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Personal Loans

Best Debt Consolidation Loans by Credit Score in 2019

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.

debt consolidation
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Updated – November 15, 2018

Dealing with multiple loan payments can be a hassle. Even worse is having to pay high interest rates on one or more of your loans. A debt consolidation loan can be a great way to fix those problems by refinancing all your loans into one with a new rate and term.

Debt consolidation provides three benefits:

  1. Make payments simple: If you owe a lot of lenders and are having a tough time keeping track of all the payments, then consolidating will make your life easier. You’ll only owe one lender and have to keep track of one due date. There’s less of a chance of anything falling through the tracks.
  2. Lower your interest rate: This is where you have to run the numbers to see if debt consolidation makes sense for you. What’s the average interest rate you’re paying on your debt? If it’s quite high (which is likely if you have a lot of consumer debt), you may benefit from consolidating under better terms. Just remember to only use a personal loan if the interest rate is lower than the one you are already paying.
  3. Improve your credit score: If your credit cards are currently maxed out, your credit score will suffer. When you pay off your credit card debt with a personal loan, you will often receive a boost to your credit score, so long as you don’t start using your cards again.

But not all lenders will work with just anyone. Generally, you need to have a good credit score to qualify for the best interest rates on debt consolidation loans. Even then, some lenders offer better terms than others.

We searched through MagnifyMoney’s debt consolidation loan marketplace to identify the best lenders for you depending on whether you have excellent (700 and above), good (640-699), average (600-639) or poor (below 600) credit. To compare lenders evenly across the board, we assumed that you’re looking for a $10,000 loan and that you have a college degree. For each credit category, we picked the top two lenders who had the lowest APRs.

Here are the results from our analysis. If you’re in the market for a debt consolidation loan, it’s a good idea to customize your debt consolidation loan search so that you can find the best loan to help you get out of debt faster.

Company
APR
Terms
Credit Req.
LendingTree

5.99% - 35.99%

24 to 60

months

Minimum 500 FICO

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

LendingTree is our parent company

Disclaimer

3.99% - 16.99%

24 to 144

months

660

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Advertiser Disclosure.

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 3.99% APR with a term of 3 years would result in 36 monthly payments of $295.20.

5.99% - 29.99%

24 to 60

months

Varies

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

All loans available through FreedomPlus.com are made by Cross River Bank, a New Jersey State Chartered Commercial Bank, Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender. All loan and rate terms are subject to eligibility restrictions, application review, credit score, loan amount, loan term, lender approval, and credit usage and history. Eligibility for a loan is not guaranteed. Loans are not available to residents of all states – please call a FreedomPlus representative for further details.

5.98% - 29.99%

36 or 60

months

640

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

5.99% - 29.99%

36 or 60

months

700

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Advertiser Disclosure.

*The Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is the cost of credit as a yearly rate and ranges from 5.99%-29.99%, which may include an origination fee from 0.99% - 5.99%. Any origination fee on a 5-year loan will be at least 4.99% and is deducted from loan proceeds. The APR offered will depend on your credit score, income, debt payment obligations, loan amount, loan term, credit usage history and other factors, and therefore may be higher than our lowest advertised rate. Requests for the highest loan amount may resulting 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 for qualified customers who receive offer codes in the mail. The minimum individual annual income needed to qualify for a loan of $50,000 is $130,000. Borrowers may hold no more than two open Best Egg loans at any given time. In order to be eligible for a second Best Egg loan, your existing Best Egg loan must have been open for at least six months. Total existing Best Egg loan balances must not exceed $50,000. All loans in MA must exceed $6,000; in NM, OH must exceed $5,000; in GA must exceed $3,000.

Borrowers should refer to their loan agreement for specific terms and conditions. A loan example: a 5–year $10,000 loan with 9.99% APR has 60 scheduled monthly payments of $201.81, and a 3–year $5,000 loan with 5.99% APR has 36 scheduled monthly payments of $150.57. 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.

