The Best Personal Loans of 2020, Ranked
The sheer number of personal loan options can be overwhelming. Banks, online lending companies and online marketplaces all claim to offer the best loans, but who can you trust? To help cut through the noise, we put every major lender under a microscope and graded them in 10 quantifiable categories (see our full methodology beneath the list).
After crunching all the data, here’s our ranked list of the best personal loans of 2020.
Grade (out of 100)
The best of the rest
(out of 100)
|4th||88||Earnest: An extremely low median APR, zero fees and positive customer reviews earns Earnest a high spot on our list.|
|5th||88||USAA: Although catering exclusively to military members and families, USAA charges no fees and always takes care of its customers.|
|6th||85||Navy Federal Credit Union: Only serving certain members of the military and government, Navy Federal’s long repayment terms and customer satisfaction rating give it high marks. However, it does charge several fees.|
|7th||84||Payoff: Payoff’s specialty lies in its name: paying off debt. Through credit card consolidation, Payoff allows borrowers to start again, with lower interest rates and up to five years to pay it off. Read our full Payoff review.|
|8th||83||Fifth Third Bank: Although a low loan limit holds Fifth Third back from higher marks, its reasonable APR range, low fees and mobile support mean easy loan management and payments on the go.|
|9th||78||LightStream: If the application process isn’t as great as it claims, LightStream will send $100 your way and beat any competitor’s APR by 0.10%. But the transparency of SunTrust’s lending arm leaves something to be desired. Read our full Lightstream review.|
|10th||78||Best Egg: A high median APR brings down Best Egg’s score, but its high customer satisfaction rating and transparency in loan details makes it easy for borrowers to shop and compare rates. Read our full Best Egg review.|
|11th||78||Avant: Get ready to pay fees and medium-high interest rates if you apply for a personal loan with Avant. However, its next-day funding and easy application process could help borrowers who find themselves in a pickle. Read our full Avant review.|
|12th||77||Wells Fargo: Need a large loan? Wells Fargo has borrowers covered to up to $100K with very reasonable interest rates. But with its fees and recent scandals, it scores low in customer satisfaction. Read our full Wells Fargo review.|
|13th||76||Upstart: Although Upstart has a relatively high median APR, it’s still lower than most credit cards. As an online personal loan provider, Upstart focuses on consolidating credit card debt with quick and fair funding for borrowers to get a new start. Read our full Upstart review.|
|14th||73||PNC Bank: Because of its average rates, loan terms and loan amounts, PNC is just average as a lender. Be prepared for fees and a hard credit pull to check rates.|
|15th||73||Upgrade: Low transparency and several fees landed Upgrade at No. 15, but the lender still has virtue with high customer satisfaction ratings and a high maximum loan amount of $50,000. Read our full Upgrade review.|
|16th||69||Prosper: There isn’t an easy way to check Prosper’s rates and offerings without starting the application process and authorizing a soft credit pull, making it difficult to shop and compare with Prosper. Read our full Prosper review.|
|17th||67||US Bank: With hardly any information about restrictions, loan limits or even if checking the interest rate will be a hard or soft credit pull, US Bank ranks low in transparency and accessibility, but borrowers who already bank with US Bank would probably benefit from its Simple Loan product.|
|18th||65||OneMain: Fast funding is where OneMain shines, but only if it’s convenient to head to a local branch to finalize the loan. However, its high customer satisfaction rating and reasonable APR range makes it a great lender to turn to in a pinch.|
|19th||62||Lending Club: From a pool of investors, borrowers can secure funding in about four days, as long as they’re okay with higher APRs and an origination fee of 1% to 6% of the loan amount. Read our full Lending Club review.|
|20th||60||Citibank: With an “F” rating from the Better Business Bureau, be wary of how it treats its customers. Other than that, decent APRs and only one fee keep it in the running for the best personal loan providers.|
|21st||56||NetCredit: As an online lender catering to those with no credit or poor credit, NetCredit widens its own net with very high APRs — a median of 94.50%. If there’s nowhere else to turn to after rejections from other lenders, NetCredit can still help out.|
|22nd||56||OppLoans: Although very similar to a payday lender who specializes in borrowers with low credit and nowhere else to turn, OppLoans skirts that definition with longer repayment terms and lower APRS. But a median APR of 149% is nothing to sneeze at — avoid getting sucked into a cycle of debt if considering this lender. Read our full OppLoans review.|
We selected 10 key metrics we could compare between every major personal loan provider, then assigned a spectrum of possible grades for each metric between 0 and 10. Here’s a breakdown of all 10 metrics and grading spectrums.
The APR (annual percentage rate) on a loan is the amount of interest that accrues on the loan’s remaining balance every year. All lenders offer a range of APRs depending on your credit score. We took each brand’s current range and averaged the lowest and highest possible APRs in order to determine the median. (A lower median APR doesn’t necessarily translate into a lower APR for each borrower, but it’s a useful gauge of the lender’s rates.)
|10||Less than 12.00%|
Maximum loan amount
Some lenders cap their personal loans at $10,000 or less, but others go as high as $50,000 or $100,000. We rewarded lenders with more generous maximum loans.
|1||Less than $5,000|
|10||More than $75,000|
Maximum loan term
We also rewarded lenders for flexible loan terms. While it’s usually better to pay off a loan in three years instead of five, some borrowers need the added flexibility.
|2||2 years or less|
|10||6 years +|
Since there is no single metric to grade customer satisfaction for every brand, we relied on two: Better Business Bureau grades for BBB-rated lenders, and J.D. Power scores for the rest.
|Points||BBB rating||J.D. Power rating|
|1||D+ or lower||N/A|
How easy does the lender make it to get a custom quote? Does it require a soft credit check (no impact on your credit report) or a hard pull?
|2||Hard credit check + doesn’t make this clear until application|
|4||Hard credit check + makes this clear somewhere on the website|
|6||Hard credit check + lets you know on the main personal loans page|
|8||Soft credit check + makes this clear somewhere on the website|
|10||Soft credit check + lets you know on the main personal loans page|
We looked for three common fees — origination, late payment, and pre-payment — as well as any additional ones.
|2||4 or more fees|
We checked to see how easy lenders make it to find the information borrowers need. Do they make the following datapoints clearly visible on their homepages, scatter them throughout their websites or ask you to call for more details?
- APR range
- Minimum and maximum loans
- Loan terms
- Customer support
|10||All 5 datapoints|
How easy is it to speak with a customer support representative about your personal loan?
|2||Branch-only support (at a physical location)|
|6||Phone and web-based support|
|8||Phone, web and mobile support|
|10||Phone, web and mobile support with unique tools and calculators|
Most lenders now offer plenty of resource guides to help borrowers make smarter financial decisions, but we checked to see if they provided content in all of the following categories:
- Borrowing money
- Saving for the future
- Personal money management (including for the home)
- Credit and debt
- Investing and career-building
|10||All 5 categories|
We leveraged our trusted partners at The Simple Dollar for their own proprietary metric, the SimpleScore, which assigns personal loan providers with a score between 1 and 5.
|2||Less than 3.0|
If two or more lenders wound up with identical grades, we used the following tiebreakers (in order) to determine which ranked higher on our list.
- Median APR (ex: 7.99% would rank higher than 10.99%)
- Maximum loan amount (ex: $25,000 would rank higher than $10,000)
- Customer satisfaction (ex: an A+ Better Business Bureau rating would rank higher than a B+)