Best Online Personal Loans of 2024

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Reviewed byAlvin Yam, CFP
Contributions by4 experts
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Reviewed byAlvin Yam, CFP
Edited byCasie McCoskey
Contributions by4 experts
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Updated: April 29, 2024

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Alliant Credit Union stands out as the best overall online lender for personal loans, earning a MoneyGeek score of 95 out of 100 thanks to its transparency, competitive interest rates and swift application process. Laurel Road secured the runner-up position with a MoneyGeek score of 93 out of 100, featuring quality service, clear loan terms and an efficient application system.

Unlike traditional banks, online lenders allow for quick and easy loan applications from the comfort of one's home. MoneyGeek compared different online lending companies based on factors like interest rates, loan terms, application process, customer service and reputation to find the best options for your unique needs.

MoneyGeek used a unique scoring system to evaluate each lender's performance in key areas relevant to borrowers. We assigned scores based on whether specific desirable features were present or absent across these categories.

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Our analysis was completed in April 2024 and excluded lenders with physical branches, those that are not federally insured and those that did not disclose their interest rates.

34Lenders Analyzed

    Best Overall Online Personal Loan

  • Alliant Credit Union

    • 95MG Score
    • 10.99% to 13.99%APR Range
    • UndisclosedMinimum Credit Score
    • $1,000 to $100,000Loan Amount Range
    • 12 to 60 monthsRepayment Terms

    Alliant Credit Union is the best overall online lender for personal loans, receiving a MoneyGeek score of 95 out of 100. It provides personal loans up to $100,000, with repayment terms between 12 and 60 months. Alliant offers interest rates ranging from 10.99% to 13.99% APR, plus a 0.4% rate discount for setting up automatic payments. It doesn’t charge origination fees or prepayment penalties. However, you do need to be an existing member for at least 90 days to apply for a personal loan.

    Pros

    • $100,000 borrowing limit
    • No origination or prepayment fees
    • Offers a 0.4% autopay discount

    Cons

    • Loans require membership for at least 90 days
    • Undisclosed qualification requirements
    • No prequalification option
    Alliant Credit Union

    Runners-Up for Best Online Personal Loan Lenders

  • Laurel Road

    • 93MG Score
    • 9.49% to 24.50%APR Range
    • UndisclosedMinimum Credit Score
    • $5,000 to $45,000Loan Amount Range
    • 36 to 60 monthsRepayment Terms

    With a MoneyGeek score of 93 out of 100, Laurel Road is one of the runners-up for the best online personal loans. It offers personal loans ranging from $5,000 to $45,000, with repayment terms extending from 36 to 60 months. Laurel Road’s interest rates range from 9.49% to 24.50%, and it offers a 0.25% autopay discount. It doesn’t charge an origination fee or prepayment penalties. However, it imposes fees for late-payments and a $20 fee for insufficient funds.

    Pros

    • No origination fees or prepayment penalties
    • Provides a 0.25% autopay discount
    • Option to change payment due date

    Cons

    • High minimum loan amount
    • Charges late payment fees
    • Has a $20 insufficient funds fee
    Laurel Road

  • Discover

    • 93MG Score
    • 7.99% to 24.99%APR Range
    • 660Minimum Credit Score
    • Up to $40,000Loan Amount Range
    • 36 to 84 monthsRepayment Terms

    Discover is another runner-up online lender for personal loans, with a MoneyGeek score of 93 out of 100. It’s ideal for borrowers seeking loans up to $40,000, with rates from 7.99% to 24.99% APR and repayment periods between 36 and 84 months. There are no origination fees or prepayment penalties. However, there is a $39 fee for late payments. To qualify for a Discover personal loan, you’ll need a minimum credit score of 660 and an annual or household income of $25,000.

    Pros

    • No origination fee
    • No prepayment penalty
    • Does soft credit inquiries

    Cons

    • Borrowing limit of $40,000
    • Charges a late fee of $39
    • Imposes fund restrictions
    Discover

  • Avant

    • 92MG Score
    • 9.95% to 35.99%APR Range
    • 580Minimum Credit Score
    • $2,000 to $35,000Loan Amount Range
    • 12 to 60 monthsRepayment Terms

    As a runner-up for the best online personal loans, Avant received a MoneyGeek score of 92 out of 100. It offers personal loans from $2,000 to $35,000, which you can pay off within 12 to 60 months. While there are no prepayment penalties, there’s an administration fee of up to 9.9%, as well as late and dishonored payment fees. Avant accepts borrowers with a minimum credit score of 580 but doesn’t allow joint or co-signed loans.

    Pros

    • 580 minimum credit score requirement
    • Next-day funding possible
    • No prepayment penalties

    Cons

    • Charges administration, late and dishonored payment fees
    • Maximum loan amount caps at $35,000
    • No joint or co-signed loans
    Avant

How Online Personal Loans Work

An online personal loan is an unsecured installment loan obtained through a lender's website or digital platform rather than visiting a physical bank branch. These loans provide a lump sum of money that can be used for various purposes, such as debt consolidation, home improvements or large expenses.

