Best Unsecured Loans
Unsecured personal loans are the most popular choice among borrowers because they allow you to get a large amount of money in one or two days at a low APR without providing collateral.
They are divided into several types: credit cards, personal and student loans. Even people with FICO scores below 600 can borrow money from an organization that provides unsecured loans, but they will have to pay more interest and additional fees. Read our article to understand all the features of this type of borrowing and choose the best unsecured personal loans for you.
Unsecured Loans: Best Lenders
Choosing the best lender among the hundreds of options on the market is very difficult because you must consider many factors: from interest rates to the availability of additional fees. In addition, you can easily fall into the hands of scammers who promote their sites with advertisements and attract borrowers with perfect but fake offers.
To avoid wasting your time looking and avoiding problems with scammers, you can choose one of the lenders described below. To compile this list, we have analyzed several dozen offers and selected only those financial institutions that are reliable lenders and offer good terms for people with different FICO scores.
Upgrade has been an online personal loan company since 2017 in all states except Iowa, Vermont, and West Virginia. You can get anything from $1,000 to $35,000 if your credit score exceeds 560 points.
If you want to borrow money from Upgrade, you must be familiar with its terms and conditions:
- The annual percentage rates range is 7.96% to 35.97%.
- You can borrow funds for 3 or 5 years.
- Upgrade charges each borrower an origination fee of 2.9% to 8% of the amount borrowed.
- If you are more than 15 days late on your monthly payment, you must pay a $10 late fee.
- The company has a handy app where you can manage your balance, make monthly payments, track your credit score, and learn financial literacy.
The main advantage of this option is the ability to get a loan even with bad credit. In addition, users praise the company for allowing them to spend borrowed funds to create or develop a business and use them for debt consolidation.
It is also worth saying a few words about the minuses of the company, namely the high APR and the possibility of borrowing money only for 3 or 5 years, which is unrealistic. Moreover, this option is unsuitable for those who need an urgent loan, as transferring funds to your account can take one to four days.
To borrow money from Upgrade, you must make at least $800 a month and have a debt-to-income ratio of 45% (mortgage payments are not included). This is the best option for people with poor FICO scores.
Upstart is a high-tech financial institution that lends money to people with bad credit because it uses artificial intelligence during loan decisions in addition to basic parameters (debt-to-income ratio, income level, etc.). You can apply for an unsecured loan from this company if you have more than 600 FICO points.
Upstart lends money in all states except West Virginia and Iowa on the following terms:
- Loan amounts are from $1,000 to $50,000.
- The APR range is 6.50% to 35.99%.
- You can borrow funds for 3 or 5 years.
- Upstart charges an origination fee of up to 8% of the amount borrowed.
- If your application is approved by 5 p.m., you will receive funds in your account the next business day.
Upstart is available to users with fair credit and allows you to get money in just one day, which is its main pluses. However, it is essential to point out the minuses of the company as well, such as the origination fee of up to 8% and the ability to get a loan only for 3 or 5 years.
To borrow money from this financial institution, you must be formally employed or have another stable source of income. In addition, you must earn at least $12,000 per year.
If you have a good FICO score, you might want to consider other options. However, Upstart will be the best choice for users with 650 or fewer points.
Best Egg is an online lender from whom you can borrow $2,000 to $50,000 for three to five years. The minimum FICO score you must have to qualify is 600 points.
This financial institution sets the APR at 8.99% – 35.99% and has an origination fee of 0.99% – 8.99%, which is quite expensive compared to competitors. Another disadvantage of this option is the lack of a mobile app to monitor balance and monthly payments, which is inconvenient for most borrowers.
The main advantage of this option is that Best Egg gives loans to people with bad FICO scores. In addition, it transfers funds to the borrower’s account in just 1-3 days.
To borrow money from this financial institution, you must provide proof of regular income and have a DTI of less than 40%, or 65%, with a mortgage. Best Egg does not operate in Iowa, Vermont, West Virginia, or Washington, D.C.
This is an excellent option for those who want to borrow a large amount of money without a good credit score or high income.
SoFi is a favorite online lender for people with good FICO scores. It lets you lend any amount from $5,000 to $100,000 to borrowers with a score of 650 or higher at an APR of 7.99% to 23.43%, lower than many other financial institutions.
This online platform allows you to borrow money for two to seven years and pay no origination fees, late fees, or prepayment penalties. Another advantage of the company is the fast turnaround, which means you can get the loan funds into your bank account in just one business day (if the amount is more than $20,000, the transfer may take a couple of days).
The disadvantage of this financial institution is the strict requirements for borrowers. For example, you must earn at least $45,000 and have official employment to qualify.
If you fit the requirements described above and want to borrow more than $4,000, SoFi may be your best lender.
Figure is another lender that prefers to work with borrowers with good credit scores. It provides unsecured loans ranging from $5,000 to $50,000 for 3-5 years at an APR of 5.75% to 22.94%, a significant advantage of this option.
To borrow money from Figure, you must be officially employed. To apply, you will need a Social Security Number, proof of address, and income, and the entire process of filling out the information and getting a response from the company will take up to 15 minutes.
