5 Best Personal Loan Lenders of 2023

Credible (Best Overall)
Compare Rates from Multiple Lenders Minutes
  • Actual prequalified rates.
  • Safe and secure.
  • Unbiased and transparent.
Discover (Best for Next-Day Funding)
Get the Money You Need to Make Things Happen
  • Great rates.
  • Flexible terms.
  • No upfront fees.
SoFi (Best for Online Applications)
Low Rates, No Fees Required, Personal Loans Made Easy Online
  • Low monthly payments.
  • Get $5k to $100k.
  • Unemployment protection.
LightStream (Best for Variety of Options)
Low Rates, Exceptional Service
  • Get the low rates you deserve.
  • LightStream can fund your loan as soon as the day you apply.
  • LightStream will beat any qualified rate.
PenFed (Top Credit Union)
The Money You Need, The Hassles You Don’t
  • As low as 7.74% APR.
  • Terms up to 60 months.
  • Loans up to $50,000.

What Can You Use a Personal Loan For?

Personal loans offer a super-versatile solution for various financial needs.  They can be used to consolidate debts, fund home improvements, help with unforeseen emergencies, and finance other important life events.

So, what is a personal loan?  A personal loan is a lump sum borrowed from a lender and repaid through fixed monthly installments.  It typically ranges from around $1,000 and goes all the way up to even $100,000 or more, with repayment terms of two to seven years, typically.  Unlike secured loans, personal loans do not require collateral and are approved based on your personal creditworthiness and, of course, your income.

Here is some more helpful information…

  • Debt Consolidation: Personal loans help consolidate multiple debts into one payment, reducing interest rates and, thus, facilitating faster repayment.

  • Home Improvement Projects: They can fund home renovation projects without requiring collateral, offering a quick and accessible financing option.

  • Refinancing Existing Loans: Personal loans allow for refinancing at lower interest rates, enabling savings and much quicker debt repayment.

  • Covering Medical Expenses: They can be used to manage medical bills, including emergency procedures or family-building procedures.

  • Discretionary Expenses: Personal loans can finance significant life events like weddings or even your dream vacation, although caution is advised if you are using them in this manner.

  • Managing Emergencies: They provide a reliable source of funds for unexpected situations, offering an alternative to high-interest options like payday loans, cash advances from credit cards, etc., etc.

Personal loans serve as a versatile and beneficial financial tool.  Whether for debt consolidation, home improvements, emergencies, or important life events, they offer mucho flexibility and convenience.  When considering personal loans, it is still quite important to assess your individual needs, compare rates from as many lenders as you can, and borrow responsibly.  With careful planning, personal loans can help you climb the mountain of financial goals and aspirations.

Can You Refinance a Personal Loan?

Refinancing personal loans offers the potential for better interest rates and certainly more manageable monthly payments, if you do it properly.  However, it is important to carefully assess the decision.

Here are a few things you should consider…


  • Lower Interest Rates & Faster Repayment: Refinancing can secure lower rates, saving on interest charges and enabling quicker repayment, benefiting borrowers with reasonable to great credit.

  • Monthly Payment Reduction: Extended repayment terms via refinancing can lower monthly payments, but remember that it may lead to higher interest costs in the long run.  Stay mindful of that.

  • Consolidating Debt for Financial Management: Refinancing allows debt consolidation, simplifying repayment and potentially securing better interest rates…and potentially simplifying your life and daily stress levels.


  • Increased Interest Payments: Longer terms may result in higher interest costs, so weigh short-term savings against long-term expenses.

  • Origination Fees: Lenders may charge fees, reducing the amount received.  Consider the impact on cost-effectiveness in an overall fashion, not just the immediate impact.

  • Prepayment Penalties: Be aware of potential fees for early loan payoff, which can affect anticipated savings.  These penalties are less prevalent now, but they do still exist.

Refinancing personal loans can offer some legit. immediate relief, but careful evaluation is still of the utmost importance.  Consider tools like loan calculators and analyze terms and conditions to make informed decisions aligned with your financial goals.  Refinancing is a valuable tool, but it requires thoughtful analysis to serve your best interests and goal of crippling debt avoidance.

What Fees Should I Look Out for When Choosing a Personal Loan?

When applying to get a personal loan, it is important to be aware of potential fees that lenders may charge.  These fees, such as origination, processing, and late fees, can significantly impact your loan's total cost (always consider this).  However, with an intelligent approach, you can reduce or even eliminate these fees.

With that said, here are some fees to keep an out for…

  • Origination Fee: Lenders often charge an origination fee, covering loan processing and underwriting, etc., etc.  It is calculated as a percentage of the loan amount, usually ranging from 1% to 6% or so.  These fees can be deducted upfront or added to the loan total.