16.05% - 35.99%

24 to 60

months

Varies

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Advertiser Disclosure.

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.

Peerform

5.99% - 29.99%

36 or 60

months

600

SEE OFFERS Secured

on Peerform’s secure website

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.

Tower Federal Credit Union

8.74% - 11.74%

12 to 72

months

580

SEE OFFERS Secured

on Tower Federal Credit Union’s secure website

Personal Loans for Debt Consolidation

Start Shopping Here – LendingTree

At LendingTree, you can make dozens of personal loan companies compete for your business with a single online form. When you fill out the form, LendingTree will do a soft pull – which means your score will not be negatively impacted. Dozens of lenders will compete and you may be matched with lenders who want your business. You may be able to compare and save in just a few minutes. We recommend starting here. You can always apply directly to other lenders – but many of the lenders we recommend already participate in the LendingTree personal loan online tool.

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.

Best debt consolidation loans for excellent credit

LightStream

APR

3.99%
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 3.99% APR with a term of 3 years would result in 36 monthly payments of $295.20.

What we like

If you’ve managed your credit well and have the credit score to prove it, LightStream can be a great option to consolidate your debt. It has some of the lowest interest rates out there — as low as 3.99% APR (that’s with a 0.50% auto-pay discount).

Going along with those low interest rates are low fees. LightStream doesn’t charge any fees at all, including origination fees or prepayment fees. The company offers loan terms from 24 to 144 months. While it’s generally best to pay off your debt as quickly as possible, sometimes having a longer-term loan makes sense, and many other lenders don’t offer loans for as long as 12 years.

The final thing we like about LightStream is that it’s quick to fund your loan. If you are approved for a loan on a business day before 2:30 p.m. Eastern time and provide the company with your bank account details, you can have your loan funded on the same day you are approved.

What could be better

If you’re trying to take advantage of the 0.50% auto-pay discount, you’ll need to set this up before your loan is funded. You won’t qualify for this interest rate discount if you do it after the fact.

Additionally, the company makes it a bit difficult if you’re trying to pay your loan off early. If you want any extra payments to go toward the principal (and not interest), you’ll have to schedule your extra payment to occur on the same day as your normal monthly payment. There’s no other way to specify that you want extra payments to go toward your principal balance.

Credit history required

LightStream doesn’t say what kind of credit history you need to qualify for a loan. But the company does describe those with excellent credit (and thus the best odds for approval at the lowest rates) as people with five or more years of credit history.

Fees and fine print

LightStream is a great option for folks who qualify for these loans because the company does not charge any fees at all. This means no origination fees or prepayment penalties. If you miss a payment, it’s not totally free because the company could report that to the credit bureaus, which could harm your credit score.

FreedomPlus

APR

5.99%
To
29.99%

Credit Req.

Varies

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

24 to 60

months

Origination Fee

0.00% - 5.00%

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

With a personalized application process that includes a phone interview, FreedomPlus gives people with below average credit a shot at getting approved for a personal loan.... Read More

What we like

FreedomPlus also offers some of the lowest personal loan rates in our marketplace. Those rates are running as low as 5.99% APR.

Another thing we like about FreedomPlus is that it offers multiple different interest rate discounts. The lender doesn’t specify the amounts, but you can get discounts for three things:

  • If you have a co-applicant for your loan
  • If you use at least half of your loan to pay off high-interest credit card debt (FreedomPlus will pay it for you)
  • If you have at least $40,000 in retirement savings

These discounts may (or may not) make your interest rate better than what you could get with other lenders. But at least the company is rewarding customers for good financial behavior, such as paying off high-interest debt and saving for retirement.

What could be better

Unfortunately, FreedomPlus doesn’t operate in all states. Even in some of the states in which it does operate, there are state-specific minimums: $6,500 in Massachusetts, $5,500 in Ohio, $10,500 in Arizona and $3,500 in Georgia.

