Long-Term Loans: 4 Options to Consider

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

Written By

Updated on Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Long-term personal loans are funds you can borrow from a lender with a repayment period of one to six years, or longer. Approval usually doesn’t take long, and you could get funding as soon as the same day.

Long-term loans can help you consolidate high-interest debt by offering a lower APR. Plus, you only need to worry about one monthly payment. But these loans can have high APRs, depending on your credit, and origination fees and prepayment penalties.

Check out these lenders and online lending platforms offering long-term loans

LightStream

APR

4.99%
To
19.99%*

with AutoPay

Credit Req.

Not specified

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 loan terms, including APR, may differ based on loan purpose, amount, term length, and your credit profile. Excellent credit is required to qualify for lowest rates. Rate is quoted with AutoPay discount. AutoPay discount is only available prior to loan funding. Rates without AutoPay may be 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 4.99% APR with a term of 3 years would result in 36 monthly payments of $299.66.

LightStream offers long-term personal loans with hard-to-beat interest rates and no origination fees. Among the lenders listed here, they also have the widest range of personal loan repayment periods and borrowing limits (from $5,000–$100,000). However, a long repayment term means you could be paying for your personal loan for much longer than you’d like.

Payoff

APR

5.99%
To
24.99%

Credit Req.

640

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

24 and 60

months

Origination Fee

up to 5.00%

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Advertiser Disclosure

Payoff is a financial services firm that offers personal loans mainly to help consolidate credit card debt.... Read More


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.

Strictly for credit card consolidation, Payoff can have you paying down your debt within 36 to 60 months, a comparable timeframe to the other lenders listed here (with the exception of LightStream, and its wide-ranging terms). Payoff offers the second-lowest APR range in the list, along with one of the lowest origination fees — if there’s one at all — which can possibly save you more money. You can borrow from $5,000 to $35,000.

Best Egg

APR

5.99%
To
29.99%

Credit Req.

640

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 or 60

months

Origination Fee

0.99% - 6.99%

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Advertiser Disclosure

People looking for a process that is fast and straightforward can’t go wrong when applying through Best Egg for a personal loan. ... Read More


The Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is the cost of credit as a yearly rate and ranges from 5.99% to 29.99%, which may include an origination fee from 0.99% - 6.99% that is deducted from loan proceeds. Any origination fee on a loan term 4-years or longer will be at least 4.99%. The loan term and the APR offered will depend on your credit score, income, debt payment obligations, loan amount, credit usage history and other factors. Additionally, the APR offered is impacted by your loan term and may be higher than our lowest advertised rate. Requests for the highest loan amount may result in an APR higher than our lowest advertised rate. You need a minimum 700 FICO® score and a minimum individual annual income of $100,000 to qualify for our lowest rate.

Best Egg loans are unsecured personal loans made by Cross River Bank, a New Jersey State Chartered Commercial Bank, Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender. "Best Egg" is a trademark of Marlette Funding, LLC. All uses of "Best Egg" on this site mean and shall refer to "the Best Egg personal loan" and/or "Best Egg on behalf of Cross River Bank, as originator of the Best Egg personal loan," as applicable. Loan amounts generally range from $2,000-$35,000. Offers up to $50,000 may be available. Residents of Massachusetts have a minimum loan amount of $6,500; New Mexico and Ohio, $5,000; and Georgia, $3,000. For a second Best Egg loan, your total existing Best Egg loan balances cannot exceed $50,000. Borrowers should refer to their loan agreement for specific terms and conditions. Your verifiable income must support your ability to repay your loan. Upon loan funding, the timing of available funds may vary depending upon your bank's policies.

To help the government fight the funding of terrorism and money laundering activities, federal law requires all financial institutions to obtain, verify, and record information that identifies each person who opens an account. When you open an account, we will ask for your name, address, date of birth, and other information that will allow us to identify you.

Similar to Payoff, Best Egg requires a fair credit score of 640 or higher. This means you might be more likely to get a long-term loan with one of these lenders even if you don’t have excellent credit. But unlike Payoff, you can borrow less with Best Egg ($2,000 to $35,000), so you aren’t taking out more than you may be able to handle.

Upstart

APR

8.69%
To
35.99%

Credit Req.

600

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 or 60

months

Origination Fee

Up to 8.00%

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Upstart is an online lender created by ex-Googlers.... Read More

Upstart offers similar loan terms to other lenders on the list, but its minimum credit score requirement is lower. Additionally, while Best Egg offers the option to borrow a relatively low loan amount, Upstart challenges that with borrowing amounts from $1,000 up to $50,000. However, Upstart has the highest APR of the four long-term loan companies listed here.

Are there long-term personal loans for bad credit?

Qualifying for a personal loan if you don’t have good credit can be an obstacle. However, that’s not to say it’s impossible. When shopping for lenders, you’ll want to look for those that don’t just look at your credit score. While your credit score is important, some lenders will look at other factors, such as your income level, how long you’ve held down your job and whether you pay your bills on time.
Just know that lenders who approve someone with bad credit may offer higher interest rates and smaller loans.

