Best lenders for bad credit

If you have a major expense coming up and want to consolidate debt, choosing from the best personal loans can make the process easy and affordable. Thanks to the growth of online lending, you have more options for top personal loans than ever before. The question is, which one do you choose?

We’ve done some of the legwork for you, putting together this list of some of the best personal loans from the best personal loan companies out there.

What to look for in the best personal loans

When choosing from the best personal loans, you’ll need to keep a close eye on the terms offered. The best personal loans offer low rates and fees, allowing you to get the credit you need for less.

Low personal loan rates

It’s important to know what kind of rates a lender will offer you, individually. You can request a rate quote to find out.

A lender can perform a soft credit check (which won’t affect your credit) to pre-qualify you and give you a customized loan rate estimate.

Low personal loan fees

Compare the potential personal loan fees you could pay with each option. The biggest one to watch for is an origination fee, which can add anywhere from one to five percent of your loan costs.

Personal loan features you need

As you look at top personal loan companies, you’ll also want to identify which have important features you need.

If you have less-than-perfect credit, for instance, you might need a lender that allows cosigners or offers secured loans. Or you might have a particular balance or repayment term you need.

Personal loan requirements

You also have to weigh personal loan costs with what you qualify for based on your credit score and other loan criteria. Most lenders will want to see a reliable income source and good credit for a personal loan.

As you look through the best personal loans, compare the rates, fees, and features each lender offers. You can use this personal loan calculator to estimate your payments to see how they’ll fit into your budget.

Is a personal loan right for you?

You never want to jump into a new loan until you’ve exhausted every other possibility, even if you’re working with one of the best personal loan companies available. After all, the end goal is to avoid debt as much as possible.

For instance, if you’re thinking about a personal loan to:

  • Consolidate federal student loans: Make sure you know the federal protections you’ll be losing (e.g., income-driven repayment plan options, deferment, forbearance).
  • Consolidate private student loans: Try refinancing instead.
  • Pay off your credit cards: Try getting lower interest rates from your credit card issuers first.
  • Buy a new car: Consider keeping the one you already have if it’s still in good shape.
  • Splurge on a vacation, wedding, or other expense: Take a step back and consider more affordable alternatives that you can cover with cash, if not now, then after building up some savings.

The more debt you have, the more important these considerations should be.