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Best Personal Loans in California

A personal loan is a type of unsecured debt that can finance a variety of expenses, such as big purchases, medical expenses and education. Individuals who are looking for ways to consolidate high-interest debt may also find personal loans helpful.

When you apply for a personal loan, lenders will evaluate various factors like your income, employment history, debt-to-income ratio, the value of the collateral, loan term, down payment, liquid assets and creditworthiness. In California, for example, the average credit score is 716 and credit card debt averages $5,635. Meanwhile, the average personal loan in California has a debt of $16,790 with an interest rate averaging 10.21%.

Last Updated: 6/9/2022
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MoneyGeek’s Best Personal Loan Lender in California: LightStream

The best personal loans in California may vary depending on your needs and circumstances. MoneyGeek evaluated more than 30 data points to determine the best options for different borrower profiles in the state. Factors analyzed and compared include BBB ratings, loan amounts, repayment lengths, interest rates, penalties, fees and minimum requirements.

Best Overall Personal Loan Lender in California: LightStream


  • LightStream

    • 4.49% to 20.49%APR Range
    • 660Minimum Credit Score
    • $5,000 to $100,000Loan Amount Range
    • 24 to 84 monthsRepayment Terms
    • Same DayTime To Recieve Funds

    on LightStream Website

Best Personal Loan Lender for Bad Credit in California: Upstart


  • Upstart

    • 3.22% to 35.99%APR Range
    • 300Minimum Credit Score
    • $1,000 to $50,000Loan Amount Range
    • 36 to 60 monthsRepayment Terms
    • Next DayTime To Recieve Funds

    on Upstart Website

Best Personal Loan Lender for Good Credit in California: SoFi


  • SoFi

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

    on SoFi Website

Best for Debt Consolidation in California: Upgrade


  • Upgrade

    • 5.94% to 35.47%APR Range
    • 560Minimum Credit Score
    • $1,000 to $50,000Loan Amount Range
    • 36 to 60 monthsRepayment Terms
    • Same DayTime To Recieve Funds

    on Upgrade Website

Best Personal Loan Lender for Home Improvement in California: Best Egg


  • 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 Recieve Funds

    on Best Egg Website

How to Choose the Best Personal Loan Lender in California for You

According to LendingTree, approximately 19.4 million individuals have a personal loan in the U.S. In California, the average personal loan debt is $16,790. But the amount may vary depending on how the borrower plans on using it. Additionally, there are various factors to consider when applying for personal loans in California, like your income, employment history, current credit and creditworthiness.

Below is a guide you can use to find the best personal loans in California.

1

Ask Yourself the Important Questions

The first thing you need to determine is whether a personal loan is right for you. Then, find out which lenders’ qualification processes you meet. Make sure the personal loan you are getting is suitable for your needs. Asking the right questions can help. Consider the following:

  • How much funding do you need?
  • What is your credit score?
  • Can you afford the monthly payment?
  • How much debt do you already have?
2

Do Your Research

Keep in mind that a personal loan requires commitment. Depending on your loan term, you will be making monthly payments for 2–4 years on average.

That is why it is important to conduct your own research before applying for a loan. Understand your options and learn all relevant information in the loan package. For instance, some lenders may do a hard credit check. This may have an impact on your credit score.

Compare rates from different lenders to see which offers the best deal based on your needs. MoneyGeek created this guide in line with its commitment to provide all necessary information to help you through the process. However, the recommendations may not be perfect for you because your circumstances may be different. It is still in your best interest to explore other options and compare them to find the right loan for you.

3

Wait

A personal loan is a big commitment. You will have to deal with it for years. That is why it is important for you to be absolutely sure that getting one is the right option for you.

After conducting your research, think it over. Do not be hasty. It is best to wait a day or two before making a decision.

4

Read the Fine Print

One mistake that some borrowers make is overlooking certain details about a personal loan. When researching loans, you need to make sure you understand all relevant details. Read the fine print. Once you have decided on a lender, look into fees, such as prepayment penalties, early payoff fees and origination fees. While these may seem like little things, looking into them can help you save money in the long run.

