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Best Personal Loans of 2024

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When it comes to personal loans, SoFi is the clear choice for the best overall lender for its loan amounts, repayment term options, and added benefits. Whether you're planning to consolidate high-interest credit card debt or make a major purchase, SoFi's loans can be useful financing options. Personal loans are installment loans that usually have lower rates than credit cards. There are many lenders, but not all loans are the same. The best personal loans offer competitive rates, flexible term options, and quick disbursements.

Best Personal Loans of 2024

Best Overall : SoFi

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  • APR Range: 8.99%–29.49%
  • Loan Amount: $5,000–$100,000
  • Loan Terms: 24–84 months
Why We Chose It

SoFi stands out as a lender for personal loans because of its high loan maximum, low rate, and longer repayment term options. 

SoFi doesn’t charge origination fees, so the total loan cost may be lower than it would be with other lenders. And it disburses funds quickly. If your application is approved, you can receive the loan funds as soon as the same day you apply.

SoFi also offers borrowers robust benefits. When you take out a loan, you become a SoFi member and can take advantage of benefits like career coaching and unemployment protection. If you lose your job, SoFi may allow you to modify your payments until you get back on your feet. SoFi will even help you find a new job. 

Although SoFi doesn’t disclose a minimum credit score requirement, you will likely need good to excellent credit to qualify for a loan. According to the company’s annual report, the average FICO credit score for personal loan borrowers was 747 in 2022. 

Pros & Cons
  • Large loan maximums

  • Same-day funding available

  • Unemployment protection

  • High loan maximum

  • Good to excellent credit needed

  • SoFi bank account needed for lowest rates


To qualify for a SoFi personal loan, you must meet the following requirements: 

  • Be the age of majority in your state
  • Be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or non-permanent resident alien
  • Be employed or have an offer of employment

If you don’t meet SoFi’s credit or income criteria, you can apply with a co-borrower.

Best for Debt Consolidation : Discover

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  • APR Range: 7.99%–24.99%
  • Loan Amount: $2,500–$40,000
  • Loan Terms: 36–84 months
Why We Chose It

Discover is our choice as the best lender for debt consolidation because it offers direct creditor payments and competitive rates. 

With typical debt consolidation loans, the funds are issued to you and you have to manually pay off your balances. This process can be time-consuming and, because the funds are deposited into your bank account, you may be tempted to use the money for other uses. 

But when you consolidate high-interest debt, Discover will use the loan funds to pay off your balances with your creditors for you, eliminating those problems. 

Discover does have restrictions on how loan funds can be used. For example, you cannot use a Discover personal loan to pay off existing balances on a Discover credit card. And you will likely need good to excellent credit to qualify for a loan. According to the company's 2022 annual report, 98% of approved borrowers had scores of 660 or better, and it doesn't permit co-signers or joint applicants. 

Pros & Cons
  • Longer loan terms available

  • Direct creditor payments 

  • No origination fees

  • Co-signers not permitted

  • Good to excellent credit required

  • Restrictions apply on loan use

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • Have an income of $25,000 or more
  • Have a physical address
  • Have an active email address and internet-capable device

Loan funds cannot be used to repay a secured loan, such as a car loan, or to pay off a Discover debt.

A longer loan term—such as 72 to 84 months—can be appealing because it can give you a much smaller monthly payment. But the longer term will cause you to pay much more in interest. Use our personal loan calculator to see how the term length affects your overall cost.

Best for Emergency Loans : Upgrade

The Balance's Rating



  • APR Range: 8.49%–35.99%
  • Loan Amount: $1,000–$50,000
  • Loan Terms: 24–84 months
Why We Chose It

While many personal loan lenders require credit scores in the good to excellent range, Upgrade tends to also accept borrowers with mixed credit history or fair credit. It also offers a broad range of loan amounts, with a minimum of just $1,000, which is lower than many companies require.

For borrowers with less-than-perfect credit, Upgrade also offers secured loans, and it allows borrowers to apply with joint applicants to improve their chances of getting a loan. 

Most lenders that cater to those with poor or fair credit have limited repayment terms, but Upgrade gives borrowers up to 84 months to repay their loans, so you may get a lower payment with Upgrade than you’d find elsewhere. Just watch out for the high APRs, which aren’t unusual with lenders for poor credit.

Opting for a secured loan can help you get a loan and qualify for a lower APR; however, secured loans require you to provide some form of collateral, such as your car or the balance of your savings account. If you default on your loan, you risk losing your collateral.

