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Personal Loans

The Best Personal Loans for People with Bad Credit

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.

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Can I get a personal loan with bad credit?

If you have bad credit, it can be difficult but not impossible to get a personal loan. For some, it’s a situation full of painful irony: You have bad credit because you’re in debt; refinancing or consolidating that debt would help improve your credit but you have trouble qualifying for a good loan because you have bad credit.

Fortunately, there are lenders out there who will extend financing to those with less-than-stellar credit. You may not get the lowest interest rate, but you won’t be disqualified simply because your credit score is less than stellar. Lenders will consider other information as well as your credit, such as your income level and whether or not you have a cosigner with strong credit.

One of the most versatile ways to get funding is through a personal loan. Personal loans are unsecured installment loans, which means you’ll get a lump sum upfront to pay off your debts, and you’ll be left with just one fixed loan payment that will be due over a set period of time. Because the loan is unsecured, you won’t have to put up any collateral.

How does a bad credit score affect my loan?

A bad credit score indicates to lenders that you aren’t a reliable borrower. For whatever reason, you have struggled to make on-time payments in the past, or you have taken on a large amount of debt relative to your income.

Because you look risky, they may be more reluctant to lend you money at all. When you are offered a loan, it’s likely to be for a smaller amount with higher interest rates.

How to get a personal loan with bad credit

Whether you’re facing a financial emergency or simply looking to consolidate debt, you’ll want to qualify for the best personal loan rates possible. You may also want to secure your funds quickly. Here are a few steps you could take to improve your odds of approval and to be prepared for the loan application process.

Consider a cosigner

If you have poor credit and need a loan now, consider finding a cosigner with a strong credit score and income. A cosigner is basically someone who promises to repay the debt if you don’t follow through with payments.

You and your cosigner will be equally responsible for the debt. That means if you fall behind on payments, both your and your cosigner’s credit score will take a hit, and debt collectors could go after them if the debt becomes delinquent. That could put a strain on your relationship.

Before locking down a cosigner, make sure you have a plan for repayment. Be honest about your finances with your potential cosigner, too. And don’t take it personally if they decide not to be your cosigner.

Improve your credit score

Just because you have a bad credit score now doesn’t mean you will forever. There are steps you can take to rebuild it.

How to get your credit score: Check your credit cards. Many offer customers access a free FICO score once per month. Otherwise, use a free tool, such as through Discover, which you can access even if you don’t have any accounts with the company.

How your score is calculated: Your credit score is based on your credit report, which includes a record of loans and other accounts in your name and your history of payments. Think of it like your grade point average in school. It’s a score calculated on your overall credit performance over time.

The same way a failed exam would hurt your GPA, a missed credit card payment or significant negative event such as a bankruptcy or foreclosure could hurt your score. Vice versa, if you failed that one exam in the early part of the year but score As on every other exam moving forward, that new positive information will be factored into your score as well and can boost it.

After a lender looks at your credit report, they will take the information and plug it into a scoring model. There are two main models: FICO and Vantage. Ninety percent of lenders use FICO models, so for our purposes, we’ll assume your credit score is calculated using a FICO model.

Credit scores fall into five different categories:

  • 750+ – Excellent Credit
  • 680-749 – Good Credit
  • 620- 679 – Average Credit
  • 550-619 – Sub-Prime Credit
  • Below 550 – Poor Credit

If you fall into the sub-prime or poor credit categories, you have are going to have a harder time borrowing money — especially with low interest rates.

How to get your credit reports: Every 12 months, you can get a free credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus through AnnualCreditReport.com.

How to improve your score: Once you have your credit reports, check them for accuracy. If you find any errors, take measures to fix them. Doing so could easily boost your score.

Two other things you can do to improve your credit score are make on-time payments and lower your utilization rate (you can do that by paying down your balances). Your utilization rate is calculated by dividing the total amount of all your statement balances by your credit limits.

If you are consolidating debt with a personal loan, making on-time monthly payments may slowly help improve your credit score as you will be eliminating debt.

Have your loan materials handy

After you’ve made sure your credit report contains only accurate information, you’ll want to get your paperwork together. Many lenders will ask you to provide the following:

  • Your full name
  • Address
  • Social Security number
  • Residency status
  • Proof of income
  • Information regarding your debts, especially if you are consolidating

The lender may also request supporting documentation. This additional documentation will help the lender answer any questions it may have about your finances.

