There are moments when you might need extra funds, whether it's for consolidating high-interest debt, covering emergency medical expenses or even making a significant purchase like a home renovation. Personal loans offer a lifeline in these situations, providing the financial flexibility you need to achieve your goals without draining your savings.

When looking for personal loans, the best option for you will often depend on your particular needs and situation. MoneyGeek found that LightStream offers the best personal loans in Arkansas overall. Upstart is the best lender for bad credit, whereas SoFi is excellent for good credit. Upgrade is ideal for debt consolidation and Best Egg is preferable for home improvements.

    Best Overall

  • LightStream

    • 7.49% to 25.49%APR Range
    • UndisclosedMinimum Credit Score
    • $5,000 to $100,000Loan Amount Range
    • 24 to 144 monthsRepayment Terms
    • Same day funding possibleTime to Receive Funds

  • Best for Bad Credit

  • Upstart

    • 6.4% to 35.99%APR Range
    • 300Minimum Credit Score
    • $1,000 to $50,000Loan Amount Range
    • 3 or 5 yearsRepayment Terms
    • 1 business dayTime to Receive Funds

  • Best for Good Credit

  • SoFi

    • 5.74% to 20.28%APR Range
    • 680Minimum Credit Score
    • $5,000 to $100,000Loan Amount Range
    • 12 to 60 monthsRepayment Terms
    • 2 DaysTime to Receive Funds

  • Best for Debt Consolidation

  • Upgrade

    • 8.49% to 35.99%APR Range
    • UndisclosedMinimum Credit Score
    • $1,000 to $50,000Loan Amount Range
    • 24 to 84 monthsRepayment Terms
    • Within a dayTime to Receive Funds

  • Best for Home Improvement

  • Best Egg

    • 4.99% to 35.99%APR Range
    • 700Minimum Credit Score
    • $2,000 to $50,000Loan Amount Range
    • 36 to 60 monthsRepayment Terms
    • Next DayTime to Receive Funds

    Best Egg

Understanding Personal Loans

Personal loans are more than just a financial product; they're a versatile tool that can help you navigate various life scenarios. They offer the freedom to use the funds for various purposes — from consolidating high-interest debts to financing a home renovation or even covering unexpected medical bills. The flexibility is one of the key attractions, allowing you to tailor the loan to your specific needs.

When you secure a personal loan, you agree to borrow a lump sum of money and pay it back over a set period, often one to seven years. The interest rates can be fixed or variable, but they're often lower than credit card rates, making personal loans a cost-effective choice for many borrowers. Repayment is typically made in monthly installments, allowing for predictable budgeting.

It's essential to understand that personal loans come with the responsibility of timely repayments. Missing payments can negatively impact your credit score and accrue additional fees. As such, before taking out a personal loan, it's crucial to assess your financial situation carefully and ensure that the loan terms align with your ability to repay.

Personal Loan Types Available in Arkansas

When it comes to personal loans, one size definitely doesn't fit all. The lending market offers a variety of loan types, each with its own features, benefits and drawbacks. Understanding these differences can help you choose the best loan that suits your needs and financial situation.

  • Unsecured personal loans: Unsecured personal loans don't require collateral, making them a less risky option for borrowers. However, they often come with higher interest rates to compensate lenders for the increased risk.

  • Secured personal loans: Unlike unsecured loans, secured personal loans require an asset like a car or home as collateral. While they generally offer lower interest rates, you risk losing the asset if you default on the loan.

  • Debt consolidation loans: Designed to simplify your financial life, debt consolidation loans allow you to combine multiple debts into a single payment. They can also lower your overall interest rate, making it easier to pay off debt faster.

  • Fixed-rate loans: With fixed-rate loans, the interest rate remains constant throughout the loan term, offering predictability in your monthly payments. This type is ideal for those who prefer a stable, unchanging repayment schedule.

  • Variable loans: Variable-rate loans come with interest rates that fluctuate based on market conditions. While you could benefit from lower rates, there's also the risk of your payments increasing over time.

  • Co-signed loans: Ideal for borrowers with poor or limited credit history, co-signed loans involve a co-signer who agrees to take on the debt if you default. While this can help you secure a loan, it also places financial responsibility on the co-signer.

Pros and Cons of Personal Loans

Personal loans can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, they offer financial flexibility and can be a lifeline when you need quick access to funds. On the other hand, they come with drawbacks that could potentially affect your financial health. Understanding the pros and cons of personal loans can help you make an informed decision.

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  • Quick access to funds: Personal loans often have fast approval times, making them ideal for emergencies.
  • Fixed repayment schedule: Knowing your monthly payment in advance helps with budgeting.
  • No collateral needed for unsecured loans: You don't risk losing an asset if you default.
  • Can consolidate high-interest debt: Using a personal loan to pay off credit card debt can save you money in the long run.
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  • Risk of overborrowing: The ease of obtaining a personal loan can lead to borrowing more than you actually need.
  • Impact on credit score: Missing even one payment can significantly lower your credit score.
  • Higher interest rates for bad credit: If your credit score isn't stellar, you could be looking at steep interest rates.
  • Fees and penalties: Some loans come with origination fees, and there may be penalties for early repayment.

Where to Get Personal Loans in Arkansas

Regarding securing a personal loan, the landscape is diverse, offering options ranging from traditional institutions to tech-savvy online platforms. Each type of lender has advantages and limitations, making it crucial to understand where to turn based on your specific needs and circumstances.