A big plus with this lender is that it transfers funds to the borrower’s account within 1-2 days. In addition, if you connect automatic payments, you can get a 0.25 percentage point discount on your annual percentage rate.
The only serious drawback users say about is an origination fee of up to 3%. Because of it, this company’s offer looks less favorable than the conditions of the previous lender. However, we recommend you apply to both financial institutions if they meet your needs and choose the one that offers more favorable terms.
Note that this company does not operate in Mississippi.
PenFed Credit Union
Credit unions are rightfully considered the best lenders for many people, and PenFed is no exception. Unlike other financial institutions, it offers unsecured loans to people with more than 650 FICO points at a low annual percentage rate of 4.99% to 17.99%, which is its main advantage.
In addition, it is essential to note that the Pentagon Federal Credit Union operates in all 50 states and allows you to borrow up to $50,000 for up to 5 years. This financial institution has been in the financial market for almost 90 years, which makes it a reliable lender with the best conditions.
Other pluses of this option are the lack of origination fees and fast turnaround (up to two days). However, as with other credit unions, the disadvantage of PenFed is the need to be a member to borrow money.
But don’t be in a hurry to choose another lender. To become a member of this financial institution, you must open a PenFed savings account and deposit at least five dollars. Then you can apply for a loan and see what terms and conditions are available.
If you are ready to become part of a credit union, unsecured loans from PenFed may be your best option.
LendingClub is an online platform that finds investors for every borrower willing to lend them money. Because of this, the company lends from $1,000 to $40,000 for up to 5 years, even to those with bad FICO scores.
Like many other online lenders, LendingClub has a relatively high annual percentage rate for unsecured loans, ranging from 8.05% to 36.00%. Another drawback of this financial institution is the origination fee of up to 6%.
At the same time, the company has many advantages. For example, you can borrow the amount you need in just a few business days and be eligible even with 600 FICO points. So if your DTI is below 40 percent, you’re officially employed, and your income level is over $20,000, LendingClub may be a good option.
Happy Money is an excellent option for people who want to pay off credit card debt, as this is the only purpose for which you can get an unsecured loan from this organization.
The company provides its services throughout the United States, except in Massachusetts or Nevada. Here you can borrow from $5,000 to $40,000 for 2 to 5 years at a low APR of up to 30%.
One of the great things about this financial institution is that it does not charge prepayment or late fees. In addition, you can change the date of your monthly payments to make it easier for you to repay, and you can monitor your FICO score for free in the Happy Money app.
At the same time, however, this option has a few drawbacks. For example, you must pay origination fees between 0% and 5% of the amount borrowed, have a minimum of 640 FICO points to qualify, and have three years of credit history.
Overall, this is an excellent option for those who want to quickly pay off their credit card debts and improve their credit rating.
LightStream is one of the most popular personal loan lenders, allowing you to borrow up to one hundred thousand dollars for two to seven years. Of course, it prefers to work only with borrowers whose FICO score is at least 660 points, but thanks to this, LightStream has a reasonably low interest rate of 5.99% to
The advantages of this option are as follows:
- The company operates in all 50 states.
- LightStream does not charge origination, prepayment, or late fees.
- You will receive funds in your account the same day if your application is approved before 2:30 p.m.
However, it is essential to note some shortcomings of this financial institution. For example, users complain about the lack of a balance management application and the shoddy work of the support service. In addition, the company doesn’t allow users to prequalify for a loan, which makes this option suitable only for those with a good credit history, stable income, and official employment.
Universal Credit is an online platform for people with bad credit scores that lets you lend money even to those with 560 FICO points. Through it, you can get $1,000 to $50,000 for 2-5 years at an annual percentage rate of 11.69% to 35.93%, which is a standard rate compared to competitors. Unfortunately, the company charges a 4.25% to 8% origination fee, which users are unhappy about. However, it has many advantages:
- You will be able to receive funds within 1-2 days after your application is approved.
- Your income level must be at least $12,000 a year to qualify.
- Universal Credit does not charge prepayment penalties from its borrowers.
This option is best used only by those with damaged credit, as there are much better options for users with good FICO scores.
What Unsecured Loans Are
If you do not need to provide the lender with collateral or pay a deposit to prove your creditworthiness, you are applying for an unsecured loan. The most famous examples of these loans are personal and student loans and credit cards without a security deposit.
Unsecured loans are usually provided in a single amount that must be paid back in fixed installments. Because lenders risk losing your money if you don’t pay back the funds on time, they usually set a higher annual percentage rate on unsecured loans. By law, their interest rate cannot exceed 36%, and if they are student loans, it can often be as low as 10%.
Who Is Unsecured Loan Best For?
The most popular reasons people apply for unsecured loans are to buy a car, make repairs, pay off tuition, or pay off existing debts. In general, such loans are an excellent option for those who do not own property that can be pledged as collateral or with a good credit history.
It is elementary to get such a loan, so you should consider this option if you want to borrow a large amount of money without collateral in a few days. In addition, it can be done online at one of the dozens of financial institutions, allowing you to choose the most suitable loan option.