Alternatives to consider

In addition to personal loans, there are some alternative options that someone with bad credit — or anyone — may consider if they need a long-term loan:

  • Home equity loans: These are loans that allow you to borrow money against your home value. In other words, your home is used as collateral if you’re unable to pay your home equity loan. Fixed and adjustable interest rates can be offered along with repayment terms that start at five years and stretch to 15 years.
  • Home equity lines of credit (HELOC): A HELOC is also backed by the equity in your home. However, rather than borrowing a lump sum like you would with a home equity loan, you’ll have access to a specific amount of money at a certain time period, withdrawing only what you need when you need it.
  • Cash-out mortgage refinancing: If you have some equity in your home you may be able to get a cash advance by taking out a loan that exceeds your mortgage. However, cash-out mortgage refinancing may not be the best option for borrowers with bad credit, as you’ll likely need at least a 660 credit score or higher.
Long-term loan advantages and disadvantages

Pros of long-term personal loans

Cons of long-term personal loans

  • Can help consolidate your debts with a lower APR and save you money
  • Repayment terms allow you to see when your loan will be paid off
  • Only one payment each month
  • Funds are usually delivered quickly to your bank account upon approval
  • Credit score could go up when monthly payments are made on time
  • Don’t have to worry about your home being used as collateral.
  • APR can be high if you have poor credit
  • Possible prepayment penalty if you want to pay off your loan early
  • Interest payments will stretch over a longer period of time
  • If you miss your fixed monthly payment you could go into default and your credit score could drop

Is a long-term loan right for you?

Long-term personal loans can be a good idea for those who are eager to consolidate debt with high APRs — that is, if you’re able to find a personal loan with a better rate. Those with excellent credit scores are more likely to find better APRs and save money. But if your credit is on the lower side, you might be stuck with a high APR and end up spending more.

With long-term personal loans, you’ll only have one payment each month to worry about. Plus, you’ll have a specific loan repayment term that will give you a good idea of when your loan will be paid off.

However, long-term loans might not be the best choice for those with less-than-stellar credit. They also may not be a good option if you plan to use the money for luxury items, such as travel or shopping. You want to make sure you are using a personal loan for the right reason: to help get out of debt rather than push yourself deeper into it.

If you’re considering taking out a personal loan but are unsure whether it’s worthwhile, this personal loan calculator can help. You’ll be able to get a clear estimate of how much your payments will be and how long it will take to pay off the loan. Having an idea of how a personal loan works and how it will fit into your finances will help you decide whether you can afford it or if you should look for another option.

Long-term vs. short-term financing

Some lenders may also offer short-term financing, which may be another option to explore. The major difference between short-term and long-term loans is the time it’ll take to pay it off. A short-term loan is usually paid off in less than a year, sometimes sooner.

A short-term loan might be a good idea for those looking for a smaller loan amount that won’t take them too long to pay back. For example, a short-term loan may be better than a long-term loan for a medical emergency or a new appliance for the home.

But remember, you won’t have a lot of time to pay back a short-term loan. It’s also always important that you look for reputable lenders when shopping around for these loans. There are many lenders out there offering short-term loans with sky-high interest rates, which can escalate your ongoing debt instead of helping to bring it down.

How to get a long-term loan

The process of getting a long-term loan can be quite easy, since everything is usually done online. As long as you have the right tools and documents, you’ll be able to find out whether you qualify for a long-term loan in no time.

Here is a simple guide to the step-by-step process of shopping and applying for a long-term personal loan:

Step 1: Check your credit score: Your credit score will likely come into play when applying for a long-term loan, so it’s best to know what it is before you apply. The good news is you can check your credit score without it costing you anything or impacting your credit.

If your credit score is high, you’ll have a better chance of securing lower interest rates. Even if you have a lower score, this may not ruin your chances of getting a personal loan, though. Lenders also look at your overall credit history, as well as whether you’ve paid your bills on time and how much outstanding debt you have.

Step 2: Shop around. Before deciding on a lender, it’s important to shop around to find your best rates and terms. You can do this by completing a quick and easy personal loan form found online at LendingTree, the parent company to MagnifyMoney. Here, you can compare different personal loan offers by simply filling out basic information, like how you intend to use the loan, how much you want to borrow and where you currently live.

Step 3: Prequalify. After you’ve shopped around, you can see whether you prequalify with the lender of your choice. During the prequalification process, you’ll fill out a form with the lender only using a soft credit pull, so your credit score is not impacted. But prequalifying doesn’t guarantee approval on a loan — to be approved, you’ll also have to complete a full application that includes a hard credit inquiry that can briefly drop your score, though it should bounce back quickly.

Step 4: Apply. Once you’ve prequalified, you will then apply for the loan. The application process will require more than basic information. When you apply, you’ll likely need to provide a photo ID, along with proof that you’re employed and have stable income; other potentially-required documents could include your tax return and bank statements. Depending on the lender, you can usually find out whether you have been approved for a personal loan rather quickly, and could even get the funds the day you are approved.

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.

Do you have a question?