After lenders review your materials, they will disclose the rates and terms you are approved for. From there, you can decide whether or not to move forward with a loan.

Follow up with lenders that reject you

If you’ve followed the above steps and been rejected for a loan, reach out to the lender and ask why. The information it provides may give you direction on what you need to do before applying again.

For example, if you were rejected because you have a low income, that could be a strong signal that it’s time to pick up extra work. If you were rejected because of your credit score, then go through the steps we’ve outlined above once more.

You may also simply need to wait for your score to improve. There could be a delay between when you get your finances in order and when your credit score improves.

Where to shop for the best personal loans for bad credit

When you’re shopping for a personal loan with bad credit, it’s important to comparison shop. You want to be sure you are getting the best rates and terms before signing your name on the dotted line.

LendingTree, can potentially connect you with numerous lenders who offer personal loans to those with less-than-perfect credit. Their personal loan tool will ask you some basic questions, weeding out lenders who aren’t a good match, and saving you time and unfruitful hard inquiries on your credit report.

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).

LendingClub

Most LendingClub borrowers have a credit score of at least 600. All loans are issued at a fixed APR between 6.95% to 35.89%. Your credit score, current debt burden and the amount you want to borrow will all affect where you fall in that range. LendingClub issues personal loans up to $40,000.

LendingClub personal loans do come with some fees:

  • Origination fees. This will be 1.00% - 6.00% of the amount you’re borrowing. You will not have to pay it upfront; it will be rolled into your loan, and included in your APR.
  • Late payment fees. If your monthly payment is more than 15 days late, LendingClub may charge you a late payment fee. This fee will be the greater of $15 or 5% of the unpaid payment.
  • Check processing fees. If you choose to pay your loan via paper check, you will be charged a $7 check processing fee.

The application process happens online and will require information about your employment history and income, on top of identifying information like your address and Social Security number. If you’re not confident you’ll qualify with your credit history, you can add a co-borrower with a better history to your application to increase your odds of approval.

“If you’re considering your options and want to talk through your unique situation, don’t hesitate to reach out to us,” said Alia Dudum, spokeswoman for LendingClub.

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

LendingPoint

LendingPoint is on a mission to provide access to financing for those without good credit. “Most of our competitors have started to deny anyone below a 660-680, running up the credit rankings,” said Mark Lorimer, LendingPoint’s CMO. “We’ve started trying to provide access to more — the way down to a 585.”

LendingPoint recently launched a program called Step Into More, which helps those with a lower credit score and other negative aspects of their credit rating get personal loans and improve their score at the same time.

The program starts with a $2,000 loan which is to be repaid over the course of 24 to 48 months at 9.99% – 35.99% APR. If you make on-time payments for the first three months, your interest rate drops by one percentage point. If you continue making on-time payments up to the six-month mark, your interest rate will drop by yet another percentage point. At the twelve-month mark, your interest rate will go down at least two percentage points more if you have consistently made on-time payments.

You may qualify for a personal loan from LendingPoint independent of the Step Into More program — even with a credit score of 585. Your score alone isn’t enough to get you approved; your income, debt and other factors will be a part of the decision process. But Lorimer says that with a 585 credit score,most applicants could expect to be offered an interest rate of 9.99%
35.99% APR. Loan amounts vary from $2,000 to $25,000.

There is an origination fee ranging anywhere from 0%-6% depending on your state of residence. This origination fee will already be accounted for in your APR.

You can apply online and will need to provide basic identifying information such as name, address and Social Security number. You will also need to verify your bank account with the routing and account number. If you need help with the process, the company has telephone support; a live human being can help walk you through the process.

APR

9.99%
To
35.99%

Credit Req.

585

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

24 to 48

months

Origination Fee

0.00% - 6.00%

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

LendingPoint is an online lender that targets borrowers with fair credit, and allows borrowing up to $25,000.... Read More

SoFi

Read our full review of SoFi’s personal loans here.

SoFi doesn’t publish any specifics about its credit score requirements. It is a unique lender in that they focus more heavily on things like education, employment and income potential. Those with higher income or income potential are more likely to be approved. To this end, SoFi’s personal loans come with unemployment protection — which defers payment and helps you find a new job should you find yourself unemployed.

SoFi grants personal loans from $5,000 to $100,000 with interest rates between 5.74% – 16.24% APR after a 0.25% discount for setting up autopay. They do not charge origination fees, and the terms on these loans can be anywhere between three and seven years. If you’re 15 days or more late with your payment, you may be assessed a fee 4% or $5 — whichever is less.

