Top Personal Loans for 2018

Our list of top personal lenders for 2018 tells you everything you need to know to find the right loan for you.

Personal Loans

Personal loans can be a flexible and affordable way to pay off high interest credit card debt, cover emergency expenses, or finance a big purchase such as a home remodel or wedding.  With so many companies offering online loans, it’s essential that you find the right one that fits your needs.

 

Below are our 2018 best personal loans by category:

Best Loans for Excellent Credit
Best Loans for Paying Off Credit Cards
Best Loans for Recent Grads or People with Limited Credit
Best Loans for Millennials
Best Alternative to Payday Loans

 

Best Loans for Excellent Credit:

If you have excellent credit then you have plenty of financing opdtions, such as a low cost personal loan, a home equity line of credit, or a zero APR balance transfer card, so you should never pay an origination fee.  Our top personal loans for excellent credit have a combination of low APRs, no fees, a user-friendly application process and unique member perks.  

Our Top Choice:  SoFi & Lightstream

SoFi and Lightstream are both great companies.  Lightstream has the edge when it comes to personal loan options and rates, while SoFi has the edge when it comes to offering a more complete experience, such as member perks, wealth management, checking accounts, student loans, and more.  

Apply for a SoFi Loan     Apply for a Lightstream Loan

Other Options:

 

Loan Amounts

APRs 

Origination Fee

SoFi $5,000 - $100,000 5.49% - 14.24% None
LightStream $5,000 - $100,000 2.29% - 17.49% None
Marcus $3,500 - $30,000 6.99% - 23.99% None
Discover $2,500 - $35,000 6.99% - 24.99% None

 

Best Loans for Paying Off Credit Cards:  

Credit card debt can be extremely difficult to pay off, especially if you’re only making the minimum recommended payment.  Personal loans come with a set number of equal monthly payments and fixed rate that is often times lower than the best credit card APR offers.  Throw in the additional tools and resources that some lenders provide, and a personal loan become a no brainer way to become debt free. 

For a breakdown of how personal credit cards stack up against credit cards, take a look at our personal loan vs. credit card comparison.  

Our Top Choice:  Payoff

Payoff’s singular focus is to help you become debt-free sooner, which is why every dollar you borrow must be used to pay a dollar of existing debt.  They also offer unique perks such as free FICO score updates, job loss support, and if you miss a payment, a Member Advocate may help you work out a plan that lets you either defer, skip, or reschedule your payment.

Apply for a Payoff Loan

Other Smart Options:

 

Loan Amount

APRs

Origination Fee

Payoff $5,000 - $100,000 8.00% - 22.00% 2.00% - 5.00%
LightStream $5,000 - $100,000 2.29% - 17.49% None
Lending Club $1,000 - $40,000 5.99% - 35.89% 1.00% - 6.00%
Marcus $3,500 - $30,000 6.99% - 23.99% None


Best Loans for Recent Graduates or People with Limited Credit

If you’re a recent grad, chances are you have student debt and a limited credit history.  In other words, banks and credit card companies see you as a higher risk borrower.  

Good news!  There are lenders that cater to recent grads and young professionals.  However, there is big difference between the type of offers that you’ll receive if you’re a recent undergrad or graduate student.  Knowing where to apply will save you significant time and improve your chances of getting approved.    

Our Top Choice:  Upstart 

Upstart is our top choice over SoFi and Earnest because they are able to lend to a broader borrower pool.  While Earnest and SoFi both offer lower rates than Upstart AND don’t charge origination fees, their approval criteria is much more selective, and most applicants will NOT qualify. 

Upstart offers competitive rates to younger borrowers that other lenders perceive to be “high risk” by incorporating a few additional factors into the application process, including education, degree, employment history, earning potential and credit history. 

Apply for an Upstart Loan

Other Smart Options: 

  Loan Amounts APRs 

Origination Fee

Upstart

$1,000 - $50,000 6.00% - $29.99% 0.00% - 8.00%

SoFi

$5,000 - $100,000 5.49% - 14.24% None

Earnest

$2,000 - $50,000 6.99% - 14.24% None

 

Best Loans for Millennials:

Millennials are the largest generation by population size, making them the largest consumer group in the United States. Millenials have different spending habits and brand preferences than older generations.  Still, most banks, credit card companies and major lenders are not adapting to properly serving them.  

The following lenders have loan products and services that cater specifically to Millennials.  They also offer a user-friendly, mobile-friendly and streamlined experience in addition to unique member perks.  

Our Top Choice:  SoFi 

SoFi was built to help young professionals save on student debt.  They’ve since expanded their offerings to include personal loans, mortgages, wealth management, deposit accounts, and other unique member perks.  

Other Smart Options:

Apply for a SoFi Loan

 

Loan Amounts

APRs

Origination Fee

SoFi $5,000 - $100,000 5.49% - 14.24% None
Earnest $2,000 - $50,000 6.99% - 14.24% None
Upstart $1,000 - $50,000 6.00% - $29.99% 0.00% - 8.00%

Best Alternative to Payday Loans: 

Having poor credit limits your ability to find fair and affordable credit, making it difficult to avoid payday and subprime lenders that trap you with predatory and deceptive loans with APRs as high as 600%.  

Luckily, there are lenders and credit unions with much better alternatives.  While they’re still expensive relative to other forms of credit, the following lenders offer longer-term loans with manageable payments and low fees, repayment forgiveness, and they report to credit bureaus so that you can improve your credit.  

Our Top Choice: Avant & OppLoans  

Avant and OppLoans both offer installment loans that are much better options than payday loans.  Even though Avant lends to people with poor credit, you still need to have at least a 580 FICO to qualify.   

OppLoans’ interest rates are quite a bit higher than Avant’s, but they have a much more flexible approval process and offer loans as small as $400.  OppLoans doesn’t require a minimum FICO, as long as you’re employed, they have very low fees, and make sure that your monthly principal payments don’t exceed 7% of your gross monthly income.   

Apply for an Avant Loan    Apply for an OppLoans Loan

Other Smart Options:  

 

Loan Amounts 

APRs 

Origination Fee

Avant $2,000 - $35,000 9.95% - 35.99% 4.75%
OppLoans $400 - $4,000 57.00% - 199.00% None^
OneMain Financial $3,500 - $30,000 17.59% - 35.99% Varies

 

Tags: Personal Loans, Reviews

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