Lenders will look at a number of components before deciding whether or not to approve someone for a loan including debt to income ratio, credit history, and recent employment status. All these factors are important to note because they will not only affect whether or not you are accepted for the unsecured loan you are requesting, but these elements will also determine the interest rate you pay throughout the course of your loan.
One of the biggest influencers is a person's credit score. What exactly is credit score, how does it work, and what constitutes a good credit score? Let's learn about this all-important little number and check out a few lenders that work with each range of credit scores so you can know who to turn to for the best personal loan no matter where on the credit score spectrum you fall.
No credit score? Read about how you can still receive a loan without a credit score.
|Lender||Type of Credit Best for||Minimum Credit Score||Average APR Range|
|Excellent||680||5.99% to 18.53% (with AutoPay)|
|Fair-Poor||None||3.49% - 35.95%|
Credit Scores Explained
Your credit score is a combination of past loans received, repayment history, credit card spending habits, and other financial markers. Altogether, these indicators give lenders a rough idea of how responsibly you handle your money. Obviously, the more responsible you are with your money, the better your credit score will be and the more likely you are to receive the loan you are requesting.
While there is no guarantee that you will be approved or rejected for a loan, especially as terms and considerations fluctuate from one lender to the next, here is a general breakdown of credit scores and how those holding such scores will fair:
|Credit Score Rating||Credit Score Range||Average APR|
|Excellent||720 - 850||10.94%|
|Good||690 - 719||14.56%|
|Average||630 - 689||19.84%|
|Bad||580 - 629||28.64%|
|Poor||579 and below||Most lenders will not lend|
Someone with excellent credit will have an easier time getting approved for a loan and will also receive a more attractive interest rate to work with. And, though it is not impossible to find a lender that will work with someone holding a poor or bad credit rating, it is harder to come by, and the interest rates you are going to pay will naturally be higher as a result. Scores are generally checked by running a soft credit pull. Soft credit pulls will not affect your credit score at all. Only a hard pull can lower your score temporarily.
Most people aren’t aware that avoiding debt completely is actually not good for building your credit score. Lenders and financial institutions like to see that you are using the financial system wisely and responsibly. Someone with little credit history will most likely have a lower score than someone who has taken out loans and paid them back responsibly. This is how you will create a good credit rating.
One final note, these scores are based on the FICO scoring system. Not every lender will use this system to rank your score, but the vast majority do. For this reason, we’ve used FICO as our scale.
Best Loan Providers for Excellent Credit Scores
A credit score above 720 is considered excellent in the eyes of a lender, and this is what anyone should aim for when starting to build their credit. Such a score is accrued by taking out credit cards and paying bills on time, making smart financial decisions, and not exceeding a healthy debt to income ratio, staying below 35.99%.
If you have excellent credit, that doesn't mean you should choose your lender arbitrarily. In fact, since you have so many options, you want to make sure you are getting the best deal possible, and you’ll have plenty of offers to compare. Here is our top choice for borrowers with excellent credit scores to consider:
It isn’t easy to be approved for a loan by SoFi, but if you can, it is one of the top choices anyone with a credit score of 680 or more should consider.
SoFi started out primarily as a student loan refinancing institution, attempting to help young workers get a leg up in the competitive world while struggling under the weight of these substantial student loans. Today, SoFi is one of the leading online lenders for different types of loans including personal loans, mortgages, parent refinancing, and more. SoFi has built a reputation for being friendly, understanding, and supportive to its customers. It has structured its lending system around basic social concepts, creating a social network for its borrowers to meet, network, and grow from one another. SoFi regularly hosts social events where clients can mingle, seek out new job opportunities, and learn about smarter financial practices so they can make better decisions in the future. All these factors combine to create a positive, successful, and welcoming atmosphere.
Other factors that make SoFi stand out include:
- Low APRs
- Variable or fixed rates
- No fees or prepayment penalties
- Unemployment protection
Best Loan Providers for Good Credit Scores
Next, let's look at someone with good or average credit. Bear in mind; this is going to be where most people sit. If you are new to establishing credit or if you weren't as careful as you should have been in the past but didn't make any major financial mistakes, then you probably land in this category. Fortunately, there are still several lenders that will work with you and even offer competitive rates and loan terms for your personal loans.
Credible is an online loans broker that provides fast and free initial responses, ideal for anyone who needs a loan and doesn’t know where to start. It speeds up the process of hunting for the best personal loan by sending your application to multiple providers at the same time and running a soft credit check (which doesn’t affect your credit rating). Credible returns up to 6 preliminary loan offers so that you can easily compare your options and then contact the lender directly to complete the loan process. Some reasons to choose Credible over the competition include:
- Fixed rates from 3.49%-35.99%
- Up to 7 years for payment plans
- No processing fees
- Accepts borrowers with a credit score as low as 680
- Easy online process
Best Loan Provider for Fair Credit Scores
Upstart is one of the fastest growing lending marketplaces in the industry. Working quickly and professionally, Upstart matches up borrowers with the right lenders for their situation and needs. Best of all, Upstart works with borrowers with less than perfect credit. In fact, you can get a loan through Upstart partners with as little as a 640 credit score (and sometimes even lower).
Upstart is fast. You can receive approval in two minutes. And once you're approved, you can have the money deposited into your account as soon as the next business day. Upstart doesn't limit you to what you can spend your loan money on. It's a personal loan with no strings attached. Here are some other reasons Upstart is the best choice for you:
- Get your money the next day
- No prepayment penalties
- Super-fast approval
- A+ rating with BBB
- Lax credit requirements
Best Loan Provider for Poor Credit Scores
Finally, we'll address individuals with fair credit scores. This is the hardest category for someone to find a loan from. There are still several lenders willing to work with these borrowers. Remember that a low credit score doesn’t automatically infer reckless spending habits. A lack of credit activity can also result in a low score. If you fall into this category, consider applying for a personal loan with LendingTree.
LendingTree was created with the specific goal of simplifying the loan research process for borrowers. Founded in 1996, it has quickly become one of the leading online lending marketplaces, giving customers the ability to compare offers from several reputable lenders simultaneously. LendingTree has a host of well-known lending institutions in its network and can provide customers with an unparalleled range of loan options for every need. It is important to note that LendingTree is not directly a lender, but can help you find the funding you need for any purpose.
- Rates from 3.49% - 35.95%
- Repayment plans up to 15 years
- Doesn't judge you solely by your credit score
- Large network of reliable lenders
Personal loans are a solution if you are looking to consolidate debt from several sources, improve your credit score, have an event or large expense to pay off, or take out a loan without having to worry about collateral or a co-signer. Look towards the right lenders for your credit score, and take steps towards healthier financial stability today.