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Personal Loans

Citibank Personal Loan Review

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

Disclosure : By clicking “See Offers” you’ll be directed to our parent company, LendingTree. You may or may not be matched with the specific lender you clicked on, but up to five different lenders based on your creditworthiness.

Citibank
APR

7.99%
To
17.99%

Credit Req.

Not specified

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

12 to 60

months

Origination Fee

Not specified

APPLY NOW Secured

on Citibank’s secure website

Citibank personal loan details
 

Fees and penalties

  • Term lengths: 12 to 60 months
  • APR range: 7.99%-17.99%
  • Loan amounts: $2,000-$50,000
  • Time to funding: Checks are sent within five business days of approval.
  • Credit check: Hard Pull
  • Origination fee: Not specified
  • Prepayment fee: No
  • Late payment fee: Not specified
  • Other fees: Not specified

Citibank product details

Perks offered to Citibank personal loan customers aren’t largely advertised online. However, linking a personal loan account to an eligible checking account enrolled in Citi ThankYou Rewards can help earn points on a monthly basis. Points never expire and can be redeemed for gift cards, travel rewards, cash and more. This can allow customers to save money while repaying their loan.

Eligibility requirements

  • Minimum credit score: Not specified
  • Minimum credit history: While a minimum credit score isn’t listed, Citibank does specify that the lowest quoted personal loan rate requires the borrower to have excellent credit.
  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: Not specified

Citibank personal loans are only available to borrowers with a maximum of one existing personal loan account with the financial institution. If consumers have another Citibank personal loan account, it cannot have been opened within the past six months. Qualified applicants are also required to have a minimum annual income of $10,500.

It’s also worth noting that anyone who wants to apply for a personal loan online must either be a current Citi checking or savings account customer registered for Citibank online or have received a Citi Personal Loan offer with an invitation number. Without an invitation, current customers who don’t have online account and non-customers must apply in person at a Citibank branch or call a

Applying for a personal loan from Citibank

Personal loans are available in increments from $2,000 to $50,000, but applications cannot be submitted online for amounts exceeding $30,000. Applicants who wish to borrow up to $50,000 must call 1-877-362-9100 or visit a Citibank branch location.

Depending on the requested loan amount, prospective borrowers with a current Citi checking or savings account who are registered for Citibank online and anyone who has received a Citi Personal Loan offer with an invitation number can submit a personal loan application online. Everyone else must apply in person at a Citi branch or call 1-877-362-9100.

To begin the online application process, current Citibank customers registered for online access will need to enter their user ID and password. Non-Citibank customers who have received a Citi Personal Loan offer with an invitation number will be directed to an application site and asked to enter the invitation code, their last name and zip code. Do note, credit scores are not impacted for viewing the personal loan offer. Upon approval, a check for the full amount of the loan will be mailed within five business days.

Pros and cons of a Citibank personal loan

Pros:

Cons:

  • Fixed rate: Citibank personal loans come at a fixed rate, allowing borrowers to enjoy fixed monthly payments. Do note, defaulting on the loan may come at the cost of a 2% APR increase.
  • No hidden fees or prepayment penalties: Borrowers don’t have to worry about being hit with added costs attached to the loan.
  • Competitive rates: Fixed rates range from 7.99% APR to 17.99% APR.
  • Flexible terms: Borrowers can choose from a variety of repayment terms, consisting of 12 to 60 months.
  • Fast cash: Checks for the full amount of the approved loan are mailed within five business days.
  • Limited online application access: To apply online, prospective borrowers must either be a current Citi checking or savings account customer registered for Citibank online or have received a Citi Personal Loan offer with an invitation number. Without an invitation, current customers who don’t have an online account and non-customers must apply in person or by phone.
  • Loan amount constraints: To receive the lowest quoted rate, borrowers must use Citibank Auto Deduct to repay the loan, have excellent credit, borrow at least $10,000, have a loan term of 36 months or less and sufficient relationship balances.

Who’s the best fit for a Citibank personal loan?

