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The Best Credit Unions for Personal Loans

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.


A personal loan from a credit union (sometimes called a signature loan) can offer borrowers terms that can often beat those of traditional or online banks. Because credit unions don’t have to answer to anyone but their members, they are often more willing to work with borrowers and offer reasonable terms.

This is important to note for consumers who are seeking emergency funds or looking for an affordable way to consolidate debt, two of the most common uses for personal loans. It’s even more important for borrowers with a poor or limited credit history to shop carefully for these types of loans. Although there are plentiful online loan options for these types of borrowers, they can often come with exorbitant fees and high APRs that can greatly increase the cost of borrowing.

In a new study, MagnifyMoney analysts looked at 50 of the largest credit unions in the country to see which in particular can offer its members one or more of these features.

To determine the rankings, MagnifyMoney compared:

  • Loan terms offered
  • Annual percentage rates for personal and signature loans offered
  • How quickly the funds for the loan become available once the loan is approved
  • If the credit union offered any discounts for using a payroll or automated repayment plan

Rates as of 9/18/2018

Best overall credit unions for personal loans

These credit unions offer their qualifying members the triple crown of personal loans: A lower-than-average APR, same-day funding of the loan and a discount for automating your loan repayment via payroll or share account deductions.

Ent Credit Union

Ent Credit Union was founded in 1957 to serve a Colorado Air Force base named after World War II Gen. Uzal Girard Ent. Today, the credit union serves a large geographic community, including anyone who lives, works, worships or studies in the counties of Arapahoe, Denver, Douglas, El Paso, Fremont, Jefferson, Pueblo and Teller, along with parts of Weld County (Firestone, Frederick, Dacono, Fort Lupton, Mead and Erie). You can also qualify for membership if you are civilian or military personnel of the Colorado Air National Guard, Colorado Army National Guard or Buckley Air Force Base. If you qualify for membership, so do your family members.

Once you’ve determined you qualify for membership, you will be able to apply for one of Ent Credit Union’s personal loans. These loans come with no application fee and no early payoff penalties. Terms range from 48 to 72 months, and you can take out as little as $500.

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on Ent Credit Union’s secure website

Visions Federal Credit Union

Based in New York state, Visions Federal Credit Union is a 50-year-old organization that serves parts of New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. You are eligible for membership if you live, work, worship or study in any of the following areas:

  • Broome, Chenango and Tioga counties, N.Y.
  • Syracuse, N.Y.
  • Select parts of Chemung, Rockland and Schuyler counties, N.Y.
  • Select parts of Rochester, N.Y.
  • Bradford County, Pa.
  • Select parts of south Westmoreland and north Fayette counties, Pa.
  • Select parts of Reading, Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton, Pa.
  • Bergen and Passaic counties, N.J.
  • Select parts of Essex, Hudson and Union counties, N.J.

You can also qualify if you work for one of the employers listed on the “Eligible Groups” tab. If your parent or sibling is a member, you qualify for membership, too, regardless of where you live or work.

There are no prepayment penalties for either of Vision Federal Credit Union’s personal loans. The general personal loan allows you to borrow $1,000 to $30,000. If you have good credit and sufficient income, you may qualify for the Any Purpose Signature Loan, which allows you to borrow between $10,000 and $40,000, though it does come with a higher interest rate.

Your APR will vary depending on where you live, but the 0.25% autopay discount will be there for you regardless.

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on Visions Federal Credit Union’s secure website

Logix Federal Credit Union

Logix Federal Credit Union also has ties to aviation. In 1937, the Burbank, Calif.-based financial institution opened to serve employees of Lockheed. Over the years, it has expanded to serve residents of California, Arizona, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, Washington D.C., New Hampshire, Nevada and Virginia. You can also qualify if you have family with membership, though all members must go through a special process if they’ve moved and are now trying to get a personal loan outside of one of these geographic areas. You’re not guaranteed to be approved as the credit union may not be able to legally lend in your state, but you do still have a shot.

Personal loans through Logix Federal Credit Union come with no prepayment penalties and have terms up to 84 months. Logix’s AutoPay discount is the most generous around. If you set up automatic payments on your loan every month, your APR goes down an entire percentage point.

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on Logix Federal Credit Union’s secure website

Members 1st Federal Credit Union

Members 1st Federal Credit Union is in central Pennsylvania, though you have to do more than live in the region to qualify for membership. You must work for a select employer, go to a select school or attend a select church to qualify.

Or you can become a member through affiliation with the AACA Museum, Army Heritage Center Foundation or Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum. The cheapest option is the Army Heritage Center Foundation, which offers membership for as low as $25.

If your family member or domestic partner belongs to Members 1st, you automatically qualify for membership.

Personal loans at Members 1st Federal Credit Union come in two different tiers. If you are borrowing $25,000 or more, you will pay the interest rate listed above and have terms somewhere between 12 and 60 months. If you are borrowing less than $25,000, your interest rate could be a couple of percentage points higher, with the same terms available.