We also don’t like that FreedomPlus has a narrower range of terms than LightStream. You can only choose from a term length between 24 and 60 months.

Further, FreedomPlus doesn’t provide a lot of information on its website. Rather, the company directs you to contact it for more details. That could be inconvenient if you’re shopping lenders. It also puts you in a high-pressure sales situation since you must speak with someone to get the relevant details unless you’re comfortable blindly applying for a loan.

Credit history required

FreedomPlus generally requires you to have about three years worth of credit history to stand a good chance of being approved for a loan.

Fees and fine print

The company has a variable origination fee — between 0.00% - 5.00% — depending on your loan’s APR. If you make a late payment, you’ll pay either a flat $15 fee, or 5% of your payment amount, depending on whichever is greater. If the company processes a personal check, that’s another $15. If your monthly payment is returned, it’s yet another $15 fee.

Best debt consolidation loans for good credit

RocketLoans

APR

5.98%
To
29.99%

Credit Req.

640

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 or 60

months

Origination Fee

1.00% - 6.00%

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Rocketloans is a digital finance business that is part of the Quicken Loans family. ... Read More

What we like

Even if you don’t have stellar credit, the interest rate that RocketLoans charges isn’t bad (assuming you are offered a low-end rate). RocketLoans is charging between 5.98% and 29.99% APR. The high end is the same rate you may find on a high-interest credit card. If you fall into that interest rate band, it may be worth reassessing this lender.

RocketLoans is also fast at funding your loan. If everything matches up correctly among you, RocketLoans and the bank, you may be able to receive the money the same day.

What could be better

RocketLoans isn’t available in every state. If you live in Nevada, Iowa or West Virginia, you can’t use the company to consolidate your debt.

The company only offers two different term lengths — 36 or 60 months. You can pay it off sooner, of course, and there’s no penalty for doing so. But this means you’ll only get a maximum of two different options for a given loan amount, which may not fit your budget.

Credit history required

The company does not say what sort of credit history is required to get a debt consolidation loan.

Fees and fine print

RocketLoans charges three different fees:

  • Late payment fee: $15
  • Origination fee: 1.00% - 6.00% of the loan amount
  • Returned check fee: $15

Best Egg

APR

Up to 5.99%
To
29.99%

Credit Req.

700

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 or 60

months

Origination Fee

0.99% - 5.99%

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%-29.99%, which may include an origination fee from 0.99% - 5.99%. Any origination fee on a 5-year loan will be at least 4.99% and is deducted from loan proceeds. The APR offered will depend on your credit score, income, debt payment obligations, loan amount, loan term, credit usage history and other factors, and therefore may be higher than our lowest advertised rate. Requests for the highest loan amount may resulting 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 for qualified customers who receive offer codes in the mail. The minimum individual annual income needed to qualify for a loan of $50,000 is $130,000. Borrowers may hold no more than two open Best Egg loans at any given time. In order to be eligible for a second Best Egg loan, your existing Best Egg loan must have been open for at least six months. Total existing Best Egg loan balances must not exceed $50,000. All loans in MA must exceed $6,000; in NM, OH must exceed $5,000; in GA must exceed $3,000.

Borrowers should refer to their loan agreement for specific terms and conditions. A loan example: a 5–year $10,000 loan with 9.99% APR has 60 scheduled monthly payments of $201.81, and a 3–year $5,000 loan with 5.99% APR has 36 scheduled monthly payments of $150.57. 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.

What we like

BestEgg has similar interest rates to RocketLoans, ranging from up to 5.99% to 29.99% APR. You can also take out loan amounts as small as $2,000 to consolidate your debt, which is a lot less than the minimum requirement for other lenders. Also, there are no prepayment penalties for paying off the loan early.

Heads-up, though: The minimum loan amount does vary by state, so it may be different depending on where you live. Georgia residents can’t take out loans of less than $3,000, Massachusetts residents must borrow at least $6,000, and New Mexico and Ohio residents must borrow at least $5,000.