A Citibank personal loan can be a great option for consumers with a one-time need to borrow money. Specifically, Citibank customers willing to repay their loan with Citi Auto Deduct, who have excellent credit, need to borrow at least $10,000, can repay the loan within 36 months and have sufficient relationship balances are eligible for the most competitive rates.

Loan amounts range up to $50,000, so this product can also be a good fit for consumers who need a higher loan amount. The ability to lock in a fixed rate and face no hidden fees or prepayment penalties can make it good choice for those looking for peace of mind in a fixed monthly payment.

Alternative personal loan options

LightStream

APR

3.34%
To
16.99%

Credit Req.

660

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

24 to 144

months

Origination Fee

No origination fee

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Advertiser Disclosure

LightStream is the online lending division of SunTrust Bank.... Read More


Your APR may differ based on loan purpose, amount, term, and your credit profile. Rate is quoted with AutoPay discount, which is only available when you select AutoPay prior to loan funding. Rates under the invoicing option are 0.50% higher. Subject to credit approval. Conditions and limitations apply. Advertised rates and terms are subject to change without notice. Payment example: Monthly payments for a $10,000 loan at 3.34% APR with a term of 3 years would result in 36 monthly payments of $292.31.


LightStream, a division of SunTrust Bank, offers personal loans from $5,000 to $100,000. Rates are fixed and vary by loan purpose. There are no fees attached to the loan, including prepayment penalties, making it a good choice for consumers who might want to pay the loan off early. Loans can be funded as quickly as one day of approval, so this isn’t the best option for anyone who needs cash fast.

PenFed Credit Union

PenFed Credit Union
APR

Starting at 6.49%

Credit Req.

700

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

60

months

Origination Fee

No origination fee

APPLY NOW Secured

on PenFed Credit Union’s secure website

Pentagon Federal Credit Union (PenFed) offers personal loans with terms up to five years and maximum loan amounts of $25,000.... Read More


PenFed grants personal loans from $500 to $25,000. Along with no origination fee, there’s also no other hidden costs, making it a great choice for borrowers looking to avoid additional expenses. Funds are available immediately, which is advantageous for consumers who need cash now. Do note, personal loans are only available to PenFed members.

SoFi

SoFi
APR

6.79%
To
15.49%

Credit Req.

680

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

24 to 84

months

Origination Fee

No origination fee

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Advertiser Disclosure

SoFi offers some of the best rates and terms on the market. ... Read More


Fixed rates from 6.79% APR to 15.49% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 6.54% APR to 14.60% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of January 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 6.54% APR assumes current 1-month LIBOR rate of 2.51% plus 4.28% 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.

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.

SoFi Personal Loans are not available to residents of MS. Maximum interest rate on loans for residents of AK and WY is 9.99% APR, for residents of IL with loans over $40,000 is 8.99% APR, for residents of TX is 9.99% APR on terms greater than 5 years, for residents of CO, CT, HI, VA, SC is 11.99% APR, and for residents of ME is 12.24% APR. Personal loans not available to residents of MI who already have a student loan with SoFi. Personal Loans minimum loan amount is $5,000. Residents of AZ, MA, and NH have a minimum loan amount of $10,001. Residents of KY have a minimum loan amount of $15,001. Residents of PA have a minimum loan amount of $25,001. Variable rates not available to residents of AK, TX, VA, WY, or for residents of IL for loans greater than $40,000.

