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Money Management

Need Money Now? Here are the Best Online Personal Loans



If you need money now, an online personal loan can be a fast and easy way to secure funds. Whether they’re for debt consolidation, a home improvement project, or other expenses, these loans often come with low-interest rates and flexible repayment options. Applying for one online can take just a few clicks.

We’ve found some of the best online loans for borrowers in a variety of financial circumstances. Keep reading to discover our top picks and how they stack up against their competitors.

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The Most Important Factors for Finding the Best Online Loans

With so many online personal loan companies to choose from, borrowers should comparison shop for the best deal. According to Experian, “Personal loan rates, fees, and terms vary widely from lender to lender—and even from loan to loan and borrower to borrower. To get the best loan for your situation, you’ll need to do some research.” Some lenders will offer discounts to people with good credit scores.

And for that research to be effective, here’s what you need to include:

A comparison of annual percentage rates

The annual percentage rate (APR) is the interest rate on a loan and the fees combined. If there are no fees associated with the loan, the APR simply matches the interest rate. The average APR is around 6%, but rates can range from 2% to over 30%. Obviously, the lower the APR, the better.

A review of loan term lengths

Another deciding factor is how long it will take to pay off the loan. Some terms are just two years, and others can span over a decade. Typically, the larger the amount you borrow, the longer you have to pay it back.

A comparison of maximum borrowing amounts

Many lenders set minimum and maximum amounts that you can receive. If you need a large loan, you can quickly narrow down your choices based on the maximum sum a lender will offer you.

Checking your own credit score

Loan companies consider several factors before approving you, including your credit score. Each lender has a minimum score requirement, which you can find out through third-party services or by contacting a company representative directly. Reviewing your credit score ahead of time will help you figure out which lenders are more likely to approve your request. In case your credit score is on the lower end of the spectrum, you might consider working with companies that offer loans with bad credit.

Finding out what you can use your loan for

Many online personal loan companies specialize in lending for certain types of expenses. Some finance home improvements, while others lend only to people who want to consolidate credit card debt. Most online loan companies share this information on their websites; you can find out there if a company is likely to approve a loan for your purposes. If your main goal is to consolidate debt, try the best debt consolidation loans.

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Best for Lowest Interest Rates
Best for Credit Union LendingBest for No FeesBest for Reliable Customer ServiceBest for Same Day Approval
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APR

2.94–19.9% (with autopay)

4.99–17.99%

5.74–20.28%

5.99–24.99%

5.97–29.99% (with autopay

Borrowing Amount

$5,000–$100,000

Up to $50,000

$5,000–$10,0000

Up to $35,000

$2,000–$45,000

Term Length

2–12 years

Up to 5 years

2–7 years

3–7 years

3–5 years

Minimum Credit Score

700+

650

680

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LightStream
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APR

2.94–19.9% (with autopay)

Borrowing Amount

$5,000–$100,000

Term Length

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Minimum Credit Score

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APR

4.99–17.99%

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Term Length

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Minimum Credit Score

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APR

5.74–20.28%

Borrowing Amount

$5,000–$10,0000

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2–7 years

Minimum Credit Score

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APR

5.97–29.99% (with autopay

Borrowing Amount

$2,000–$45,000

Term Length

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Minimum Credit Score

600

The 6 Best Online Personal Loans of 2022

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Best for Lowest Interest Rates: Lighstream

Pros
  • Low-interest rates
  • Low fees
  • Large borrowing limits
Cons
  • No due date flexibility
  • No prequalification process or soft credit check

LightStream, founded in 2012, is a subsidiary of Truist Financial Corporation. Its competitive interest rates and zero fees make it a popular option for a wide variety of borrowers. LightStream offers term lengths from 2 to 12 years and a maximum loan of $100,000, which exceeds many of its competitors’ borrowing limits.

LightStream’s APR is between 2.94% and 19.99%, which is low and backed by its rate beat program. The same program promises an APR offer 0.1% lower than any competitor’s rate on an unsecured loan. One important thing to point out: LightStream doesn’t have a prequalification process. To find out if you’re approved, you’ll need to apply for a loan and go through a hard credit check.

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Best for No Fees: SoFi

Pros
  • No fees
  • High borrowing limits
  • Allows prequalification with soft credit check
Cons
  • Tough qualification standards
  • Doesn't allow co-signers

Another popular lender with a high maximum limit, SoFi was founded by Stanford business students. In 2015, it launched a personal loan division. Borrowers come to SoFi because its interest rates are between 5.99% and 20.28%, and its term lengths are two to seven years. The upper loan limit is $100,000.

Although many lenders enforce prepayment penalties and charge application and origination fees, SoFi doesn’t, which is one of the reasons why we’ve added the company to our list.

Avant

Pros
  • Accepts applicants with fair credit scores
  • Quick, next-day funding
  • Offers prequalification with soft credit checks that won't hurt your score further
Cons
  • Neither co-signers nor co-applicants are permitted
  • Lower borrowing limits
  • Administration fee of 4.75%

Avant, a fintech company, offers loans suitable for a range of financial situations. Applicants can request loans between $2,000 and $35,000. Its competitive APRs fall between 9.95% and 35.99%, and term lengths can be two to five years. Flexible repayment options are available. Even though it charges an admin fee, Avant is worth considering if you have a lower credit score.