You can apply online. Come armed with your basic contact information, education history and employment information. You may have a hard time getting approved with a bad credit history, but SoFi does a soft pull on your credit report — which does not negatively affect your score. If you have a solid education and earn a decent income, it’s worth seeing if they will take you on.

SoFi
APR

5.74%
To
16.24%

Credit Req.

680

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

24 to 84

months

Origination Fee

No origination fee

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Advertiser Disclosure

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


Fixed rates from 5.990% APR to 16.240% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 5.75% APR to 14.60% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of March 18, 2019 and are subject to change without notice. Not all rates and amounts available in all states. See Personal Loan eligibility details. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, to qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including evaluation of your credit worthiness, years of professional experience, income and other factors. See APR examples and terms. Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at 14.95%. Lowest variable rate of 5.75% APR assumes current 1-month LIBOR rate of 2.50% plus 4.28% margin minus 0.25% AutoPay discount. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account.

All rates, terms, and figures are subject to change by the lender without notice. For the most up-to-date information, visit the lender's website directly. To check the rates and terms you qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull.

See Consumer Licenses.

SoFi Personal Loans are not available to residents of MS. Minimum loan requirements might be higher than $5,000 in specific states due to legal requirements. Fixed and variable-rate caps may be lower in some states due to legal requirements and may impact your eligibility to qualify for a SoFi loan.

If you lose your job through no fault of your own, you may apply for Unemployment Protection. SoFi will suspend your monthly SoFi loan payments and provide job placement assistance during your forbearance period. Interest will continue to accrue and will be added to your principal balance at the end of each forbearance period, to the extent permitted by applicable law. Benefits are offered in three month increments, and capped at 12 months, in aggregate, over the life of the loan. To be eligible for this assistance you must provide proof that you have applied for and are eligible for unemployment compensation, and you must actively work with our Career Advisory Group to look for new employment. If the loan is co-signed the unemployment protection applies where both the borrower and cosigner lose their job and meet conditions.

Terms and Conditions Apply. SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet SoFi's underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. To qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. If approved, your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, years of experience, income and other factors. Rates and Terms are subject to change at anytime without notice and are subject to state restrictions. SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Financing Law License No. 6054612. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp., NMLS # 1121636. (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org)

Avant

Read our full review of Avant’s personal loans here.

In some cases, online lender Avant will issue personal loans to those with credit scores of 580. Their personal loans range from $2,000 to $35,000, and have terms between 24 to 60 months. Interest rates are between 9.95% to 35.99% APR.

There is an administration fee of Up to 4.75%. Other fees include a $25 late fee after your payment is 10+ days delinquent, and a $15 fee if your payment is returned.

You can apply online with your name, address, Social Security number and income information. If you are approved, you could have funds in your bank account the very next day.

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

Credit unions and community banks

In your search for a lender, don’t overlook credit unions and community banks. Rachael Bator, CFP at Lake Street Advisors, says these institutions tend to have lower minimum credit score requirements on top of lower interest rates. And they are often willing to work with people with low credit scores.

Find a credit union in your area here. Look for a community bank here.

Alternatives to personal loans

Bator says that while a personal loan may be a good option in certain situations, in others you may be served by a different product.

First, she says you can ask family members if they’d be willing to give you a loan. She does note that in order for this money to be considered a loan and not a potentially taxable gift, your family member will have to charge you the applicable federal rate, which is usually much lower than the interest rate you would get with a lender — especially if you have bad credit.

Another area for examination is a home equity line of credit (HELOC). Bator says because your home is put up as collateral, the interest rate on this product tends to be lower than that of a personal loan.

You could also consider a secured loan. This type of loan is backed by collateral, such as property you own. They may be easier to qualify for and come with better interest rates since the collateral you put up reduces the lender’s risk. However, if you fall behind on payments, you’ll risk losing your collateral.

Beware scammers and predatory loans

Since your loan options may be limited due to your credit score, you’ll want to watch out for loan scams or predatory lenders. The following may be signs of a scam:

  • You’re not required to submit to a credit check
  • Your income isn’t a factor in your loan application
  • Your application is guaranteed to be approved
  • The lender has a poor or no ranking with the Better Business Bureau

If you’re not sure whether or not a lender is a scammer, take a step back. A quick Google search could reveal issues other borrowers have faced. Call the lender and ask about how it handles loan approvals. If something sounds sketchy, consider looking elsewhere for loan funds.

