The 10 best personal loans for March 2024


If you need funds for a significant purchase, debt consolidation, or unforeseen expenses, personal loans offer a solution with potentially favorable rates to help you achieve your financial objectives. 

Given the multitude of lenders available, it can be overwhelming to choose. To assist you, the Fortune Recommends™ editorial team meticulously evaluated over 20 personal loan providers. We assessed factors such as interest rates, loan terms, fees, funding speed, and customer service options to compile a list of the top 10. 

For a detailed explanation of our process, please refer to our complete methodology.

The 10 best personal loans of March 2024

You can use personal loans to achieve a wide variety of financial goals. From buying a boat to consolidating debt—and everything in between—they’re one of the most flexible financial tools out there aside from credit cards.

But when selecting a lender, it pays to look beyond the monthly payment. Be sure to read online reviews at trusted sites like Trustpilot. Then, see if you can get preapproved using a soft credit check before submitting a complete application. While shopping around, soft credit checks can prevent your credit score from taking a hit.

Note: Rates, fees, and loan amounts are up to date as of March 1, 2024, but are subject to change.

1. LightStream 

Lightstream personal loan
Loan amount$5,000–$100,000
Loan Term24–144 months

LightStream is an online lender offering personal, auto, home improvement, and more loans. LightStream also offers a high-yield savings account. 

Why we picked it

LightStream’s personal loan offers a lower potential APR than many of our other picks. It also offers a wide range of loan terms up to 144 months. The best part? LightStream doesn’t charge any origination or late fees and may fund your loan as soon as the same day you’re approved. 

Bonus: If you’re approved for an unsecured personal loan through a different lender, LightStream will beat their rate by 0.10%.

2. BHG Money

BHG Money personal loan
Loan amount$20,000–$200,000
Loan Term36–120 months

BHG Money is a brand under the Florida-based financial services company BHG Financial. BHG Money focuses on providing personal loans to professionals and businesses nationwide.

Why we picked it

Personal loans from BHG Money offer terms similar to other lenders on our list. The main differentiator is that BHG Money offers much larger loan amounts—up to $200,000 without collateral. It also provides extended repayment terms of up to 120 months, giving you more time to repay bigger loans. 

After applying, you’ll likely have a decision within 24 hours and receive your funds in as few as three business days. 

3. PenFed Credit Union 

PenFed personal loan
Loan amount$0–$50,000
Loan TermUp to 60 months

Pentagon Federal Credit Union (PenFed) is a credit union based in Virginia that operates nationwide via its online banking products and massive ATM network.

Why we picked it

PenFed was the only credit union that made our list. Its personal loan rates are some of the lowest on the market, and highly qualified borrowers can receive a rate as low as 7.99%. 

Borrowers have up to 60 months to repay their loan and can borrow up to $50,000. PenFed does not charge any origination fees or early payoff penalties, and you can expect to receive your money one to two business days after verification.

4. SoFi

SoFi personal loan
Loan amount$5,000–$100,000
Loan Term24–84 months

SoFi is an online bank headquartered in San Francisco that offers checking, savings, investing products, and more. 

Why we picked it

SoFi’s personal loan took the fourth spot on our list for having decent rates and zero late fees. Plus, borrowers can get their loan funds the same day they’re approved. 

SoFi also considers all the “what ifs” that could happen during your repayment period. If you lose your job through no fault of your own, you may apply for unemployment protection. SoFi may modify your monthly loan payments upon approval and provide job placement assistance during your forbearance period.

5. TD Bank

TD Bank personal loan
Loan amount$2,000–$50,000
Loan Term36–60 months

TD Bank is one of the 10 largest banks in the United States and serves over 9.8 million customers. TD offers several personal, small business, and commercial banking products and investing and wealth management services. 

Why we picked it

The TD Fit loan is a good option for quick financing without any extra fees or penalties. TD Bank doesn’t charge any origination or application fees. However, late payments incur a fee of 5% of the minimum payment due, or $10, whichever is less. 

Loan terms range from 36 months to 60 months, giving borrowers the flexibility to pay down their balance over time. And there’s no penalty for paying off your balance early. If approved, you’ll typically get your funds in as little as one business day.

6. American Express

Amex personal loan
Loan amount$3,500–$40,000
Loan Term12–60 months

Founded in 1850 and headquartered in New York City, American Express is one of the largest global payment companies. It offers various products, including credit cards, deposit accounts, and loans.

