Best Personal Loans in California for 2024

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Reviewed byAlvin Yam, CFP
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Reviewed byAlvin Yam, CFP
Edited byKatherine Kurtz
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Updated: April 30, 2024

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In rating personal loan lenders in California, MoneyGeek considered lender reputation, interest rates and how easily you can adjust your loan terms. With a MoneyGeek score of 98 out of 100, First Tech is our pick as the top lender for personal loans in California because of its standout customer service, education and fair rates. Following with a score of 96 is PenFed, recognized for flexible loan terms and clear communication.

If you live in California and have a credit score near 722, you're likely to find attractive loan options. Lenders will also look at your income history and debt-to-income ratio when you apply for a personal loan.

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    Overall Best Personal Loan Lender in California

  • First Tech

    • 97MoneyGeek Score
    • 9.29% to 14.09%APR Range
    • UndisclosedMinimum Credit Score
    • $500 to $50,000Loan Amount Range
    • 24 to 84 monthsRepayment Terms

    First Tech Federal Credit Union is MoneyGeek's top recommendation for personal loans in California, scoring 98 out of 100. It stands out with an APR range of 8.94% to 18.00%, among the most competitive. The lender also offers a broad spectrum of repayment terms from six to 84 months, enhancing flexibility for borrowers. First Tech excels in customer service, provides extensive educational materials and has exceptional rates and fees that place it ahead of its competitors.

    Pros

    • Insured by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA)
    • No application or loan origination fee
    • Lots of educational resources available for consumers

    Cons

    • Need to be a member to apply
    • Provides limited details on loan application requirements
    • Little available information regarding credit score requirements
    First Tech

    Runner-Up for Best Personal Loan Lender in California

  • PenFed

    • 96MoneyGeek Score
    • 7.99% to 17.99%APR Range
    • UndisclosedMinimum Credit Score
    • Up to $50,000Loan Amount Range
    • Up to 60 monthsRepayment Terms

    PenFed Credit Union is MoneyGeek's runner-up choice for best personal loan lender in California, scoring 96 out of 100. Its APR range is 7.99% to 17.99%, moderate compared to competitors. PenFed's loan repayment terms are competitive, with a maximum of up to 60 months. It excels in reputation and transparency — providing consumers with clear information about loan terms and flexibility — while offering adaptable loan conditions without stringent use requirements.

    Pros

    • Offers some of the lowest APRs
    • No application fee

    Cons

    • No information provided about credit score requirements
    • $50 minimum monthly loan payment
    PenFed
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UNDERSTAND YOUR DEBT-TO-INCOME RATIO

Your amount of debt relative to your monthly gross income is called your debt-to-income ratio, or DTI. Debt includes items like mortgages, car loans, credit cards and existing personal loans.

Most lenders prefer to see a debt-to-income ratio of 35% to 40% or below for secured loans, and 40% to 45% or below for unsecured personal loans. A debt-to-income ratio above 50% is considered high, so approval may be more difficult, or your loan may have higher interest rates.

Alvin Yam, CFP®

Calculate Your Monthly Loan Payment

Explore your loan options with our personal loan calculator, a simple tool to estimate monthly payments and total loan costs based on the amount, interest rate and term length, helping you make informed decisions before committing.

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    Best Personal Loan Lender in California for Bad Credit

  • Happy Money

    • 94MoneyGeek 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 is the best personal loan lender for Californians with poor credit, scoring 94 out of 100. Although Happy Money works with lending partners rather than directly providing loans, it stands out for its transparency and ease of application. Offering APRs ranging from 11.72% to 17.99% (competitive compared to others in the market) and requiring a minimum credit score of 640, Happy Money makes obtaining financing more accessible. Its strongest areas include clear communication about terms and a straightforward application process.

    Pros

    • Works with 10 federally insured lenders to originate loans
    • Transparent eligibility requirements, including for people with low credit scores
    • No application fee

    Cons

    • Participating lenders charge an origination fee
    • Longer time to wait for loan approval compared to some competitors
    Happy Money
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    Best Personal Loan Lender in California for Debt Consolidation

  • Alliant Credit Union

    • 96MoneyGeek Score
    • 10.99% to 13.99%APR Range
    • UndisclosedMinimum Credit Score
    • $1,000 to $100,000Loan Amount Range
    • 12 to 60 monthsRepayment Terms

    MoneyGeek's pick for the best provider for personal loan debt consolidation in California is Alliant Credit Union, with a MoneyGeek score of 96 out of 100. Alliant is an online-only bank requiring membership for 90 days to qualify for a loan. Offering rates from 10.99% to 13.99%, Alliant stands out for its competitive APRs and clarity in conveying terms to consumers. The provider's strengths are its favorable interest rates and full transparency to potential borrowers.

    Pros

    • Among the highest loan limits available in our analysis
    • Insured by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA)
    • Wide variety of loan types available

    Cons

    • An online-only credit union — no physical branches
    • Must be a member for 90 days to apply
    Alliant Credit Union
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IS INTEREST ON PERSONAL LOANS TAX DEDUCTIBLE?

Interest on personal loans is generally not tax deductible, as personal loans are considered consumer debt. But there are some exceptions where the interest may qualify:

  • When consolidating high-interest qualifying debts like credit cards or student loans, if used to pay off those debts.
  • If used for home improvements that increase the home's value.
  • If the loan proceeds can be demonstrated as used exclusively for business expenses or starting a business.
  • In some cases, if the loan is used for investment purposes related to income-generating assets.

Alvin Yam, CFP®

Impact of Credit Score on Loan Repayment in California

Lenders evaluate your creditworthiness — focusing on your credit score, credit history, income and debt-to-income ratio — to determine the terms of your loan, including the APR. As a Californian seeking a personal loan, improving your credit score before applying could secure you more favorable loan conditions.

Use the table below to see how your credit score can affect your monthly loan repayments.

Data filtered by:Results filtered by:
Credit Band:
Credit Band:690 to 719
Loan Amount:
Loan Amount:$2,000

This table approximates monthly payments, calculated using median personal loan interest rates typical for various credit score ranges. These numbers are median estimates provided for general guidance. They should not be taken as precise rates for everyone in each credit score category. Actual interest rates can differ due to lender-specific policies, prevailing market conditions and unique borrower profiles.

Pros and Cons of Personal Loans in California

Personal loans offer the flexibility to manage finances with lower interest rates, the option to consolidate debts and a quick influx of funds when unexpected needs arise. However, it's important to approach personal loans carefully — the potential for additional fees and the risk of asset loss in secured loans present notable considerations.

For an in-depth understanding of these tradeoffs, review the pros and cons of personal loans before deciding to apply.

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FAQ About Personal Loans in California

If you have questions about personal loans, MoneyGeek has answers to help you make an informed decision before applying.

Who is the best lender in California for personal loans?
Where is the best place to get a personal loan in California?
Who has the best personal loan interest rates in California?
What can I use a personal loan for in California?
What are some personal loan red flags to look out for?
Do lenders consider income level when applying for a personal loan?
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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.