Pros & Cons
  • Longer than usual loan terms

  • Lower credit score requirements

  • Secured loans and joint applications available

  • Origination fees as high as 9.99%

  • Potential for high APRs

  • Creditor payments can take up to two weeks to clear


To qualify for an Upgrade personal loan, you must meet the following requirements: 

  • Be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or living in the U.S. on a valid visa
  • Be the age of majority in your state (18 in most)
  • Have a verifiable bank account
  • Have a valid email address

Best for Low Credit Requirements : Upstart

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Upstart Personal Loan Review

Upstart Personal Loan Review

  • APR Range: 7.80%–35.99%
  • Loan Amount: $1,000–$50,000
  • Loan Terms: 36–60 months
Why We Chose It

Most lenders require borrowers to have established credit scores that are at least in the fair credit range, meaning a score of 580 or higher. Upstart is an exception, with a credit score minimum of just 300. If you don't have an existing credit history, you can still qualify for a loan if you are enrolled in or have graduated from college. 

Upstart uses an artificial intelligence (AI) platform, which it says has generated a higher approval rate than applicants would get with a lender focused only on FICO scores. It says borrowers also get rates that are lower. 

However, rates can be high, and Upstart may also charge origination fees of up to 12%. Additionally, Upstart doesn't permit co-signers or joint applications, so you can't add a creditworthy relative in hopes of qualifying for a lower rate. Your rates are solely based on your own information.

Pros & Cons
  • Quick loan processing and disbursement

  • Potentially higher chance of approval

  • Low credit score requirements

  • Co-signers or joint applicants not permitted

  • Potentially high origination fees

  • Rates can be higher than average


Upstart requires borrowers to meet the following requirements: 

  • Be the age of majority in your state
  • Have a valid Social Security number
  • Have a U.S. mailing address and a valid email address
  • Have a job, a job offer with a start date within six months, or another verifiable source of income
  • Have a bank account with a U.S. institution with a routing transit number.
  • Have a credit score of at least 300 or, if you don't have a credit score, you may still qualify if you're attending or recently graduated from an accredited two- or four-year school
  • Not have a debt-to-income ratio (DTI) higher than 50% (45% in Connecticut, Maryland, New York, or Vermont)

Best for Excellent Credit : PenFed Credit Union

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PenFed Credit Union personal loans

PenFed Credit Union personal loans

  • APR Range: 7.99%–17.99%
  • Loan Amount: $600–$50,000
  • Loan Terms: 12–60 months
Why We Chose It

Sometimes you only need a small amount of money to cover an unexpected veterinary bill or car repair. While some lenders require you to borrow $2,500 or more, PenFed Credit Union has a low loan minimum of just $600. You can borrow only what you need and avoid paying unnecessary interest charges. 

PenFed doesn’t charge application or origination fees, and there are no prepayment penalties. Although it is a credit union, PenFed’s membership is open to the public. To join, you just have to open a savings account and deposit $5. You’ll be prompted to do this as you apply for a loan.

If you’re worried about qualifying for a loan because of your credit or income, PenFed Credit Union allows you to apply with a co-borrower. Adding a co-borrower can improve your chances of getting a loan with a competitive APR. 

Pros & Cons
  • Low loan minimum

  • No origination fees

  • Co-borrowers permitted

  • Limited term options

  • Must open a savings account to join 

  • Be a member of the PenFed Credit Union or join during the application process
  • Be the age of majority in your state
  • Have a valid Social Security number or individual taxpayer identification number
  • Have a verifiable source of income

Best for No Credit Check Loans : OppLoans

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OppLoans logo
  • APR Range: 160.00%–179.00%
  • Loan Amount: $500–$4,000
  • Loan Terms: 9–18 months
Why We Chose It

If you have poor credit or no credit history at all, qualifying for a personal loan can be challenging. However, OppLoans could be an option. It doesn’t have a minimum credit score requirement. Instead, it looks at other factors, like your income and current debt, to determine eligibility for a loan. 

However, OppLoans’ rates are very high compared to other loan options. Although rates vary by state and the partner lender issuing the loan, rates are well into the triple digits. And OppLoans’ loan options have shorter-than-usual loan terms. All loans must be repaid in 18 months or less. 

OppLoans' loans are only available in 38 states. If you live in another state, you will need to find another lender. 

