The 5 Best Personal Loans of January 2024

Last updated: Jan 24, 2024 at 10:32 pm

Over the past decade, personal loans have become the fastest-growing category of debt. This growth can be attributed in part to the emergence of fintech and peer-to-peer lending companies, which have made it more affordable and easier for people to access these loans.

According to the most recent data from the Federal Reserve, the average Annual Percentage Rate (APR) for personal loans is 11.48%, while the average interest rate for credit cards hovers around 20.09%. This information highlights the comparative cost of borrowing through personal loans and credit cards.

Best overall

LightStream

FeaturesDetails
Annual Percentage Rate (APR)7.99%—25.99%* APR with AutoPay
Loan PurposeDebt consolidation, home improvement, auto financing, medical expenses, and others
Loan Amounts$5,000 to $100,000
Terms24 to 144 months* dependent on loan purpose
Credit NeededGood
Origination FeeNone
Early Payoff PenaltyNone
Late FeeNone

Pros:

  1. Same-day funding available through ACH or wire transfer (conditions apply)
  2. Loan amounts up to $100,000
  3. No origination fees, no early payoff fees, no late fees
  4. LightStream plants a tree for every loan

Cons:

  1. Requires several years of credit history
  2. No option to pay your creditors directly
  3. Not available for student loans or business loans
  4. No option for pre-approval on the website (but pre-qualification is available on some third-party lending platforms)

Who’s this for? LightStream, the online lending division of Truist Bank, caters to individuals with good credit or higher, offering low-interest loans with flexible terms. They cover various purposes such as purchasing a new car, home remodeling, debt consolidation, or addressing medical expenses. Notably, LightStream doesn’t provide loans for higher education or small business ventures.

Applying for a LightStream personal loan can result in same-day funding if your application is approved, and you electronically sign your loan agreement, verifying your direct deposit banking account information by 2:30 p.m. ET on a banking business day.

LightStream stands out for offering the lowest APRs, with an additional discount for autopay enrollment. Interest rates vary by loan purpose, and the company’s website provides a comprehensive range overview. Keep in mind that these rates may change with fluctuations in Fed rates.

Opting for invoicing instead of autopay increases your APR by 0.50%. LightStream’s fixed APR ensures a consistent monthly payment throughout the loan’s lifetime. The loan terms range from 24 to 144 months, depending on the loan purpose, making it the longest-term option among our best-of list. Importantly, LightStream doesn’t impose origination fees, administration fees, or early payoff fees.

Best for debt consolidation

Happy Money

AspectDetails
Annual Percentage Rate (APR)11.25% – 24.50%
Loan PurposeDebt consolidation/refinancing
Loan Amounts$5,000 to $40,000
Terms24 to 60 months
Credit NeededFair/average, good
Origination Fee0% to 5% (based on credit score and application)
Early Payoff PenaltyNone
Late Fee5% of monthly payment amount or $15, whichever is greater (with 15-day grace period)
Pros– Peer-to-peer lending platform makes it easy to check multiple offers
– Loan approval comes with Happy Money membership and customer support
– No early payoff fees
– No late fees
– Fast and easy application
– U.S.-based customer service
Cons– Higher loan minimums ($5,000)<br>- Must submit a soft inquiry to see origination fees and other details

Who Should Consider a Happy Money Personal Loan?

A Happy Money personal loan is an excellent option if you aim to streamline and gradually pay off your credit card debt at a more favorable interest rate. The primary focus of Happy Money is to assist individuals in breaking free from credit card debt permanently, making their loans specifically tailored for debt consolidation. It’s important to note that Happy Money loans cannot be used for purposes such as home renovations, major purchases, or education.

Borrowers have the flexibility to secure loan amounts ranging from $5,000 to $40,000, with loan terms spanning from 24 to 60 months. The website features a soft inquiry tool, enabling you to explore potential loan options based on your credit report without impacting your credit score.

Happy Money stands out by not imposing late payment fees or early payoff penalties if you decide to settle your debt ahead of schedule. However, an origination fee is applicable, determined by your credit score and application. The higher your credit score, the lower your origination fee and interest rates are likely to be.

In a departure from some lenders, Happy Money offers the option to deposit the borrowed funds directly into your linked bank account or send them directly to your creditors. Additionally, borrowers enjoy access to various financial literacy tools, including free FICO score updates, quarterly check-ins during the first year, and assessments to enhance members’ relationships with money through personality, stress, and cash flow evaluations.

Best for refinancing high-interest debt

SoFi Personal Loans

FeatureDetails
Annual Percentage Rate (APR)8.99% to 25.81% (with autopay)
Loan PurposeDebt consolidation/refinancing, home improvement, relocation assistance, or medical expenses
Loan Amounts$5,000 to $100,000
Terms24 to 84 months
Credit NeededGood to excellent
Origination FeeNo fees required
Early Payoff PenaltyNone
Late FeeNone
Special ConsiderationsUnemployment protection for job loss, DACA recipients can apply with a creditworthy co-borrower who is a U.S. citizen/permanent resident (call 877-936-2269), multiple SoFi loans allowed (state-permitting), acceptance of job offer within the next 90 days as proof of income, co-applicants ma
y apply
ConsU.S. visa holders need more than two years remaining on visa, no co-signers allowed (co-applicants only)

Who Should Consider a SoFi Personal Loan?

SoFi initially focused on refinancing student loans but has broadened its services to include personal loans of up to $100,000, depending on your creditworthiness. This makes SoFi an excellent choice for those looking to refinance high-interest credit card debt. If you’re burdened by high-interest debt on one or more credit cards and want to reduce costs by switching to a lower Annual Percentage Rate (APR), SoFi provides a straightforward sign-up process and user-friendly app for convenient payment management.

One notable feature of SoFi’s lending options is the flexibility to choose between a variable or fixed APR. Unlike most personal loans that come with a fixed interest rate, SoFi allows you to opt for variable rates that may fluctuate during the loan term. While variable rates offer potential savings if the APR decreases, it’s essential to note that they can also increase. On the other hand, fixed rates ensure a consistent monthly payment throughout the loan’s duration, facilitating easier budgeting for repayment.

By enrolling in automatic electronic payments, borrowers can enjoy a 0.25% APR discount. SoFi facilitates convenient payment methods, allowing users to set up online bill pay through their bank or send a traditional paper check. Upon approval of a SoFi personal loan, funds are typically accessible within a few days, and the entire loan process, from application to management, can be conveniently handled through the SoFi mobile app.

Scroll to Top