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)


SoFi provides personal loans ranging in value from $5,000 to $50,000, making it a good choice for borrowers who need a significant amount of money. Rates are fixed and loans are completely free of fees. Funds are typically deposited in consumers’ accounts a few days after approval and the successful completion of required paperwork. An added bonus, SoFi’s unemployment protection benefit offers an additional layer of security by allowing borrowers to temporarily pause payments and helping them find a new job if they become unemployed.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Laura Woods
Laura Woods |

Laura Woods is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Laura here

TAGS:

Get A Pre-Approved Personal Loan

$

Won’t impact your credit score

Advertiser Disclosure

Personal Loans

How to Get a Personal Loan With a 600 Credit Score or Less

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

Disclosure : By clicking “See Offers” you’ll be directed to our parent company, LendingTree. You may or may not be matched with the specific lender you clicked on, but up to five different lenders based on your creditworthiness.

getting a personal loan with low credit
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If you have a credit score of anything less than 600, you probably think it’s impossible to get a personal loan. Lenders traditionally favor borrowers with good credit scores, but that doesn’t mean there are no financing options available to you. Learn more about personal loans and how to get the money you need through a legitimate lender even when dealing with a less than ideal credit score.

What is a bad credit score for a personal loan?

If you’re looking for a personal loan with a credit score below 550, you’re probably going to run into some challenges. A FICO score that falls between 580 to 669 is considered fair; if you’re in this category, lenders will consider you a subprime borrower. Since your credit score isn’t ideal, you’ll likely receive a slightly higher rate on a personal loan — if you’re granted one at all — because you have a greater risk of default.

The process will be a lot more challenging if you’re working with a 450 credit score. The lowest FICO ranking, a score in the 300-to-579 range won’t impress lenders. Don’t be surprised if you have to put up collateral for a personal loan, if you’re approved for one at all.

Try not to become discouraged if your FICO score isn’t conducive to getting a competitive interest rate or a personal loan at all. You’re not alone in your credit struggle: 17% of people have a FICO score that falls between 300 to 579 and 20.2% have a score between 580 to 669, according to Experian. It’s important to remember the number reflected on your credit score today isn’t permanent, so use this as motivation to make positive changes that will give it a much-needed boost.

Securing a personal loan with fair or poor credit

Getting a personal loan with a 600 credit score — or less — will likely require some creativity on your part. Using the traditional route, finding a lender willing to take a chance on you and scoring a competitive interest rate might not be possible, so here’s a few alternative ideas:

1. Find a co-signer

If a family member or friend with a good credit score and a solid financial standing is willing to co-sign your personal loan, this can be monumentally helpful. Essentially, a co-signer agrees to assume financial responsibility for the loan if you don’t keep up with payments, which provides peace of mind to lenders. Consequently, this can help you qualify for a loan you might not get on your own merit and score a lower interest rate.

Do note that if you miss payments, this will have a negative impact on your co-signer’s credit score, so don’t ask this favor unless you’re certain you can fulfill the obligation.

2. Shop around

It’s never wise to go with the first loan offer you receive, and this is especially true if your credit isn’t the best. Research lenders in your area as well as online — you may find that online lenders are a cheaper option, as they don’t have the overhead costs that brick-and-mortar banks do.

3. Consider secured loans

When you’re looking for a personal loan with a credit score of 550, using collateral can help your case. If you back your loan with assets a lender can seize if you default — i.e., your home or savings account — you’re considered a lower risk. This can help you qualify for a loan you otherwise wouldn’t get or secure a more competitive interest rate.

You should proceed with caution when taking this route, because you’ll have a high price to pay if you default on the loan.

Personal loan options for borrowers with a fair or poor credit score

Finding a personal loan with a 600 credit score might require a bit of digging, but it can be done.

One easy way to get connected with lenders willing to work with you is through the LendingTree personal loan tool. After you share a few details about yourself and the loan you’re seeking, the tool can quickly match you with potential lenders. It might generate as many as five personal loan offers in just minutes, giving you a starting point for you search.



Personal Loans for 600 Credit or Less

You can also find lenders willing to work with borrowers who have less-than-perfect credit. We’ve highlight a few such personal loan providers below.

 

Avant

As an online personal loan provider, Avant will consider applications from borrowers with less-than-perfect credit. A credit score of 600 to 700 is typical for borrowers who get approved for Avant loans, but you can still apply if your credit score is lower.

With Avant personal loans, you can request a loan amount of $2,000 to $35,000 and choose a loan length of 24 to 60 months. Offered rates are based on your employment and credit background, and some borrowers may also be charged an administration fee on issued loans.

