4 Types of Lenders to Consider When You Need a Personal Loan

 April 12, 2018
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How Student Loan Hero Gets Paid

Student Loan Hero is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (such as the order). Student Loan Hero does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

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Student Loan Hero Advertiser Disclosure

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Whether it’s time to pay for home repairs, consolidate credit card debt, start a business, or something else, a personal loan can be an efficient way to fund your goals.

There are several types of lenders that offer personal loans, but the best option for you will depend on how much money you need, how quickly you need it, and how good your credit is. Learn about the pros and cons of four popular options before deciding where to go for a loan.

Where can I get a personal loan?

The better your credit, the more options you’ll have when choosing a personal loan. Even borrowers with bad credit could find a lender among these four categories.

1. Major bank

A few major banks offer unsecured personal loans. Wells Fargo, for instance, offers loans ranging from $3,000 to $100,000 to qualified applicants, while Citibank offers loans of $2,000 to $50,000.

  • Pros: Your current bank might offer an interest rate discount if you have an open account. Wells Fargo offers a 0.25% relationship discount to customers and Bank of America offers a rate discount of up to 0.75% in some circumstances. Since you already banking there, you can keep all your financial products in one place. Plus, major banks have many branches nationwide, which can be convenient if you need to meet a banker in person.

  • Cons: You have to be in good standing with your bank at the time you apply for a loan. Whether you’re a current customer or not, you need to have great credit.

  • Best fit for: People with excellent credit will benefit from the lowest interest rates available at a major bank.

2. Local bank

A local bank essentially is a small business in your community. Since each bank is operated individually, loan policies vary from location to location.

However, local banks, also known as community banks, often place an emphasis on learning the needs of their neighborhood. According to the Independent Community Bankers of America, these small banks also might be more flexible in their lending practices. For example, instead of considering only your credit report and income, community banks might also look at your family history and discretionary spending before approving you for a loan.

You can search online to find a local bank in your area.

  • Pros: Local banks work closely with the community, so their service can be more personalized. Some people prefer local banks because they can develop a relationship with the same banker over time.

  • Cons: Community banks might have fewer products. And if you’re traveling or moving out of state, you likely won’t have access to a branch.

  • Best fit for: If you have less-than-perfect credit, a local bank might be more willing to work with you.

3. Credit union

People who wonder “Where can I get a personal loan?” often overlook credit unions, but it’s a mistake that could prove costly.

A credit union is similar to a local bank, but instead of being a small business, it’s a cooperative financial institution owned by its members. At a credit, you’re not a customer but a part-owner when you join it.

This locator map can help you find a credit union near you.

  • Pros: Credit unions, unlike major banks, often give small personal loans to borrowers. And because credit unions are not-for-profit institutions, they also might offer better interest rates for members and be willing to lend money to those who don’t have outstanding credit.

  • Cons: Just like local banks, credit unions might not have out-of-state locations unless they’re part of a larger financial network. And you have to be a member of a credit union to access its services. While some allow you to join by making a small donation to certain causes, others are tied to places of work or religious organizations.

  • Best fit for: If you’re looking for a small loan and have fair to bad credit, a credit union might suit you.

4. Online lender

Because of the competitive marketplace of online lending, you can choose from a variety of online lenders. In addition, there’s more flexibility in how they evaluate your creditworthiness and how you repay the loan. Lenders such as SoFi and Earnest offer interest rates of below 6.00%, while Avant requires a minimum credit score of 580, which can help if you don’t have excellent credit.

Online lenders also are known for having more flexible repayment terms and making good use of technology. Earnest, for example, lets you choose your preferred monthly payment amount and make extra payments without fees. Some lenders also let you conduct transactions through their smartphone apps so you can manage your finances on the go.

  • Pros: You can apply online. Most online lenders do a soft credit check when you check your rates, which means it won’t impact your credit negatively. They do a hard credit check only when you formally apply for a loan.

  • Cons: Since everything is done entirely online, you can’t have a face-to-face talk with a representative if you have problems with your loan.

  • Best fit for: If you’re looking for a loan that’s convenient to manage and can be individualized, online lenders could meet your needs.

What to keep in mind before you choose a lender

Personal loans aren’t the only way to borrow money when you need it, but they can be a powerful tool when you want to consolidate debt, fund a side hustle, or accomplish other important goals.

It’s important not only to compare interest rates before signing for a loan but also to weigh other benefits offered by each lender. For instance, you might decide to go with a lender that offers flexible payments or fewer fees even though it charges a slightly higher interest rate.

If you research all your options and do the math on each loan, you’ll be one step closer to answering your “Where can I get a personal loan?” question.

Interested in a personal loan?

LendingTree allows you to compare rates from multiple lenders by filling out one easy form. How Student Loan Hero Gets Paid

How Student Loan Hero Gets Paid

Student Loan Hero is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (such as the order). Student Loan Hero does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

Advertiser Disclosure

Student Loan Hero Advertiser Disclosure

Student Loan Hero is an advertising-supported comparison service. The site features products from our partners as well as institutions which are not advertising partners. While we make an effort to include the best deals available to the general public, we make no warranty that such information represents all available products.

How Student Loan Hero Gets Paid

How Student Loan Hero Gets Paid

Student Loan Hero is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (such as the order). Student Loan Hero does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

Advertiser Disclosure

Student Loan Hero Advertiser Disclosure

Student Loan Hero is an advertising-supported comparison service. The site features products from our partners as well as institutions which are not advertising partners. While we make an effort to include the best deals available to the general public, we make no warranty that such information represents all available products.

RATES (APR)loan amount
5.99% – 18.85%1 $5,000 to $100,000
4.37% – 35.99% $1,000 to $50,000
5.94% – 35.97%* $1,000 to $50,000
99.00% – 199.00%2 $500 to $4,000
5.99% – 24.99%3 $5,000 to $40,000
7.99% – 29.99%4 $7,500 to $40,000
compare rates on Lendingtree now
NMLS #1136: Terms & Conditions Apply
1 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

  1. Fixed rates from 5.99% APR to 18.85% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of March 19, 2020 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 creditworthiness, years of professional experience, income and other factors. See APR examples and terms. 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. The loan terms presented are not guaranteed and APRs presented are estimates only. To obtain a loan you must submit additional information and documentation and all loans are subject to credit review and our approval process. The range of APRs is 7.99% to 29.99% and your actual APR will depend upon factors including your credit score, usage and history, the requested loan amount, the stated loan purpose, and the term of the requested loan. To qualify for a 7.99% 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. All loans are made by Cross River Bank and MetaBank®, N.A., Members FDIC.
* Important Disclosures for Upgrade Bank.

Upgrade Bank Disclosures

Personal loans made through Upgrade feature APRs of 5.94%-35.97%. All personal loans have a 2.9% to 8% 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. Accept your loan offer and your funds will be sent to your bank or designated account within one (1) business day of clearing necessary verifications. Availability of the funds is dependent on how quickly your bank processes the transaction. From the time of approval, funds should be available within four (4) business days. Funds sent directly to pay off your creditors may take up to 2 weeks to clear, depending on the creditor. Personal loans issued by Upgrade’s lending partners. Information on Upgrade’s lending partners can be found at https://www.upgrade.com/lending-partners/.