Pros & Cons
  • No minimum credit score

  • Same-day loan disbursement

  • No prepayment penalties

  • Not available in all states

  • Triple-digit interest rates

  • Does not allow co-signers


To qualify for a loan from OppLoans, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Be 18 or older
  • Have an existing bank account
  • Live in a qualifying state
  • Have a regular source of income and be paid via direct deposit

Best Big Bank Loans : U.S. Bank

The Balance's Rating

U.S. Bank

U.S. Bank

  • APR Range: 8.74%–24.99%
  • Loan Amount: $1,000–$50,000
  • Loan Terms: 12–84 months
Why We Chose It

If you’re shopping for a personal loan, taking out a loan from a major, well-known bank can be reassuring, especially if you’re already a customer of that bank. U.S. Bank is our pick as the best large bank because of its loan amounts, loan repayment options, and quick loan disbursements. If you’re an existing U.S. Bank customer, you can get your money within hours. 

However, U.S. Bank isn’t available to everyone. The bank only has branches in 27 states. So if you don’t live in one of those states and want a lender with branch locations, you’ll have to work with another lender that operates in your area. 

Pros & Cons
  • Quick loan disbursement

  • No origination fees

  • Allows joint applications

  • Only available in some states

  • Lower loan maximums for non-customers

  • Shorter loan terms for non-customers


To qualify for a loan from U.S. Bank, you must meet the following requirements: 

  • Abide by stricter credit requirements for non-customers
  • Be the age of majority in your state
  • Have a valid Social Security number

Best for Small Loans : First Tech Federal Credit Union

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First Tech Federal Credit Union

First Tech Federal Credit Union

  • APR Range: 8.94%–18.00%
  • Loan Amount: $500–$50,000
  • Loan Terms: 24–84 months
Why We Chose It

First Tech Federal Credit Union (FCU) is our choice as the best personal loan lender for small loans because it offers loans as low as $500, so you can borrow only what you need to cover your planned expenses, and it has loan terms as long as 84 months. It doesn’t charge origination fees or prepayment penalties, like most lenders, so you can pay off your loan ahead of schedule without paying added fees.

In addition, First Tech works with all credit profiles and even those with bad credit have a chance of receiving a loan. But for borrowers who don’t meet the criteria, First Tech FCU also allows you to apply with a creditworthy co-signer to better your chances of qualifying for a loan.

Pros & Cons
  • No origination fees

  • Low loan minimum

  • Allows co-signers

  • Credit union membership required

  • No autopay discounts

  • Be the age of majority in your state
  • Meet First Tech's financial and credit requirements
  • Be a member of First Tech FCU

To join First Tech FCU, you must meet one of the below criteria: 

  • Have a family or household member who is a current member of First Tech FCU
  • Work for one of the credit union’s partner companies or work for the State of Oregon.
  • Work or live in Lane County, Oregon.
  • Belong to the Computer History Museum (starting at $15 per year) or the Financial Fitness Association ($8 per year)

Best for Military Members : Navy Federal Credit Union

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Navy Federal Credit Union

 Navy Federal Credit Union

  • APR Range: 8.99%–18.00%
  • Loan Amount: $250–$50,000
  • Loan Terms: 6–180 months
Why We Chose It

If you are a qualifying military service member or veteran, Navy Federal Credit Union can be an excellent choice for personal loans because of the range of loan amounts and longer repayment term options. Navy Federal membership also comes with a variety of perks, like deals on banking services and shopping discounts.

With NFCU, you can borrow as little as $250 or as much as $50,000. Depending on how you plan to use the loan, you could have up to 180 months to repay it, the longest repayment term of any lender on our list.

Pros & Cons
  • Low loan minimum

  • Competitive rates

  • Secured options available

  • Only available to military members

  • No prequalification tool

  • Be the age of majority in your state
  • Have a verifiable source of income
  • Be a member of the credit union

Not everyone is eligible for Navy Federal Credit Union membership. To join, you must belong to one of the following groups: 

  • Active duty members of the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, National Guard, and Space Force
  • Delayed Entry Program (DEP) members
  • Department of Defense (DoD) officer candidates/ROTC members
  • DoD reservists
  • Veterans, retirees, and annuitants
  • DoD civilian employees
  • U.S. government employees assigned to DoD installations
  • DoD contractors assigned to U.S. government installations
  • DoD civilian retirees and annuitants
  • Family of those who qualify

Best Credit Union : Patelco Credit Union

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Patelco Credit Union

Patelco Credit Union

  • APR Range: 8.95%–17.90%
  • Loan Amount: $300–$100,000
  • Loan Terms: 6–84 months
Why We Chose It

Credit unions often have lower rates and fees than other lenders, and Patelco exemplifies that trend with competitive rates. It has no origination fees or prepayment penalties, and members can qualify for interest rate discounts by making on-time payments through Patelco's Level Up discount program. 