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on Members 1st Federal Credit Union’s secure website

SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union

SchoolsFirst FCU serves employees in the field of education in California. You qualify for membership if you work for a public elementary or secondary school, the County Superintendents of Schools, a community college, an authorized college or university, an authorized education foundation, or a private elementary or secondary school — as long as it is listed in the state’s Department of Education School Directory. You can also qualify if you are a pension- or annuity-collecting retiree of one of these educational institutions, or if you are related to a member.

You can borrow between $500 and $50,000 on SchoolsFirst’s no-application-fee personal loans. You will also not be charged any prepayment penalties, and terms go as high as 60 months depending on how much you borrow.

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on School First FCU’s secure website

Best credit unions for short-term loans

Using payday loans or credit cards to handle an unexpected expense such as a car repair can be a be a difficult treadmill to exit. But many credit unions offer smaller short-term loans at favorable rates that may be safer when you need to fill a short-term funding gap. Below are five credit unions that offer short-term loans (less than 12 months) for less than $1,000.

Security Service Federal Credit Union

Security Service Federal Credit Union was founded in 1956 to serve members of the U.S. Air Force Security Service. Based in San Antonio, the credit union serves service members in select branches, as well as residents, workers, worshippers, volunteers and students in the following areas:

  • San Antonio, Austin, El Paso, Rio Grande Valley and Corpus Christi, Texas
  • Denver, Colorado Springs, Pueblo, Fort Collins, Loveland, Boulder and Broomfield, Colo.
  • Salt Lake and Utah counties, Utah

If you are a member, those in your family also qualify.

Security Service Federal Credit Union’s personal loans come with no prepayment penalties and terms from 2 to 66. Rates will vary depending on where you live, and the amount you can borrow ranges from $250 to $50,000.

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on Security Service Federal Credit Union’s secure website

Wright-Patt Credit Union

Located in Ohio’s Miami Valley, Wright-Patt Credit Union serves a wide array of individuals and groups. You can qualify based on your employer or if you live, work, worship or study in one of the following Ohio counties: Butler, Champaign, Clark, Clermont, Clinton, Darke, Delaware, Fairfield, Franklin, Greene, Hamilton, Licking, Madison, Miami, Montgomery, Pickaway, Preble, Union and Warren.

Both military and civilian employees at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base also qualify, along with any military and government personnel in the region who may not have a credit union available to them. If you are retired from a position with the U.S. government, you qualify regardless of place of residence — whether you were employed through the military or as a civilian. Students at Wright State University also qualify. If you are a member, your spouse and children qualify for membership as well.

Wright-Patt’s personal loans are available at an astonishingly low minimum of $500. No other credit union offers such a low minimum, and credit unions are known for offering lower minimums than banks. The interest rates are competitive, and depending on how much you borrow, loan terms can be as high as 60 months.

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on Wright-Patt Credit Union’s secure website

Navy Federal Credit Union

Founded in 1933, Navy Federal Credit Union is the largest credit union, with more than 15 million member accounts. To become a member of this massive organization, you must be an active-duty member of the Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, Navy or Coast Guard. Other service members that qualify include those in the Air or Army National Guards, those in the Delayed Entry Program, Department of Defense Officer Candidates, those in the ROTC, Department of Defense reservists, veterans, retirees and those who collect any annuity from the Department of Defense or its affiliated branches.

If you’re a civilian, you can qualify for membership if you’re a Department of Defense employee, a contractor with the Department of Defense assigned to a government installation, a government employee assigned to a Department of Defense installation, a Department of Defense retiree or if you collect an annuity from the Department of Defense. If you’re a family member of someone with a Navy Federal Credit Union account, you qualify, too.

You can take out a personal loan with Navy Federal Credit Union for as little as $250 and as much as $50,000. Terms are up to 60 months, but you can get a longer term if you’re borrowing money for home improvements. As long as you’re borrowing at least $25,000, your term can extend up to 84 months on these home improvement personal loans, and can be as long as 180 months if you’re borrowing $30,000 or more.

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on Navy Federal Credit Union’s secure website

ESL Federal Credit Union

ESL stands for Eastman Savings and Loan Association, in reference to the legendary George Eastman, who used profits from the company he built — Kodak — to serve as a boon to the local Rochester, N.Y., community. In 1920, he launched Eastman Savings, specifically to serve the financial needs of his employees with a strong emphasis on helping them toward homeownership. In 1996, Eastman Savings became ESL Federal Credit Union.

To become a member of ESL Federal Credit Union, you must live, work, worship or study in Rochester. You can also qualify if you work for any of these employers, or if you are a member, employee, volunteer or retiree of the George Eastman Museum. Individual membership at the museum is $65, though you can gain membership for only $60 if you’re older than 65 or $25 if you’re a student. If your family member belongs to ESL Federal Credit Union, you qualify for membership, too.

