2020 Personal Loans Survey

To better understand how Americans are using personal loans — and how happy they are with their experience — we partnered with the research data and analytics group YouGov to survey 3,999 people across the country.

Here’s what we learned.


89% of borrowers were satisfied with at least one aspect of their personal loan.

Majorities of borrowers were “very satisfied” with each aspect we tested for personal loans, from applying to repayment and customer service.


Nearly 1 in 4 American adults have taken out a personal loan in the last 10 years.

Thanks to low interest rates, personal loans have become an increasingly popular financing solution over the last decade.

US adults 18+; N = 3,999


The most common uses for personal loans are debt consolidation, home improvement and emergency expenses.

According to Transunion, using a personal loan for debt consolidation often leads to a higher credit score.


Wells Fargo is by far the most popular lender, followed by Lending Club and OneMain.

Wells Fargo is the fourth-largest bank in America, Lending Club is an online, peer-to-peer marketplace that matches borrowers with individual investors, and OneMain is an online lender that specializes in borrowers with low credit scores.

Here’s our ranked list of the best personal loan lenders according to our research.


It takes most borrowers (52%) between one and three years to pay back their loans.

Most lenders offer terms between one and five years, with a few offering six or seven.


Most people borrow less than $10,000.

Even though lenders offer up to $50,000 — or even $100,000 in some cases — 65% of borrowers take out less than $10,000.


More than 3 in 10 borrowers believe their credit scores are lower than 670.

Personal loans aren’t just for people with good credit. Nearly 1 in 3 borrowers have fair or poor credit scores (but pay higher interest rates).

Here’s how to get a personal loan with bad credit.


Survey methodology

PersonalLoans.org commissioned YouGov to conduct the survey, and all figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 3,999 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between November 21-27, 2019. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all US adults (aged 18+).

This survey was conducted using an online interview administered to members of the YouGov Plc panel of individuals who have agreed to take part in surveys. Emails are sent to panelists selected at random from the base sample. The e-mail invites them to take part in a survey and provides a generic survey link. Once a panel member clicks on the link they are sent to the survey that they are most required for, according to the sample definition and quotas. The responding sample is weighted to the profile of the sample definition to provide a representative reporting sample. The profile is normally derived from census data or, if not available from the census, from industry accepted data.

Still want more data?

Questions?

  • Contact Hayley Armstrong at hayley@personalloans.org for more details.

Adam Morgan

Senior Editor

Adam Morgan is a senior editor at PersonalLoans.org. An award-winning journalist with more than 15 years of experience covering finance and culture, his writing has been featured in The Guardian, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The AV Club, Chicago magazine, The Simple Dollar and elsewhere.