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Best personal loan rates

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Written by Cate Deventer

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Edited by Amy Sims

Proofread by Amy Sims

What to know first

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The Tellernote promise

At Tellernote we strive to help you make smarter financial decisions. While we adhere to strict editorial integrity, this post may contain references to products from our partners. Here’s an explanation for how we make money. Learn more about who we are and our promise to guide you through life’s financial journey.

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Definition of terms

Check Your Personal Loan Rates

  • Check personalized rates from multiple lenders in just 2 minutes
  • Explore loans ranging from $500 to $100,000
  • This will NOT impact your credit score
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PERSONAL LOANS

BEST LOANS FOR GENEROUS REPAYMENT TERMS

LightStream

4.7
4.7/5

Tellernote Score

Est. APR

7.99- 25.49%

with Autopay

Loan amount

$5k- $100k

Term: 2-7 yrs*

Min credit score

695

Check rate with Tellernote

ProsCons
   Long loan terms   Requires established credit
  High maximum loan amount   High minimum loan amount
   Borrowers choose when to receive the money   No due date flexibility
WHO IT’S FOR

Those with a strong financial history who want a longer repayment term.

WHY WE LIKE IT

Its loan terms can reach up to seven years, which means you can take longer to pay off your loan and benefit from lower monthly payments.
Lender perks:
  • Longer repayment terms
  • Autopay discounts
  • Fast approval

  • Fees:
  • None

  • Time to receive funds:
  • As soon as same day

  • Requirements:
  • Good-to-excellent credit profile
  • Several years of mixed credit
  • Assets or savings
  • PERSONAL LOANS

    BEST LOANS FOR GENEROUS REPAYMENT TERMS

    LightStream

    4.7
    4.7/5

    Tellernote Score

    Est. APR

    7.99- 25.49%

    with Autopay

    Loan amount

    $5k- $100k

    Term: 2-7 yrs*

    Min credit score

    695

    Check rate with Tellernote

    ProsCons
       Long loan terms   Requires established credit
      High maximum loan amount   High minimum loan amount
       Borrowers choose when to receive the money   No due date flexibility
    WHO IT’S FOR

    Those with a strong financial history who want a longer repayment term.

    WHY WE LIKE IT

    Its loan terms can reach up to seven years, which means you can take longer to pay off your loan and benefit from lower monthly payments.
    Lender perks:
  • Longer repayment terms
  • Autopay discounts
  • Fast approval

  • Fees:
  • None

  • Time to receive funds:
  • As soon as same day

  • Requirements:
  • Good-to-excellent credit profile
  • Several years of mixed credit
  • Assets or savings
  • PERSONAL LOANS

    BEST LOANS FOR GENEROUS REPAYMENT TERMS

    LightStream

    4.7
    4.7/5

    Tellernote Score

    Est. APR

    7.99- 25.49%

    with Autopay

    Loan amount

    $5k- $100k

    Term: 2-7 yrs*

    Min credit score

    695

    Check rate with Tellernote

    ProsCons
       Long loan terms   Requires established credit
      High maximum loan amount   High minimum loan amount
       Borrowers choose when to receive the money   No due date flexibility
    WHO IT’S FOR

    Those with a strong financial history who want a longer repayment term.

    WHY WE LIKE IT

    Its loan terms can reach up to seven years, which means you can take longer to pay off your loan and benefit from lower monthly payments.
    Lender perks:
  • Longer repayment terms
  • Autopay discounts
  • Fast approval

  • Fees:
  • None

  • Time to receive funds:
  • As soon as same day

  • Requirements:
  • Good-to-excellent credit profile
  • Several years of mixed credit
  • Assets or savings
  • In the last two years, we helped fund over $744 million in loans. Let’s fund yours next.