What could be better

If you live in Iowa, Vermont or West Virginia, you’re out of luck when it comes to getting a BestEgg loan. That’s because the company doesn’t operate in those states.

You can take out a loan of up to $35,000 to consolidate your debt through BestEgg. That may sound like a good thing at first, but consider this: The company only offers you the choice of a three- or five-year term. If you take out a large amount of money, you’ll also need an equally high income to make those whopping payments. Instead, if you’re facing a large amount of debt, it’s worthwhile to also consider a lender that offers more options.

We also don’t like that BestEgg charges a $7 monthly payment fee unless you’re signed up for automatic payments. Signing up for auto-pay simplifies things for both you and the lender, but you shouldn’t be penalized if you’re not able to do that for some reason.

Credit history required

Unfortunately, BestEgg does not disclose this information.

Fees and fine print

Here’s a quick summary of the fees that BestEgg charges:

  • Origination fee: 0.99% - 5.99%
  • Late payment fee: $15
  • Returned payment fee: $15
  • Payment processing fee for people not enrolled in auto-pay: $7

Best debt consolidation loans for average credit

OneMain Financial

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.

What we like

If you like working with bankers in person, this might be a better option for you since you’ll be required to visit a OneMain Financial branch to get your money. This means that if you are approved by noon and can make it to a branch, you could get your money that day.

What could be better

On the flip side, visiting a local branch to complete the loan application process could be inconvenient if you live in a suburban or rural area and there aren’t any locations close to you. These loans are also very expensive.

We also don’t like that the company’s loan policies vary across the country depending on your state of residence. This makes it difficult to easily compare lenders without contacting OneMain Financial to get the most accurate information for your situation.

Credit history required

Your credit history is important to OneMain Financial. But the company itself doesn’t have any listed requirements. Rather, your credit history is taken into account along with your debt-to-income ratio and your ability to make the loan payments on time.

Fees and fine print

There are no prepayment penalties with a OneMain Financial loan. The cost of origination or late fees varies depending on the state in which you live. You’ll need to contact OneMain Financial to get this information.

Peerform

Peerform
APR

5.99%
To
29.99%

Credit Req.

600

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 or 60

months

Origination Fee

1.00% - 5.00%

APPLY NOW Secured

on Peerform’s secure website

Even with a credit score of 600, you still might be able to secure a loan through Peerform. ... Read More

What we like

These loans come with low rates, starting at 5.99% APR. Peerform is also open with its pricing scheme, listing in detail the APR and origination fees that come along with each credit grade, which you can see here.

What could be better

Peerform is a peer-to-peer lender, which means that the company relies on regular everyday investors to fund your loan. You could view this as a good thing since it’s not some mega-corporation that’s getting rich off funding personal loans, but it also means that it could take a while (up to two weeks) for your loan to be fully funded by investors. It’s even possible that your loan listing could end without enough investors to fund your loan, which means you may be offered less money than what you sought — or you may not even receive a loan at all.

These loans are also a bit on the fee-heavy side. For example, the company is trying to push you toward digital payments, because it will charge you a $15 fee per payment if you choose to send in a check.

Credit history required

Like many lenders, Peerform does not detail exactly what type of credit history is required to get a loan. Rather, the company takes into account other factors — such as whether your credit score is above 600 — when deciding whether to create a listing for your loan.

Fees and fine print

Here is a summary of fees that Peerform charges on its personal loans:

  • Origination fee: 1.00% - 5.00%
  • Unsuccessful payment fee: $15
  • Late payment fee: $15 or 5% of the amount due, whichever is more
  • Check payment fee: $15 per check payment

Best debt consolidation loans for bad credit

Avant

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

What we like

Avant does offer smaller loans than many other lenders. You can take out a loan starting at $2,000, ranging up to $35,000, depending on the state in which you live. That’s helpful if you’re trying to work your way out of just a few thousand dollars of debt.

