Where to Get an Unsecured Personal Loan

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Updated on Tuesday, December 4, 2018

applying for an unsecured loan
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Life always has a way of coming up with new ways to surprise us. When those surprises call for quick cash, an unsecured personal loan might be what’s needed to fill in the gap between the funds you have and the debts you owe.

Taking out a personal loan to consolidate your existing debts might be wise if you’re facing high interest rates. Also, rolling all your debts into a single payment and interest rate can make it easier to manage and track how much you owe and how long it’ll take for you to pay off the loans.

An unsecured personal loan may also be preferable to selling your assets to get the money you need to pay for large purchases or unexpected emergencies.

What is an unsecured personal loan?

A personal loan is considered unsecured when it’s not backed by collateral, such as your car, which could be repossessed by the lender if you default on your loan agreement. Instead, unsecured loans are backed only by your promise to repay the lender, which is why they are called unsecured, or sometimes signature, loans.

Because an unsecured loan doesn’t require you to put down any collateral, lenders rely heavily on various factors to determine whether you’ll pay back your loan in full. Such factors include:

What can an unsecured personal loan be used for?

An unsecured loan is provided to the borrower in a lump sum and can be used for virtually anything, including:

  • Debt consolidation, which is where you use the personal loan to pay off high-interest debts, leaving you with an easier-to-manage single interest rate and monthly payment.
  • Special experiences such as a wedding or honeymoon so that you can enjoy the experience without worrying about the money.
  • Home improvements or other large appliance purchase, but borrowers should also consider alternatives such as a home equity loan or a home equity line of credit.
  • Medical bills for an unexpected treatment that isn’t covered by your health insurance.
  • College tuition to invest in your and your child’s future.
  • Business expenses to scale and set up your organization for success.
  • Unexpected expenses for those emergencies that often come up in life.

Still, borrowers should make it a point to check with their lender for any guidelines on ways in which the funds can be used.

Personal unsecured loans generally have term ranges between two and five years and rates that are usually fixed. The monthly payment is based on how much money you owe and the interest rate, which is determined by your credit rating and financial history. Some lenders offer revolving lines of credit that allow borrowers to withdraw as needed and only pay interest on the amounts withdrawn.

Where to find unsecured personal loans

If you’ve decided that a personal loan is right for you, you’ll need to begin researching lenders and the terms they offer.

MagnifyMoney offers a personal loan marketplace where you can discover lenders and review the loan terms they offer. But you may also consider these lenders and online lending platforms:

Company
APR
Terms
Credit Req.
LendingTree

As low as 3.49%

24 to 60

months

Minimum 500 FICO®

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

LendingTree is our parent company

Advertiser Disclosure.

Disclaimer


As of 17-May-19, LendingTree Personal Loan consumers were seeing match rates as low as 3.49% (3.49% 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). Terms Apply. NMLS #1136

3.49% - 19.99%*

with AutoPay

24 to 144*

months

Not specified

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Advertiser Disclosure.

*Your loan terms, including APR, may differ based on loan purpose, amount, term length, and your credit profile. Rate is quoted with AutoPay discount. AutoPay discount is only available prior to loan funding. Rates without AutoPay 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 3.49% APR with a term of 3 years would result in 36 monthly payments of $292.98.
SoFi

5.99% - 18.72%*

24 to 84

months

680

Minimum Credit Score

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Advertiser Disclosure.

Fixed rates from 5.99% APR to 18.72%% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of June 30, 2020 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, income, and other factors. See APR examples and terms. 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.
Marcus by Goldman Sachs®

6.99% - 19.99%

36 to 72

months

Not specified

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Advertiser Disclosure.

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.

5.99% - 29.99%

36 or 60

months

640

Minimum Credit Score

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

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

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

10.68% - 35.89%

36 or 60

months

Not specified

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

All loans made by WebBank, Member FDIC. Your actual rate depends upon credit score, loan amount, loan term, and credit usage and history. The APR ranges from 10.68% to 35.89%. For example, you could receive a loan of $6,000 with an interest rate of 9.56% and a 5.00% origination fee of $300 for an APR of 13.11%. In this example, you will receive $5,700 and will make 36 monthly payments of $192.37. The total amount repayable will be $6,925.32. Your APR will be determined based on your credit at time of application. The origination fee ranges from 2% to 6% (average is 4.86% as of 7/1/2019 – 9/30/2019). In Georgia, the minimum loan amount is $3,025. In Massachusetts, the minimum loan amount is $6,001 if your APR is greater than 12%. There is no down payment and there is never a prepayment penalty. Closing of your loan is contingent upon your agreement of all the required agreements and disclosures on the www.lendingclub.com website. All loans via LendingClub have a minimum repayment term of 36 months or longer.