ESL’s personal loans have decent rates, though they aren’t the lowest on the market. These rates also go up the longer your term is, which can be up to 120 months. But the lowest amount you can borrow is $250, which is extremely attractive for those who don’t want to borrow and pay interest on more than they need.

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on ESL Federal Credit Union’s secure website

Patelco Credit Union

Patelco Credit Union was established in 1936 as a financial institution for AT&T employees. Back then, it wasn’t known as AT&T — it was the Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Co., which is where the credit union gets its name.

To become a member, you must live, work, worship or study in one of the following California counties: Alameda, Contra Costa, El Dorado, Marin, Merced, Napa, Placer, Sacramento, San Francisco, San Joaquin, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, Sonoma, Stanislaus and Yolo.

You can also qualify if you live in Bakersfield, McKinleyville, Santa Cruz or Eureka. Others who qualify include students at San Francisco State University; the University of California, Berkeley; and California State University, East Bay, along with employees and members of Patelco’s sponsor organization. You can check to see if your employer is one of them here. The final group that qualifies is the family of existing Patelco members.

While Patelco offers the highest minimum loan amount in the rankings, it also offers the lowest potential APR. But this rate is only available if you are borrowing money to pay for back-to-school expenses, with a max loan term of 36 months. If you’re borrowing money to buy a computer or another electronic device, the lowest APR available is 8.80% and loan terms extend to 60 months. Loans for debt consolidation or any other purpose also have a maximum term of 60 months, but the minimum APR is 9.90%.

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on Patelco Credit Union’s secure website

Best credit unions with automatic payment discounts

“Set it and forget it” is certainly best for keeping your loans current and your credit rating in good shape. And many credit unions offer discounts that knock off as much as a whole percentage point from the rate of your loan. Below are six credit unions offering the deepest discounts for setting up automatic payments.

State Employees’ Credit Union of N.C.

There is a litany of ways to join the State Employees’ Credit Union in North Carolina, and all but one of them are tied to your employer. You qualify for membership if you work for or retired from:

  • The state of North Carolina
  • The federal government, and your job requires you to work together with the state
  • A North Carolinian public board of education
  • The North Carolina National Guard
  • Any North Carolina county as long as your job is in the field of health, mental health, social services or civil defense
  • An agency or department that holds you accountable to North Carolina’s State Personnel Act

You can also qualify as a family member of someone who has an account with the State Employees’ credit union.

While this credit union does offer a fairly steep APR discount for autopay or even having your payment deducted from your paycheck, the starting rates are not incredibly competitive — even if you account for that discount. The lowest rate you could possibly get on a personal loan from this credit union is 10.75% APR as of Sept. 13, 2018.

LEARN MORE Secured

on State Employees' Credit Union (NC)’s secure website

OnPoint Community Credit Union

OnPoint Community Credit Union serves communities in northwestern Oregon and southern Washington. You qualify for membership if you live or work in Benton, Clackamas, Columbia, Crook, Deschutes, Jefferson, Lane, Linn, Marion, Multnomah, Polk, Washington or Yamhill counties in Oregon, or in the counties of either Clark or Skamania in Washington state. If your family member qualifies, so do you.

This credit union does give you a good APR discount for signing up for automatic payments, but even with the discounts, the rates are nothing to write home about. As of Sept. 13, 2018, they range from 10.00% to 16.00% APR — and that’s after accounting for the discount. Terms are up to 60 months, and you can borrow up to $25,000.

LEARN MORE Secured

on OnPoint Community Credit Union’s secure website

Police and Fire Federal Credit Union

If you are an active or retired police officer or firefighter who serves or served in Philadelphia, you qualify for membership at the Police and Fire Federal Credit Union. So do your family members. In fact, the credit union issues referral coupons that can earn both you and your family member $400 each when they join.

If neither you nor any of your family members meet these criteria, you can check to see if your employer is one of Police and Fire Federal Credit Union’s member groups, which would also qualify you for membership.

While it is encouraging to see the larger APR discount for setting up automatic payments, it should be noted that personal loans at this credit union come with a higher APR than the best on the market. As of Sept. 13, 2018, the best rate you’d be able to get after applying the autopay discount is 9.90% APR on loans up to $30,000. The max term available is 60 months.

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on Police And Fire Federal Credit Union’s secure website

Digital Federal Credit Union

DCU, or Digital Federal Credit Union, was chartered in 1979. Today, it’s the largest credit union in New England, but it serves members far and wide outside of its Massachusetts home. You are eligible for DCU membership if you live, work, study or worship in Lowell, Worcester, the northern portion of Chelmsford or the western portion of Tewksbury in Massachusetts. In the state of Georgia, Cumming, Gainesville and Norcross are also eligible locales.

