Intro: Best Places to Get a Personal Loan (Reviews)
It is sometimes difficult to predict when we will need money for something important. You could suddenly need money to pay the rent, to make your mortgage or car payment, or even to start or build a business.
That’s where an online personal loan comes in handy. For people with an urgent need for cash, but little or no access to a bank or other mainstream financial institution, online personal loans, while pricey, can be a life saver.
Basically, an online personal loan is an installment loan, meaning that it is repaid over a set period of time with a set of scheduled payments.
The beauty of a personal loan is that it’s personal, which means it can often be used for anything you’d like, including for a business, to fix a car or to pay bills. You can apply for online personal loans at any time of the day or night.
The best personal loan lenders presented in this “best personal loans reviews” article are those that provide online personal loans to a wide range of consumers while providing an amazing level of service and an effortless consumer experience.
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What Type of People Seek Online Personal Loans?
The need for online personal loans is not limited to people with low incomes or low credit scores. Owners of small businesses can benefit from the ready availability of cash from one of the best personal loan companies featured here.
Small businesses are notoriously expensive to start, and the need for cash is often greater than what a bank or credit union can offer. Companies that have maxed out their credit line but are still struggling to turn a profit can readily fire up their laptops in search of some quick cash. But where should they begin?
Which are the Best Personal Loan Companies?
So how do you know which online loan companies to use? Which are the best places to get a personal loan, and what makes them the best?
In this best personal loans reviews article, we present the top five best personal loan lenders.
Whether you’re looking for a loan to get you out of trouble until you start getting paid at your new job, or you need to replenish the shelves in your new business, these are the best personal loan companies around.
2017 Ranking and List of the Best Personal Loan Lenders
Below is this year’s list of five top-ranking personal loan providers, as identified by the AdvisoryHQ review team:
- First Choice Capital Resources
The team conducted a detailed review of these top personal loan companies and presents the pros and cons for you here.
However, the best personal loan lender for YOU will depend greatly on your specific needs, how long you need to repay your debt, and the amount you seek.
PersonalLoans.com, like many of the lenders we will discuss, is more like a broker than a lender. They take the approach that, especially in difficult times, people just need the money, without the hassle that most lenders provide.
There are thousands of possible personal loan lenders out there, and finding the right one can be difficult and confusing. For a lot of people, it’s necessary to apply with many different lenders before finding one that will approve them for the money they need.
When a borrower submits an application, PersonalLoan.com’s state-of-the-art technology will look at all of the information and present a potential lender, with relevant information the borrower can use to make sure the lender is the best one for their needs.
PersonalLoans.com works with an extensive network of lenders and can offer a wide variety of funding options up to as much as $35,000.
PersonalLoans.com offers three different types of loans:
- Peer-to-peer loans: Instead of borrowing money from a bank or finance company, the loan is provided by investors, with interest rates set by the investors, based on prevailing rates and your creditworthiness.
- Personal installment loans: These loans are handled directly with a bank, which will set the terms subject to the regulations of your state.
- Bank personal loans: These types of loans can be up to $35,000, with the interest rate set based on your credit score and the amount of the loan. You must have a proven monthly income – typically you’ll need to earn over $3,000 per month.
When the applicant is matched with a lender that is best able to meet their needs, they are redirected to that lender’s website to complete the loan process. Once the process is complete, the money will be direct deposited into the borrower’s bank account within 1-5 business days.
PersonalLoan.com has designed its system for the average consumer, with a goal of providing the best customer service experience in the industry; based on personal loan company reviews from a number of websites, they have accomplished just that.
The most common complaint about the company surrounds interest rates; with PersonalLoans.com, a borrower can expect to pay anywhere from 25% to 150%, depending on the loan details, but these are typical interest rates for online personal loans.
Also, should you find a problem with your loan, any legal action would be subject to Ute Indian laws, not typical regulations, as PersonalLoans.com is owned by Arrow Eagle LLC.
