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5 best personal loans for fall 2017: Where to shop

Best personal loans

If you’re in the market for a personal loan, there are plenty of great offers to choose from this fall. Right now, the best personal loans are boasting relatively low APRs, low fees, high loan limits and flexible terms.

In fact, you’ll find that all of the lenders on our list offer those four features in addition to other perks.

What are personal loans?

Unlike mortgages or auto loans, personal loans are typically unsecured, meaning they require no collateral to back up the loan.

So instead of using an asset — like your car — to secure the loan, lenders rely on models to determine your creditworthiness. When deciding whether to lend to you, lenders will look at your credit score, credit history and what you’re using the loan for, among other things.

One big benefit of personal loans is that they can be used for a wide range of purposes. Depending on the lender, you may be able to use a personal loan pay down credit debt, finance home improvements or even bankroll a vacation.

Here are the best personal loans for fall 2017:

BankAPR RangeLoan TermsLoan Limit
OneMain17.59% – 35.99%24 — 60 months$1,500 — $25,000
Best Egg5.99% — 29.99%36 — 60 months$2,000 — $50,000
SoFi 5.49% — 14.24%36 — 84 months$5,000 — $100,000
Prosper 5.99% — 35.99%36 — 60 months$2,000 — $35,000
Lending Club 5.99% — 35.89%36 — 60 months$1,000 — $40,000

 

Let’s take an in-depth look at lenders offering the best personal loans for fall 2017:

1. OneMain Financial

In business for over 100 years, OneMain Financial boasts an “A+” Better Business Bureau score and offers personal loans in 44 states. Its personal loans come with an APR range of 17.59% to 35.99%, depending on your creditworthiness and other factors like financial history, loan purpose and state of residence.

You can choose from fixed loan terms of 24, 36, 48 and 60 months. Loan amounts between $1,500 and $25,000 are available. As with most lenders, you’ll need a solid credit score in order to qualify for the lowest rates available.

Example payment schedule: A $10,000 loan at 17.59% over 5 years would result in a monthly payment of $251.71.

The takeaway

OneMain Financial offers personal loans for everyday consumers in a majority of states throughout the nation. Its rates tend to be higher than other lenders on our list, but it offers the benefit of being able to visit a brick-and-mortar location. If you’re looking for a loan from a bank that allows you to stop in at a branch — it has nearly 1,600 — OneMain Financial is worth consideration.

2. Best Egg

Marlette Funding developed and now powers Best Egg, which is an unsecured personal loan product issued by Cross River Bank in New Jersey. With an “A+” rating from the Better Business Bureau, Best Egg offers personal loans for debt consolidation, home improvement, major purchases, unexpected expenses and even vacation.

APRs on loans from Best Egg run from 5.99% up to 29.99%, depending on creditworthiness and other factors. You’ll need excellent credit to qualify for the lowest rates.

You can choose from a 3- or 5-year fixed loan term, with loan amounts ranging from $2,000 to $35,000. Best Egg will occasionally approve loans of up to $50,000, but you need an annual income of $150,000 or more to qualify.

Example payment schedule: On a $10,000 loan at 5.99% over 5 years would result in a monthly payment of $193.28.

The takeaway

One of the biggest benefits of Best Egg is its fast approval process. You can get a decision within a matter of a few minutes and, if approved, get cash into your bank account within a single business day. If you’re in the market for fast cash, Best Egg might be your best bet.

3. SoFi

SoFi, or Social Finance, was founded in 2011 and quickly gained recognition in the loan business. The company’s 2017 Super Bowl commercial only helped to solidify it as a household name.

In addition to personal loans, SoFi offers mortgages, student loan refinancing, wealth management and life insurance. It gets an “A+” rating from the Better Business Bureau.

SoFi has grown in popularity on the personal loan scene for its extremely competitive interest rates, offering an APR range of 5.49% to 14.24%. But you’ll need excellent credit to qualify for the lowest rates. And those APRs are contingent on using AutoPay, or automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account.