Other ways to qualify for membership include working for an eligible employer or living in specific condominium communities. DCU also works with several Massachusetts-based organizations to offer banking services to those organizations membership. If you want to join the credit union but don’t qualify in any other way, the least expensive way to do so is by getting a $10 membership with a nonprofit called Reach Out for Schools.

DCU’s APR on personal loans starts at 9.00%, and that’s only if you have direct deposit set up on your DCU checking account, which would be used for automatic payments. If you don’t, your potential rates would start at 9.50% APR. Terms can be as long as 60 months, and there are no prepayment penalties.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Digital Federal Credit Union (DCU)’s secure website

SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union

SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union earned a spot in our best overall list partly because of its generous auto pay discount. Scroll above to learn more about SchoolsFirst.

Logix Federal Credit Union

This credit union has the most generous discount of all, which helped earn it a spot in our best overall credit union list. Scroll up to read more.

Methodology

MagnifyMoney collected the rates and terms from the 50 largest credit unions by assets in July 2018. To determine the rankings, MagnifyMoney compared loan terms, the annual percentage rates for personal and signature loans offered, how quickly the funds for the loan become available once the loan is approved, and if the credit union offered any discounts for using a payroll or automated repayment plan.

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.

Brynne Conroy
Brynne Conroy |

Brynne Conroy is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Brynne here

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Where Educated Workers Are Moving

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.

millennial workers
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As shown by the bidding process for the new Amazon headquarters, states and cities will do just about anything to attract a high-income, highly educated workforce. The benefits of doing so are obvious: those workers’ high incomes create demand for many other ancillary services and products boosting the overall employment level. Additionally, from the local government’s perspective, these workers create a reliable tax base.

Where these companies and workers decide to move says a lot about their preferences today. But maybe more importantly, where these workers decide to move reveals which states may be the economic winners of tomorrow.

In order to understand these trends, we utilized migration data from the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS). Using this data set, we found out which states workers with bachelor’s degrees (ages of 25 to 65) were moving between 2016-17.

Key findings

  • Florida is the biggest winner with a net gain of nearly 19,000 bachelor degree-holding workers. The state is probably more famous for attracting an older, non-working population, but — thanks to its low cost of living and low taxes, perhaps — bachelor degree-wielding workers are also flocking to the Sunshine State.
  • The Orlando and Tampa metro areas are the major attractors in Florida, taking in a net flow of 8,500 and 4,400 educated workers respectively.
  • Arizona and Texas, two other warm, low cost-of-living states, also took top spots, with Phoenix and Dallas servings as the most popular relocation spots within their states. Texas came in second with a net flow of more than 14,400 educated workers, while Arizona took fourth with nearly 11,840. Interestingly, Arizona has a relatively low total population, so scoring the fourth-highest net flow is particularly impressive.
  • One state mirroring the trend of affordability and low taxes is Colorado, which earns the No. 3 best spot on this list. This state attracted 38,817 educated workers while losing just under 25,700, for a net increase of about 13,100. Denver is also notable as one of America’s biggest boomtowns.
  • Illinois was the second largest loser with a net loss of nearly 19,500 educated workers. The Chicago metro area led the charge in this state, with migration data showing losses of roughly 13,400 bachelor degree-holding workers. It is worth pointing out, though, that the metro area also encompasses territory in Indiana and Wisconsin and is not the only reason for Illinois’ overall losses.
  • New York City, with its unfortunate reputation as being one of the most expensive places in the country, was the biggest loser for metro areas, with a net loss of 19,269 educated workers. A large number of New York residents would actually prefer to live elsewhere, with losses of nearly 49,000 people between 2017 and 2018, according to Census Bureau data. However, similar to Chicago, the New York City metro area also includes people living in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and is not the sole cause of its state’s losses.
  • Educated workers are not alone in leaving New York state and its namesake city: Census Bureau data shows the overall population of the famed urban area has declined for two straight years now. That may be due, at least in part, to migration to nearby New Jersey. There’s been a large growth in population in the state of late, including cities just across the Hudson River from Manhattan, like Jersey City and Hoboken.

Top states in our rankings

Florida tops our rankings, netting nearly 19,000 workers over the 2016-17 period we measured. The next-highest net gain was just under 14,500, in Texas. But the Southeast had other winners in the top 10: North Carolina (No. 5) and South Carolina (No. 9).

Those with the lowest influx of educated workers are more common in the central and eastern parts of the country. States around the Great Lakes — Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio — fared poorly in our rankings, though Michigan came in at No. 15 overall. In the Northeast, meanwhile, New York came last in our rankings, with a net flow of -23,007 workers. Massachusetts (-7,223) and Pennsylvania (-5,371) also found themselves in the bottom five.

Southeastern states were a mixed bag — Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia are in the red, while Florida and North Carolina land the first- and fifth-best spots on this list, respectively.

