Best Personal Loans in Illinois for 2024

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Reviewed byAlvin Yam, CFP
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Updated: April 9, 2024

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In choosing the best lenders in Illinois, MoneyGeek considered customer service, interest rates, fees, loan term flexibility and the ease and speed of the application process. These are important because they impact how easy and affordable it will be to get and pay back your loan. First Tech, with a MoneyGeek score of 97 out of 100, is the best lender for personal loans. It excels in customer service and has competitive interest rates. PenFed follows with a score of 96, offering flexible loan terms and strong customer support.

When looking for a loan, factors like your credit score, income and debt-to-income ratio matter. The average credit score in Illinois is 720, based on Experian data from 2023, which means the average borrower might secure a loan with good terms. However, having a lower score could make finding great interest rates more challenging.

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UNDERSTAND YOUR DEBT-TO-INCOME RATIO

The amount of monthly debt payments you have relative to your monthly gross income is called your debt-to-income ratio, or DTI.

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. Debt includes items like mortgages, car loans, credit cards and existing personal loans. A debt-to-income ratio above 50% is considered high, so approval may be more difficult, or your loan may come with higher interest rates.

Alvin Yam, CFP®

Calculate Your Monthly Loan Payment

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

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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 Illinois

When seeking a personal loan in Illinois, it's important to consider your credit score, credit history, income and debt-to-income ratio, as lenders use these factors to assess your creditworthiness. Improving your credit score before applying might be advantageous since a higher credit score can greatly influence the terms of your loan, potentially leading to lower APRs and better loan conditions.

Refer to the table below to understand how your credit score can affect your monthly loan payments.

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This table approximates monthly payments, calculated using median personal loan interest rates typical for various credit score ranges. Remember that 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 Illinois

Personal loans offer lower interest rates and the flexibility to consolidate various high-interest debts into one manageable payment, providing financial relief and convenience. Additionally, with options such as co-signers to improve terms, they provide a quick and versatile funding solution for various purposes. However, although personal loans yield many advantages, you should be aware of potential risks and added costs, such as origination fees and the danger of overspending.

For a balanced view, consider the pros and cons of personal loans to better inform your decision.

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FAQ About Personal Loans in Illinois

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

According to MoneyGeek's analysis, the best lender in Illinois for personal loans is First Tech, with a MoneyGeek score of 97. Its average APR is approximately 12%.

You can obtain personal loans from online lenders, banks and credit unions. For those who prefer in-person services, local credit unions such as Central Credit Union of Illinois, Illinois Community Credit Union and Central Illinois Credit Union are options.

In Illinois, PenFed offers some of the lowest starting APRs for personal loans, according to MoneyGeek's analysis, with rates beginning at 7.99%. Often, securing a low rate requires an excellent credit score.

In Illinois, you can use personal loans for medical expenses, weddings and home or auto repairs. However, they can't be used for college tuition or gambling.

When considering personal loan red flags, look for extremely high APRs, unusually strict repayment penalties and a lack of transparency about who originates the loan. You should also be cautious of lenders with a high frequency of poor consumer reviews.

Yes, lenders consider income level when you apply for a personal loan. They also assess your debt-to-income ratio, credit score, employment history, employment type (self-employed or W2) and overall credit history. Opening new lines of credit while seeking a personal loan can negatively affect your application.

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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.