Last Updated January, 2020
Advertiser Disclosure With this site we attempt to keep you updated on all things finance, technology and dating. This independently-owned site is meant for research and informational purposes only. All reviews, blogs, scores and ratings appearing on this are at the sole discretion of Read More...
Editor's Choice
Star Ratings
Credible gives borrowers control over their finances with real-time rate comparisons from trustworthy lenders. Start your search today.
  • Simple form to fill out to check rates
  • Free, fast vetted lender comparisons
  • No negative effect on credit score when checking rates
overall rating
Read Review
Star Ratings
LendingTree Personal Loans helps people find personal, auto, mortgage, and school loans by comparing terms and prices in a network of lenders.
  • There's a large choice of lenders
  • You can apply with bad credit
  • There are no fees
overall rating
Read Review
Star Ratings
Monevo shows you personalized loan offers from major online lenders, all without impacting your credit score. View rates starting as low as 3.99% APR.
  • International award-winning company
  • Soft credit check (no impact on score)
  • Lending partners are listed on website
overall rating
Read Review
Star Ratings
Access a variety of borrowing options from authorized lenders using the Loansunder36 aggregator site. Loans range from $1,000 to $35,000, with APRs between 5.99% and 35.99%.
  • Avoids loans with overly high interest rates
  • A wide range of loan amounts and repayment plans available
  • Receive a payout within a day
overall rating
Read Review
Star Ratings
AmOne Loans uses a free online service to match potential borrowers to their ideal credit solution, with capable assistance from live customer support.
  • Available for all credit scores
  • Instant results match individual credit needs
  • Safe, secure, and confidential
overall rating
Read Review
Star Ratings
Prosper Loans is a peer-to-peer lending marketplace with thousands of clients and over $16 billion in funds successfully borrowed.
  • Quick approval and fund disbursement
  • Excellent customer service and support
  • Soft credit check (won't affect score)
overall rating
Read Review
Star Ratings
LendingPoint Loans offers fixed-rate personal loan, financing options up to $25,000, and an online application that doesn’t affect your credit score.
  • Uses a "soft pull" credit check
  • Doesn't charge a prepayment fee
  • Offers flexible loan repayment options
overall rating
Read Review
Star Ratings
Sofi makes personal lending easy with a convenient online application, fixed and variable interest rates, unemployment protection, and autopay.
  • Variable and fixed rate borrowing available
  • Unemployment protection, offering flexible repayment terms
  • Borrowing limits up to $100,000
overall rating
Read Review
Star Ratings
Rocket Personal Loans help with debt consolidation, school and vehicle costs, housing and other needs for those with fair credit scores and less than average income.
  • Perfect credit not required
  • Get your loan in 1-3 business days
  • Easy online application process
overall rating
Read Review

Essential Things to Know About Applying for a Loan

Whether you’re searching for loan providers for a personal, auto, or a debt consolidation loan or you just need to borrow some extra cash to renovate your home or take a vacation, you must be well-prepared for the application process. Lenders usually require a large amount of personal details from borrowers when determining their eligibility for a loan, and without the right identification and information, most won’t even consider processing an application.

There’s also a wide range of features to look for in both the terms of a loan and the loan providers. Before entering into an agreement with any lender, it’s vital to make sure that you understand the process. The information below covers the typical requirements when applying for a loan and how to find a trustworthy loan provider.

What Types of Loan Providers Are There?

Consumers borrow money from financial institutions and private lenders for a variety of reasons. While you can obtain many types of loans through major banks, plenty of private lenders provide loans as well. While loans may be issued for any reason, some of the most common types of loans include:

  • Auto loans
  • Mortgages
  • Student loans
  • Debt consolidation loans
  • Personal loans
  • Small business loans
  • Lines of credit
  • Payday loans

Closed-End Credit

Closed-end credit is the term used to describe loans that are issued for a particular item or amount, such as auto loans and mortgages. Closed-end credit and loans disappear once you’ve been paid them off, and available funds don’t replenish.

Open-End Credit

Open-end credit, also known as revolving credit, describes loans and credit products that you can use again and again. Open-end includes credit cards, lines of credit, and some personal loans. Once you make a payment on an open-end credit account, those funds become available again to use as you wish.

What’s Typically Required When Applying for a Loan?

Different loan providers generally have different requirements for the application process and qualifying terms. Typically, banks and mortgage lenders have the strictest lending rules and require the most information from applicants, while payday loan and some personal loan providers may ask for much less.

In all cases, when applying for a loan, it’s necessary to be prepared with valid photo identification and some personal data that can help the loan provider verify your identity. Most lenders also require details about your current employment, income, and previous addresses, as well as personal information about your credit history. Lenders may use some of the facts to perform a credit inquiry, which helps loan providers determine your trustworthiness when it comes to repaying the borrowed money.

How Applying for a Loan Affects Your Credit Score

Your credit score is important. It’s how financial lenders monitor your ability to pay off your debt, and it can make or break your ability to obtain credit. You may have heard that applying for new credit or loans can hurt your credit score, and while this is partially true, it’s not the full story.

There are two different types of credit checks: soft inquiries and hard inquiries.

  • A soft inquiry occurs when prequalifying for a mortgage, credit card, or other type of loan. Checking your own credit score is also considered a soft inquiry. Soft inquiries don’t affect your credit score.
  • Hard inquiries are what loan providers do when you’re applying for loans or other credit products. This type of inquiry pulls the same information as a soft inquiry; however, it appears on your credit report and remains for up to seven years. While hard inquiries usually only cause your score to fluctuate by a few points, applying for multiple loans or credit cards at the same time can cause a major dip in your credit score. It’s important to be responsible when applying for loans and only inquire about borrowing with one or two lenders at a time to avoid this issue.

In some cases, loan providers may lend you money without performing a credit check. This practice is common among payday loan providers and some private personal loan companies. This type of loan usually appeals to those with poor to moderate credit scores who can’t obtain a loan from their bank or other major lenders. These loans often carry above-average interest rates.

The Cost of Borrowing

When borrowing money from a bank or a private lender, it’s important to consider the cost of the loan. Loans are paid for with interest, which may be calculated daily, monthly, or annually. Interest rates can vary drastically and typically range from 5% for standard mortgages and bank loans to as high as 40% for payday loans and personal loans.

What to Look for in a Loan Provider

When you’re considering taking out a loan, regardless of the reason, it’s essential to make sure you’re using a reputable loan provider. Some of the most important things to look for before entering into a loan agreement are:

  • A strong reputation and positive customer reviews
  • Affordable interest rates
  • Quick response times
  • Payment flexibility

It’s also critical to make sure that the loan provider you choose gives you adequate documentation of your loan agreement. You should receive copies of all signed contracts, a payment schedule, and documented information about interest rates.

Where to Apply for Loans

There’s a very large selection of loan providers working in today’s market. With so many options, it can be difficult to determine the best places to apply. While banks and major financial institutions are almost always a good place to start, plenty of private lenders also offer loans to suit nearly any need and financial situation. Using this list of loan providers makes it much easier to find a reputable and trustworthy lender.

Top Personal Loan Providers

Credible Loans

A popular online lending marketplace that helps consumers compare multiple lenders to find competitive rates.

  • Free to use, no hidden fees
  • Checking prequalified rates won’t affect your credit score
  • Provides a variety of lender options

Read the Credible review here

Lending Tree

This revered online lending marketplace offers competitive personal loan rates, better terms, and a larger lender network.

  • Easy availability of personal and auto loans
  • Quick lender responses
  • Low APR

Read the Lending Tree review here