5 Best Personal Loans of 2024

Enter your ZIP code to get started

Shield

Free. Simple. Secure.

Contributions by 6+ experts
fact checked icon

Updated: July 1, 2024

Advertising & Editorial Disclosure

First Tech is MoneyGeek’s top pick for the overall best personal loan lender. PenFed is the best personal loan lender for debt consolidation. Happy Money is excellent for borrowers with low credit scores, while Truist and Rocket Loans are great options for low interest rates and quick funding, respectively.

MoneyGeek compared lenders based on factors such as interest rates, loan terms, application process and customer service to round up our recommendations for the best personal loans based on different needs and circumstances.

MoneyGeek’s personal loan scoring system provides an overview of each lender’s performance in areas that matter most to borrowers. We assigned scores based on the presence or absence of certain key features in various critical categories.


    Best Overall Personal Loan

  • First Tech

    • 98MG Score
    • 8.94% to 18.00%APR Range
    • UndisclosedMinimum Credit Score
    • $500 to $50,000Loan Amount Range
    • 6 to 84 monthsRepayment Terms

    Earning a MoneyGeek score of 98 out of 100, First Tech Federal Credit Union offers the best overall personal loan. It’s federally insured by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) and allows borrowers to take out loans from $500 to $50,000. It offers flexible repayment terms between 6 and 84 months and competitive interest rates from 8.94% to 18.00% APR. Aside from not charging origination fees and prepayment penalties, First Tech allows borrowers to defer their first loan payment for up to 45 days. However, membership is required to apply for personal loans.

    Pros

    • Low minimum loan amount of $500
    • No origination fee
    • No prepayment penalty
    • Performs soft credit inquiries

    Cons

    • Exclusive to members
    • $50,000 borrowing limit
    • Doesn’t offer rate discounts
    First Tech

    Best Personal Loan for Debt Consolidation

  • PenFed

    • 97MG Score
    • 7.99% to 17.99%APR Range
    • UndisclosedMinimum Credit Score
    • Up to $50,000Loan Amount Range
    • Up to 60 monthsRepayment Terms

    PenFed received a MoneyGeek score of 97 out of 100, making it our top pick for the best personal loan for debt consolidation. Federally insured by the NCUA, it provides personal loans up to $50,000, with repayment terms of up to 60 months and APRs as low as 7.99%, making it ideal for consolidating high-interest debts. There are no origination or prepayment fees, but a $29 fee applies to late payments. PenFed also imposes a $30 fee for returned loan payments, checks or ACH transactions.

    Pros

    • No origination fees
    • No prepayment penalties
    • Conducts soft credit checks
    • Allows joint applications

    Cons

    • Charges a $29 late fee
    • Has a $30 returned loan payment, check or ACH fee
    • Doesn’t offer direct payment to creditors
    PenFed

How does MoneyGeek score lenders for debt consolidation?


    Best Personal Loan for Those With Bad Credit

  • Happy Money

    • 94MG Score
    • 11.72% to 17.99%APR Range
    • 640Minimum Credit Score
    • $5,000 to $40,000Loan Amount Range
    • 24 to 60 monthsRepayment Terms

    Happy Money stands out as the best personal loan for those with bad credit, with a MoneyGeek score of 94 out of 100. This fintech company partners with federally insured credit unions to originate personal loans that are accessible to borrowers with a minimum credit score of 640. Its loans range from $5,000 to $40,000, with interest rates from 11.72% to 17.99% and repayment terms of 24 to 60 months. Although there are no prepayment penalties, an origination fee between 1.5% and 5.5% applies to new loans. Additionally, it's important to note that Happy Money only offers personal loans for the purpose of credit card debt consolidation.

    Pros

    • 640 minimum credit score requirement
    • Doesn’t charge prepayment penalties
    • Doesn’t charge late fees
    • Conducts soft credit pulls

    Cons

    • Only offers debt consolidation loans
    • Origination fee of 1.5% to 5.5%
    • No co-signers or co-borrowers allowed
    Happy Money

How does MoneyGeek score lenders for those with bad credit?


    Best Personal Loan for Low Rates

  • Truist

    • 96MG Score
    • 8.74% to 17.39%APR Range
    • UndisclosedMinimum Credit Score
    • From $3,500Loan Amount Range
    • 24 to 60 monthsRepayment Terms

    Those looking for low-interest personal loans may consider Truist, which earned a MoneyGeek score of 96 out of 100. This lender provides interest rates from 8.74% to 17.39% APR and personal loans starting at $3,500, which you can repay within 24 to 60 months. Truist has no origination fees and offers loan payment relief options for borrowers facing financial hardships. However, it doesn’t allow you to prequalify for personal loans.

    Pros

    • APR as low as 8.74%
    • Doesn’t charge origination fees
    • Same-day funding available
    • Offers loan payment relief options

    Cons

    • No prequalification option
    • Not available in some states
    • Limited loan details available on website
    Truist

How does MoneyGeek score lenders for low interest rates?


    Best Personal Loan for Quick Funding

  • Rocket Loans

    • 97MG Score
    • 9.116% to 29.99%APR Range
    • UndisclosedMinimum Credit Score
    • Up to $45,000Loan Amount Range
    • 36 or 60 monthsRepayment Terms

    Rocket Loans is the best personal loan lender for quick funding, receiving a MoneyGeek score of 97 out of 100. It offers personal loans up to $45,000 and same-day funding for applicants who complete the loan process and sign on a business day. It provides interest rates from 9.12% to 29.99% and repayment options of either 36 or 60 months. Rocket Loans doesn’t charge any prepayment penalties, but it charges an origination fee of up to 9% and a $15 late fee.