1. Florida

With over 60,000 educated workers flowing into the state, Florida is the ultimate hot-spot for workers who have relocated. And when you look at the stats, it’s easy to see why.

The median household income for those who live within the state is just over $50,000. Nearly 65% of residents own their homes, which have an overall median value of about $180,000. Plus, only about 3.5% of the overall population are unemployed, as of March 2019.

The cost of living is relatively affordable, too. Homeowners with mortgages pay about $1,400 per month on housing, while renters pay $1,077 per month.

2. Texas

Coming in with a higher influx of Bachelor-degree holding workers than Florida (but a lower overall net), is Texas. The Lone Star State boasts a median household income of about $57,000 per year, and it has an overall unemployment rate of just 3.8%. Its housing costs for renters are also a bit cheaper than the No. 1 state on this list, coming in at $952 per month. It’s also worth noting that Austin was the third most-popular destination for millennials on the move, according to our ranking of millennial boomtowns.

3. Colorado

Colorado is another popular destination for workers moving out of state.

Working women in the Denver metro area, for example, are doing well there — an impressive 65.4% of women have employee-provided health insurance, about 40% of managers are women, and just 4.2% are unemployed, according to our study on the best cities for working women. In fact, the metro area earned the fifth-best ranking for those workers, compared to other U.S. cities. It’s also popular among millennials — Denver experienced the second-largest influx of that demographic, compared to other cities, between 2011 and 2016.

4. Arizona

Home to vast deserts and the Grand Canyon, Arizona is also experiencing an influx of workers. It’s a popular place for homeowners — 63.1% of Arizonans own their home, and the median value for those homes is $193,200. Renters, on the other hand, pay an average of $972 per month for their spaces. Compared to the overall average household income for state residents, which is a little more than $53,000, that accounts for about 20% of annual earnings.

Arizona is also a good option when you consider high-interest debt. Our study on U.S. credit card debt found that Arizona residents tend to carry less credit card debt ($4,299.70) than the average American ($6,358). However, it does have a slightly higher unemployment rate (5.0%) than you would find in Florida (No. 1) or Texas (No. 2).

5. North Carolina

Rounding out the top five, North Carolina has proven itself to be a popular destination for workers who move across state lines. And it does have some desirable factors going in its favor.

Unemployment (which stands at 4.0% as of March 2019) has been on a steady decline since the recession. And the median household income is comparable to what you might find in Florida (No. 1) or Arizona (No. 4). Plus, residents enjoy an average commute of fewer than 30 minutes.

However, it’s worth pointing out that the state is also home to the lowest-ranked metro area for working women — its most populous city, Charlotte — with gendered underrepresentation in leadership roles.

View our complete rankings

The figures below are based on the number of bachelor’s degree-holding individuals who have moved across state lines, either in or out of a particular state. Net flow is calculated by taking the total “moving in” minus amount of those “moving out.” Entries are also listed in order of net flow, from the most popular to least popular states for educated workers.

Interestingly, the top-five states are the only ones on this ranking which achieved five-figure net flow status. And all states which fall below the 23rd-best rated option (Arkansas) have a negative net flow, meaning more people are leaving than coming in.

It’s also worth noting that the moving-in and moving-out figures vary quite a bit from state to state. Georgia’s (No. 38) moving-in figure, for example, is nearly 30,000 (which is more than some of the top-ten ranking states on this list), while Vermont’s (No. 26) moving-in figure is just 2,003.

Moving for opportunity: How to afford the expense

Moving almost always brings up a mix of excitement and nerves. But for those who aren’t sure if they can afford the expense, it tends to lean more toward nerves. While tight finances, or a lack of funds, aren’t ideal when contemplating that kind of life change, there are ways to make it work.

Creating a budget and starting to save is the best first step if your move is still a ways off. Some of the usual expenses that renters should plan for include:

  • Security deposits (keep in mind that those with pets may be required to pay an additional deposit, and your landlord may ask for pet rent)
  • First (and possibly last) month’s rent
  • Transportation costs (like airfare) for you and your family
  • Shipping costs for your belongings
  • Packing materials, like boxes and tape
  • Storage costs (if, for example, your stuff doesn’t fit in your new apartment)
  • Cash for tipping movers
  • Repairs and new purchases to fix, furnish or decorate your new place

Trimming expenses for your move

Delaying your move to give yourself time to save can help avoid taking on debt — but that isn’t always possible. Still, if you’re willing to do a bit of work, you can minimize your expenses through other means.

If you’re planning on using professional movers, for example, it’s vital to shop around for the best rate by asking for estimates from local companies (while you’re at it, check out reviews to make sure your items would be in good hands.) Curbing personal spending is another thing to keep in the front of your mind as you come up to your move date. It’s also worth checking out other options, like having family members pitch in with packing supplies or transportation, renting a moving truck instead of using movers, or opting to move on during the week rather than during the weekend (or around a holiday).