  • Application Fee: Although it is rare, some lenders may require an application fee to process your loan request (you have probably seen these if you have ever applied for an apartment lease).  However, this fee is not commonly imposed by personal loan lenders.

  • Prepayment Penalty: A prepayment penalty may be applied if you pay off your loan early.  It compensates lenders for the interest they would have earned.  Some lenders do not charge prepayment penalties, so comparing lenders is a straight-up necessity.

  • Late Fee: Missing payments or failing to repay in full by the term's end can result in late fees.  These fees are either a fixed amount or a percentage of your loan balance.  Delays of over 30 days can impact your credit report, too, so stay on top of things!

  • Payment Processing Fee: It is not common, but certain lenders may add a payment processing fee to each payment.  This could include check processing or not enrolling in automatic payments.  Wire transfer processing may incur an additional fee, as well.

Now, to minimize the fees associated with personal loans, consider some of the following…

  • Compare Offers: Shop around to find lenders with lower or no fees.  They are out there!  This ensures transparency and helps avoid surprises.

  • Opt for Autopay: Set up automatic payments to reduce the risk of missed payments and potentially qualify for fee reductions.

  • Borrow Wisely: Only take out what you truly need to minimize the impact of origination fees and your overall debt.

  • Negotiate: Engage with your lender to negotiate fees and charges. They may waive or reduce fees for valued customers.  Maybe they will not negotiate, but you are no worse off for trying.

By understanding the personal loan fees out there and implementing smart borrowing strategies, you can effectively reduce or eliminate these costs.  Comparing lenders, opting to use autopay, borrowing responsibly, and negotiating with lenders are super important steps to minimize the fees you could potentially incur.  Stay informed and make well-thought-out decisions when pursuing personal loans to solve a financial problem.


To choose the best personal loan lenders of 2023, we looked at several different personal loan lenders (more than 15 of them, overall).  Furthermore, we used several different important factors to develop, the best we could, a qualitative aggregate of which of these personal loan lenders were the best.  Those important factors included—but were not limited to—annual percentage rates, any applicable fees, customer reviews, customer service, quality of products offered, quantity of products offered, and a few more, as well.  At the end of the day, our main goal was to, to the best of our ability, identify the personal loan lenders that would be the best help to the most people.

1.  Credible (Best Overall)

Imagine stepping into a loan marketplace called Credible, designed exclusively for you. Here, you can effortlessly compare financial products in a side-by-side manner and from multiple providers. Credible is not a lender, a bank, or a credit card issuer, though. Instead, they have partnered with some of the best financial service providers, giving you access to a ton of competitive loan options. Their goal is to help you swiftly find the ideal financial product that suits your needs perfectly. And the best part? Comparing rates on Credible will not cost you a dime and definitely will not impact your credit score! Forget about hidden mysteries or deceptive tactics. At Credible, you get to see real prequalified rates for loans available to you, without worrying about any negative effects. Using Credible to check prequalified rates is absolutely free of charge. Credible only earns a fee when you successfully close a loan with one of their partner lenders. So take advantage of their secure platform to compare lenders and explore your options in one convenient place. At Credible, they prioritize peace of mind and honesty. They do not feel comfortable getting paid to prioritize certain products, sell your personal info., or hide any fees. This way, you will know exactly how your costs break down before you make a decision and select a lender.

  • Boasts highly competitive interest rates vs. competitors.
  • Offers a wide range of loan options from various lenders.
  • Has a streamlined and user-friendly online user interface.
  • There are limited loan amounts available vs. competitors.
  • There may potentially be additional fees applied to loan applications and/or loans.
  • Not all lenders on the platform are available in every state in the US.
2.  Discover (Best for Next-Day Funding)

Get ready for exceptional lending opportunities with Discover, where you can embark on a financial journey like no other. Discover empowers you with a range of unique benefits, tailored to your needs and aspirations. Unleash your potential for savings by securing a fixed interest rate that ranges from a remarkable 6.99% to 24.99% APR. With Discover, you have the advantage of minimizing your interest expenses while maximizing your financial growth. Seize the opportunity to borrow up to an impressive $40,000 and relish the freedom to choose your repayment period. Tailor your financial obligations to suit your preferences, spanning a flexible time frame of three to seven years. The power lies in your hands. Harness the true potential of your funds without any upfront fees whatsoever. At Discover, they believe in supporting your financial aspirations by ensuring that your hard-earned money works for you. As long as you honor your payment commitments on time, you can enjoy the full benefits without any financial burdens. Experience the thrill of accelerated progress as your funds are swiftly disbursed. With Discover, you can expect your financial dreams to materialize sooner than you imagine. Loan funds will arrive as early as the next business day. Discover a new horizon of financial possibilities and embark on a transformative journey that empowers you to achieve your goals. You will have all the support you want and need…at Discover.