Payday loans aren’t personal loans, though they may sound similar. This type of loan is easy to qualify for but could trap you in debt.

“The repayment periods are incredibly short,” said Bator. “You can expect to pay outrageous interest rates — they’re illegal in many states for good reason. It’s proven that they don’t help people get out of debt, but rather the debt snowballs into an uncontrollable situation which profits the lender — not the borrower.”

For these reasons, you should stick to trusted and well-known personal loan lenders.

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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Get A Pre-Approved Personal Loan

$

Won’t impact your credit score

Advertiser Disclosure

Personal Loans

American Express Personal Loan Review

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

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

American Express
APR

6.98%
To
18.99%

Credit Req.

Fair to excellent

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

12 to 48

months

Origination Fee

None

APPLY NOW Secured

on American Express’s secure website

American Express personal loan details
 

Fees and penalties

  • Term lengths: 12 to 48 months
  • APR range: 6.98% to 18.99%
  • Loan amounts: $3,500 to $40,000
  • Time to funding: Typically 3 to 5 business days after you sign the loan agreement
  • Credit check: Soft Pull
  • Origination fee: None
  • Prepayment fee: None
  • Late payment fee: $39

American Express product details

Personal loans do not come with the perks often attached to American Express card products, like Membership Rewards, cash back or insurance benefits. However, the only fee associated with personal loans is a late fee — $39 if your payment is late or not made in full, which can result in major savings. To help you avoid late payments, the company offers an autopay feature.

If you’re using a personal loan for debt consolidation, American Express makes the process easy by sending your funds directly to the issuer. Payments can be disbursed to up to four personal credit card accounts held by most major credit card issuers. You’ll find out if your credit card account is eligible during the application process.

Eligibility requirements

  • Minimum credit score: Fair to excellent
  • Minimum credit history: Not specified
  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: Not specified

To be preapproved for an American Express personal loan, you must meet the lender’s minimum eligibility requirements. This includes being:

  • A U.S. citizen or resident of the U.S. or its territories
  • At least 18 years old
  • A basic card member with an eligible consumer American Express card with at least nine months of account history that is in good standing at the time of application submission

Applying for a personal loan from American Express

Only preapproved American Express card members are eligible to apply for a personal loan. During the preapproval process, you’ll be asked to provide basic information, like the amount of money you’d like to borrow, desired repayment period, loan purpose, contact information and income. Keep in mind, however, that some card members may only be preapproved to use their personal loan for credit card debt consolidation.

All personal loan applications must be submitted online. You’ll need an American Express online account and valid email address, and you must agree to receive electronic communications and other online documents. Do note, however, that preapproval is not a guarantee that you’ll be granted a loan — but if your application is approved, you’ll have up to three days to review and accept the terms.

If your personal loan was approved to pay down credit card debt, the funds will be sent directly to the accounts designated on your application. Otherwise, the money will be sent to an eligible bank account on file with American Express. If you don’t have an eligible bank account on file, you have three days from the date you sign your loan agreement to add a personal checking account in your name or your loan agreement will be deemed void and unenforceable.

Pros and cons of an American Express personal loan

Pros:

Cons:

  • Minimal-to-no fees. The sole fee associated with an American Express personal loan is a $39 late fee, assessed only on late payments and those not made in full.
  • Wide range on loan amounts. American Express personal loans are available in increments from $3,500 to $40,000. The amount granted is based on creditworthiness and other factors.
  • Multiple repayment periods. Applicants will have the option to choose among several repayment periods (thereby allowing you to secure a monthly payment that doesn’t put a strain on your budget). Approved borrowers may receive offers ranging from 12 to 48 months.
  • Soft credit pulls. Applying for an American Express personal loan will not impact your credit score. But if you’re approved, loan details will be sent to credit reporting agencies, which could affect your credit score.
  • American Express credit card required. Only preapproved American Express card members are eligible to apply for a personal loan through the company, and you must have had that account for at least nine months.
  • No perks. Personal loans do not come with perks offered on American Express cards, such as Membership Rewards, cash back or insurance benefits.
  • Not for bad-credit borrowers. Only cardholders with fair to excellent credit are encouraged to apply. American Express recommends that applicants with a credit score of 659 or less improve their credit before submitting an application.

Who’s the best fit for an American Express personal loan?