You may also choose to streamline your belongings to cut down on moving costs. (Selling those items through an app like LetGo or on a site like Craigslist could also help you fund your move.)

It’s also a good idea to consider asking your employer if they would be willing to cover some of your relocation costs, especially if you’re moving for a new job or you have a good track record with your current company. While approval for that certainly isn’t a guarantee, it is possible and can help you save, so it may be worth the ask.

Using a personal loan for moving expenses

For those with strong credit, a personal loan might be a good option to fund your move. In general, the better your credit, the better the loan terms you’ll qualify for, and the less it will cost you to borrow. Personal loans can help you avoid putting large balances on a high-interest credit card and thereby save you money, long-term.

However, they aren’t a fix-all: You’d still have to qualify first, then pay interest charges and keep to the monthly repayment schedule to avoid late fees. But for the right borrower, they can provide a bit of breathing room and help get your move funded, faster.

Methodology

In order to find where educated workers are moving, researchers analyzed IPUMS migration over the 2016-17 period. Specifically this analysis tracked the movements of people in the workforce who moved across state lines. Researchers compared the number who moved into a state to those who moved out of the state. The states were then ranked by net flow (the difference between immigration and emigration).

Statistics on individual states comes from the United States Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, unless otherwise noted.

This article contains links to LendingTree, our parent company.

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.

Devon Delfino
Devon Delfino |

Devon Delfino is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Devon here

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No Credit, or Poor Credit? Here Are Your Loan Options

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Mixed Race Young Female Agonizing Over Financial Calculations in Her Kitchen.

Updated June 03, 2019
Don’t have a credit history established, or have a low credit score? It can be challenging to find lenders that will approve you if you have a thin credit file or poor credit, but it’s not impossible.

You still have options when it comes to personal loans, and these options come from reputable lenders.

What’s even better is that these lenders will only conduct a soft credit inquiry when you apply to find out what rates they can offer you. This means your credit score won’t be negatively affected, so you don’t have to worry about damaging it further.

In this article we’ll review how to find reputable lenders, why you should stay away from two popular options people turn to when they’re in a poor credit situation: payday and title loans. And what you can do to increase your credit score.

Check for approval without a credit hit

It’s worth noting low scores aren’t always indicative of how responsible you are with credit. A low score, or thin file, could just be a result of a short credit history. If you have a clean history (no late payments, low credit utilization, etc.), you’ll have an easier time obtaining a loan over someone who has had delinquencies on their record, but might have a higher score.

If you have bad (or no) credit, you should apply to as many lenders as possible that use a soft pull to ensure you don’t hurt your credit score. We recommend starting with LendingTree, where you can use one short application form to get rates from multiple lenders at one.

Company
APR
Terms
Credit Req.
LendingTree

As low as 3.99%

24 to 60

months

Minimum 500 FICO®

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

LendingTree is our parent company

Advertiser Disclosure.

Disclaimer

A Personal Loan can offer funds relatively quickly once you qualify you could have your funds within a few days to a week. A loan can be fixed for a term and rate or variable with fluctuating amount due and rate assessed, be sure to speak with your loan officer about the actual term and rate you may qualify for based on your credit history and ability to repay the loan. A personal loan can assist in paying off high-interest rate balances with one fixed term payment, so it is important that you try to obtain a fixed term and rate if your goal is to reduce your debt. Some lenders may require that you have an account with them already and for a prescribed period of time in order to qualify for better rates on their personal loan products. Lenders may charge an origination fee generally around 1% of the amount sought. Be sure to ask about all fees, costs and terms associated with each loan product. Loan amounts of $1,000 up to $50,000 are available through participating lenders; however, your state, credit history, credit score, personal financial situation, and lender underwriting criteria can impact the amount, fees, terms and rates offered. Ask your loan officer for details.

As of 28-Feb-2019, LendingTree Personal Loan consumers were seeing match rates as low as 3.99% (3.99% APR) on a $10,000 loan amount for a term of three (3) years. Rates and APRs were based on a self-identified credit score of 700 or higher, zero down payment, origination fees of $0 to $100 (depending on loan amount and term selected).

6.95%-35.89%

36 or 60

months

600

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Our Commitment We'll receive a referral fee if you click here. This does not impact our rankings or recommendations.

7.46%-35.99%

36 & 60

months

620

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

We'll receive a referral fee if you apply for this loan. This does not impact our rankings or recommendations.

9.95%-35.99%

24 to 60

months

Varies

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

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

6.95%-35.99%

36 or 60

months

640

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Advertiser Disclosure.

