Online-only lenders allow you to apply for a personal loan without going to a local branch. They process your application online, which means you can borrow money from the comfort of your home. Online-only lenders offer a fast and convenient way to get funding for debt consolidation, large purchases and unexpected bills.
You can get a loan from an online-only lender with fair to bad credit, but a higher credit score allows you to obtain better rates and loan features. Moreover, most digital lenders have a pre-qualification process, so you can see your interest rates without having an effect on your credit score.
To help you find the best online-only lender for your needs, MoneyGeek assessed and ranked the top online-only lenders.
Best Personal Loans From Online-only Lenders for 2023
Online-only lenders offer streamlined ways of borrowing money. They allow you to apply for a personal loan 100% online, so you won’t have to visit their branch to submit documents or claim your check. A good online-only lender features low interest rates, minimal fees and flexible loan amounts and repayment options.
To help you find the best online-only personal loans, MoneyGeek evaluated more than 30 personal loan providers. We studied a lender’s loan affordability, accessibility, consumer friendliness, customer service, flexibility and transparency using more than 35 data points.
Our team has facilitated a thorough review process to come up with recommendations and expert tips to help you shop for online-only personal loans. Throughout the process, we’ll keep your best interest in mind.
Top Pick for Online-only Personal Loan Lenders: 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 Receive Funds
- 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 Receive Funds
Other Personal Loan Options From Online-only Lenders
Where to Start: Choosing the Best Online-only Lender Personal Loan
You can use a personal loan to cover your various financial needs, both planned and unplanned. For example, you can use a personal loan to pay for your home renovation, moving expenses or debt consolidation. You can also settle medical bills or emergency travel expenses with a personal loan.
Nonetheless, applying for a personal loan is a big financial decision. It involves monthly payments over an extended period of time, and missing just one payment can negatively impact your credit history.
With that, you need to consider a number of factors before deciding on a personal loan. Your credit score, income, existing debt and other details will determine the interest rate. It’s also a good idea to think about whether saving for an expense will be a better choice than getting a personal loan.
To help you make the right decision, MoneyGeek recommends taking the following steps before applying for a personal loan.
Ask Yourself the Important Questions
Your chances of getting approved for your personal loan depend on several factors. Ask yourself the important questions first before going through the loan application process.
- How much money do you need? You’ll have to pay interest on the amount that you’ll borrow, and the more money you need, the more difficult it will be to secure approval. Determine how much money you truly need and find a lender offering that amount.
- What’s your credit score? Since personal loans are unsecured, lenders will rely on your credit score to establish your creditworthiness. Having a high credit score will improve your chances of approval.
- Can you afford the monthly payment? Check your monthly expenses and calculate if you have enough disposable income to pay for the loan. It’s important to do this since late payments or defaulting on your loan can seriously affect your credit score. Make sure you can afford the monthly payment before applying for a personal loan.
- Do you have existing debts? Lenders may look at your debt-to-income ratio when evaluating your loan application. If you have a lot of existing debt, providers will be less inclined to grant you a personal loan.
Do Your Research
Collect all the information you can before applying for a personal loan. Pick your preferred companies and study their policies regarding interest rates, repayment terms and credit checks. You can also see if they have restrictions on how you can spend the loan.
Shopping around and comparing offers from various lenders is the best way to find the lowest rates and most flexible packages. MoneyGeek gathered all the information you’ll need throughout the process. Nonetheless, our figures and recommendations are based on generalizations, which can be different from your personal circumstances. Thus, you should also explore other options and do your own research.
Getting a personal loan is a major financial commitment. Before deciding on anything, make sure that it’s the best choice for your needs. As with any big decision, it’s a good idea to wait for a day or two before making your choice. The passage of time will give you a fresher outlook and a more objective perspective, which is important for situations like this.
Personal loans are paid over an extended period of time and with interest. If you’ll be using your personal loan for leisurely expenses, consider if you can wait until you’ve saved the necessary amount. Even if you’re absolutely sure that a personal loan is the best option for you, it makes sense to wait before acting on anything.
Read the Fine Print
If you’ve reached this point, you have probably made up your mind and decided that you should get a personal loan. Now’s a good time to narrow your options and revisit their offers. Check out the small details that are often missed during initial research — look beyond your preferred lenders’ marketing materials and study their fine print.
Some of the details you should look for are prepayment penalties, origination fees, late payment fees and other items that can add to the loan’s total expense. Doing this can result in big savings over time, as you’ll avoid unnecessary charges that may come with your personal loan.
Apply for the Loan
Once you have considered all your options, feel good about a specific lender and studied their policies, you’ve finally reached the moment to apply for a personal loan. To start, prepare the documents that will be requested by the loan provider, which typically include proof of identity, address and income.
If you’re getting a personal loan from an online-only lender, you’ll go through the entire process online. This means you’ll fill out forms, send documents, receive approval and agree to the loan’s term digitally. An online application is a convenient way to apply for a personal loan, but that shouldn’t stop you from calling or visiting a lender’s office if you have additional questions.
Ask Yourself the Important Questions - Consider important details, such as your preferred loan amount, credit score, existing debts and ability to pay the loan back, before applying for a personal loan.
Do Your Research - Select some lenders and look for as much information as you can about their policies on interest rates, repayment terms, credit checks, restrictions and others.
Wait - Before going through the application, wait for a day or two to gain a more objective perspective.
Read the Fine Print - Choose a lender and revisit their offer, watching out for fees that can add to the loan’s overall cost.
Apply - Once you’ve made up your mind, start your personal loan application process with your preferred lender and submit your personal, residence and income documents.
Calculate Your Monthly Payment
If your personal loan has already been pre-approved, it’s a good idea to calculate your expected monthly payment against your budget. Find out if you have enough disposable income before proceeding with the loan. This ensures you can repay the loan on time and avoid late payments.
FAQs About Personal Loans From Online-only Lenders
The best online-only personal loan lender for you is based on your individual needs and financial situation. MoneyGeek answered some frequently asked questions about online-only lenders to help you make better-informed decisions before you finalize a loan offer.
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 amount, minimum credit score, minimum income, 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 determined 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.
- Federal Reserve System. "Consumer Credit." Accessed April 28, 2022.
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.