You can also get your money relatively quickly if you are approved for a debt consolidation loan with Avant. If you finish the application process and are approved for a loan before 4:30 p.m. Central time on a weekday, you could have your money the next day.

What could be better

Avant’s rates, fees, loan amounts and loan terms are dependent upon the state in which you live, so you’ll need to check for yourself on its website. But for Illinois (where Avant is headquartered), we noticed that these loans do come with higher fees than normal. They also come with high interest rates, starting at 9.95% APR.

This isn’t unusual since Avant is willing to work with people with less-than-stellar credit scores. It does make it inconvenient for you because you’ll need to assess whether it’s cheaper to consolidate your debt with a personal loan rather than paying it off as is.

Once you add on the upfront administrative fee to the high interest rate, you may find that this loan isn’t a deal at all in the long run compared to what you’re currently paying. The only way to know is to do the math.

Credit history required

Again, Avant doesn’t disclose how long your credit history needs to be to get a loan with the company.

Fees and fine print

In Illinois, where Avant is based, you can expect to pay the following fees if you take out a debt consolidation loan:

  • Administrative fee: Up to 4.75% of the loan amount
  • Late fee: $25
  • Returned payment fee: $15

Tower Federal Credit Union

Tower Federal Credit Union
APR

8.74%
To
11.74%

Credit Req.

580

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

12 to 72

months

Origination Fee

No origination fee

APPLY NOW Secured

on Tower Federal Credit Union’s secure website

Tower Federal Credit Union offers both personal lines of credit and more common signature loans that feature a fixed term. ... Read More

What we like

We like that there is a wide range of options for term lengths at Tower Federal Credit Union. You can choose from six different term lengths, ranging from one to six years. Having a wide range of options is good for you as a consumer because this effectively offers you up to six different monthly payment amounts that you can choose from to fit into your budget.

Rates for these loans are also relatively low. For example, if you opt for a one-year loan, rates start at 8.74% APR. Be warned: The longer your term length, the higher the minimum APR. If you instead opt for a six-year loan, rates instead start at 11.74% APR. At some point, you may need to reassess whether the interest rate you’re receiving is really lower than your current debts’ interest rate.

What could be better

Since this is a credit union, you’ll have a different working relationship. It’s not as simple as applying with any old online lender, getting the money, paying it back and having everything be all right.

First, you’ll need to join Tower Federal Credit Union. There are pretty strict membership requirements, but you can always join by making a minimum $35 donation to the TowerCares Foundation. You’ll need to deposit at least $15 in a savings account to establish your membership. Then, after you’ve applied and established your membership, you can apply for this loan.

You’ll also need to maintain your bank account if you’re older than 22. If more than a year passes without any activity in the account and if your balance is less than $100, you’ll pay a $3 quarterly inactivity fee. So, you can see, going with a credit union may boost your odds of approval if you have a low credit score, but it’s certainly not without a great deal of work compared to a regular online lender.

Another downside of getting a personal loan with Tower Federal Credit Union is that there’s no way to know how much money you can take out without applying for the loan first. That’s because the credit union will offer you a range of borrowing limits based on your credit score and ability to pay, which it determines after you apply for a loan. This could be inconvenient if you go through all the hassle of applying for a loan only to find out the loan amount won’t work for you.

Credit history required

Tower Federal Credit Union will look at your credit when deciding whether to approve you for a loan. But it doesn’t detail what sort of credit history is required to be approved for a loan. Besides your credit history, it’ll also look at your ability to repay the loan.