APR

9.95%
To
35.99%

Credit Req.

Varies

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

24 to 60

months

Origination Fee

Up to 4.75%

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Avant branded credit products are issued by WebBank, member FDIC.

Avant is an online lender that offers personal loans ranging from $2,000 to $35,000. ... Read More

OneMain Financial

Next is OneMain Financial personal loans, which also have no minimum credit score requirements. It does list a few factors it weighs to determine if an applicant is eligible for a loan, such as your credit history, income and expenses, and the reason you’re borrowing.

OneMain offers loan amounts of $1,500 to $30,000, as well as term lengths of two to five years. Potential borrowers start with an online application, and upon approval must visit a OneMain Financial branch in person to verify personal details and review loan options.

Applicants who are denied or who want to qualify for a larger loan can get a second chance if they re-apply with a co-applicant or for a loan secured by collateral. Secured loans will need to be guaranteed by collateral. OneMain Financial accepts cars, trucks, motorcycles and recreational vehicles as collateral.

APR

16.05%
To
35.99%

Credit Req.

Varies

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

24 to 60

months

Origination Fee

Varies

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Advertiser Disclosure

If you have a credit score below 600, OneMain Financial is one of the few lenders that you can use to get a personal loan.... Read More


All loans subject to OneMain’s normal credit policies. Loan approval and actual loan terms depend on your ability to meet OneMain’s standard credit criteria (including credit history, income and debts) and the availability of collateral. Collateral requirements would include a first lien on a motor vehicle that meets our value requirements, titled in your name with valid insurance. Collateral offered must meet our criteria. The lowest annual percentage rate (APR) shown represents APRs for top 10% of loans closed. Maximum APR is 35.99%, subject to state restrictions. APRs are generally higher on loans not secured by a vehicle. Active duty military, their spouse or dependents covered under the Military Lending Act may not pledge any vehicle as collateral for a loan. OneMain loan proceeds cannot be used for postsecondary educational expenses as defined by the CFPB’s Regulation Z, such as college, university or vocational expenses; for any business or commercial purpose; to purchase securities; or for gambling or illegal purposes.Residents in the following states are subject to the following loan size restrictions: Alabama residents: $2,100 minimum loan amount. California residents: $3,000 minimum loan amount. Florida residents: Unless you are a present customer, $8,000 maximum loan amount for unsecured loans. Georgia residents: Unless you are a present customer, $3,100 minimum loan amount. Iowa residents: Unless you are a present customer, $8,500 maximum loan amount for unsecured loans. Maine residents: Unless you are a present customer, $7,000 maximum loan amount for unsecured loans. Mississippi residents: Unless you are a present customer, $7,500 maximum loan amount for unsecured loans. North Carolina residents: Unless you are a present customer, $7,500 maximum loan amount for unsecured loans. New York residents: Unless you are a present customer, $20,000 maximum loan amount for unsecured loans. Ohio residents: $2,000 minimum loan amount. Texas residents: Unless you are a present customer, $8,000 maximum loan amount for unsecured loans. Virginia residents: $2,600 minimum loan amount. West Virginia residents: Unless you are a present customer, $7,500 maximum loan amount for unsecured loans. An unsecured loan is a loan which does not require you to provide collateral (such as a motor vehicle) to the lender.

3 tips to spot a predatory lender

Searching for a personal loan with a 520 credit score puts you in a vulnerable position. Predatory lenders know you might not have many available options, and they’re ready to take full advantage of your situation. Expect to be pressured into sales tactics that guide you toward sky-high interest rates and exorbitant fees you shouldn’t have to pay.

Here’s a few ways to avoid this type of lender:

1. Pay attention to the size of the loan

At first glance, being offered a secured loan that’s larger than the amount you expected might seem like something positive. However, this could actually be a tactic known as equity stripping. Shady lenders use this approach to get you to default on a loan, thus entitling them to your collateral. Avoid falling into this trap by carefully calculating the amount you can afford to borrow.