We chose Avant because it lends to people with fair credit scores. According to its website, most of its borrowers’ scores fall between 600 and 700. Applicants with scores lower than that may still qualify depending on their situation and history.

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Best for Reliable Customer Service: Discover

Pros
  • High customer service ratings
  • No origination fees
Cons
  • Low loan maximum
  • Charges a late fee

Awarded J.D. Power’s highest customer service rating, Discover also has an A+ approval from Better Business Bureau. Its interest rates fall between 5.99% and 24.99%, and its term lengths are three to seven years. Loans are available from $2,500 up to $35,000.

Serving over two million borrowers, Discover offers loans to individuals with an annual household income of $25,000 or higher. Its personal loans have average interest rates and flexible repayment plans, but there are lower limits on how much you can borrow.

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Best for Credit Union Lending: PenFed

Pros
  • Low-interest rates
  • No origination fees
Cons
  • Must be a member to receive a loan
  • Branches only in select locations

For borrowers open to working with a credit union, PenFed offers a variety of loan options. PenFed was founded in 1935, making it a well-established financial institution. With lower interest rates of between 4.99% and 17.99% and term lengths of up to five years, PenFed is a practical choice.

While you don’t need to be a member for the prequalification process, you will be required to join if you accept a loan from PenFed. PenFed has positive customer service reviews and a borrowing limit of $50,000, which is higher than that of several of its competitors.

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Best for Same Day Approval: Rocket Loans

Pros
  • Same-day approval and funding
  • Low APR rates with autopay discount
Cons
  • Late fees
  • Origination fees (1% - 6%)

Located in Detroit, Michigan, Rocket Loans is a nationwide chain lending at lower interest rates. Would-be borrowers can find out if they pre-qualify without affecting their credit scores. Rocket Loans’ APRs range from 5.97% to 29.99% with autopay discounts. Term lengths of up to five years are allowed, and your borrowing limit can be as high as $45,000.

We included this loan company on our list because Rocket Loans works fast. It often approves and funds borrowers in just one day. Because of its simple and transparent application process, many clients turn to Rocket Loans in a financial emergency.

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Other Companies We Considered – Best Online Loans

Credible

Credible is a loan marketplace. By using its comparison tool, you can analyze multiple loan options on a user-friendly platform. Potential borrowers can search for loans up to $100,000 with APRs between 2.49% and 35.99%.

Pros
  • Offers soft credit checks
  • Guaranteed best loan rate option from any loan marketplace
Cons
  • May not show you every possible loan option
  • Lenders' fees may apply

Happy Money

Payoff, by Happy Money, is a personal loan specifically for consolidating credit card debt. Alongside rates starting at 5.99% and loans with a maximum limit of $40,000, this lender offers competitive terms of two to five years. Paying off credit card debt with a single loan helps Happy Money clients save money on interest.

Pros
  • Accepts borrowers with a FICO score of 550
  • Provides flexible repayment terms
Cons
  • Loans for credit card debt consolidation only
  • Charges an origination fee

Lending Tree

Lending Tree is another loan marketplace. After filling out its questionnaire, you’re presented with your best options based on the financial data you’ve provided. Loans usually start with an APR of 2.49%. There are options with maximum borrowing limits of up to $50,000.

Pros
  • No fees for using its service
  • No credit score penalties thanks to soft credit checks
Cons
  • Some customers complain they receive many ads after signing up
  • Interest rates may be higher if you have a lower credit score

How We Found the Best Online Personal Loans

When considering which loan companies to include in our review, we based our decision on a certain set of standards.

Customer satisfaction was an important factor

Positive customer service experiences played a role in our selections. All the companies we listed have A or A+ ratings from the Better Business Bureau.

We included only companies with fixed rates and unsecured loans

The companies on our list don’t require collateral from you to qualify for a loan. Also, their APRs are locked in, meaning they won’t change over time.

Protection of your money and information

All the loan companies we considered are backed by banks insured through either the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or National Credit Union Administration (independent federal agencies).

Additionally, cybersecurity measures played a role in our selections. We checked to see if the websites for each company say they’re safeguarded and secure. They claim to use protection programs, such as Norton or Digicert, so you can share vulnerable information with peace of mind.

Online Personal Loans FAQ

Why would someone need a personal loan?

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People take out personal loans for many different reasons; some common ones are debt consolidation, home improvements, and medical emergencies. Each company shares guidelines for the loan types it offers, which can be found on its website.

How can I get a personal loan when I have no income and need money now?

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If you have a strong credit history and high credit score, lenders may be willing to work with you. Without proof of employment, they may need to verify an alternative source of income, such as public assistance or retirement benefit payments.

Will prequalification lower my credit score?

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Many online loan companies offer a soft credit check during the prequalification process. These inquiries don't affect your credit score. When deciding which loan company to apply to, ask whether the prequalification process includes a soft or hard credit check.

Does my credit score matter?

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Yes, your credit score plays a role in the loan approval process. A lower credit score may result in higher APRs and stricter repayment terms; however, don't let this deter you from applying. Several companies are willing to help a client find their best rate regardless of less-than-perfect credit history.

If I need money now, how fast can I get a personal loan?

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Depending on your specific financial situation and the lender you choose, you can qualify and receive funds on the same day. Other loan companies may guarantee a deposit the following day. Be sure to inquire about this process during prequalification.

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