An American Express personal loan can be a great choice for cardholders who don’t want to pay fees. Since the only fee associated with the loan is a $39 late fee — assessed only on late payments and those not made in full — you won’t pay any fees if you satisfy your monthly financial obligation.

Having several repayment periods available can also be a helpful option. This gives you the opportunity to choose a monthly payment that works best with your budget.

Considering the loan amount ranges from $3,500 to $40,000, this product is geared toward borrowers who need a higher loan amount. It’s also a better choice for cardholders with higher credit scores, as loan offers — including APR and maximum borrowing power — are based on creditworthiness and other factors.

Before moving forward with an application, it’s a good idea to check out reviews from other consumers and get a feel for the lender’s general reputation.

American Express consumer reviews

American Express has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. The lender does not yet have reviews on LendingTree, our parent company.

To learn more about American Express, we recommend contacting the lender for a firsthand experience at its customer service and to get answers to any outstanding questions. You may also check the lender’s social media pages to see its activity and how consumers are responding. This may help you make a more informed decision before moving forward.

American Express FAQ

No. According to the site, “your credit score will not be impacted when you apply,” but the loan will be reported to the credit bureaus once you’re approved and agree to the terms.

You won’t be able to take out that loan, but your credit score won’t be impacted either. That’s especially helpful if you intend to look elsewhere for personal loans. Either way, keep in mind that not all borrowers are approved for the highest loan amount.

These loans can be used for personal, household or family purposes. For example, paying for household renovations or a life event, like the birth of a child. However, some applicants may only be approved for credit card consolidation.

If you use your loan to pay down credit card balances directly, you cannot put that money towards an American Express card. However, those who receive their funds directly may choose to use some of their funds to do so. But keep in mind that not all applicants will be approved for that disbursement option.

Most major credit card banks are eligible for direct payments via this loan. You would find out if your credit card is eligible during the application process.

Your payments are fixed for the term of your loan and will depend on how much you borrowed, your interest rate and the length of your term.

No, that’s set by the lender and cannot be changed.

You’ll have to pay a $39 late fee, and American Express may inform the credit bureaus, which would negatively impact your credit score.

You can only apply for a business loan if you have an American Express business card, and those funds can only be used for business purposes.

Alternative personal loan options

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.

LightStream is an online lending division of SunTrust Bank. It offers personal loans for between $5,000 and $100,000 with rates as low as 3.99% with autopay; however, note that lender rates vary based on the loan purpose. Still, LightStream doesn’t charge origination fees, plus it offers loans with terms from 24 to 144 months, so it could be a low-cost and flexible option for borrowers.

Marcus by Goldman Sachs®

Marcus by Goldman Sachs®
APR

5.99%
To
28.99%

Credit Req.

Varies

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 to 72

months

Origination Fee

No origination fee

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Advertiser Disclosure

Marcus by Goldman Sachs® offers personal loans for up to $40,000 for debt consolidation and credit consolidation. ... Read More


Your loan terms are not guaranteed and are subject to our verification of your identity and credit information. To obtain a loan, you must submit additional documentation including an application that may affect your credit score. Rates will vary based on many factors, such as your creditworthiness (for example, credit score and credit history) and the length of your loan (for example, rates for 36 month loans are generally lower than rates for 72 month loans).Your maximum loan amount may vary depending on your loan purpose, income and creditworthiness. Your verifiable income must support your ability to repay your loan. Marcus by Goldman Sachs is a brand of Goldman Sachs Bank USA and all loans are issued by Goldman Sachs Bank USA, Salt Lake City Branch. Applications are subject to additional terms and conditions. For New York residents, rates range from 5.99% to 24.99% APR.

With no origination or late fees, Marcus by Goldman Sachs may be an affordable option for a personal loan. The lender offers loans for up to $40,000 with rates as low as 5.99%. Further, you can see rates with a soft pull.

LendingClub

APR

6.95%
To
35.89%

Credit Req.

600

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 or 60

months

Origination Fee

1.00% - 6.00%

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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

LendingClub may be a great option for borrowers with less-than-stellar credit. It has a minimum credit score requirement of 600. Its personal loans come with rates as low as 6.95% and as high as 35.89%. You can expect an origination fee between 1.00% - 6.00%.

Devon Delfino contributed to the reporting for this article.

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

Laura Woods
Laura Woods |

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

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Personal Loans

LightStream Personal Loan Review

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

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

APR

3.99%
To
16.99%

Credit Req.

660

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

24 to 144

months

Origination Fee

No origination fee

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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.