Why we picked it

American Express may be known for its credit cards, but with low rates and no origination fees, American Express ranked as one of the best personal loan lenders today. You can borrow up to $40,000 and have up to 60 months to repay. Funds are usually deposited to your account within three to five days after approval.

Keep in mind that personal loans from American Express are only available to eligible cardholders. You’ll still be subject to a credit check and must submit an official application to receive a loan. Though you can generally use an American Express personal loan for debt consolidation, you can’t use the loan to pay down or consolidate balances on your AmEx cards

7. Citibank

Citibank personal loan
Loan amount$2,000–$30,000
Loan Term12–60 months

Citibank was founded in 1812 as the City Bank of New York and is headquartered in New York City. Citi currently offers credit cards, checking and savings accounts, lending services, wealth management services, and more.

Why we picked it

Citi made our list for offering rate discounts on its personal loans. Citi offers a 0.5% APR rate reduction if you enroll in automatic payments when you submit your loan application. Another 0.25% discount is applied to the interest rate for existing Citigold and Citi Priority customers. 

Once approved, borrowers can expect to receive the money that same day if they have a Citi account and up to two business days later for non-Citi accounts, upon approval and when using direct deposit. This can take up to five business days for customers who have requested a check.

8. Discover

Discover personal loan
Loan amount$2,500–$40,000
Loan Term36–84 months

Founded in 2000, Discover Bank is a financial services company that offers a wide range of banking products and services. It’s part of the larger Discover Financial Services, Inc., known for its Discover credit card brand.

Why we picked it

Discover rounds out our list with flexible, low-cost personal loan options. Its starting rate of 7.99% APR is low compared to many competitors, and borrowers can choose from a wide range of borrowing amounts and payoff terms.

Discover’s loan terms are comparable to other top lenders, making it a solid choice for those looking to borrow money for a variety of reasons.

9. Upgrade 

Upgrade personal loan
Loan amount$1,000–$50,000
Loan Term24–84 months

Upgrade is a younger fintech company founded in 2017, offering consumer credit cards, checking and savings options, personal loans, credit monitoring and education tools, and more. 

Why we picked it

To get an Upgrade personal loan, you must make an upfront investment—the origination fee ranges from 1.85% to 9.99%. You’ll also be on the hook for $10 if you make a late payment. However, if you can overlook these costs, you may benefit from Upgrade’s wide range of repayment terms, which allow you to choose a term from 24 to 84 months. Plus, once you’re approved and accept your loan terms, your funds will be available within four business days.

10. U.S. Bank 

U.S. Bank personal loan
Loan amount$1,000–$50,000 (up to $25,000 for non-customers)
Loan Term12–84 months (maximum 60 months for non-customers)

U.S. Bank is a part of U.S. Bancorp, which is headquartered in Minneapolis and has physical branches in 26 states. The bank offers checking and savings accounts, CDs, loans, and more. 

Why we picked it

U.S. Bank’s personal loan scored a spot on our list for its relatively low APR range compared to other banks on our list and 24/7 customer support. U.S. Bank offers quick funding for loan applicants and does not charge origination or prepayment fees. 

Existing bank customers need a FICO score of at least 680 to qualify for a loan. Plus, if you have a credit score of 800 or above, you can qualify for an APR on the lowest end of the range.

What to know about personal loans

A personal loan can be a convenient option for funding a purchase in a pinch, but it is also a big responsibility. Applying for a personal loan means that upon approval, you agree to repay your loan, plus interest, within the specified term. 

Personal loans may be secured or unsecured. A secured loan requires you to provide collateral as a security deposit for approval. Unsecured loans do not require collateral but may come with slightly higher rates. 

Personal loans typically have fixed interest rates, which means once your loan application is approved, your rate is locked in and will not change. These loans differ from other kinds of borrowing, such as credit cards or lines of credit, which have variable interest rates that may fluctuate in response to market changes. 

It’s important to note that when you apply for a personal loan, the lender will pull your credit report, resulting in a “hard inquiry,” which could temporarily ding your credit score. However, most lenders allow you to get a quote online without pulling your credit to determine if you’re likely to be approved if you submit a full application.