Patelco offers a broad range of loan amounts, allowing you to borrow from $300 to $100,000—the broadest range of all the lenders we considered. And it also offers a variety of repayment term options, so you can choose the term that makes the most sense for your budget. 

However, some loan terms have higher minimum loan requirements. For example, loans with terms of 61 months or longer require a loan minimum of $20,000. And any term between 37 and 84 months will have higher rates than short-term options. 

Pros & Cons
  • High loan maximum

  • Longer terms available

  • Discounts after on-time payments

  • Credit union membership required

  • Some loan terms have higher minimums

  • Higher rates on terms longer than 36 months


Only borrowers who meet the following requirements are eligible for a loan: 

  • You must be the age of majority in your state.
  • You must be eligible for credit union membership. 

Patelco's membership requirements are less strict than other credit unions’ requirements. You may be eligible if you meet one of the following criteria: 

  • Live in an eligible county in California
  • Are enrolled in or graduated from the University of California, Berkeley; San Francisco State University; or California State University, East Bay
  • Are employed by one of Patelco's sponsor companies
  • Have a family member or roommate who is a current member
  • Are the surviving spouse or child of a deceased employee-member
  • Join the Financial Fitness Association online (a one-year membership starts at $8)

The Bottom Line

Whether you're looking to consolidate high-interest credit card debt or finance new kitchen appliances, a personal loan can come in handy. Some personal loan lenders, such as SoFi, our choice for the best overall, have high loan maximums, allowing you to borrow up to $100,000 with up to seven years to repay the loan.

If you need a smaller loan—for example, if you need money to fix your car or pay for a veterinary bill—a credit union like PenFed or First Tech Federal Credit Union, with their competitive rates and low loan minimums, may be a better choice. 

Guide to Choosing the Best Personal Loan

Where To Get a Personal Loan

You can take out personal loans from a variety of lenders, including: 

  • Banks: You can find personal loans from most national and regional banks. These loans tend to have higher loan maximums. If you're an existing customer with a checking or savings account with that bank, you could qualify for valuable discounts. 
  • Credit unions: Credit unions can be excellent sources for loans. As not-for-profit organizations, they often have lower rates than other lenders, but you must be a member to take out a loan. Criteria for membership varies by credit union.
  • Online institutions: Unlike banks and credit unions, which usually operate brick-and-mortar branches, online lenders offer only digital services. As a result, they may be able to offer you lower rates than you'd find elsewhere. 
  • Lending marketplaces: A lending marketplace isn't a lender. Instead, it partners with credit unions, banks, and online lenders to match borrowers to loans. These platforms can streamline the process of shopping for a loan, but the platform will only offer loan options from its partners. 

Comparing Personal Loans

When you shop around for a personal loan, it’s a good idea to compare these factors:

  • APR: Annual percentage rate, or APR, is the total cost you’ll pay each year to borrow money, expressed as a percentage. The lower your APR, the less you’ll spend on your personal loan. 
  • Loan amounts: Minimum and maximum loan amounts vary greatly by lender, but typically range from $1,000 to $50,000. Some lenders do have higher loan maximums, but they tend to require very good to excellent credit. 
  • Terms: Terms refer to how long you have to repay your loan. While a longer term may lower your monthly payments, it will increase the interest that accrues and your total repayment cost. 
  • Funding time: Fortunately, most lenders offer fast funding. This may be the same day you apply, within 24 hours, or in a few business days. If you have emergency expenses, fast funding should be a priority. 
  • Customer service: There’s a good chance you’ll need support with your loan at some point. Look for lenders with high customer service ratings who can help you via phone, email, and online chat. 

How To Qualify For and Apply For a Personal Loan

In general, personal loan lenders consider the following information: 

  • Your credit score: Most personal loan lenders with competitive rates require good to excellent credit, so you'll need a score of 670 or higher to qualify for a loan. 
  • Income: Income minimum requirements vary, but lenders want to see that you have a reliable source of income and can comfortably afford your debt. 
  • Existing debt: Lenders also look at your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio, or how much of your monthly income goes toward your monthly debt payments. In general, the lower the DTI, the better your chances of getting a loan. 
  • Availability of a co-signer or joint applicant: If you don't meet a lender's income or credit requirements, they may allow you to add a co-signer or joint applicant to your application. Adding someone with good credit and a steady income can improve the odds of getting a loan, and you may qualify for lower rates than you'd get by yourself. 