Fees and fine print

If you make a late payment, you’ll pay a $20 fee. That’s just a touch higher than with other lenders. Additionally, you can make your monthly payment over the phone, but if you do so, there’ll be another $9 processing fee.
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3 reasons to use a personal loan to pay off debt

 

How to choose the right debt consolidation loan

To help ensure you select the best debt consolidation loan for your financial situation, consider these four tips:

  1. Do the math: See what a debt consolidation loan will cost you in the long run compared to your current debts. A debt consolidation loan may give you a lower payment or a lower interest rate, but if you choose a long-term loan, you may end up paying more in interest charges by the time your term ends. LendingTree, MagnifyMoney’s parent company, has a debt consolidation calculator so that you can run the numbers.
  2. Consider which types of debt you want to consolidate: Generally speaking, student loan debt is consolidated separately from your other types of debt, such as credit card debt, medical debt and auto loan debt.
  3. Consider whether other types of loans are right for you: Home equity lines of credit, home equity loans, personal lines of credit and 0% introductory APR credit cards are also reasonable options for debt consolidation.
  4. Check whether you’re applying for a secured or an unsecured loan: If it’s a secured loan (backed by an asset such as your car) and you fail to make your payments, the lender can repossess the item. Unsecured loans, on the other hand, aren’t backed by this kind of collateral, but often come with higher interest rates. Make sure you consider the trade-offs before you apply for the loan.

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.

Erin Millard
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Erin Millard is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Erin at erinm@magnifymoney.com

Lindsay VanSomeren
Lindsay VanSomeren |

Lindsay VanSomeren is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Lindsay here

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Personal Loans

Top 5 Personal Loan Myths of 2019

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.

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When it comes to personal loans, many Americans are more likely to turn to credit cards as a way to pay emergency bills, enjoy a dream vacation, or pay for items they can’t afford with cash.

According to Experian, existing personal loan debt was at $273 billion in the second quarter of 2018, while existing credit card debt was at $782 billion in the same period.

But it also shows personal loans with a greater year-to-year change in debt growth than credit cards. Whether personal loans are a viable option for expenses depends, apparently, on who you ask.

Awareness seems to be a key factor. When people are in the dark about financial solutions, they will draw their own conclusions, often leading to false perceptions.

What are some of the myths about personal loans?

5 things people say about personal loans

Myths about personal loans have developed over two centuries, making them hard to debunk.

Fortunately, the internet makes it easier than ever to not just raise awareness about personal loans and to clarify misconceptions, but to find the lowest interest rates and apply for loans.

Personal loans have a difficult and lengthy application process

Before the internet, borrowers had to apply for a personal loan by visiting their bank. During the days of the Morris Plan banks, they often evaluated borrowers based on character and income. This may have meant dressing in your Sunday best and arriving for a meeting with a loan officer with stacks of paperwork, pay stubs and tax returns.

Today, applying for a personal loan is easier than applying for a home equity loan or a mortgage.

You can apply easily online in just a few clicks. Many lenders will ask you to provide your Social Security number, your monthly expenses — including any outstanding debt such as mortgages, car loans, student loans and credit card debt — and your income.

Keep in mind that applying for a personal loan may require a hard credit inquiry and could lower your credit score. If you can, try to pre-qualify for a loan before you apply.

You won’t qualify for a personal loan if you don’t have excellent credit

This common misconception couldn’t be further from the truth. Personal loans are available for borrowers with a FICO Score as low as 500, but you won’t get the best rates with a rock-bottom credit score.

Most lenders look for borrowers with a credit score of 670 or higher. But a score of 800 or more will net you the best terms and interest rates.

Personal loans have lower interest rates than credit cards

Unlike the other myths explored, this one has some truth to it. It all depends on your creditworthiness.

Borrowers with a credit score of 720 or higher get personal loans at an average APR of 7.09%, according to LendingTree data, which is lower than the current 14.73% average APR for credit cards. (Disclosure: MagnifyMoney is owned by LendingTree.)

But if your credit is between 660 and 679, the average APR for a personal loan jumps to 16.72%.

It might be smarter to open a credit card with a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers and pay down as much debt as you can during that introductory period. With on-time payments, your credit score will rise and you can continuing using the same process until your high-interest debt is paid off.

Personal loans have high interest rates

“Personal loans have high interest rates” and “personal loans have lower interest rates than credit cards” might seem to be contradictory misconceptions.