How to choose a personal loan 

If you’re considering applying for a personal loan, consider the following features to help you narrow down your options: 

  • Loan amount: Each lender has its parameters for how much loan applicants can borrow. The amount you’re approved for depends on your credit profile, income, debt-to-income ratio (DTI), and more. 
  • Loan term: The length of time you have to repay the loan is known as the term. Personal loan terms vary by lender, but you can often find terms of five years or more. Extending the term helps keep the monthly payment lower, but it also results in paying more interest over time and can ultimately make your loan more expensive. 
  • Annual percentage rate (APR): A personal loan’s APR dictates your total borrowing costs. The higher the APR, the more you’ll pay in interest over the life of your loan. 
  • Loan fees: You may be charged origination or administrative fees for processing your loan, prepayment fees for paying off your loan ahead of time, or late fees for making a late payment. Read your bank’s loan disclosures to determine the fees you may be encounter. 
  • Time to fund: Many personal loans are disbursed within days, while some lenders can fund your account the same day you’re approved. Before applying, confirm that your chosen lender can get you the funds in a timeframe that meets your needs.

Alternatives to personal loans

Personal loans typically come with more favorable interest rates and terms than other financing options, especially for borrowers with good credit. However, other types of credit may be better depending on your credit profile and financial situation. Some alternatives to personal loans include: 

  • Credit cards: Credit cards allow you to borrow against a line of credit and pay it down as needed. The average APR for credit cards now hovers at just over 22%, according to the most recent figures from the Fed. (The average rate for a two-year personal loan is just 12.35%.) 
  • Personal line of credit: A personal line of credit works similarly to a credit card. You can borrow against your credit limit for a set term, known as the draw period. After this period is up, you must begin paying down the balance.
  • A loan from a friend or family member: If you have a friend or family member willing to lend you the money interest-free or at a lower rate, with flexible terms, this may be the most cost-effective option. Of course, it’s important to set clear terms and adhere to them to avoid any potential fallout.
  • A home equity loan: A home equity loan allows you to borrow against the equity in your home in the form of an installment loan. Home equity loans have relatively low interest rates, though they can be riskier than personal loans since your home serves as collateral. 

Frequently asked questions

Can a personal loan hurt my credit score?

A personal loan will immediately impact your credit score, as would any new credit application. However, this impact is temporary. As long as you make your payments on time and in full, a personal loan will help improve your credit over time. 

Where can you get a personal loan?

Most banks and credit unions offer personal loans. You can start by asking your primary banking institution about its product offerings. Many institutions offer special relationship rates or terms for existing customers. 

What information do I need to apply for a personal loan? 

To apply for a personal loan, you’ll need your completed loan application, proof of identity, proof of income, verification of employment, and proof of address. Your bank may have additional requirements outside of these documents. 

Our methodology 

Our top picks are available across the U.S., so you can apply for a loan no matter where you live, although terms and conditions may vary from state to state. 

We ranked the personal loans in the following categories:

  • Minimum loan amount (12%): Many financial institutions set a minimum amount you can borrow. We favored personal loans with lower minimum loan requirements. 
  • Maximum loan amount (16%): Your bank or credit union may limit how much you can borrow. We favored banks with higher maximum loan amounts. 
  • Minimum APR (12%): This is the lowest advertised rate by the lender. The APR you qualify for will depend on your unique financial profile. 
  • Maximum APR (16%): This is the highest advertised rate by the lender. The APR you qualify for will depend on your unique financial profile. 
  • Maximum loan term (14%): This is the longest repayment timeline the lender offers. We prioritized lenders that offer longer repayment terms. 
  • Maximum late fee (10%): Some institutions charge a late fee if you pay after your due date. For institutions that charge a percentage of your monthly payment rather than a flat fee, we calculated the fee based on the monthly payment for a $10,000 loan at the average national APR for personal loans, which currently stands at 11.48%. We also selected each bank’s maximum loan term to arrive at the maximum late payment fee. We penalized banks that charged higher late fees. 
  • Origination or administrative fees (10%): An origination fee is a one-time fee some lenders charge to cover processing and administrative costs associated with a loan. This fee is usually a percentage of the loan amount. We penalized lenders that charge this fee in our rankings.
  • Time to fund (5%): The time it takes for your loan to be disbursed will depend on your lender and the bank that holds your account. We rewarded lenders that funded borrowers more quickly. We awarded points based on the number of business days each lender takes to fund borrowers.
    • Same business day: 5
    • Next business day: 4
    • 2 business days: 3
    • 3 business days: 2
    • 4-5 business days: 1
    • 6+ business days: 0

Customer support (5%): Top picks offer customers various ways to get in contact: chat support, phone, and/or email; our team most highly rated phone support.

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