5 Lenders That Let You Apply for a Personal Loan Completely Online


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Personal loans have become a convenient way to borrow small or large amounts of money, which are often used to cover a variety of big-ticket expenses such as weddings, funerals, vacations, surprise medical bills, or home repairs.

And because lenders will typically disburse the funds directly into your bank account, you can start using the money as soon as possible. Being able to complete the personal loan application process online makes them feel even easier to access, though some banks also offer physical branches in case you’d prefer to do this in person.

Below, Select outlines five personal loan lenders that offer expedient funding and a convenient online application process. When compiling this list of the best personal loans, Select evaluated dozens of lenders, looking at key factors such as interest rates, fees, loan amounts and the types of term lengths offered, as well as other features including autopay discounts, customer service, how the funds would be distributed and how fast you’d receive them. Read more about our methodology below.

Select’s picks for the best personal loans that offer an online application process

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Best overall

LightStream Personal Loans

  • Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

    3.49% to 19.99%* when you sign up for autopay

  • Loan purpose

    Debt consolidation, home improvement, auto financing, medical expenses, wedding and others

  • Loan amounts

  • Terms

  • Credit needed

  • Origination fee

  • Early payoff penalty

  • Late fee

Pros

  • Same-day funding available through ACH or wire transfer
  • Loan amounts up to $100,000
  • No origination fees, no early payoff fees, no late fees
  • LightStream plants a tree for every loan

Cons

  • Requires several years of credit history
  • No option to pay your creditors directly
  • Not available for student loans or business loans
  • No option for pre-approval on website (but pre-qualification is available on some third-party lending platforms)

Who’s this for? LightStream offers low interest loans with flexible terms to customers with good credit or higher — as with any loan or line of credit, those with excellent credit will be able to take advantage of the lowest interest rates available.

This lender provides personal loans for just about every purpose except for higher education and small businesses. You’ll generally receive your funds on the same day as long as you apply during a banking business day, your application is approved, you can electronically sign your loan agreement — you won’t need to visit a physical branch to sign anything — and you verify your direct deposit banking account information by 2:30 p.m. ET. Even if you can’t make the deadline, you should be able to receive your funds on the next business day, making this an especially appealing option for anyone in need of funding in a pinch.

LightStream also doesn’t charge any origination, administration or early payoff fees, while its loan repayment terms range from 24 to 144 months, making them some of the longest terms on our list.

Best for debt consolidation

Marcus by Goldman Sachs Personal Loans

  • Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

    6.99% to 19.99% APR when you sign up for autopay

  • Loan purpose

    Debt consolidation, home improvement, wedding, moving and relocation or vacation

  • Loan amounts

  • Terms

  • Credit needed

  • Origination fee

  • Early payoff penalty

  • Late fee

Pros

  • No origination fees, no early payoff fees, no late fees
  • Will send direct payment to up to 10 creditors (for debt consolidation)
  • Monthly VantageScore updates
  • Earn a one-month payment vacation (interest-free) after making 12 on-time consecutive payments
  • Ability to choose your due date when you accept the loan (and again up to two more times after that)

Cons

  • Does not accept joint applications and/or co-signers
  • Not the fastest funding (can take a week or 10 business days)
  • Slightly tougher approval requirements (especially for larger loans/lower interest)

Who’s this for? Marcus by Goldman Sachs offers personal loans for debt consolidation, among other purposes such as home improvements, weddings, vacations or moving costs. Marcus is an arm of Goldman Sachs and actually doesn’t have a physical location, so customers must handle all account openings and loan applications online.

When it comes to debt consolidation, some lenders may only send funds directly to your creditors or deposit funds directly into your account, however Marcus by Goldman Sachs provides even more options. When you’re approved for a Marcus debt consolidation loan, the company will ask if you’d like to use direct payments to send money to up to 10 creditors, ensuring the funds are actually being used to wipe out your debt. This also takes some of the hassle out of your hands since you won’t have to worry about manually sending each payment to each creditor on your own.

If this option works for you, you’ll need to provide your creditors’ account numbers and addresses as well as the amount or amounts you’d like to be paid. Marcus then deposits anything that’s left over into your connected bank account. Best of all, using this direct payment option comes at no extra cost.

