10 Easy Ways You Can Find the Best Personal Loan Rates

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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.

personal loan rates

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?

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

SoFi Disclosures

  1. Personal LoansFixed rates from 6.199% APR to 15.365% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 6.145% APR to 14.685% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of June 15, 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 6.145% APR assumes current 1-month LIBOR rate of 1.97% 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.
  2. 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 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.

* Important Disclosures for Upgrade Bank.

Upgrade 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.
7.73% – 29.99%$1,000 - $50,000
Check rate nowon SLH's secure site
6.15% – 15.37%1$5,000 - $100,000
Check rate nowon SLH's secure site
5.96% – 35.97%*$1,000 - $50,000Visit Upgrade
8.00% – 25.00%$5,000 - $35,000
Check rate nowon SLH's secure site
4.99% – 29.99%$10,000 - $35,000Visit FreedomPlus
5.99% – 18.99%2$5,000 - $50,000Visit Citizens
15.49% – 34.49%$2,000 - $25,000Visit LendingPoint
5.99% – 35.89%$1,000 - $40,000Visit LendingClub
5.49% – 18.24%$5,000 - $75,000Visit Earnest
9.95% – 35.99%$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.