In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, financial challenges can often catch us off guard. Whether it’s unexpected medical bills, a much-needed home renovation, or pursuing higher education, the need for financial assistance can arise when we least expect it. Many of us turn to loans to bridge these financial gaps and achieve our goals.
The journey of finding the right loan provider in the vast landscape of the United States can be daunting. In this blog post, we embark on a quest to discover the best personal loan provider in the US. We’ll explore the options, compare the contenders, and help you make an informed decision that can shape your financial future.
What to know about personal loans
A personal loan offers a practical solution when you need quick funds, but it’s not a decision to be taken lightly. When you apply for a personal loan, you’re essentially committing to repay the borrowed amount, along with interest, within an agreed-upon timeframe.
These loans come in two flavors: secured and unsecured. A secured personal loan necessitates providing collateral as a form of assurance for approval. On the flip side, unsecured loans don’t require collateral but may carry slightly higher interest rates.
One standout feature of personal loans is their fixed interest rates. Once your loan application is given the green light, your interest rate is set in stone, ensuring it remains unchanged throughout the repayment period. This differs from credit cards and lines of credit, which often sport variable interest rates susceptible to market fluctuations.
It’s worth mentioning that when you apply for a personal loan, the lender will assess your credit report through a “hard inquiry.” While this may temporarily impact your credit score, many lenders offer the convenience of obtaining an initial quote online without this credit check. This allows you to gauge your approval likelihood before committing to a full application, empowering you to make informed financial choices.
Best Personal Loan Provider In The US
Though there are indeed personal loan provider available with slightly lower interest rates, SoFi stands out as a cost-effective lender that provides a well-rounded package of options and additional perks. SoFi distinguishes itself by being one of the rare lenders that bundles an extensive benefits program with all of its loans.
This package encompasses various advantages, such as unemployment protection in case you face job loss, complimentary financial guidance from a financial advisor, and even access to career counseling and support services. SoFi provides unsecured personal loans with a generous cap of up to $100,000, which is among the highest loan amounts available from the personal loan provider on this list.
While having a good to excellent credit score is advantageous, SoFi takes a holistic approach by also considering alternative credit factors, such as available cash flow, your professional background, and your track record of financial responsibility, when assessing loan applications.
If you don’t meet SoFi’s eligibility criteria, you have the option to apply with a co-borrower. It’s important to note that involving a co-borrower may slightly prolong the loan evaluation process, extending it by one to two weeks.
- No late payment fees
- Same-day funding available
- Unemployment protection for up to a year
- Access to SoFi membership benefits
- If required, origination fee could be up to No Fees Required of total loan amount.
- No smaller loans; minimum to borrow is $5,000
- No secured loan options
LightStream, which operates under the Truist Financial Corporation, provides unsecured loans that are versatile and can be applied to various needs. The repayment period extends to a maximum of eight years, and borrowers can enjoy a 0.50% reduction in interest rates by opting for AutoPay.
Furthermore, LightStream offers the Rate Beat program, allowing borrowers to benefit from a 0.10% rate discount if they receive a lower APR offer from a competing lender (provided it’s for the same loan terms available through LightStream).
LightStream does not impose any charges on its loans, including origination fees, late fees, and prepayment penalties. However, it’s important to note that LightStream’s approval is typically reserved for borrowers with good to excellent credit. In their assessment of creditworthiness, LightStream also takes into account factors like the borrower’s debt-to-income ratio, payment history, and assets.
- Online application
- Co-applicants allowed
- No prepayment penalties
- No late payment fee
- No refinance option for Lightstream loans
- Requires good-to-excellent credit (670 to 800 FICO score)
Upstart stands out by having the most lenient credit score requirements among all the lenders on our list. They are willing to consider applicants who lack a sufficient credit history to generate a traditional credit score.
For individuals who do possess a credit score, the specific minimums can vary based on Upstart’s various partners, making it possible for a wide range of credit profiles to access credit. Upstart provides loans with a maximum amount of $50,000, and if your application is approved, you may receive the loan funds within just one day.
Importantly, the interest rates offered by Upstart are capped at a maximum of 35.99%. Even if you have no credit history to speak of, Upstart offers the potential for loan eligibility if you are either currently enrolled in or have completed a degree program.
- Accepts low credit scores and borrowers with minimal credit history.
- Fast funding
- Considers alternative credit data, such as education and employment.
- Good loan amount flexibility
- High APRs
- Fewer loan term options than others
- Additional fee for paper statements
- Charges origination fee
4. U.S. Bank
Utilizing the services of a major bank provides the benefit of having the option to visit a physical branch and have in-person discussions about your loan. U.S. Bank, one of the nation’s top five largest banks, boasts an extensive network of more than 2,300 branches across approximately half of the United States.
U.S. Bank offers competitive starting APRs that are on par with the best personal loan provider rates in the industry. The bank provides a variety of loan options, including personal loans, home improvement loans, personal lines of credit, home improvement personal lines of credit, and reserve lines of credit designed to safeguard your U.S. Bank checking account against overdrafts.
For U.S. Bank checking account customers, there is also an emergency Simple Loan available to cover short-term or unforeseen expenses. This loan comes with a minimum borrowing amount ranging from $100 to $1,000.
While the Simple Loan incurs a $6 monthly fee for every $100 borrowed, it serves as a viable solution if you require a smaller sum rapidly. It’s worth noting that U.S. Bank does not impose fees for missed payments on Simple Loans.
- No origination fees or prepayment penalty
- Online loan application
- Fast funding
- Only available in about half of U.S. states
- Restrictions for non-current customers
- Poor customer satisfaction ratings
For its personal loans, PenFed Credit Union provides a wide range of loan amounts and repayment terms. Furthermore, borrowers are not penalized for early loan repayment and are not required to pay a loan origination fee, in contrast to the majority of financial institutions.
Compared to many other financial institutions we evaluated, the credit union offers a lower APR range, and applicants can apply alone or jointly with another borrower. A personal loan can be applied for by non-members; they only have to join if they decide to accept the loan offer.
- Physical branches nationwide
- Easy membership requirements
- Excellent range of loan options
- No prepayment penalties
- Membership fee
- No co-borrowers allowed
- Doesn’t offer direct payment to creditors