In fact, they show just how much confusion there is about personal loans. Some people perceive the rates to be too high, while others assume a personal loan will offer a lower interest rate than their existing credit card debt.

There is just not enough awareness about personal loans being a good option for many people.

So what’s the truth?

If you have an excellent credit score, you could qualify for a personal loan with single-digit interest rates, which is lower than most credit cards.

Personal loans are also a better option than predatory payday loans, which can have an APR of almost 400%.

But if you own a home, a secured loan such as a home equity loan or home equity line of credit will almost certainly deliver a lower interest rate than an unsecured personal loan.

Personal loans just aren’t right for many borrowers

Many people don’t think of themselves as a good candidate for a personal loan. Maybe they feel their credit isn’t good enough or they don’t make enough money to quality.

Homeowners often consider home equity loans or HELOCs before personal loans. And, of course, the 70 million Americans carrying credit card debt month to month may not have thought about a personal loan.

But you could be a good candidate for a personal loan if you have excellent credit and need cash to consolidate credit card debt, pay medical bills or make a large purchase.

With an easy online application process, personal loans are increasingly becoming a smart choice for many borrowers.

What are your personal loan options?

In spite of the myths surrounding them, personal loans continue to grow in popularity.

In the second quarter of 2018, personal loans showed the greatest year-over-year growth than any other type of loan, according to Experian. Personal loan debt increased by 11.4%.

Borrowers looking for cash to pay off revolving credit cards or remodel their home may want to consider a personal loan. If you’re considering a personal loan, check your credit reports from all three credit bureaus and repair any errors to be sure your credit is in tip-top shape so you can qualify for a lower interest rate.

If your score isn’t where you’d like it to be, take time to pay down existing debt to improve your credit utilization ratio and raise your credit score. Avoid opening or closing accounts before applying for a personal loan since these actions could reduce your score.

As your credit score is increasing, use the MagnifyMoney personal loan marketplace to find a loan with the lowest rates and best terms for your situation. Always remember to do your research, consider all your options and make sure your finances are in order before applying for a personal loan.

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.

Dawn Allcot
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Dawn Allcot is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Dawn here

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Loan Origination Fees: Should I Be Paying Them?

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If you’ve applied for a personal loan or mortgage, chances are you probably came across something called an origination fee. If you’re wondering what it’s for and whether you have to pay it, here’s what you need to know.

Understanding origination fees

An origination fee is a common charge that is added to a personal loan, student loan or mortgage. It is charged by the lender and can also be referred to as an application, processing or underwriting fee. Its purpose is to cover the hard costs of preparing documents, processing and underwriting your loan, and any third party fees that might be incurred along the way, said Ashley Luethje, a York, Neb.-based sales manager at Waterstone Mortgage.

“These fees are typically a percentage of the total amount you’re borrowing,” Luethje said. “Generally, a mortgage origination fee is around one percent, but for consumer and commercial loans, the fee can be greater and is at the discretion of the lender.”

How an origination fee can come into play

If you’re deciding between lenders, one criteria you might want to take into account is the difference in their origination fees. There are some key points to consider, depending on the type of loan you’re applying for.

Personal loan

As personal loans are typically unsecured and not backed by any collateral, you may find the highest origination fees in this category. Because these types of loans carry more risk for lenders, they may charge you anywhere between 1% to 6% of the total amount you are borrowing. Those higher fees also offset the lower amount of interest lenders like banks and credit unions will receive during the life of a personal loan. These loans tend to be extended for a shorter term and in smaller amounts than other kind of loans.

If you’re not getting charged an origination fee with your personal loan, be aware that the lender may make up for it some other way, such as charging higher interest rates, said Jacob Dayan, the Chicago, Ill.-based CEO and co-founder of Community Tax and Finance Pal.

“It’s important to note that having a good credit history will yield you a much lower origination fee,” Dayan said. “Those fees are negotiable for larger loans, but will commonly require you to put up something, such as accepting a higher Annual Percentage Rate (APR) on your loan.”