    ON THIS PAGE

    Tellernote's guide to comparing personal loan lenders

    It’s always best to get quotes from a few lenders before applying for a personal loan so you can determine which has the best overall offerings for your situation. When comparing lenders, keep an eye on the following factors:

    1. Approval requirements. Every lender has its own threshold for approving potential borrowers, considering factors  like income, credit score and debt-to-income ratio. If you have below-average credit, look for lenders that utilize other approval criteria — like education and employment history — or allow co-signers.
    2. Interest rates. The lowest advertised rate is never guaranteed, so compare your prequalification offers. When comparing your potential interest rates, also incorporate any fees or penalties — origination fees or application fees can significantly add to the overall cost of your loan.
    3. Loan amounts. If you need a loan for something small, like a minor car repair, look for lenders that cater to lower amounts to avoid over borrowing. On the other side, if you need to make a big purchase you’ll need to look for lenders that offer enough — and check that you can qualify for the full amount.
    4. Repayment options. Look for lenders that offer multiple repayment terms so you can choose the one that makes the most sense for your situation. Long repayment terms will decrease your monthly payment, but if you have a smaller loan, a shorter repayment term will cut back on the interest you pay overall.
    5. Unique features. Keep an eye out for lenders with any unique perks and restrictions. Also check that any lender you’re considering will allow you to use your loan for the purpose you’re intending.
    6. Customer service. Investigate a company’s customer service options and read the company reviews on its Better Business Bureau and Trustpilot profiles to ensure you have the support you need as you navigate the application process and repayment. But also keep in mind that people are much more likely to leave negative reviews than positive, look for obvious negative trends but also how the company responds to them.

    Compare personal loan rates

    A closer look at our top personal loans

    Here’s why you can trust Tellernote with our top personal loan picks: We conducted a deep-dive into each lender to determine why each one is the best in its class and who would benefit most from borrowing from the lender.

     

    LightStream: Best for generous repayment terms

    Overview: As part of Truist Bank, LightStream has gained a positive reputation with consumers for its customer service and fast application process. Plus, it offers relatively competitive fees for the most creditworthy borrowers.

    Depending on the loan type, you could score a repayment term anywhere from 24 months to 144 months. Plus, you could receive your funds on the same day as approval should you meet all of the application requirements.

    Depending on the loan type, you could score a repayment term anywhere from 24 months to 144 months. Plus, you could receive your funds on the same day as approval should you meet all of the application requirements. 

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    How we choose our best lenders

    To select the best personal loans, Tellernote’s team of experts evaluated over 30 lenders. Each lender was ranked using a meticulous 20-point system, focusing on four main categories:

    • Affordability
      The interest rates, penalties and fees are measured in this section of the score. Lower rates and fees and fewer potential penalties result in a higher score. We also give bonus points to lenders offering rate discounts, grace periods and that allow borrowers to change their due date.
    • Availability
      Minimum loan amounts, number of repayment terms, eligibility requirements, ability to apply using a co-borrower or co-signer and loan turnaround time are considered in this category.
    • Customer experience
      This category covers customer service hours, if online applications are available, online account access and mobile apps.
    • Transparency
      For this factor, we consider how well information is presented to the borrower on the lender’s website. This includes listing credit requirements, rates and fees, in addition to offering prequalification.

    47

    years in
    business

    30+

    lenders
    reviewed

    20

    loan features weighed

    47

    years in
    business

    Calculate your loan payment

    Use our calculator to find the perfect loan repayment plan for you. Enter in the loan amount, term and interest rate to get your estimated monthly payment and total interest accrual.

    What is a personal loan?

    Personal loans are short- and medium-term loans that consumers can receive from banks, credit unions or private lenders like online marketplace lenders and peer-to-peer lenders. The loan funds can be used for just about any purpose, such as paying off other debt, financing a home renovation or paying for family needs, like a wedding or adoption.

    A personal loan is repaid in monthly installments, similar to a car loan or home mortgage, with loan terms typically ranging from 24 months to 60 months or even longer. Personal loans are usually unsecured, meaning they are not backed by collateral such as a car, house or other assets. Approval and funding process is often faster than that of a home equity line of credit, which lets you borrow funds as you need them rather than in a lump sum.

    Common types of personal loans

    There are many reasons to take out a personal loan, and with the exception of a few lenders, most allow you to use the funds for any purpose. Here are some of the most common scenarios that lead borrowers to take out a personal loan and how to find the best lender if you’re in a similar situation.

    Personal loans aren’t a one-size-fits all; the best lender for you may not be the best pick for every borrower. That being said, there isn’t a prescription to determine the best overall lender for everyone, but you can find the best loan for you based on  creditworthiness and specific needs. 

