counseling before entering into any loan transaction.

  3. OppLoans performs no credit checks through the three major credit bureaus Experian, Equifax, or TransUnion. Applicants’ credit scores are provided by Clarity Services, Inc., a credit reporting agency.

  4. Based on customer service ratings on Google and Facebook. Testimonials reflect the individual’s opinion and may not be illustrative of all individual experiences with OppLoans. Check loan reviews.

  5.  

    Rates and terms vary by state.

3 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.
4 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.
* Important Disclosures for Upgrade Bank.

Upgrade Bank Disclosures

* Personal loans made through Upgrade feature APRs of 6.98%-35.89%. All personal loans have a 1.5% to 6% origination fee, which is deducted from the loan proceeds. Lowest rates require Autopay and paying off a portion of existing debt directly. For example, if you receive a $10,000 loan with a 36-month term and a 17.98% APR (which includes a 14.32% yearly interest rate and a 5% one-time origination fee), you would receive $9,500 in your account and would have a required monthly payment of $343.33. Over the life of the loan, your payments would total $12,359.97. The APR on your loan may be higher or lower and your loan offers may not have multiple term lengths available. Actual rate depends on credit score, credit usage history, loan term, and other factors. Late payments or subsequent charges and fees may increase the cost of your fixed rate loan. There is no fee or penalty for repaying a loan early. Personal loans issued by WebBank, Member FDIC.

** 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.

Published in Big Money Decisions, Loans

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