9.95% - 35.99%*

24 to 60**

months

600

Minimum Credit Score

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Advertiser Disclosure.

*If approved, the actual loan terms that a customer qualifies for may vary based on credit determination, state law, and other factors. Minimum loan amounts vary by state.
**Example: A $5,900 loan with an administration fee of 4.75% and an amount financed of $5,619.75, repayable in 36 monthly installments, with an APR of 29.95% would have monthly payments of $250.30.

Based on the responses from 11,574 customers in a survey of 210,584 newly funded customers, conducted from 1 Feb 2018 - 1 Aug 2019 95.05% of customers stated that they were either extremely satisfied or satisfied with Avant. 4/5 Customers would recommend us. Avant branded credit products are issued by WebBank, member FDIC.

18.00% - 35.99%

24 to 60

months

Not specified

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Advertiser Disclosure.

Not all applicants will qualify for larger loan amounts or most favorable loan terms. Loan approval and actual loan terms depend on your ability to meet our credit standards (including a responsible credit history, sufficient income after monthly expenses, and availability of collateral). Larger loan amounts require a first lien on a motor vehicle no more than ten years old, that meets our value requirements, titled in your name with valid insurance. Maximum annual percentage rate (APR) is 35.99%, subject to state restrictions. APRs are generally higher on loans not secured by a vehicle. Depending on the state where you open your loan, the origination fee may be either a flat amount or a percentage of your loan amount. Flat fee amounts vary by state, ranging from $25 to $400. Percentage-based fees vary by state ranging from 1% to 10% of your loan amount subject to certain state limits on the fee amount. 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.

Borrowers in these states are subject to these minimum loan sizes: Alabama: $2,100. California: $3,000. Georgia: Unless you are a present customer, $3,100 minimum loan amount. Ohio: $2,000. Virginia: $2,600.

Borrowers (other than present customers) in these states are subject to these maximum unsecured loan sizes: Florida: $8,000. Iowa: $8,500. Maine: $7,000. Mississippi: $7,500. North Carolina: $7,500. New York: $20,000. Texas: $8,000. West Virginia: $14,000. An unsecured loan is a loan which does not require you to provide collateral (such as a motor vehicle) to the lender.
PenFed Credit Union

Starting at 6.49%

6 to 60

months

Not specified

SEE DETAILS Secured

on PenFed Credit Union’s secure website

8.13% - 35.99%

36 or 60

months

600

Minimum Credit Score

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Your loan amount will be determined based on your credit, income, and certain other information provided in your loan application. Not all applicants will qualify for the full amount. Loans are not available in West Virginia or Iowa. The minimum loan amount in MA is $7,000. The minimum loan amount in Ohio is $6,000. The minimum loan amount in NM is $5,100. The minimum loan amount in GA is $5,000.

The full range of available rates varies by state. The average 3-year loan offered across all lenders using the Upstart Platform will have an APR of 22% and 36 monthly payments of $36 per $1,000 borrowed. There is no down payment and no prepayment penalty. Average APR is calculated based on 3-year rates offered in the last 1 month. Your loan amount will be determined based on your credit, income, and certain other information provided in your loan application. Not all applicants will be approved.

You’ll find that personal loan lenders take different forms: traditional banks, credit unions, online lenders and peer-to-peer (P2P) lenders. If you’re not sure which lender is right for you, consider these pros and cons for each.

Traditional banks

At one time, brick-and-mortar banks might have been your best option for a personal loan. But nowadays, you may find that your local bank isn’t a competitive option. Why? Because banks with physical branches have higher overhead costs than online lenders — and they’re still trying to make a profit off your loan. Still, they can be a convenient option.

Pros

  • Can visit your local branch to learn more and apply
  • Likely a trusted and known brand

Cons

  • Higher fees
  • May have stricter loan requirements

Credit unions

Because credit unions aren’t trying to profit off your loan, they can generally offer lower interest rates on their personal loans. But to get a personal loan through a credit union, you have to become a member first — and you won’t qualify for membership at every credit union.