For example, a three-year $10,000 loan with a Prosper Rating of AA would have an interest rate of 5.31% and a 2.41% origination fee for an annual percentage rate (APR) of 6.95% APR. You would receive $9,759 and make 36 scheduled monthly payments of $301.10. A five-year $10,000 loan with a Prosper Rating of A would have an interest rate of 8.39% and a 5.00% origination fee with a 10.59% APR. You would receive $9,500 and make 60 scheduled monthly payments of $204.64. Origination fees vary between 2.41%-5%. APRs through Prosper range from 6.95% (AA) to 35.99% (HR) for first-time borrowers, with the lowest rates for the most creditworthy borrowers. Eligibility for loans up to $40,000 depends on the information provided by the applicant in the application form. Eligibility is not guaranteed, and requires that a sufficient number of investors commit funds to your account and that you meet credit and other conditions. Refer to Borrower Registration Agreement for details and all terms and conditions. All loans made by WebBank, member FDIC.

59.00%-199.00%

9 to 24

months

Varies

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

LendingTree: Dozens of lenders partner with LendingTree – and many of them may approve people with poor or no credit. You can fill out a simple form and compare multiple offers in minutes. We highly recommend starting your shopping experience here first to have a good chance of getting a loan.

LendingTree
APR

As low as 3.99%

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

Advertiser Disclosure

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.


A Personal Loan can offer funds relatively quickly once you qualify you could have your funds within a few days to a week. A loan can be fixed for a term and rate or variable with fluctuating amount due and rate assessed, be sure to speak with your loan officer about the actual term and rate you may qualify for based on your credit history and ability to repay the loan. A personal loan can assist in paying off high-interest rate balances with one fixed term payment, so it is important that you try to obtain a fixed term and rate if your goal is to reduce your debt. Some lenders may require that you have an account with them already and for a prescribed period of time in order to qualify for better rates on their personal loan products. Lenders may charge an origination fee generally around 1% of the amount sought. Be sure to ask about all fees, costs and terms associated with each loan product. Loan amounts of $1,000 up to $50,000 are available through participating lenders; however, your state, credit history, credit score, personal financial situation, and lender underwriting criteria can impact the amount, fees, terms and rates offered. Ask your loan officer for details.

As of 28-Feb-2019, LendingTree Personal Loan consumers were seeing match rates as low as 3.99% (3.99% APR) on a $10,000 loan amount for a term of three (3) years. Rates and APRs were based on a self-identified credit score of 700 or higher, zero down payment, origination fees of $0 to $100 (depending on loan amount and term selected).

Here are 5 personal loan lenders for people who have less than ideal credit (meaning under 700) that will let you check your rate without impacting your credit score:

LendingClub: People with credit scores below 600 may get approved. You can borrow $1,000 – $40,000 and get the money deposited into your account within a few days. Fixed APRs range from 6.95% –35.89% on monthly terms of 36 or 60. LendingClub has an origination fee of 1.00% - 6.00% its loans. LendingClub is not available in Iowa or West Virginia.

APR

6.95%
To
35.89%

Credit Req.

600

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 or 60

months

Origination Fee

1.00% - 6.00%

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

LendingClub is a great tool for borrowers that can offer competitive interest rates and approvals for people with credit scores as low as 600.... Read More

Upstart: Borrow between $1,000 and $50,000 for 36 & 60 months with APRs ranging from 7.46% to 35.99%. While the minimum credit score needed to qualify is 620 (Upstart will also consider applicants who don’t have a score), you must have a clean credit history. You could also be eligible for next day funding.

APR

7.46%
To
35.99%

Credit Req.

620

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 & 60

months

Origination Fee

0.00% - 8.00%

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

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

Avant: You could borrow anywhere from $2,000 to $35,000 through Avant, and you could receive your funds as soon as the next business day. APRs range from 9.95% – 35.99%. Although the minimum credit score Varies, you have a much better chance if your score is above 580. Avant is available in all states except Colorado, Iowa, West Virginia, and Vermont.

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

Prosper: Another peer-to-peer marketplace lender, Prosper’s loans are similar to LendingClub’s. You can borrow $2,000 to $40,000 with APRs ranging from 6.95% to 35.99% on 36 or 60 month terms. There’s an origination fee of 2.41% - 5.00%, and its minimum credit score is 640.

APR

6.95%
To
35.99%

Credit Req.

640

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 or 60

months

Origination Fee

2.41% - 5.00%

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Advertiser Disclosure

Prosper is a peer-to-peer lending platform that offers a quick and convenient way to get personal loans with fixed and low interest rates. ... Read More


For example, a three-year $10,000 loan with a Prosper Rating of AA would have an interest rate of 5.31% and a 2.41% origination fee for an annual percentage rate (APR) of 6.95% APR. You would receive $9,759 and make 36 scheduled monthly payments of $301.10. A five-year $10,000 loan with a Prosper Rating of A would have an interest rate of 8.39% and a 5.00% origination fee with a 10.59% APR. You would receive $9,500 and make 60 scheduled monthly payments of $204.64. Origination fees vary between 2.41%-5%. APRs through Prosper range from 6.95% (AA) to 35.99% (HR) for first-time borrowers, with the lowest rates for the most creditworthy borrowers. Eligibility for loans up to $40,000 depends on the information provided by the applicant in the application form. Eligibility is not guaranteed, and requires that a sufficient number of investors commit funds to your account and that you meet credit and other conditions. Refer to Borrower Registration Agreement for details and all terms and conditions. All loans made by WebBank, member FDIC.