2. Take note of added fees

A predatory lender could tack on several additional charges to the loan that you don’t actually need. Referred to as packing, you might be told services like credit insurance are mandatory. Stay alert by carefully reviewing any added fees, researching them and speaking up when something doesn’t seem right.

3. Read the fine print on the interest rate

It’s not uncommon for predatory lenders to advertise one interest rate and produce another at closing. Honest lenders are always upfront about interest rates, so if you’re informed at the last minute that a loan you thought was fixed-rate is actually variable-rate or comes with a hidden balloon payment, do not proceed with this arrangement.

Improve your credit score for future personal loans

Trying to get a personal loan with a 450 credit score — or any number that falls in the very poor or fair range — isn’t ideal. In some cases, you might need the extra cash immediately, so delaying your application isn’t an option. However, if you can wait to apply for the loan, this will give you time to work toward improving your credit score.

Taking steps to lower your debt utilization rate, making all payments in full and on time each month and avoiding debt altogether will help improve your finances. As your credit score rises, so will your ability to get both a personal loan with attractive terms and a competitive interest rate.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Laura Woods
Laura Woods |

Laura Woods is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Laura here

TAGS:

Get A Pre-Approved Personal Loan

$

Won’t impact your credit score

Advertiser Disclosure

Personal Loans

Should You Pay Off Credit Card Debt with a Personal Loan? What to Consider

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

Disclosure : By clicking “See Offers” you’ll be directed to our parent company, LendingTree. You may or may not be matched with the specific lender you clicked on, but up to five different lenders based on your creditworthiness.

paying off credit card
iStock

If you’re carrying credit card debt, you’re not alone. Americans topped $1 trillion in total revolving debt in 2018, according to the Federal Reserve.

That adds up to a lot of debt per person. The average credit card balance is $6,354, according to CompareCards.com (MagnifyMoney and CompareCards.com are both under the same parent company, LendingTree). When you factor in the average credit card interest rate of 15.54% — that’s a hefty monthly financial obligation.

An outstanding credit card balance can weigh your budget down for years, even decades, so you need to get a handle on it as quickly as possible. We’ll go over the pros and cons of using a personal loan to pay off credit card debt to determine if this could be the right move for your finances.

Paying off credit card debt with a personal loan

You may be able to use the proceeds of a personal loan to pay the debt on multiple credit cards. Here are 5 reasons you might go this route.

5 pros of using a personal loan to pay off credit card debt

1. You can consolidate payments
Managing multiple credit card accounts is hard work. When you’re trying to keep track of too many cards, it’s easy to confuse payment deadlines or accidentally miss them altogether. Paying off multiple credit cards with a personal loan consolidates that debt into one monthly payment, meaning fewer bills to worry about.

2. You could lower your interest rate
There’s no guarantee, but you’ll likely be able to secure a lower interest rate on your personal loan than you were paying on your credit cards. Your interest rate is determined by factors including credit score, debt-to-income ratio, employment status and credit history. Every lender has different borrowing criteria, but generally speaking, a high credit score and a low debt-to-income ratio will help you get a more competitive interest rate.

3. Your monthly payment could go down
If you’re able to secure a lower interest rate on your personal loan, it will likely reduce the amount on your monthly payments. This will allow you to enjoy a little extra room in your budget.

4. You might boost your credit score
If much of your credit portfolio is consumed by revolving accounts, diversifying the mix by taking on a personal loan will likely improve your credit score, according to the credit bureau Experian. Making monthly payments on a timely basis showcases your ability to manage debt responsibly. In most cases, the increase will take time and won’t be monumental, but it’s a step in the right direction.

5. You more likely to pay off debt faster
If you’re making the minimum payment on a substantial credit card balance, you could be stuck with the debt for decades. On the other hand, most debt consolidation loans have a term of 24 to 60 months. This can allow you to pay off the debt in a fraction of the time.