    When finding your best loan, know your credit score and prequalify for the lenders that you think you may qualify for. Compare the offers and find the lender that offers the lowest rates and fees for you and fits your repayment needs. You can also look into any benefits or perks offered to help you determine which loan is best for you.

    Secured personal loans require you to put up some form of collateral — an asset, like property or a vehicle — in order to get approved. Secured loans are easier to get approved for, since the lender incurred less risk by lending to you. However, you run the risk of losing your collateral if you default on your balance to recoup what you owe. 

    • Who it’s best for: Unsecured personal loans are best for those with a stable income and a less-than-stellar credit rating. 
    • What to watch for: Conduct a financial audit to make sure you can afford the payments well into the future so you don’t have your collateral seized by the lender. 
    • When to get started: Once you’ve done sufficient research into multiple lenders’ minimum credit requirements and don’t think you meet the eligibility criteria, you should begin to look into alternative options, like secured loan options.
    • How to get started: Look into each lender’s loan options and compare rate ranges to find the most competitive loan for your credit situation. 

    Unsecured personal loans are the most popular loan form and are offered by most every lender, bank and financial institution. Unlike secured loans, eligibility is based solely off of creditworthiness and financial health, resulting in a loan that is much harder to get approved for. 

    • Who it’s best for: Borrowers who have a good-to-excellent credit score and are in good financial health are among those best suited or an unsecured loan.
    • What to watch for: You’ll generally pay more in interest than you would with a secured loan, since the lender assumes more risk by lending to you. Make sure the interest rate doesn’t add more than you can afford to your monthly payments.
    • When to get started: If you meet most lender’s minimum requirements and prequalify for competitive rates, it may be a good time to consider an unsecured loan.
    • How to get started: Compare multiple lenders by prequalifying, which allows you to check your approval odds and predicted rate without impacting your credit. 

    Debt consolidation is when you pay off several debts with a new personal loan, then pay off the personal loan through monthly payments. 

    • Who it’s best for: Personal loans for debt consolidation are best for people who have several high-interest debts, generally through credit cards. 
    • What to watch out for: Look carefully to make sure the debt will cost less in the long run. Don’t consolidate debt unless you can get a better interest rate, and check to make sure any fees don’t add costs to the loan.
    • When to get started: If you have several high-interest debts, generally through credit cards, and can qualify for a lower interest rate with a personal loan, you may want to consider it.
    • How to get started: Evaluate what debts to consolidate and how much money you could save on interest rates, then compare top lenders. Get quotes from lenders to estimate how much you could save.

    What are current personal loan interest rates?

    Personal loan interest rates, like most other costs, have gone up in the past year. Currently, you can expect to pay 6 percent to 36 percent, depending on your credit score.

    The better your credit score, the more likely you are to qualify for a personal loan with the lowest interest rate available. Compare personal loan offers to see what you are eligible for before applying for a personal loan.

    Average personal loan interest rates by credit rating

    The interest rate you’re offered is based on your credit health; namely, your score. Those with less-than-stellar credit are often seen as more ‘risky’ to lenders and are more likely to be offered higher rates. Borrowers with good-to-excellent credit are more eligible for the lender’s most competitive rates and terms. 

    Before applying for a loan, make sure to prequalify or look at the lender’s requirements and rates, as well as your own credit score to estimate your potential interest rate.

    Pros and cons of personal loans

    There are a number of benefits and drawbacks to consider before taking out a personal loan.

    Pros:

    • Personal loans come in one lump sum, usually with a fixed interest rate.
    • You can get money quickly, sometimes within as little as a day, depending on the lender you choose.
    • Many are unsecured loans, which means you don’t need collateral like your home or car to borrow money.
    • Interest rates are much lower than those of payday loans, which charge upward of 400 percent.
    • Flexibility and versatility allow you to use a personal loan for almost any purchase.
    • Unlike highly risky payday loans, personal loans give you a reasonable amount of time to repay the loan.
    • You may have easier payments if you consolidate debt and have a single, fixed-rate monthly payment instead of several accounts to manage.