LightStream personal loan details
 

Fees and penalties

  • Terms: LightStream loan terms range from 24 to 144 months.
  • APR range: The APR for this loan is 3.99% to 16.99% APR. The lowest interest rates include a 0.50% rate discount for using autopay.
  • Loan amounts: You can borrow from $5,000 to $100,000.
  • Time to funding: You can get funding the same business day you apply if you’re approved by 2:30 p.m. EST. Otherwise, you have to schedule funding of your loan within 30 days of getting approval.
  • Hard pull/soft pull: Applying for a LightStream loan will trigger a Hard Pull. LightStream pulls your Experian and Equifax credit reports. LightStream does not offer soft pull preapprovals.
  • Origination fee: None.
  • Prepayment fee: None.
  • Late payment fee: None.
  • Other fees: None.

LightStream has no fees across the board and offers highly competitive interest rates. These two variables add up to an affordable loan, if you qualify. According to LightStream, you can borrow money for “practically anything.” Here are some examples of things you can finance with a LightStream loan:

  • Adoption
  • Auto
  • Debt consolidation
  • Dental work
  • Home improvements
  • IVF/fertility treatments
  • Pre-K-12 education
  • Medical bills
  • Recreation
    • Boats
    • RVs
    • Timeshares
  • Tiny homes
  • Weddings

The list of ways you can use a LightStream loan is exhaustive. However, there are a few instances where you can’t use a LightStream loan. You can’t use one to finance a college or post-secondary education or a vehicle registered under a business name. LightStream does not offer financing to businesses either; you are only able to apply for a loan as an individual.

‘The Rate Beat’ program

Here’s an incentive to shop around and compare rates: LightStream will beat competitor rates by 0.10% APR. You must show that you’ve been approved by a lender for a lower rate and meet other eligibility criteria before LightStream will beat the competitor rate.

Here are the terms and conditions for the Rate Beat program:

  • The lower interest rate you find with another lender can’t be from an employee discount or other special that’s not available to all customers.
  • The lower rate can’t be through any rate-subsidized programs.
  • The lower rate you get from a competing lender must be for a loan that has the same amount, loan term loan purpose and payment method (such as auto-pay).
  • The offer expires at 2 p.m. EST on the business day before your loan is funded.

Consider shopping for other loans before going to LightStream so that if you do receive a lower offer, you can try to take advantage of the Rate Beat program.

‘Loan Experience Guarantee’

The next benefit that LightStream offers borrowers is the Loan Experience Guarantee. If you’re not satisfied with the loan process, LightStream will give you $100 for completing a questionnaire within 30 days of receiving your loan.

Eligibility requirements

  • Minimum credit score: LightStream seeks candidates with “good credit.”
  • Minimum credit history: LightStream looks for borrowers who have several years of credit history, a mix of accounts, stable income, few (if any) delinquencies and a proven ability to save money.
  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: Not specified

LightStream is clear about offering loans to borrowers with good credit, although a specific credit score minimum isn’t specified. What constitutes good or excellent credit is subjective: A credit score of 670 or above is generally considered good, while a score of 740 or above is generally considered very good or excellent.

Despite not specifying a minimum credit score or maximum debt-to-income ratio, LightStream does outline some key characteristics of borrowers who tend to qualify for a Lightstream loan.

  • Borrowers with good credit have several years of credit history (excellent borrowers tend to have five years or more of credit history).
  • Borrowers have a credit history that includes many different types of accounts, such as credit cards, installment loans and mortgages.
  • Borrowers show evidence of being able to save through liquid assets, retirement savings, etc.
  • Borrowers have few late payments (excellent borrowers tend to have credit reports with no deliquences at all).

Applying for a personal loan from LightStream

The LightStream application process is straightforward. You apply online which requires a hard pull. There is no preapproval with a soft pull available. LightStream first asks why you want the loan, how much you want to borrow and which loan term length you need. The next step is to tell LightStream your personal information.

You should receive a response quickly if you apply during business hours. After an approval, you can e-sign your loan documents and set up funding. You can get money as soon as the same day if your application is approved and all required steps are completed before 2:30 p.m. EST on a business day.