The bottom line is that PersonalLoans.com has developed a reputation as a good lender that processes loans efficiently and treats their customers fairly.
Until recently, this company was known as AvantCredit and it was primarily a payday loan company. However, the newly branded Avant has expanded its offerings and has become more of a personal loan lender, and they have updated their offerings to reflect that.
Whereas payday loans are still being offered by the company (now called “fast cash loans), these days people are more likely to take out a personal loan, up to $35,000.
Unlike a bank or most finance companies, however, Avant will loan money to people with a low credit score.
Avant gets high marks in most personal loans reviews, primarily because the firm has some of the lowest interest rates in the business. While payday lenders can charge more than 400% to lend money, the highest rate at Avant for its online personal loans is 95%.
It is also possible to get rates as low as 34% or even lower, depending on how much you borrow and for how long.
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These rates are actually quite low for unsecured personal loans. Unlike many online personal loan companies, Avant doesn’t just hook you up with a lender; they are a direct personal loan lender, and they also boast of real human client support services.
When you need help with an Avant loan, a customer service representative will be available to speak with you; no more calling an automated system and trying to trick it into giving you the answers you need.
The application process is fairly easy, but approval is not automatic. Avant will check your credit, and the terms of your loan agreement will depend greatly on your credit score. An applicant who has filed for bankruptcy recently will be denied very quickly. These are loans for people with shaky credit, not for those with bad credit.
There are a couple of downsides to Avant. Unlike many lenders, they don’t have a decades-long track record to boast of; they’re relatively new. Also, you have to live in one of the 17 states in which they operate: Oregon, Idaho, California, Utah, New Mexico, Texas, South Dakota, Kansas, Missouri, Louisiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Maryland, and Delaware.
The application is a little more detailed than that of many other online personal loan lenders, primarily because Avant checks your credit. They also have no phone application available, no overnight deposit option, and several documents will have to be faxed.
That said, Avant will deposit the money into your account directly and their customer service people are very good at assisting borrowers step-by-step through the process. Also, it doesn’t matter how long you have been employed, and you can even be on public assistance or self-employed.
NetCredit is one of the largest providers of online personal loans anywhere. The company is a subsidiary of Chicago-based Enova International, Inc., which is a huge online personal loan lender with millions of customers, though they claim they are very small and very focused on the personal loan market.
What puts them in the “best personal loan company” category is their strong emphasis on customer service. Most of the best personal loan reviews about NetCredit seem to support this view. They are also affiliated with Cash America, which is the largest chain of pawn shops in the country.
One of the more interesting features of a NetCredit online personal loan is the My Choice Guarantee, which allows borrowers to return the money loaned the day after funding for any reason, no questions asked.
Unlike many other online personal loan companies, their rates and their terms are relatively simple and easy to understand, and NetCredit takes consumers’ privacy and security seriously. Honesty when it comes to disclosing the terms of every loan matters to NetCredit, so that there are no big surprises. When approved for a loan, the borrower knows exactly what they will be paying for the money, and there are no hidden fees.
The application process with NetCredit is very simple and straightforward, although they will check your credit before approving a loan. NetCredit uses a complex algorithm and evaluates what they claim are “thousands of variables” in determining eligibility for a loan, and not simply the person’s credit score.
Borrowers are placed into one of three tiers: gold, for those with fair credit, which qualifies them for higher loan amounts and interest rates as low as 35%; silver, for those whose credit is a bit worse, offering interest rates as high as 85%; and bronze, for those with poor credit, which costs them 150% or more and limits the amount they can borrow. Borrowers know almost instantly how much they can borrow and at what rate.
The actual rates and maximum borrowing amounts will vary depending on the state in which the borrower lives. NetCredit online personal loans are only available in 13 states: Alabama, California, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Missouri, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin.
Once a borrower is approved, besides a payment schedule, this online personal loan lender also provides borrowers with a wealth of tools designed to improve their credit and improve their overall economic health.