  • Has very flexible loan terms and several repayment options available.
  • There are absolutely no origination fees, whatsoever.
  • Known for their quick and easy online application process.
  • Loan eligibility and availability may vary from state to state in the US.
  • Strict reputation for higher interest rates for borrowers with minimal credit history or lower credit scores.
  • Limited loan amounts compared to some other lenders in this space.
3.  SoFi (Best for Online Applications)

Are you ready for financial freedom with SoFi? Consolidate your high-rate debt into one fixed payment, saving you money each and every month, as you pay down your debt. Whether you need $5,000 or $100,000, SoFi can provide funds the same day you sign or pay off your credit card for you directly. They offer unemployment protection, modifying your payments and assisting you in finding your next role, if needed, too! Discover your rates in just 60 seconds with literally zero impact on your credit score and no commitment necessary. Enjoy low fixed rates that protect you from rising rates, so no matter what the economy does, your rate is etched in proverbial stone! With SoFi, there are no fees required: no origination fees, no prepayment fees, no late fees, and certainly no hidden fees of any kind. Your funds could be available as quickly as the same day your loan is approved. Plus, SoFi will be there to help modify your payments and support you in finding a new job if you have experienced an unemployment situation. Take control of your financial wellbeing with SoFi today.

  • There is a large array of loan products, including personal loans, student loan refinancing, mortgages, and much, much more.
  • Member benefits and perks, such as career coaching and financial planning services are available.
  • Offers a world-class user experience for both web and mobile, making loan management a breeze.
  • Longer loan approval process vs. the majority of their competitors.
  • There are limited customer support options outside of regular business hours.
  • Some users have reported some difficulty with the loan application and verification process.
4.  LightStream (Best for Variety of Options)

Your excellent credit paves the way for an exceptional rate with LightStream. If you have good credit, unlock a low-interest, fixed-rate loan ranging from $5,000 to $100,000, granting you the freedom to finance almost anything your heart desires…or consolidate debt, even. Embrace the ultimate loan experience awaiting you and
prepare for a groundbreaking lending revolution where simplicity reigns supreme. LightStream’s entirely digital process eliminates the need for excessive paperwork, providing a refreshing experience that is remarkably straightforward. Rest assured, they guarantee that your journey with LightStream will surpass all prior loan encounters, becoming an experience you will not soon forget. Experience rapid funding at your fingertips, as well. With LightStream, you hold the reins of the loan process. You have the power to select your preferred funding date, enabling you to take control of your financial destiny. What’s more, LightStream prides themselves on their ability to deposit funds directly into your account as early as the very same day you apply, empowering you with immediate access to your loan!

  • Rate Beat Program offers a lower rate if you find a better offer elsewhere (i.e., from a competitor).
  • Boasts many different loan products, including auto loans, home improvement loans, medical financing, and much, much more.
  • They offer high loan amounts, making it suitable for larger-than-avg. financial needs.
  • Rigid credit requirements; you will need good to excellent credit for approval.
  • There are no joint applications allowed, limiting the options for co-borrowers.
  • Limited customer support options, with no phone support available on weekends.
5.  PenFed (Top Credit Union)

Get going with the advantages of a PenFed Credit Union personal loan now. With an attractive starting APR of as low as 7.74%, flexible terms of up to 60 months, and loan amounts of up to $50,000, PenFed can offer the financial support you need. Maybe you need to make a big purchase. Perhaps you have some high-interest debt you would like to consolidate. Or, maybe you just need a vacation! Regardless, you can enjoy the freedom of no early payoff penalties, zero origination fees, and, of course, no hidden charges when you become a member at PenFed. Their open and transparent approach ensures a seamless borrowing experience, through and through. Check your interest rate without affecting your credit score, too, and choose from multiple pre-approved offers tailored to your situation with the utmost specificity. Once you have become verified by PenFed, you will receive your funds within one to two business days. And then…you are fully ready to go! So come join PenFed Credit Union today and turn your financial aspirations into reality.

  • Much of the time, they are beating out their competitors’ interest rates.
  • Offering heaps of loan options, which include personal loans, auto loans, home equity loans, and several others.
  • Membership benefits and rewards are exclusively available for PenFed Credit Union members.
  • Membership eligibility requirements may restrict access for some individuals.
  • Limited branch locations compared to larger lending institutions (it is a credit union).
  • Customer service response times can vary, with some users reporting some pretty lengthy hold times.