    Cons:

    • APRs are generally higher than those of some secured loans.
    • If you have a low credit score, you might not qualify.
    • Some lenders charge fees, like origination, late and prepayment fees.
    • You’re adding another bill to your monthly payments, which could stretch or even break your budget.
    • You can increase your overall debt if you use it to consolidate your debt but continue to spend on your credit cards.
    • Personal loans often have higher monthly payments than the minimum payment on credit cards.
    • You may damage your credit if you don’t make payments on time.

    How to manage a personal loan

    Effectively managing a personal loan comes down to your ability to make the monthly payments. It’s imperative that you understand the full responsibility and predicted repayment timeline prior to taking out the loan. If you miss the monthly payments or are unable to make them, contact the lender as soon as possible to see if any hardship payment relief options are available.

    If you need a lower monthly payment, consider a longer repayment term. While it will increase the amount you’ll repay over the life of the loan in interest, a longer term can take the immediate payment responsibility off of your shoulders. Regardless of your financial situation, make sure you’re aware of your lender options prior to applying so you have resources and don’t risk any negative credit outcomes.

    Alternatives to a personal loan

    If a personal loan isn’t the right option for your financial situation, there are other ways to get the funds you need. Here are a few of the most popular alternatives to a personal loan.

    Home equity loans or a home equity line of credit (HELOC) are good ways for homeowners to use the equity in their home as collateral — usually to fund bigger projects that will increase their home’s value. Keep in mind that you run the risk of losing your home if you don’t make the monthly payments, so make sure the payments fit well within your budget.

    With a balance transfer card, you move high interest debt from multiple cards onto one, singular card. A balance transfer card will generally come with a 0 percent interest introductory period that usually lasts 12 to 24 months. After the period is over, rates are typically much higher, so make sure you’re able to pay down the balance

    A personal line of credit is similar to a credit card, but can come with lower interest rates than plastic typically carries. You don’t have a set amount you’re limited to borrow upfront and can tap into the funds when necessary. However, lines of credit could tempt you to spend more than you can afford and may come with additional fees, so read the terms and conditions before signing on the dotted line.

    Those who have saved money in their employer-sponsored retirement account may be eligible to borrow from this account in the form of a 401(k) loan. Those with a low credit score or a thin history may have an easier time getting approved for this form of financing as compared to a more traditional personal loan. Keep in mind that borrowing from a retirement fund is limited by the amount you have saved in the account. 

    How Fed rate hikes impacts personal loans

    In order to combat inflation, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) raised interest rates seven times in 2022. It has continued to raise rates in 2023 — landing at 5.25-5.5 percent most recently. Lenders often respond to these hikes by increasing personal loan interest rates along with the rates of other credit products.

    FAQs about personal loans

    Home equity loans or a home equity line of credit (HELOC) are good ways for homeowners to use the equity in their home as collateral — usually to fund bigger projects that will increase their home’s value. Keep in mind that you run the risk of losing your home if you don’t make the monthly payments, so make sure the payments fit well within your budget.

    With a balance transfer card, you move high interest debt from multiple cards onto one, singular card. A balance transfer card will generally come with a 0 percent interest introductory period that usually lasts 12 to 24 months. After the period is over, rates are typically much higher, so make sure you’re able to pay down the balance

    A personal line of credit is similar to a credit card, but can come with lower interest rates than plastic typically carries. You don’t have a set amount you’re limited to borrow upfront and can tap into the funds when necessary. However, lines of credit could tempt you to spend more than you can afford and may come with additional fees, so read the terms and conditions before signing on the dotted line.

    Those who have saved money in their employer-sponsored retirement account may be eligible to borrow from this account in the form of a 401(k) loan. Those with a low credit score or a thin history may have an easier time getting approved for this form of financing as compared to a more traditional personal loan. Keep in mind that borrowing from a retirement fund is limited by the amount you have saved in the account. 

    Ask the experts: When does taking out a personal loan make the most sense?

    Mark Kantrowitz

    Mark Kantrowitz

    Nationally recognized student financial aid exper

    A personal loan may make sense when you can qualify for a lower interest rate than for other forms of debt, such as credit card debt. Personal loans often charge lower interest rates than credit cards. But, don’t use a personal loan for consumption, such as buying groceries or paying for a vacation or wedding. Otherwise, the debt will last a lot longer than the purchase.