5

Apply

Once you are 100% sure about your choice of lender and have outlined all the details you will need, you can send in your application. You may be required to provide certain documents and information. Lenders typically require identification, address verification and proof of income.

Some lenders accept online applications. While this may be easier for some people, calling or visiting the lender may help you better understand the loan and clarify your concerns.

What to Do if You Can’t Get a Personal Loan in California

Some personal loan applications get rejected. If you are denied a loan, it is best to evaluate the situation first before making your next move. Find out what factors affected the decision. In most cases, loan applications get denied because of low credit scores, insufficient income, high debt-to-income ratios and incorrect or incomplete loan application information.

Contact the lender to find out the exact reason for the denial of your application. Ask them if there is a way to modify your application and make it acceptable to them. For instance, you can shorten the loan term or decrease the loan amount.

If you really need the money, you can also opt to apply for a loan at another company. However, you should avoid doing this until you have improved the factor that caused your loan application to be denied in the first place.

Be wary of financial arrangements that are too easy to get into, like payday loans. These are short-term loans that usually last for a few weeks. While a payday loan can help you get cash fast, the interest rate is incredibly high.

Frequently Asked Questions About Personal Loans in California

The best personal loan lender for you depends on personal needs and various credit and income factors. MoneyGeek answers some of the most common questions about personal loans in California to help you find the best option suitable for you.

1

What is the best personal loan lender in California?

LightStream is the overall best personal loan lender in California. However, the best lender for you may vary depending on your needs and circumstances. If you have bad credit, Upstart is your top option. For borrowers with good credit, SoFi ranked first. If you are looking for a loan to cover your home improvement expenses, Best Egg may be right for you. For those who want to consolidate debts, Upgrade is the top choice.

2

Which lender in California has the lowest interest rate?

MoneyGeek reviewed different lenders and found Affirm, Ally and Dave to offer the lowest interest rates overall. Borrowers can get as low as 0% interest rate.

But, in California, the lowest rate available is from Upstart. Depending on the loan and borrower, the interest rate can be as low as 3.22%.

3

Can I use a personal loan for vacations in California?

Generally, you can use personal loans in California to fund vacations. However, there may be lenders that impose restrictions on the usage of funds. Make sure you clarify this information with the lender before getting a loan.

4

Can I use a personal loan for home improvement in California?

Yes, personal loans in California can be used for home improvement. Based on MoneyGeek’s analysis, Best Egg is the best option for borrowers who want to fund their home improvement in California.

5

What can I not use my personal loan for in California?

The restrictions on the usage of funds may vary depending on the company. In most cases, you cannot use the personal loan for illegal activities. Some lenders like Upgrade may also restrict you from using the borrowed money to pay for post-secondary education or investment purposes.

6

How much can I borrow in California?

There are various factors to consider when borrowing from a personal loan lender in California. You may need to qualify based on the requirements set by the lenders. For instance, some may have minimum gross income, employment and credit score requirements. The amount you can borrow will also depend on the lender but can generally range from $1,000 to $100,000.

7

How long does it take to get a personal loan in California?

The funding process for a personal loan in California varies per lender. Some lenders offer same-day funding. Others can take up to seven days.

8

Can I pay off my loan early in California?

Typically, it is possible to pay off a personal loan early. However, it may not always be a great idea. Some lenders may have prepayment penalties. In that case, you will have to pay a fee for paying your personal loan early. Make sure you check this out before you decide.

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METHODOLOGY

We reviewed more than 30 personal loan lenders using 35+ individual data points across six key categories: loan affordability, accessibility, consumer friendliness, customer service, 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 APR ranges, available loan amounts, minimum credit scores, minimum income amounts, application fees and disbursement time.

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

After careful consideration and calculation, our picks are decided and chosen 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.

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*Rates, fees or bonuses may vary or include specific stipulations. The content on this page is accurate as of the posting/last updated date; however, some of the offers mentioned may have expired. We recommend visiting the card issuer’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, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity.
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