    Pros

    • Offers same-day funding
    • No prepayment penalties
    • Conducts soft credit checks

    Cons

    • Low borrowing limit of $45,000
    • Only offers two repayment terms
    • Charges origination and late fees
    Rocket Loans

How does MoneyGeek score lenders for quick funding?

How to Choose the Best Personal Loan for You

When shopping around for personal loans, consider following these strategies to find the best option for your particular needs and circumstances:

1
Get Prequalified

Getting prequalified lets you preview your potential loan terms without impacting your credit score and provides insight into what different lenders are willing to offer based on your financial history. As a result, you can tailor your loan search to options that you're likely to qualify for and that are financially sensible.

2
Compare APR Ranges

APRs (annual percentage rates) typically offer a clearer picture of the total cost of the loan as they include both the interest rate and lender fees. By reviewing and comparing APRs, you can find the most cost-effective loan for your situation.

3
Check the Loan Amount

Ensure the lender can offer the loan amount you need. This prevents you from settling for a loan that is either insufficient for your needs or larger than necessary, which could lead to unnecessary debt.

4
Review the Repayment Terms

Understanding repayment terms helps you align the loan with your financial capability. Optimal terms should provide a balance between affordable monthly payments and a reasonable loan duration to minimize total interest costs.

5
Pay Attention to Fees

Check if the lender charges common personal loan fees, such as origination fees, late fees or prepayment penalties. By knowing these, you can avoid expensive loans that appear cheaper based solely on their interest rates.

6
Look Out for Special Features

Find out if the loan comes with unique features, such as interest rate discounts or direct payments to creditors, as these can lead to better financial management and savings.

COMPARE APRS FOR A COMPREHENSIVE EVALUATION

"When considering personal loans, be sure to look beyond the advertised interest rates and carefully examine the annual percentage rate (APR). The APR provides a more comprehensive picture of the loan's total cost and includes the interest rate and any additional fees charged by the lender, such as origination fees, processing fees or prepayment penalties.

By comparing the APR ranges offered by different lenders, you can gain a clearer picture of the true cost of borrowing and make an informed decision that aligns with your financial situation. A lower APR typically translates to lower overall costs, which can mean greater savings over the life of the loan." — Alvin Yam, CFP

Calculate Personal Loan Monthly Payments

Use our personal loan calculator to get a clear estimate of your monthly payments. Simply enter your desired loan amount, repayment term and interest rate.

Say you want to borrow $10,000 to consolidate your debt. You find a lender that offers personal loans with a loan term of 36 months and an interest rate of 7%, lower than the average rate of 12.49% based on Federal Reserve data.

To use our personal loan calculator, you would type in the following information:

  • Loan amount: $10,000
  • Interest rate: 7%
  • Loan term: 3 years

Our calculator will show you that your estimated monthly payments would be about $309.

Personal Loan Calculator

Estimate the monthly payment for your loan.

Updated: Jul 15, 2024

5 Years
Bar Chart Icon

Next Steps

Get personalized loan rates.

Shield Insurance

Why You Can Trust MoneyGeek

Although MoneyGeek partners with some of the companies we recommend, our content is written and reviewed by an independent team of writers, editors and licensed agents. Learn more about our editorial policies and expert editorial team.

FAQ About Personal Loans

We provide answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about personal loans to help you navigate your options more effectively.

What can you use a personal loan for?
How does your credit score affect your eligibility for a personal loan?
Can you prepay your personal loan without penalties?
How long does it take to get a personal loan?
What should you do if you're having trouble making payments on your personal loan?

Experts' Insights on Personal Loans

  1. What key features should individuals consider when selecting a personal loan provider?
  2. Considering bad credit, how can a consumer increase their chances of loan approval?
  3. In the unfortunate case of loan denial, what strategy would you recommend to improve one's creditworthiness?
Todd Miller
Todd MillerFinancial Coach at Tightwad Todd
Cara Macksoud
Cara MacksoudCertified Financial Behavior Specialist and CEO at Money Habitudes
Tom Arnold, Ph.D.
Tom Arnold, Ph.D.Professor of Finance at Robins School of Business, University of Richmond
Melissa Griswold, Ph.D.
Melissa Griswold, Ph.D.Associate Teaching Professor of Finance at Trulaske College of Business, University of Missouri-Columbia
Andrew Posner
Andrew PosnerCEO & Founder of Capital Good Fund
Anurag Wakhlu
Anurag WakhluAdjunct Finance Professor at Bentley University
Hanna Morrell
Hanna MorrellHolistic Financial Coach at Pacific Stoa Financial Wellness
Kenneth Romanowski, CFP, CTFA(Ret.), CTFA(Ret.) CFP Board Emeritus(R)
Kenneth Romanowski, CFP, CTFA(Ret.), CTFA(Ret.) CFP Board Emeritus(R)Adjunct Faculty at Rosemont College and Retired Senior Financial Advisor
Kate Hao
Kate HaoFounder and CEO of Happy Mango Credit
sources
Shield Insurance

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.