How to Find the Best Personal Loan

A personal loan is an unsecured lump-sum installment loan that’s typically available from banks, credit unions and online lenders. A borrower can use loan proceeds for almost any expense, including debt consolidation, home renovations and vacations. Many lenders will offer an online prequalification tool that can help borrowers determine their eligibility without damaging their credit score.

The best personal loans will feature competitive interest rates and favorable terms for borrowers’ credit levels. It’s important to find the right loan amount and term length that fits your budget, as well as consider whether you need to add a cosigner or if collateral is required. Look for a lender that does not charge an origination fee, or that offers a flexible repayment option so you can manage your debt.

To determine the best personal loans, CNBC Select analyzed dozens of U.S. lenders, assessing their credit-scoring requirements and loan terms, as well as their customer service and application process. The top lenders on our list offer low, fixed-rate APRs, flexible loan amounts and terms, and no or low signup or origination fees.

The best personal loan will provide a variety of payment options, such as automatic debits and flexible loan terms to allow you to pay off your debt more quickly. It will also offer a fast funding timeline, with some lenders offering same-day or next day funding. Lenders on our list, such as Upgrade and American Express, will waive their origination fees for borrowers who open a checking account with them.

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