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    Traditional Banks

    These financial institutions offer face-to-face consultations and various financial services beyond loans. However, their approval process can be stringent, often requiring higher credit scores and more documentation.

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    Online Lenders

    Known for their speed and convenience, online lenders often provide loan approval within minutes and a streamlined application process. On the other hand, they may charge higher interest rates, especially for borrowers with less-than-perfect credit records.

  • building icon

    Credit Unions

    These member-owned institutions are known for personalized service and generally lower interest rates. The catch is that you usually have to be a member, which could involve specific eligibility criteria or a waiting period.

How to Get the Best Personal Loan in Arkansas for You

In Arkansas, the average personal loan debt is $21,082. Personal loans are often sought for a variety of reasons, ranging from consolidating high-interest debts to covering emergency medical expenses or funding home improvement projects.

If you're considering taking out a personal loan in Arkansas, knowing the steps involved in finding and applying for the right loan is crucial.


Assess Your Financial Situation

Before diving into the loan application process, take a comprehensive look at your financial health. Check your credit score, as it will significantly influence the interest rates you're offered. Also, assess your monthly income and expenses to figure out how much you can afford to repay each month.


Identify the Loan Purpose

Knowing the purpose of the loan will help you narrow down the type that's best for you. For instance, a debt consolidation loan with a lower interest rate would be ideal if you're looking to consolidate debt. On the other hand, if you're making home improvements, a loan that offers a larger sum might be more appropriate.


Research Lenders

Traditional banks, online lenders and credit unions have pros and cons. For example, a traditional bank might offer the benefit of in-person consultations but may have stricter lending criteria. Online lenders often provide quick approvals but may charge higher interest rates. As such, research each option to find out the best lender for you.


Compare Loan Offers

Once you've shortlisted potential lenders, compare the loan terms they offer. Take a close look at the interest rates, loan amounts and repayment terms. Additionally, consider any other fees like origination fees or prepayment penalties, as these can affect the overall cost of the loan.


Gather Required Documentation

Most lenders will require proof of income, employment verification and sometimes even collateral documentation. Having these documents ready can expedite the application process and improve your chances of loan approval.


Submit Your Application

After you've gathered all the necessary documents and chosen a lender that fits your needs, it's time to apply. Some lenders offer online applications for added convenience, while others might require visiting a physical branch.


Review Loan Terms Carefully

If your application is approved, you'll receive a loan agreement outlining the terms and conditions. Read this document carefully, paying close attention to the interest rates, repayment schedule and fees. Make sure you understand all the terms before signing.


Receive Funds and Start Repayment

Once the loan agreement is signed, you'll receive the funds either as a lump sum deposit into your bank account or through a check. From this point, you'll need to adhere to the repayment schedule outlined in your loan agreement, keeping in mind that timely payments are crucial for maintaining a healthy credit score.

Alternatives to Personal Loans

While personal loans offer a versatile solution for various financial needs, they're not the only option available. Several alternatives might be more aligned with your specific circumstances or preferences, such as:

  • creditCards icon

    Credit Cards

    Credit cards offer the convenience of revolving credit, allowing you to borrow and repay funds as needed. However, they often come with high interest rates, making them less suitable for long-term borrowing.

  • house2 icon

    Home Equity Line of Credit

    A home equity line of credit (HELOC) leverages the equity in your home to provide a line of credit. While it offers lower interest rates than credit cards, it puts your home at risk if you default on payments.

  • giveMoney icon

    Peer-To-Peer Lending

    This involves borrowing from individual investors rather than financial institutions. While it can offer more flexible terms and quicker funding, the interest rates can vary widely based on your creditworthiness.

  • fourZeroOneKPlan icon

    401(k) Loans

    Borrowing from your 401(k) allows you to access funds without a credit check. However, it can jeopardize your retirement savings and may incur penalties if not repaid on time.

Frequently Asked Questions

When it comes to personal loans, it’s natural to have questions, whether you're a first-time borrower or someone looking to refinance existing debt. To help you make informed decisions, we compiled answers to some frequently asked questions about personal loans in Arkansas.

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We evaluated more than 30 personal loan lenders using 35+ individual data points across six key categories: loan affordability, consumer friendliness, customer service, accessibility, flexibility and lender transparency.

Within each ranking criteria category, we considered several individual data points that we feel carry the most weight when choosing a personal loan lender. These factors include available loan amounts, APR ranges, minimum credit score and income requirements, application fees, and disbursement time.

MoneyGeek values you, the consumer, so we also factored in each lender’s customer support, business ratings and additional features that could make your experience easier and more convenient — like prequalification, payment options and mobile apps.

After careful consideration and calculation, we selected our top picks with your best interest in mind. Our personal loan recommendations and expert tips are meant to help you make the best decision when choosing a lender that meets your needs.

About Christopher Boston

Christopher Boston headshot

Christopher Boston is a Senior Manager of Content Strategy and SEO at MoneyGeek. For over half a decade, they have crafted hundreds of articles spanning the higher education, mortgage and personal loan industries. Christopher is passionate about using their skills and experience to create quality content that helps people save and spend their earnings efficiently.

The content on this page is accurate as of the posting/last updated date; however, some of the rates mentioned may have changed. We recommend visiting the lender's website for the most up-to-date information available.

Editorial Disclosure: Opinions, reviews, analyses and recommendations are the author’s alone and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any bank, lender or other entity. Learn more about our editorial policies and expert editorial team.