Some key differences between online loans and traditional bank loans are:

1
Online lenders offer an application process that is entirely remote with no in-person requirements.
2
Online lenders generally have more flexible credit requirements than banks.
3
Online loans may have higher interest rates compared to banks or credit unions.
4
Online loan approval and funding can be much faster, sometimes within 1–2 days.

Pros and Cons of Online Personal Loans

While online personal loans offer a convenient and accessible way to secure financing, they also come with drawbacks like fees based on creditworthiness and lack of in-person support.

Pros
Cons

Speed and Convenience: The online process allows for applications from anywhere, anytime.

Higher Interest Rates for Poor Credit: Borrowers with bad credit may have higher interest rates, making loans more expensive over time.

Competitive Interest Rates: Lower operational costs allow online lenders to offer more competitive rates.

Lack of Personal Interaction: The online process eliminates face-to-face consultations, potentially making it harder to negotiate terms or get immediate answers to questions.

Wide Range of Loan Amounts: Online lenders cater to diverse financial needs with a broad spectrum of loan amounts available.

Potential for Hidden Fees: Some online lenders may charge fees that are not immediately apparent.

Prequalification Options: Most online lenders provide prequalification tools that let you explore loan options without hurting your credit score.

How to Choose the Best Online Personal Loan

As a rule of thumb, don’t accept the first loan offer you encounter. Before signing the dotted lines, make sure to prequalify for multiple loans and compare the following terms:

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    APR

    Online lenders offer different APR ranges, making it beneficial to compare them to find the most affordable loan option for your particular needs and situation.

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    Loan Amount

    Different lenders offer various loan amounts, so identify the best one that meets your specific borrowing requirements.

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    Loan Fees

    To minimize extra costs, look for lenders with lower or no origination fees, late fees or prepayment penalties.

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    Repayment Terms

    Repayment terms influence your monthly payment amount and the total interest paid over the life of the loan. Longer terms mean lower monthly payments but more interest overall, so choose a lender that allows you to balance affordability with cost efficiency.

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    Funding Timeline

    If you need funds quickly, check how long each lender takes to disburse the loan. Some lenders offer same-day funding, while others may take a few days to a week.

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    Co-Signer or Co-Applicant Rules

    Some lenders allow co-signers or co-applicants, which can help you qualify for a loan or secure a lower APR if you have less-than-perfect credit. Consider lenders' policies on co-signers if this could be beneficial for you.

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    Eligibility Requirements

    Lenders have varying criteria for personal loan approval, including credit score, income and employment status. Understanding these requirements can help you find lenders where you're more likely to be approved.

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    Loan Restrictions

    Some lenders restrict how loan funds can be used, such as not allowing using loans for business purposes or investments. Ensure the lender you choose allows you to use the funds for your intended purpose.

Get Prequalified First

Before applying for an online personal loan, getting prequalified with a few different lenders is a good idea. Prequalification allows you to get an initial loan estimate without a hard credit inquiry that could temporarily hurt your credit score.

Most online lenders offer an easy loan prequalification process where you provide some basic personal and financial information such as:

  • Name, Date of Birth and Address
  • Annual Income
  • Employment Information
  • Reason for the Loan
  • Desired Loan Amount
  • Credit Score Range

The lender will do a soft credit pull that doesn't impact your credit. Based on this initial review, they can prequalify you and estimate:

  • If you meet the lender's basic eligibility criteria
  • Your approximate interest rate range
  • The maximum loan amount you can likely qualify for
  • Available repayment term options

Prequalification results don't guarantee approval. You'll still need to officially apply and go through the lender's full approval process before setting the final rates and terms.

FAQ About Personal Loans From Online-Only Lenders

We answered some frequently asked questions about online personal loans to provide clarity and guidance as you navigate the options available.

Can you get an online personal loan with bad credit?
How do you apply for an online personal loan?
How fast can you get an online personal loan?
Are there any fees you should be aware of with online personal loans?
What’s a fair interest rate for a personal loan from online-only lenders?
Can you use an online personal loan for any purpose?
What should you do if you can't make a payment on your online personal loan?

Experts' Advice About Finding Personal Loans From Online-Only Lenders

  1. How can borrowers assess the credibility of online-only lenders?
  2. Under what financial circumstances would obtaining a personal loan from an online-exclusive lender be the most suitable option?
  3. Can you explain the significance of the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) when comparing personal loans from online-only lenders?
Markia Brown
Markia BrownCredit Literacy Coach & Content Creator at The Money Plug
Andrew Posner
Andrew PosnerCEO & Founder of Capital Good Fund
David A. Frantsvog, DBA
David A. Frantsvog, DBAAssistant Professor at Minot State University
Ross Loehr
Ross LoehrCertified Financial Planner® at Raisonné & HammerPrice Corporation
sources
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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.