Applicants can qualify to borrow up to $40,000 while term lengths vary from 36 to 72 months. Keep in mind the best way to qualify for an interest rate on the lower end of the lender’s range is to apply with the highest credit score you can.

Best for larger loan amounts

SoFi Personal Loans

  • Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

    5.74% – 21.28% when you sign up for autopay

  • Loan purpose

    Debt consolidation/refinancing, home improvement, relocation assistance or medical expenses

  • Loan amounts

  • Terms

  • Credit needed

  • Origination fee

  • Early payoff penalty

  • Late fee

Pros

  • No origination fees, no early payoff fees, no late fees
  • Unemployment protection if you lose your job
  • DACA recipients can apply with a creditworthy co-borrower who is a U.S. citizen/permanent resident by calling 877-936-2269
  • Can have more than one SoFi loan at a time (state-permitting) 
  • May accept offer of employment (to start within the next 90 days) as proof of income
  • Co-applicants may apply

Cons

  • Applicants who are U.S. visa holders must have more than two years remaining on visa to be eligible
  • No co-signers allowed (co-applicants only)

Who’s this for? SoFi allows potential borrowers to apply for as little as $5,000 and as much as $100,000, making it a very solid choice if you think you’ll need to borrow much higher amounts of money for larger expenses — other lenders will typically only offer up to $50,000 in loan amounts.

SoFi allows you to choose between variable or fixed APRs, which is a bit uncommon among other lenders, which usually only offer fixed rates. Variable rates can go up and down over the lifetime of your loan, so you could potentially save money if the APR goes down, however, it’s important to remember that the APR can also go up significantly. With fixed rates, on the other hand, you’ll be charged the same interest rate for the duration of the loan’s term, which can make it easier for you to budget for repayment.

Like other lenders, SoFi offers a 0.25% discount on your APR for signing up for autopay and doesn’t charge any late fees, origination fees or prepayment penalties. Once you apply and get approved for a SoFi personal loan, your funds should be available within a few days of signing your agreement.

Best for quick funding

Avant Personal Loans

  • Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

  • Loan purpose

    Debt consolidation, major expenses, emergency costs, home improvements

  • Loan amounts

  • Terms

  • Credit needed

  • Origination fee

  • Early payoff penalty

  • Late fee

    Up to $25 per late payment after 10-day grace period

Pros

  • Lends to applicants with scores lower than 600
  • No early payoff fees
  • Can pre-qualify with a soft credit check (no hard inquiry)
  • Quick funding (often by the next day)
  • Late payment grace period of 10 days
  • Option to apply for secured loan (against title of your car) for potentially lower interest

Cons

  • Origination fee
  • Potentially high interest (caps at 35.99% APR)
  • No autopay APR discount
  • No direct payments to creditors (for debt consolidation)
  • No co-signers

Information about Avant’s secured loans:

In 40 states, Avant offers an alternative to title loans for borrowers who want to use the equity from their car to potentially qualify for lower interest.

  • Repayment options between two to four years.
  • Applicant’s entire credit profile is evaluated, including credit score, income and borrowing history (not just the value of the car)
  • Rates as low as 9.95% (capped at 35.99% APR)

Who’s this for? Avant can typically provide loans as soon as the next business day once you’ve been approved, providing plenty of incentive for going forward with an online application. The lender offers personal loan amounts as low as $2,000 and as high as $35,000, making it a solid choice for those who need to borrow a moderate amount of money.

Avant is one lender that will consider applicants with a less-than-ideal credit score, including applicants with credit scores under 600 — keep in mind, however, that the higher your credit score is the more likely you are to receive the lowest available rate. Before applying for this loan, see if you pre-qualify for a rate that’s on the lower end of the APR range.

Note that while there are no penalties for paying your loan off early, there is an origination fee of up to 4.75% and a late fee of up to $25 following the 10-day grace period.