5 cons of using a personal loan to pay off credit card debt

1. You might not qualify for a personal loan
Lenders don’t issue personal loans to just anyone. In most cases, you’ll need a minimum credit score of 525 to even have your loan application considered. Other factors that will be taken into consideration include your debt-to-income ratio, employment status and credit history.

2. You may continue to rack up debt
Technically speaking, paying off your credit card balances with a personal loan frees up space to start racking up charges again. If you don’t completely trust yourself to cut ties with the plastic, it might not be wise to put the temptation out there. After all, debt consolidation is supposed to help improve your finances, not make them worse.

3. You might not get a lower interest rate
Personal loan interest rates are largely based on your credit score. Generally speaking, most rates fall between 5.99% to 35.99%. It’s possible your credit card interest rate will be lower than the rate you’re offered for a personal loan. In this case, it wouldn’t make sense to proceed with debt consolidation.

4. Your monthly payment could increase
You pay for it with interest, but credit cards offer more repayment flexibility than personal loans. Since the latter is typically attached to a repayment period of 24 to 60 months, it’s possible you’ll end up with a higher monthly payment. If you don’t have a lot of extra room in your budget, this could be difficult to handle. The last thing you want is to default on the personal loan that was supposed to be getting you out of debt.

5. The loan might come with fees
Some lenders charge an origination fee, which is tacked on to your personal loan. In most cases, the fee costs 1% to 6% of the total loan amount. For example, if you had a $5,000 loan with a 2% origination fee, you would have to pay $100 upfront. Therefore, it’s possible the personal loan could be more expensive than your credit cards, even if you’re able to secure a lower interest rate.

How to find a personal loan to pay off debt

Shopping around to find the best offer for a personal loan is a must. MagnifyMoney offers a personal loan marketplace that allows you to quickly identify lenders that might meet your needs. You can personalize results by filtering for your credit score, desired loan amount and ZIP code.

What to consider as you review personal loan offers

When comparison shopping for a personal loan, take these key factors into account:

  • APR: Personal loan rates typically fall between 5.99% to 35.99%. The rate you’re offered directly impacts your monthly payment and the overall interest you’ll pay on the loan.
  • Term length: Most personal loans come with a term length of 24 to 60 months, which is the amount of time you’ll have to pay the balance off in full.
  • Fees: Some lenders tack on additional fees to personal loans, including origination fees and prepayment penalties. These can increase the total cost of the loan.
  • Loan amount: Personal loans are generally available in sums ranging from $1,000 to $35,000. However, not all lenders are able to approve the amount of money you might need.
LendingTree
APR

5.99%
To
35.99%

Credit Req.

Minimum 500 FICO

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

24 to 60

months

Origination Fee

Varies

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

LendingTree is our parent company

LendingTree is our parent company. LendingTree is unique in that you may be able to compare up to five personal loan offers within minutes. Everything is done online and you may be pre-qualified by lenders without impacting your credit score. LendingTree is not a lender.

3 alternatives to a personal loan

Taking out a personal loan to pay off credit card balances isn’t the only way to get out of debt.

If you don’t qualify for a personal loan or are unable to find one that meets your needs, here’s a few other options to consider.

1. Balance transfer credit card

A balance transfer allows you to shift your debt from a high interest credit card to one with a more competitive rate if you qualify. Many credit card companies even offer a 0% introductory APR, making it possible for you to pay less interest or none at all for a period of time, so you can pay your balance down faster. The MagnifyMoney balance transfer card marketplace can help you comparison shop to find the right credit card for your needs.

Pros

  • If you get a new card with an intro 0% APR and pay it off in full during the promotional period, you can eliminate all interest charges.
  • Your new card might have better perks than the old one.
  • It might be possible to get a card with $0 intro balance fees, making it possible to save even more money.
  • There’s no prepayment penalty.

Cons

  • In most cases, you’ll need good or excellent credit — often a 700 minimum credit score — to qualify for the most competitive offers.
  • You’re unable to transfer balances between the same credit card issuer.
  • Cards often come with a transfer fee, which is usually 3% of the total balance transferred.
  • If you don’t pay the balance in full during the introductory period, you could face a higher APR than you were paying on your old card.

