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

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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.

where can I get a personal loan

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?

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 5.49% APR to 14.24% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 5.365% APR to 13.365% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of April 11, 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 5.365% APR assumes current 1-month LIBOR rate of 1.88% plus 3.735% 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 Disclosure: Fixed interest rates range from 4.99% – 16.24% (4.99% – 16.24% APR) based on applicable terms. Lowest rates shown 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
5.37% - 14.24%1$5,000 - $100,000
Check rate nowon SLH's secure site
8.00% - 25.00%$5,000 - $35,000
Check rate nowon SLH's secure site
4.99% - 16.24%2$5,000 - $50,000Visit Citizens
5.99% - 35.89%$1,000 - $40,000Visit LendingClub
5.25% - 14.24%$2,000 - $50,000Visit Earnest
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.