Applying for a personal loan is a simple process. You can usually apply online, and the application will ask for the following information: 

  • Full name
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Email
  • Date of birth
  • Social Security number
  • Desired loan amount
  • Intended loan use
  • Employment status
  • Monthly income
  • Monthly housing cost

To apply, follow these steps: 

  1. Collect documentation. You may be asked to submit certain documents to verify your identity, address, and income. These include a utility bill; government-issued ID, like a driver’s license or passport; and pay stubs or tax forms. 
  2. Fill out the application. Follow the online prompts to fill out the application, entering your personal information, desired loan amount and term, and intended loan use. 
  3. Add a co-signer or joint applicant. If you're applying with a co-signer or joint applicant, they will have to fill out their information and submit their supporting documentation, too. 
  4. Consent to a hard credit check. The application will ask for your consent to a hard credit inquiry, which can affect your credit. Once you submit, the lender will perform the credit check and review your application.

Decisions are usually made quickly, sometimes within minutes. With some lenders (and larger loan amounts), the lender may call you to ask questions and verify your details before making a decision. Once the loan is approved, the lender will disburse the loan. Disbursement times vary by lender. Some will disburse the money as soon as the same day you apply, while others may take longer. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is a personal loan?

    Offered by banks, credit unions, and online lenders, a personal loan is a form of credit you can use to pay for a variety of expenses. Usually, it’s unsecured and doesn’t require collateral, or something valuable you own. While personal loans vary greatly, many of them offer easy applications, flexible terms, and fast funding.

  • What can I use a personal loan for?

    In most cases, you can use a personal loan to cover any expense. The top reasons for personal loans include debt consolidation, home remodeling, moving, emergency expenses, and wedding costs. Keep in mind that some lenders impose restrictions and won’t let you use a personal loan on things like college or gambling. Make sure you verify with the lender before applying for the loan that you can use the funds for your intended purpose.

  • How does a personal loan impact your credit?

    A personal loan can help or hurt your credit. As long as you make your payments on time, every time, your credit score will generally increase, all other things being equal. A personal loan may also improve your credit mix and lower your credit utilization ratio, which can also benefit your credit scores. On the flip side, late payments may hurt your credit.

  • Which bank is best for a personal loan?

    If you're looking for a well-known bank, U.S. Bank was our choice as the best bank for unsecured personal loans. It offers competitive rates, and existing U.S. Bank customers can receive their loan funds as soon as the same day they apply.


To evaluate and rank personal loan providers we collected hundreds of data points across 70 lenders, including traditional banks, credit unions, fintechs, and special interest finance companies. We researched and evaluated APRs, loan amounts and terms, fees, customer experience, and more. To rank the lenders in our database and to generate star ratings, we weighted the data we collected, based in part on what consumers told us were the most important features of a personal loan and lender in a survey we conducted. We grouped those factors into four broad areas:

  • Loan costs (advertised APR, fees, and six other factors): 29.25%
  • Loan terms (loan amount, repayment term, and three other factors): 22.25%
  • Borrowing requirements (credit score, membership requirement, and six other factors): 28.5%
  • Additional features (online application, prequalification, and eight other factors): 20%

Learn more about how we evaluated personal loans in our complete methodology.

Best Personal Loans

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Article Sources
  1. SoFi. "Personal Loans."

  2. U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. "SoFi Technologies, Inc. Form 10-K."

  3. U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. "Discover Financial Services Form 10-K."

  4. Upgrade. "How Do I Apply for an Auto Secured Loan?"

  5. Upgrade. "Personal Loans."

  6. Equifax. "What Is a Good Credit Score?"

  7. PenFed. "Personal Loan."

  8. PenFed. "PenFed Membership."

  9. OppLoans. "Online Personal Loans."

  10. OppLoans. "Rates, Terms and Licensures."

  11. U.S. Bank. "Find a U.S. Bank Near You."

  12. First Tech Federal Credit Union. "Rates & Fees."

  13. Financial Fitness Association. "Join Now: 1-Year Membership Only $8.00."

  14. Computer History Museum. "Join & Give."

  15. Navy Federal Credit Union. "Personal Loans."

  16. Navy Federal Credit Union. "Membership Eligibility."

  17. Patelco Credit Union. "Level Up."

  18. Patelco Credit Union. "Personal Loans."

  19. Patelco Credit Union. "Patelco Membership."

  20. MyFICO. "Banks vs. Online Lenders: Which Option Should Borrowers Choose?"

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