Mortgage

Mortgage origination fees — also called mortgage points — can vary drastically as they are determined by the lender, said Jason Larkins, a Scarborough, Maine-based branch manager at United Fidelity Funding. These fees are charged to cover the labor involved in the processing, underwriting and funding of a mortgage, as well as third party fees incurred in tasks such as verifying your employment.

Many lenders, such as banks, credit unions and brokerages, charge a flat origination fee. This means the fee is not based on the amount you borrow. Others could charge a 0.5% to 1% origination fee; the VA home loan program sets a cap at 1%. “However, if a borrower is paying a 1% origination fee, they are likely paying too much and can shop for a better deal,” Larkins said.

At the beginning of the mortgage application process, lenders must disclose the exact origination fee being charged in an official Loan Estimate form. Lenders may not increase the stated fee except under special circumstances, such as if you decrease your down payment or change your type of loan. However, you could negotiate it downwards depending on your credit score, and the size and duration of your requested loan.

As long as you meet certain criteria outlined in IRS Publication 530, your mortgage origination fees may also be tax deductible.

Student loans

Origination fees for federal student loans are set by the government and may vary depending on whether you have a direct subsidized, direct unsubsidized or direct plus-type loan. Those fees could range from 1.062% to 4.264%  and are deducted from the loan amount — meaning you get a smaller loan in the end but will still pay back the full amount. For example, if you were to take out a $10,000 loan with a 4% origination fee, you would only receive $9,600 but would have to pay back the entire $10,000.

The only federal student loans that didn’t charge an origination fee were the Perkins Loans for undergraduate and graduate students in financial need, but this program recently ended. While most student loans provided by private lenders such as credit unions and banks might not come with origination fees, they could cost you more in the long run by charging higher interest rates. Private student loans also don’t come with the federal protections that are standard with federal loans.

Keep in mind that loans with lower interest rates but higher fees can cost more than loans with a higher interest rate and no fees. An easy way to calculate whether your lender is giving you a good deal is to remember that 3% to 4% in fees is equivalent to a 1% higher interest rate.

Is my origination fee too high?

Origination fees are not required, so it’s at the lender’s discretion to waive or negotiate the fee, said Kris Alban, the San Diego-based executive vice president of iGrad.

“It’s always smart to ask for a discount, especially if you have a high credit score and it’s a large loan,” Alban said. “When negotiating, the lender may agree to lower or waive the origination fees if you’ll pay a higher interest rate — meaning they will still make a profit, and you can pay the fees over the length of the loan rather than up front.”

To get the best big picture outlook of whether you’re getting a good deal on your loan, make sure you’re not just comparing the origination fees but also factoring in the interest rate. For example:

  • A $10,000 loan at a 4.99% APR for five years with a 3% origination fee will cost you $11,620 over the life of the loan.
  • The same loan at 5.65% APR with a 1.5% origination fee will cost you $11,652 over the life of the loan.

“Pay attention to both the interest rate and APR,” Alban said. “If they are different, the lender is most likely factoring additional fees into the APR; any origination fee over 4% of the total loan amount is excessive.”

The bottom line

Origination fees are charged by lenders to cover the costs of processing your loan, whether you’re looking for a mortgage, personal loan or student loan. Even though lenders are subject to regulations, be cautious of anything that sounds too good to be true and remember that the absence of origination fees can translate into higher interest rates. “Take the time to read the fine print and completely understand the terms of the loan,” Luethje said.

While you should exercise your ability to price origination fees with different lenders to get you the best deal possible, remember there is no one-size-fits-all scenario. “Make the choice that best fits your needs. If an upfront origination fee hinders your ability to receive a loan but a higher interest rate is a better option, then that might be the best scenario for you as a consumer,” Luethje said.

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.

Barbara Balfour
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Barbara Balfour is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Barbara here

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