OppLoans: If you have no or bad credit, Opploans is an online lender that could help. If your credit score is below 0 (or if you have no credit score at all), OppLoans will work with you. You can check to see if you are approved without impacting your score. And – unlike payday lenders – OppLoans offers much more affordable borrowing options. They also have great reviews – with a customer service rating of 4.9/5 stars.

APR

59.00%
To
199.00%

Credit Req.

Varies

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

9 to 24

months

Origination Fee

Varies

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

There are several other personal loan lenders that will do a soft credit check. You can find them on our personal loan table here. While many of these lenders have minimum credit score requirements, you’ll find they take other factors into account aside from your FICO score.

Additionally, since these lenders only do a soft credit pull, you’re free to shop around for the best rates without fear of damaging your credit score.

Why You need to Stay Away from Payday Loans and Title Loans

Not eligible for personal loans? Don’t turn to payday loans or title loans.

If you’re not familiar with either, you might be wondering what’s so bad about them. After all, they seem convenient – most offer “fast cash,” and if you live in a populated area, you’ll probably find a payday loan or title loan shop nearby.

However, both require you to give something in exchange for funds, and neither require any sort of stringent approval process to ensure borrowers can afford the loans.

Payday Loans

Payday loan companies require you to write a check for the amount you wish to borrow, plus a set fee. The lender holds onto the check until the loan becomes due (typically on the borrower’s next payday, hence the name), and gives the borrower the money they need in the meantime.

The problem? If you can’t pay when the loan balance becomes due, you can choose to extend the term of the loan. When you do, you get hit with more fees. The APR on payday loans is extremely high, so you’ll pay more each time you extend your loan term.

Payday loans are on the smaller side – anywhere from $100 to $1,000. According to PayDayLoanInfo.org, the average term is two weeks, with 400%+ APRs. When you factor in fees, the APR can go up to 780%.

[Stuck in a Payday Loan Trap? Here are the ways out.]

Title Loans

Title loans require you to give your car’s title to the title loan company in exchange for an amount equal to the appraised value of your car. You usually have to own your car outright to be eligible for a title loan, and the term is around 30 days.

Like payday loans, if you can’t pay on time, you may choose to roll the loan over to the next month, incurring more fees. If you can’t pay back the loan at all, you run the risk of the lender repossessing your car.

As you can tell, both of these options are bad ideas if you want to stay clear of getting into a horrible debt cycle. These loans are purposely too expensive for borrowers to afford. If people are looking for quick cash because they don’t have any, it stands to reason they’ll be in the same situation a week or two from the time they borrow.

Non-Profit Credit Counseling to Rebuild Credit Score

You want to make every effort to improve your credit score, even after you’re approved for a loan, because having a good credit score will benefit you in other areas of life. For that reason, you might want to consider teaming up with a non-profit credit counseling service.

These companies can provide you with personalized advice on your specific situation so you can work on rebuilding your credit score. They can also work with your creditors and negotiate on your behalf to possibly lower interest rates or get better terms on your existing debt.

It can be tricky to find a reputable credit counseling agency – even with a non-profit organization. If you’re interested in a credit counseling service, USA.gov lists a few considerations and questions you should ask before committing. You want to make sure the credit counseling agency is actually going to help you get your credit and financial situation under control.

Alternative to Ways to Build Your Credit Score

If you don’t qualify for a personal loan, and don’t want to turn to payday or title loans, there are a few steps you can take to increase your credit score. This post has 6 tips to help get you started. These methods won’t boost your score immediately, but over time, you’ll see an improvement.

The Federal Trade Commission also has 6 alternatives to payday loans on its website, which might apply to your situation. For example, if you’re a member of a credit union, you could inquire about a loan through them as you have an established relationship already.

Also, if you haven’t started budgeting and tracking your spending, you should – doing so can help you spot problem areas with your money.

Read the Fine Print and Shop Around

Regardless of which loan you decide to apply for, always consider the cost. You want to make sure you’re getting the best possible terms, which means getting the lowest APR offered. Typically, cash advances and credit cards are going to have higher APRs than personal loans but lower than payday lenders.

Remember to always read the fine print. Loans of any type have plenty of fees associated with them that you should avoid. Shop around for the best deals and work on improving your credit score so better options become available to you.

*We’ll receive a referral fee if you click on offers with this symbol. This does not impact our rankings or recommendations. You can learn more about how our site is financed here.

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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.

Erin Millard
Erin Millard |

Erin Millard is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Erin at [email protected]

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