Pros

  • Lower fees
  • May have lower loan requirements

Cons

  • Have to become a member before applying
  • Fewer locations compared to a big bank

Online lenders

Online lenders don’t have brick-and-mortar locations. That could be a good thing or a bad thing depending on your needs. But with fewer overhead costs, online lenders are competitive options for personal loans.

Pros

  • Competitive rates and terms
  • Easier to research, plus streamlined application processes

Cons

  • Little name recognition can make them hard to find
  • No physical locations for in-person aid

P2P lenders

P2P lending is what it sounds like: Instead of going to a bank, borrowers receive their loans from their peers who they are connected to through a platform. Since P2P lending is only online, overhead costs are low and customers get lower interest rates. A personal loan through P2P lending comes with some cons, such as an origination fee, which is deducted from the total loan amount before the borrower gets their lump sum. Also, loans are not available in all states, and they can depend on debt-to-income ratio, financial history and career experience. They are generally limited to borrowers with above-average credit and income levels.

Pros

  • Can share your story if you’re struggling to qualify
  • Work with people rather than companies

Cons

  • Likely to receive high rates
  • Harder to qualify for a loan

How to compare personal loans: 3 factors to consider

With so many options, it’s beneficial for borrowers to consider several lenders for a comparison. Below are some considerations to take into account when shopping for a personal loan:

Interest rate

Take a look at MagnifyMoney’s personal loan marketplace and you’ll see that rates are as low as 3.49%. Your loan’s interest rate will impact how much you pay throughout the life of the loan, so it’s important to shop around for your best rate.

Interest rates are determined through various factors, depending on the lender, but they are generally decided based on the borrower’s credit, income and whether there’s a cosigner.

Fees

Fees are serious factors to take into account when choosing a lender as they will greatly impact your total loan amount. Here are two common fees:

  • Origination fees are charged by the lender for processing a personal loan application. The origination fee is either presented as a flat rate or a percentage of the loan, which is typically withdrawn from the full amount of the loan and incorporated in the APR. This fee is negotiable.
  • Prepayment penalties are charged when a borrower pays off their loan ahead of the term schedule.

View our list of lenders with no personal loan fees here

Lender perks

If you have a strong credit history and are a good candidate for a personal loan, lenders will usually work with you on a repayment schedule that doesn’t overwhelm you each month. For instance, some lenders will allow you to use a cosigner who has good credit for a lower interest rate and term on your loan.

Some lenders take a nontraditional approach to the merit-based system utilized in personal loans. For instance, Earnest offers flexible terms along with customized loan and repayment plans, which work well for recent graduates who haven’t yet had the opportunity to establish a strong credit history. Upstart, founded by “ex-Googlers,” uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to determine whether someone would be a good borrower based on their education, career, job history and standardized test scores.

Some lenders are forgiving during challenging times. SoFi offers loan forbearance during a job loss. During this time, the interest will continue to accrue, but SoFi will not consider your payments overdue. LendingClub leaves its borrowers alone for at least 30 days if they’ve been affected by a natural disaster.

Applying for an unsecured personal loan

Most online lending platforms use a soft pull during the application process so that you will be able to shop around for your best interest rate and loan term without hurting your credit. These are called preapprovals or pre-qualification checks, but they are usually contingent on you passing a hard credit inquiry after you’ve accepted the loan offer.

While shopping around for the lender that works best for you, consider using MagnifyMoney’s loan payment calculator to get an idea of possible monthly payments. Put in the amount you need, the period you’ll need it for and the interest rate to get the estimated amount you’ll pay each month.

Submitting your application

Since an unsecured loan is not backed by anything other than a borrower’s creditworthiness, you’ll need a good credit score and documentation — recent pay stubs, tax returns and an offer letter to prove employment status – proving you have enough income to repay the new loan.

If you have this kind of information handy, the application process can be quick and simple.

Receiving loan funds

This varies by lender, but decisions are usually made quickly. Funds can be deposited as early as the same business day. Check with your lender on wait times.

Once you have your funds, make sure you are responsible with them. Taking on new debt can be scary if you don’t have a plan for repayment, so make sure you understand how your personal loan fits into your budget.

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.

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