Pros and cons of a LightStream personal loan

Pros:

Cons:

  • Low rates. LightStream has highly competitive rates to offer borrowers who qualify.
  • ‘Rate Beat’ and other guarantees. LightStream will beat other rates if you can prove that another lender will give you a more affordable loan. LightStreamalso takes pride in the ease of the application process — if you have complaints about it, you can reach out to LightStream and they’ll give you $100 for your trouble. Terms apply.
  • Large and small loans. You can borrow from $5,000 to $100,000.
  • Long loan terms. Loan terms are available from 24 to 144 months.
  • Credit requirements. While LightStream does not specify a minimum credit score for borrowers, it generally looks for people with “good” credit. This typically means a score of at least 670, potentially putting borrowers with lower scores out of the running.
  • There’s a hard pull. There’s no preapproval process to check rates with a soft pull, so you won’t be able to see if your credit is strong enough to qualify without taking the hard hit. Check out our personal loan comparison tool, which includes loans that don’t require a hard pull.

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

People with good credit tend to get the most competitive interest rates on loans, for good reason — in the eyes of lenders, they are less likely to default on a loan, thus making them a lower risk.

In this case, LightStream is clear that it focuses on rewarding borrowers who have good credit with loans that have no fees and low interest rates because they’ve demonstrated an ability to manage debt responsibly. The LightStream loan is one that you should consider putting at the top of your shopping list if you have good credit or better, because of its perks and price.

Besides the cost, another plus is that LightStream lets you borrow high amounts of cash for almost any reason, as long as it’s not for college tuition or a vehicle registered to a business. It also offers long loan terms that allow you to stretch out your payments. Keep in mind, however, that the lowest interest rates are available for loans of $5,000 to $100,000 with loan terms of 24 to 144 months. You can borrow a higher amount for a longer period, but it may cost you more money.

What stands out as a potential downside of this loan is that a hard pull on your credit is necessary to check rates. But don’t let a fear of hard inquiries prevent you from shopping around for the best deals. A hard pull will typically cost you 5 to 10 points on your credit score — a trade-off that might ultimately be worth it when you consider the savings you could gain from qualifying with a low-cost lender like LightStream. We have discussed the impact of credit inquiries in this post — the effect on your credit may be minimal considering the potential benefit.

If you meet the conditions of what’s considered good or excellent credit, you may find that a LightStream loan is one of the better personal loans that you may find for your situation online. Check out other personal loan options here to compare products. This roundup includes many loans that allow you to check rates with a soft pull.

LightStream consumer reviews

One of the best ways to assess an offer is to read about other customers’ experiences with the lender. The Better Business Bureau has given LightStream an A+ rating, and it’s also earned 4.1 out of 5 stars from reviewers on LendingTree, the parent company of MagnifyMoney.

Customers who reviewed LightStream on LendingTree — which owns MagnifyMoney — are, by and large, satisfied with the interest rates, fees and closing costs, customer service and responsiveness. Borrowers praise LightStream for having a “straightforward, simple, delightful loan process,” “great rates and fast response” and “lightning fast closing.” Many customers were also pleased that LightStream funded their loans the same day they were approved.

While there is far more praise than criticism of LightStream on LendingTree, some customers said they were denied for loans even though they had a high credit score and income and they were unable to connect with the company by phone. Overall, though, borrowers seem generally happy with their experience with LightStream.

LightStream FAQ

LightStream does not specify a minimum credit score for borrowers. Instead, the company looks for individuals with at least “good” credit, which typically means the borrower has several years of credit history, multiple types of accounts, a decent history of on-time payments, evidence of an ability to save and a “stable and sufficient income.”

While you can apply for a LightStream loan for educational expenses related to pre-K through grade 12, the company does not offer funding for college or post-secondary education. The company does not offer refinancing for student loans.

LightStream borrowers do not incur any fees from the company.

LightStream says customers will receive a response “shortly” after applying online, if done during business hours.

LightStream loans can be used for a wide variety of purposes, including dental bills, home improvements, adoption expenses, horses and jewelry. The company requires that you use the money from the loan for the purpose you indicated in your application. You are not allowed to use the loan to refinance an existing LightStream loan, pay for college tuition or post-secondary education, buy stocks and bonds or purchase a vehicle that will be registered under a business name.

LightStream does not offer pre-approvals for loans. Potential borrowers must fill out the online application to see if they’re approved.

LightStream uses its “easy, fast and virtually paperless loan process” as a selling point to potential borrowers. If you’re not happy with your experience, the company will offer you $100 for filling out a questionnaire within 30 days of receiving funding for your loan.

LightStream is considered SunTrust Bank’s online lending division. Borrowers do not have to be account holders at SunTrust Bank to qualify for a loan from LightStream.