You’ll find fixed loan terms of 3, 5 or 7 years, with loan amounts ranging from $5,000 up to $100,000.

Notably, SoFi is one of the few lenders that offers unemployment protection, allowing you to suspend loan payments if you lose your job through no fault of your own.

Example payment schedule: Monthly payments for a $10,000 loan over 5 years at 5.49% would be $190.97.

The takeaway

SoFi tends to have more competitive rates and higher loan amounts available than other lenders in this space. In addition, it offers unemployment protection, something that’s difficult to find elsewhere. If you’re in the market for competitive rates, a long term or high loan amounts, SoFi personal loans are worth a look.

4. Prosper:  

Prosper is an online peer-to-peer marketplace lending platform offering unsecured loans. Like the other lenders on our list, it gets an “A+” rating from the Better Business Bureau. You can use personal loans from Prosper for a variety of purposes, including debt consolidation, home improvements, business growth, auto purchases, bridge loans, green loans and more.

Prosper offers APRs ranging from 5.99% to 35.99%. The rate you’ll qualify for depends on your credit history.

Offering fixed loan terms of 3 or 5 years, Prosper offers loan amounts from $2,000 to $35,000. Like other peer-to-peer lenders, it may take a week or so to get your loan funded. But once it gets funded, money is sent directly to your bank account via direct deposit.

Example payment schedule: Monthly payments for a $10,000 loan over 5 years at 5.99% would be $193.28.

The takeaway

Prosper, one of the biggest names in peer-to-peer lending, makes applying for a personal loan easy — and it’s done 100% online. Plus, their website allows you to see what you might qualify for without committing. With personal loans you can use for nearly any purpose, low rates and fairly high loan limits, you may want to add Prosper to your list for comparison shopping.

5. Lending Club

Lending Club is another peer-to-peer marketplace. In business since 2007, the company has served more than 1.5 million customers and gets an “A+” rating from the Better Business Bureau. Lending Club offers personal loans for things like debt consolidation, credit card refinance, home improvement and major unexpected expenses.

The APRs from Lending Club are in line with its competitors — 5.99% to 35.89%, depending on creditworthiness. And Lending Club’s fixed loans come in either 3- or 5-year terms, with amounts ranging from $1,000 up to $40,000.

Example payment schedule: Monthly payments for a $10,000 loan over 5 years at 5.99% would be $193.28.

The takeaway

As one of the biggest peer-to-peer lenders, Lending Club is a major competitor in the space, offering competitive rates and flexible uses for loans. It also offers a slightly higher top loan limit — $40,000 — than its big competitor, Prosper. If you’re looking for a big-name peer-to-peer lending company, and comparison shopping for loans, consider submitting an application at Lending Club.

Tips to shop for the best personal loans

  • Comparison shop: Undeniably, one of the most important things you can do when in the market for a personal loan is comparison shop. It’s the best way to ensure you’ll get the lowest rate possible. Every lender has a slightly different model for how they evaluate your creditworthiness, which means your interest rate could vary greatly from one lender to the next.
  • Watch out for fees: Some lenders will offer lower rates but then tack on origination fees, which effectively increase your interest rate. Make sure to ask about origination fees before you sign on the dotted line with any lender.
  • Read the fine print: When vetting a personal loan from a lender, ask for a full disclosure of loan terms. Read through everything carefully. You don’t want to get caught with unexpected repayment terms or fees for late payments.
  • Pick a term that fits your needs: Your repayment term affects how much you’ll pay in interest over the life of the loan. Longer terms will keep your monthly payments lower, but it means that you’ll pay more in interest in the long-run. Evaluate your options with each lender and find a loan term that’s right for your financial situation.

 

Mitch Strohm on LinkedinMitch Strohm on Twitter
Mitch Strohm
Managing Editor at PrimeRates.com

Mitch Strohm is a writer, editor and digital marketer based out of Nashville, TN. His freelance writing and editing work focuses mainly on personal finance. He has been featured in publications including Business Insider, Bankrate, The Motley Fool and Yahoo Finance.