2. Home equity line of credit

A home equity line of credit, commonly known as a HELOC, allows you to borrow against the equity in your home. Equity is the difference between what the home is worth and the outstanding debt on it. For example, if your property is valued at $400,000 and you owe $250,000 on your mortgage, you have $150,000 in equity. Most lenders will allow you to borrow up to 85% of the current value of your home.

Pros

  • Borrow as much or as little as you need, up to your limit.
  • Repay only the amount used.
  • Interest rates are typically lower than credit cards and personal loans.

Cons

  • Interest rates are generally variable, which could cause your monthly payment to fluctuate.
  • You could be subject to annual fees, maintenance fees, transaction fees and closing costs.
  • Some lenders have a minimum borrowing or withdrawal amount.
  • If you fall behind on payments, you could lose your home.

3. Borrowing from a friend or family member

Nearly three in four Americans have borrowed money from a relative at some point in their lives, according to a survey from LendingTree, which owns MagnifyMoney. Unfortunately, more than one-quarter experienced negative consequences from the transaction. If you take this route, create a contract outlining the loan length, monthly payments and other terms, such as interest.

Pros

  • No credit check is involved, which is advantageous if your score isn’t the best.
  • If you have to pay interest, you’ll likely get a more competitive rate than would be offered by a traditional lender.
  • You won’t have to spend time comparison shopping for loans.

Cons

  • Missing payments could permanently damage your bond with a loved one.
  • Owing a friend or family member money might change the dynamic of your relationship.
  • Tensions could arise if the person needs the money before the expected loan payoff date.

5 questions to consider before tackling your debt with a personal loan

In many cases, using a personal loan to pay off credit card balances is a wise move, but not always. Ask yourself these questions to make sure this it’s the right choice for your unique situation.

Using a personal loan to pay off your credit cards opens the door to take on even more debt. You don’t want to end up with more debt than you had initially.

After paying your credit card(s) off, you might be ready to cut ties with them and close the account. But that might not be the best move — closing an account slashes your overall available credit, which can lower your credit score. If you close a credit card account that you’ve had for several years, it could also damage your length of credit history, which can also lower your credit score.

However, if you know you’ll charge the cards right back up, closing them could still be the better choice. Be honest with yourself and take the route that’s best for your unique situation.

Generally speaking, personal loans have an average interest rate of 5.99% to 35.99%, but they can go much higher. It’s possible you could be offered a higher rate than you’re currently paying on your credit card. For example, if you’re offered a personal loan with an 30% interest rate, but the interest rate on your credit card is 14%, you’d likely end up paying more with the loan.

In addition to high interest rates, some lenders attach costs, terms and conditions to personal loans that add up fast. Origination fees, prepayment penalties and longer term lengths, to name a few, can take more money out of your wallet than you’re currently paying credit card companies. Read the fine print carefully to understand exactly what you’re getting into.

For example, many lenders don’t charge origination fees, but others tack on approximately 1% to 6% of the total loan amount. Some lenders will also hit you with a prepayment penalty if you decide to pay your loan off early. Others might offer a lower monthly payment, but with an extended term that will take longer to repay, ultimately costing you more than if you’d just stuck with a credit card.

If you’re currently making the minimum payments on your credit card(s), transferring the balance to a personal loan could result in a higher monthly payment. Debt consolidation loans must typically be repaid within 24 to 60 months, so if this causes your payment to increase, make sure you can handle the added financial burden.

The bottom line

Most Americans carrying a credit card balance — 77% — don’t realize they can take out a personal loan to pay down their debt, according to Marcus by Goldman Sachs. This can be a savvy way to get a handle on your credit card debt, and finally pay it off for good. When shopping around for a personal loan, take the time to compare multiple offers and carefully review all terms and conditions, to make sure you’re making the best choice for your finances.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Laura Woods
Laura Woods |

Laura Woods is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Laura here

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