In summary, NetCredit is an excellent alternative for those who have fair credit who want an unsecured loan, meaning they don’t have to use assets as collateral, and for those who want to be able to choose a larger loan amount or perhaps a longer repayment period.
The parent company has a stellar reputation and its online personal loan reviews show that its customers are largely very happy.
Prosper is a bit different than the other best lenders for personal loans we’ve discussed in that they are purely a peer-to-peer lending network or, as the company describes it, marketplace. What makes them different than many of the others on this list is that their primary purpose is to provide funding to small businesses and projects that benefit the economy as a whole.
This means that Prosper’s investors (they claim to have more than two million members) put their money into Prosper and decide which projects they want their money to sponsor.
Prospective borrowers make a loan request for between $2,000 and $35,000, and the investors choose whichever projects they find to be either financially or socially rewarding. Once the money has been raised, Prosper then services the loan on behalf of both the investors and borrower.
Basically, while they claim they “cut out the middleman to connect people who need money with those who have money,” they, in fact, act as such a middleman. So far, according to company marketing, they have funded more than $5 billion in loans.
The way this system works is simple. First, a prospective borrower chooses a loan amount and creates a listing, explaining exactly what they plan to do with the money. The loan request is then listed for investors to see and decide if they would like to loan money for that project.
Rather than dealing with a bank or finance company, with a static set of criteria for approving a loan, when the borrower applies for a loan through Prosper, individual investors decide if you’re worthy, which can be either good or bad.
If you're approved, Prosper offers far better interest rates than the rest of the best online personal loan lenders. If you have really great credit or investors decide they like you, your interest rate could be as low as 6%, whereas the top rate they advertise is 36%, presumably for borrowers with less than good credit or less proven projects.
The investors decide who they want to invest in and the return they want on their loan. Then, the borrower makes payments to Prosper and the investor gets most of that money back.
While Prosper’s application process is easy and involves a smartphone app, there are a few things borrowers should know. For one thing, Prosper is not for those with poor credit.
If your credit score is below 640, you have no current income, or you have a high debt-to-income ratio, Prosper's investors probably won’t loan you money for personal use. Also, Prosper’s loan terms are not very flexible, since it’s not their money. There can be no adjustments to the loan terms, and if a payment is late, there are fees.
Prosper is great if you’re starting a small business and need cash, but it should not be your first choice if you need a loan to get you through a hard time or because no one else will lend you money due to poor (or little) credit. It’s designed for people with good credit who want to start or turn around a business.
First Choice Capital Resources
First Choice Capital Resources is yet another of the top online personal loan companies that started with a primary emphasis on payday loans. First Choice was founded and is still located in the U.K., and they have expanded into more traditional installment loans as well.
If you have bad credit and are in need of emergency cash, they still offer payday loans, but they are fast becoming one of the best personal lenders in the business.
Like others mentioned in this review of the best places to get a personal loan, First Choice Capital Resources is more of a broker, matching borrowers to the best lenders for their circumstances.
You fill out a simple online application, including how much you want to borrow, your basic banking information and your state, and they will provide you with a list of lenders who are willing to lend you the money.
Since First Choice Capital Resources is not a lender, they can’t offer or guarantee a specific interest rate or fee schedule; they only provide borrowers with access to lenders, each of which will disclose all terms, fees and interest to the borrowers, who can examine everything before making a decision as to which terms are best for their situation.
First Choice Capital Resources is an excellent resource for personal loans online because most of their personal loan reviews are very positive. They are highly praised for their quick approval process and the variety and quality of the personal loan lenders they work with.
Their website is very easy to use, their application and approval process is quick and easy, usually taking as little as two days, and their interest rates, while higher than a bank’s, are very competitive.
As you can see from this review of the top online personal loan companies, there are many choices available, and the best for you will depend on what you need, how good your credit is, and how much you are willing to pay.
If you have poor credit, a payday loan may be your best bet, but if you have a business to run or your credit isn't terrible, an online personal loan may be a great alternative for you.
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