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If you need a personal loan, there are a few places you can look. But your approval is based on your credit score. The higher your credit score, the better your chances of getting approved for a personal loan. Your creditworthiness is your main factor in being eligible for getting a loan. Try to shoot for good credit or excellent credit (a score of 670 or above is considered good) to qualify and compare your loan options.

You can get a loan from a few different places: banks, credit unions, and online lenders. But every lender has different requirements and loan terms. Don’t sign up for the first one you see. Here are your options when it comes to getting a personal loan.

Banks

Not all banks offer personal loans, but if you already have a bank account with a traditional bank, it’s a good idea to ask if they do. Existing customers might even qualify just for having accounts at the bank.

While great credit can ensure you’re eligible for a bank loan, you might find a better interest rate or loan term at other financial institutions. Sometimes, the loan application process at banks is longer and requires more paperwork than other lenders. Try to compare getting a loan from a bank to other places.

Credit unions

Credit unions are another place to look to get a loan. Credit unions are not for profit and sometimes offer lower rates than banks. Personal loans from credit unions tend to have lower fees and interest rates. Along with that, approval ratings are higher for those with bad credit compared to banks.

The downside is that for the most part, you have to become a credit union member before qualifying for a loan. Requirements to join vary by credit union, but you usually need to be a member for a certain period of time — like a month, for example — before receiving a loan. Just like banks and other lenders, make sure you check out your local credit union loan offers before signing up.

Online lenders

There are also a variety of online lenders you can get a personal loan from. The best personal loan lenders offer low interest rates and have good repayment terms. Some have other features like no origination fee, no fees for late payments, or low monthly payments that you can spread out over a few years. This might help you if your monthly bills are tight on your budget as it is. Plus, getting a loan from an online lender is typically much faster.

If you’re unsure if you qualify for a personal loan from an online lender, you might qualify for one at another lender. Because requirements vary by lender, there’s a chance one lender has something for you. Online lenders usually have faster approval and distribution times over bank loans.

What you need to qualify for a loan

Before you look for how to get a loan, make sure you have all your necessary paperwork in place. The more prepared you are, the less time it can take to get approved. Here’s what you should do as you prepare to apply for a loan:

  1. Review your credit. Get your free credit report from AnnualCreditReport.com to see if you have any bad marks. Derogatory marks can bring down your credit score, so you want to clear your report to make sure it’s in the best shape possible to take out a loan.
  2. Decide how much need. It might seem like a good idea to apply for a loan that’s more than you need right now, but it’s not worth it. Only request what you need and remember when you pay it back, it’s with interest. Also how much you need might determine where you get a loan as many lenders require a minimum loan amount.
  3. Check your budget. If your personal loan is going to add another monthly payment, make sure there’s room in your budget for it.

Once you’re ready to get a loan, you can use Credible to compare rates from multiple personal loan lenders by filling out one simple form. If you think you won’t qualify for the rates you want based on your credit, you can also consider getting a cosigner.

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Find the right loan for you

Regardless of where you’re trying to get a loan, many different factors can impact your approval. Browse through bank loans, credit unions, and online lenders to see which one is the right fit. You don’t need to settle on the first one you find. It’s important to research each company’s offerings before signing up.

Remember before you even start to look for loans, do a credit check first. Some lenders offer personal loans to those with credit history that’s not-so-great, but you could end up paying higher interest rates because of it.

Try to get your credit in the best shape possible before applying. Then you can look for lenders that have quick payment times, low interest rates and fees, and good repayment terms.

LenderRates from (APR)Loan Amounts 
avant

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Fixed: 9.95%+$2,000 up to $35,000Get Rates
Loan Terms
• 2 - 5 years

Loan uses
• Debt consolidation, emergency expense, life event, home improvement, and other purposes

Eligibility
• Must be a resident in the U.S. with a valid Social Security number
• Must have physical address (P.O. boxes are only accepted for military residences)
best egg

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Fixed: 5.99%+$2,000 up to $35,000Get Rates
Loan Terms
• 3 - 5 years

Loan uses
• Credit card refinancing, debt consolidation, home improvement, and other purposes

Eligibility
• Must be a U.S. Citizen or a Permanent Resident Alien
• Can't be a resident of IA, VT, or WV
freedomplus

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Fixed: 4.99%+$10,000 up to $35,000Get Rates
Loan Terms
• 2 - 5 years

Loan uses
• Debt consolidation, home improvement, wedding, travel, medical expenses, and other purposes

Eligibility
• Must be a resident in the U.S. with a valid Social Security number
• Required documentation includes verified income and bank account, a valid ID, and your signature
lendingclub

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Fixed: 6.95%+$1,000 up to $40,000Get Rates
Loan Terms
• 3 - 5 years

Loan uses
• Debt consolidation, paying off credit cards, home improvement, pool loans, vacations, and other purposes

Eligibility
• Must be a U.S. Citizen or Resident Alien with a valid Social Security number and physical address, currently residing in the U.S.
• Must have valid government issued photo ID
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lightstream

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Fixed: 3.99%+ $5,000 up to $100,000Get Rates
Loan Terms
• 2 - 7 years

Loan uses
• Credit card refinancing, debt consolidation, home improvement, and other purposes

Eligibility
• Borrower must reside in the U.S.
marcus

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Fixed: 6.99%+$3,500 up to $40,000Get Rates
Loan Terms
• 3 - 6 years

Loan uses
• Credit card refinancing, debt consolidation, home improvement, and other purposes

Eligibility
• Must be a U.S. Citizen or Resident Alien with a valid Social Security number and physical address, currently residing in the U.S.
• Borrower cannot reside in MD
payoff

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Fixed: 5.99%+$5,000 up to $35,000Get Rates
Loan Terms
• 2 - 5 years

Loan uses
• Debt consolidation and credit card consolidation only

Eligibility
• Borrower can't reside in DC, DE, IA, LA, MA, MD, MI, MN, MS, NC, NE, NV, OH, OK, VA, VT, WA, WI, or WV
prosper

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Fixed: 6.95%+$2,000 up to $35,000Get Rates
Loan amounts
• 3 - 5 years

Loan uses
• Debt consolidation, home improvement, vehicles, small business, new baby expenses, and other purposes

Eligibility
• Must be a U.S. resident with a bank account and Social Security number
• No collateral required (loans through Prosper are unsecured), you qualify for a loan based on your credit history
upstart

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Fixed: 7.99%+$1,000 up to $50,000Get Rates
Loan Terms
• 3 - 5 years

Loan uses
• Debt consolidation, credit card refinancing, home improvement, and other purposes

Eligibility
• Borrower can't be a resident of CT, CO, IA, MA, MD, VT, or WV
upstart

View details
Fixed: 8.89%+$1,000 up to $50,000Get Rates
Loan amounts
• 3 - 5 years

Loan uses
• Payoff credit cards, consolidate debt, take a course or bootcamp, relocate, make a large purchase, and other purposes

Eligibility
• Must be a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident with a verifiable Social Security number
• Must have a bank account at a U.S. financial institution with a routing transit number
• Must have a full time job, full time job offer starting in six months, or another source of regular income

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