Best for a lower credit score or no credit history

Upstart Personal Loans

  • Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

  • Loan purpose

    Debt consolidation, credit card refinancing, home improvement, wedding, moving or medical

  • Loan amounts

  • Terms

  • Credit needed

    FICO or Vantage score of 600 (but will accept applicants whose credit history is so insufficient they don’t have a credit score)

  • Origination fee

    0% to 8% of the target amount

  • Early payoff penalty

  • Late fee

    The greater of 5% of monthly past due amount or $15

Pros

  • Open to borrowers with fair credit (minimum 600 score)
  • Will accept applicants who have insufficient credit history and don’t have a credit score
  • No early payoff fees
  • 99% of personal loan funds are sent the next business day after completing required paperwork before 5 p.m. Monday through Friday

Cons

  • High late fees
  • Origination fee of 0% to 8% of the target amount (automatically withheld from the loan before it’s delivered to you)
  • $10 fee to request paper copies of loan agreement (no fee for eSigned virtual copies)
  • Must have a social security number

Who’s this for? While having a higher credit score can help you score a lower interest rate on your personal loan, some lenders, such as Upstart, make it easier for applicants with limited or no credit history to get approved as well. According to the website, applicants with a credit history should apply with a minimum credit score of 300, although the company also accepts applicants with no credit history. Sometimes, a potential borrower may have a lower credit score because they have extremely limited credit activity, while other times, a lack of credit history may result in them not even having a credit score.

You can apply for loan amounts as low as $1,000 and as much as $50,000, and while there are no penalties for paying off your balance early, Upstart does charge an origination fee (up to 8% of the amount borrowed) and a late fee ($15 or 5% of the past due balance, whichever is greater).

When it comes to repaying the balance, loan terms range from 36 to 60 months, making it an appealing option for borrowers who think they may need more time to repay the entire loan.

Our methodology

To determine which personal loans were the best, Select analyzed dozens of U.S. personal loans offered by banks (both online and brick-and-mortar) and large credit unions that come with no origination or sign up fees, fixed-rate APRs and flexible loan amounts and terms to suit an array of financing needs.

When narrowing down and ranking the best personal loans for excellent credit, we focused on the following features:

  • No origination or sign up fee: Most of the lenders on this list charge borrowers an upfront fee for processing your loan.
  • Fixed rate APR: Variable rates can go up and down over the lifetime of your loan, but having a fixed rate APR means you’ll lock in a particular interest rate for the duration of your loan’s term so monthly payments won’t vary and your budget will be easier to plan out.
  • Flexible minimum and maximum loan amounts and terms: Each lender on the list provides a variety of financing options that you can customize based on your monthly budget and how long you need to pay back your loan.
  • No early payoff penalties: These lenders do not charge borrowers for paying off loans early.
  • A streamlined application process: We considered whether or not each lender offered same-day approval decisions and a fast online application process.
  • Customer support: Every loan on our list provides customer service via telephone, email or secure online messaging. We also chose lenders with an online resource hub or advice center that helps educate customers about the personal loan process and their finances.
  • Fund disbursement: The loans on our list deliver funds promptly through either electronic wire transfer to your checking account or in the form of a paper check. Some lenders, which we noted above, offer the ability to pay your creditors directly.
  • Autopay discounts: We noted which lenders reward you for enrolling in autopay by lowering your APR by 0.25% to 0.5%.
  • Creditor payment limits and loan sizes: The lenders listed above provide loans in a variety of sizes, ranging from $500 to $100,000. While each lender advertises its respective payment limits and loan sizes, completing the pre-approval process can give you a better idea of what your interest rate and monthly payment will be for your desired loan amount.

After reviewing the above features, we sorted our recommendations according to the best for overall financing needs, debt consolidation and refinancing, small loans and next-day funding.

While the rates and fee structures advertised for personal loans are subject to fluctuate in accordance with the Fed rate, once you accept your loan agreement, a fixed rate APR guarantees your interest rate and monthly payment will remain consistent throughout the entire term of the loan.

Keep in mind that your APR, monthly payment and loan amount all depend on your credit history and creditworthiness. Because of this, lenders will conduct a hard credit inquiry and request a full application, which typically includes proof of income and address, as well as identity verification, among other required personal and financial information. 

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Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.

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