Updated 07-21-2016

Personal LoansPersonal Loans

Have a medical emergency and need money as soon as possible? Need a loan to consolidate your debt without having to deal with a bank? Personal loans from lending services are a great way for people to borrow the money they need quickly and without the headaches that can come from dealing with a conventional bank. These loans come in two varieties — peer-to-peer and a more traditional loan from the personal loan service itself. While some personal loan services have local branches you can visit to talk to a representative in person, they all offer the convenience of taking a loan out from the comfort of home and the freedom to use the money for almost any purpose you desire. We've reviewed a range of lenders to help you find the best option to suit your needs.

Personal Loans Reviews & Ratings

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Services: Our Ratings: Bottom Line:
Lending Club Rating: stars
Simple application process and low rates make this peer-to-peer service a great choice for those with average or better credit
Prosper Rating: stars
Great choice for those with good/average credit or better; Low interest rates, personalized application process and a unique rating system
SoFi Rating: stars
Personal loans with both fixed and variable rate options allow borrowers flexibility; education and work history considered alongside credit information; excellent customer service; includes unemployment protection
Upstart Rating: stars
Evaluates financial information, work history and academic performance; allows loans for educational purposes; great choice for students/recent grads without much credit or work history; strong customer service
Avant Rating: stars
Good choice for those with fair to average credit; excellent customer service and reporting to the credit bureaus are a plus
LightStream Rating: stars
Low interest rates and a $100 satisfaction guarantee make this an excellent choice for those with excellent credit, though lack of phone service is a bit odd
FreedomPlus Rating: stars
Competitive rates and long loan terms; works to connect borrowers with the best overall loan option; spotty customer service but a stellar reputation
CircleBack Lending Rating: stars
Peer-to-peer loan service with an emphasis on institutional lenders and competitive rates; however, customer service and website are lacking
Springleaf Financial Services Rating: stars
Emphasis on flexibility with multiple payment options and branch locations across the country; however, customer service and website navigation disappoint
NetCredit Rating: stars
Credit bureau reporting can help build credit, but limited access and high interest rates may deter some borrowers
OneMain Financial Rating: stars
Good choice for those who favor a hands-on approach with a local branch, but lack of information prior to application can be frustrating

NextAdvisor Personal Loans Blog Headlines

4 Unexpected Ways to Use a Personal Loan
Taking out a personal loan gives borrowers a great deal of financial freedom, as it allows them to fund certain expenses immediately without too many restrictions. While many people assume that personal loans are only supposed to be used for large consumer purchases, there are actually a plethora of ways that the money can be […]

What are Credit Reports and Credit Scores?
It’s pretty clear that there are some major benefits to maintaining a positive credit history, as good credit is central to both financial responsibility and financial access. While it’s easy to see the consequences of bad credit, it can be downright confusing to actually keep track of your credit, especially if you don’t know the […]

Credit Reports 101: How to Check Your Credit Reports
One of the most important parts of understanding and maintaining your financial health is awareness of what your credit reports say. Surprisingly, a large amount of Americans have never checked their credit reports or only check them infrequently. A Google Consumer study conducted in 2013 by TransUnion determined that a third of adults in the […]

How Common are Credit Report Errors?
While we’ve previously talked about disputing credit report errors as well as the role of credit repair agencies in restoring your credit, it may seem like credit report errors are common occurrences, but are they really? To put it in perspective, we did some digging to find out how common credit report errors are and […]

Will applying for a loan hurt my credit?

The short answer: no. Most personal loan services allow you to apply and see what interest rate you qualify for before submitting a full application for a loan. During the qualification process, the personal loan service will make a soft inquiry to get a snapshot of your credit. This type of credit check will not be noted on your credit reports, so it won't have a negative affect on your credit should you be turned down. However, if you qualify for a loan and go forward with a full application, the personal loan service will perform a hard inquiry to get your full credit history — which will show up on your credit reports.

How is this different from a payday loan?

Payday loans and personal loans have some similarities, such as the ability to obtain money quickly without a lengthy wait or tons of paperwork. However, unlike payday loans — which assess a fee per $100 borrowed and require full repayment in a period of just a few weeks — personal loans use an APR (Annual Percentage Rate) to determine how much interest you will pay and offer long repayment terms. Personal loans also involve much larger sums of money than a payday loan. Whereas a payday loan service might allows borrowers to take up to $250 at a time, many personal loan services will let you borrow a maximum of $10,000 or more if you qualify.

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Advertiser Disclosure: NextAdvisor.com is a consumer information site that offers free, independent reviews and ratings of online services. We receive advertising revenue from most but not all of the companies whose products and services we review. For credit cards, we review cards from all of the top 10 US issuers by purchase volume (according to Issue 1035 of The Nilson Report, Feb 2014) excluding issuers that require additional accounts to be a cardholder and private label issuers. We may also review cards from other issuers in select cases. We do not review all products in a given category. We are independently owned and operated and all opinions expressed on this site are our own.