Alternative personal loan options

SoFi

SoFi
APR

5.74%
To
16.24%

Credit Req.

680

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

24 to 84

months

Origination Fee

No origination fee

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on LendingTree’s secure website

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


Fixed rates from 5.990% APR to 16.240% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 5.75% APR to 14.60% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of March 18, 2019 and are subject to change without notice. Not all rates and amounts available in all states. See Personal Loan eligibility details. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, to qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including evaluation of your credit worthiness, years of professional experience, income and other factors. See APR examples and terms. Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at 14.95%. Lowest variable rate of 5.75% APR assumes current 1-month LIBOR rate of 2.50% plus 4.28% margin minus 0.25% AutoPay discount. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account.

All rates, terms, and figures are subject to change by the lender without notice. For the most up-to-date information, visit the lender's website directly. To check the rates and terms you qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull.

See Consumer Licenses.

SoFi Personal Loans are not available to residents of MS. Minimum loan requirements might be higher than $5,000 in specific states due to legal requirements. Fixed and variable-rate caps may be lower in some states due to legal requirements and may impact your eligibility to qualify for a SoFi loan.

If you lose your job through no fault of your own, you may apply for Unemployment Protection. SoFi will suspend your monthly SoFi loan payments and provide job placement assistance during your forbearance period. Interest will continue to accrue and will be added to your principal balance at the end of each forbearance period, to the extent permitted by applicable law. Benefits are offered in three month increments, and capped at 12 months, in aggregate, over the life of the loan. To be eligible for this assistance you must provide proof that you have applied for and are eligible for unemployment compensation, and you must actively work with our Career Advisory Group to look for new employment. If the loan is co-signed the unemployment protection applies where both the borrower and cosigner lose their job and meet conditions.

Terms and Conditions Apply. SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet SoFi's underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. To qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. If approved, your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, years of experience, income and other factors. Rates and Terms are subject to change at anytime without notice and are subject to state restrictions. SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Financing Law License No. 6054612. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp., NMLS # 1121636. (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org)

SoFi is another lender that offers no-fee personal loans with competitive, fixed interest rates that you can use for a variety of reasons. You can borrow large amounts with SoFi — $5,000 to $100,000. Perks offered by SoFi include access to financial advisors and unemployment protection for borrowers. You can check rates with a soft pull.

Marcus by Goldman Sachs®

Marcus by Goldman Sachs®
APR

5.99%
To
28.99%

Credit Req.

Varies

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 to 72

months

Origination Fee

No origination fee

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Advertiser Disclosure

Marcus by Goldman Sachs® offers personal loans for up to $40,000 for debt consolidation and credit consolidation. ... Read More


Your loan terms are not guaranteed and are subject to our verification of your identity and credit information. To obtain a loan, you must submit additional documentation including an application that may affect your credit score. Rates will vary based on many factors, such as your creditworthiness (for example, credit score and credit history) and the length of your loan (for example, rates for 36 month loans are generally lower than rates for 72 month loans).Your maximum loan amount may vary depending on your loan purpose, income and creditworthiness. Your verifiable income must support your ability to repay your loan. Marcus by Goldman Sachs is a brand of Goldman Sachs Bank USA and all loans are issued by Goldman Sachs Bank USA, Salt Lake City Branch. Applications are subject to additional terms and conditions. For New York residents, rates range from 5.99% to 24.99% APR.

Marcus by Goldman Sachs® is another personal loan that has absolutely no fees. You can borrow up to $40,000, get approval within five minutes and receive your funds in about one to four business days after verifying your bank account. Plus, checking rates doesn’t require a hard inquiry. Interest rates are typically higher for the longer term loans, and borrowers with excellent credit will get the lowest rates.

Upgrade

Upgrade
APR

7.99%
To
35.89%

Credit Req.

620

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 or 60

months

Origination Fee

1.50% - 6.00%

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on LendingTree’s secure website

Upgrade is an online lender that offers fairly priced personal loans for a term of either 36 or 60 months.... Read More .

Upgrade is the only lender included in this review that charges an origination fee. This lender may be an option for people with less than stellar credit, as the credit score minimum is just 620. You can borrow up to $50,000 from Upgrade, and check your rate without a hard inquiry. Upgrade can send money to your bank account in as little as one business day after your personal information is verified.

Joni Sweet contributed to the reporting for this article.

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.

Taylor Gordon
Taylor Gordon |

Taylor Gordon is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Taylor here

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