How Unsecured Loans Work
The lender determines all conditions of such loans based on your data. So, you will need to specify your income level, the availability of official employment, and other documents at the bank’s request so the bank can determine how reliable a borrower you are.
Many financial institutions now allow you to apply for prequalification in a few minutes, so you can find out what interest rates, repayment terms, and amounts are available to you. In addition, this application does not appear on your credit report if the company conducts soft credit checks, so you can submit it to several lenders and choose the one that offers you the best terms.
Once you have money in your account, you start paying it back in fixed installments. Unsecured loans always have a fixed interest rate, which allows you to plan your budget even before you sign the loan agreement.
Such loans are available to all categories of borrowers, but those whose FICO score is at least 670 points have the best chance of being approved.
If you suddenly don’t pay back your borrowed funds on time, your credit report will show a negative mark and ruin your rating. In addition, over time, the lender can turn your debt over to debt collectors or sue you for permission to deduct your monthly payments and all penalties from your paycheck.
Types Of Unsecured Loans
There are several types of unsecured loans that we encounter in everyday life. They all have different conditions, but they do not require collateral. Let’s discuss each option in more detail.
Explain this type of unsecured loan. Be sure to mention the following information:
- What this type is
- features of this type of loan
- pros and cons of this type of unsecured loans
- for whom it is the best decision
Personal loans are loans that borrowers take out for private purposes, such as paying for wedding expenses, buying a car, and covering debts or medical bills.
You can get a personal loan from a bank, an online lender, or a credit union. They typically lend from $1,000 to $100,000 for up to 10 years at a fixed interest rate of up to 36 percent so borrowers can plan for all monthly payments.
The final terms of the money depend on the client’s credit history, income, employment, and debt-to-income ratio. This type of unsecured loan has the following advantages:
- Dozens of financial institutions provide them.
- These are flexible loans, as you can get up to one hundred thousand dollars for any term of up to 10 years.
- They are inexpensive compared to credit cards or payday loans.
- You can get them even if your FICO score is below 670 points.
- Personal loans allow you to build a credit history for those who make their monthly payments on time.
- Getting such a loan takes no more than a week and usually only 1-3 days.
However, it is worth noting several disadvantages of this option. The main one is that personal loans have many different fees, the largest of which is an origination fee of up to 10%.
In addition, if you do not pay back all the borrowed funds on time, you will ruin your credit history and risk ending up in court with the lender. Personal loans are best suited to those with a good credit score and a stable income. This is the only way to get favorable terms and small monthly payments, which will be affordable for the borrower’s budget.
You can turn to student loan lenders if you need money for tuition, living expenses, books, a laptop, or other university expenses. These, unlike personal loans, are not always paid in fixed payments because there are more than 11 repayment terms, among which you can choose the one that suits you best.
For example, students may not have to repay the loan proceeds while studying but instead pay the total amount when they graduate from university or college. Also, some lenders offer not a fixed interest rate but a variable rate that increases and decreases in proportion to the borrower’s salary.
Most student loans are divided into federal and private because they are made either through the U.S. Department of Education or private financial institutions. They rarely have annual percentage rates higher than 10% and last up to 12 years. The benefits of student loans are as follows:
- They are even available to people with no credit history (only private lenders do credit checks).
- You can use them to pay for tuition and housing, moving, books, and other things you need at university.
- You can choose from many repayment terms to make it more convenient for you to repay the borrowed money.
- They have a reasonably low annual percentage rate and fees.
- With this loan, you can get a more promising profession and have a higher income and a better life in the future.
- If you want to borrow money from a private lender but do not have a high enough FICO score, you can ask a parent to be your co-signer and apply together.
Of course, student loans also have disadvantages. For example, you are still committing at a young age to paying off tuition costs for the next ten years instead of saving up for a house or other dream.
Also, the federal loans available without credit checks are small – often not enough to pay your tuition at private universities. You need to go to a private lender to have a wide range of amounts, and they only want to work with prospective students or those with good credit scores.
It’s important to remember that a student loan default is almost impossible to remove from your credit report. If you don’t pay it off on time, it can ruin your credit history for years to come, so be careful and consider all your options before you sign a loan agreement.
A credit card is always an opportunity to spare a few thousand dollars in case you don’t have enough money to pay your salary. In addition, many people turn to banks for credit cards because they are attracted by the possibility of not paying interest if they pay off the balance before the next billing cycle begins.
In the beginning, everyone believed they could borrow no more than 30% of their available credit limit and pay it back by the end of the month, but the result is that over 70% of Americans have credit card debt that they carry for more than two months.
The idea of credit cards is brilliant in itself – you can spend the amount available to you (credit limit) for a month and not pay any interest on it if you return all the money before the next billing cycle begins. However, this option is suitable only for those with a stable high income; otherwise, it can be used only for small purchases and expenses. As credit card users say, they like them because:
- It’s convenient. Even if you forget to take cash, you can always pay with a credit card and refill it afterward without paying annual percentage rates.
- It’s cheaper than payday loans. If you borrow $500 from a lender for three weeks, you have to pay fees and annual percentage rates, while a credit card offers the same for free.
- Cash advances. Even when your credit limit runs out, you can still borrow a small amount until payday at a lower APR than payday loans.
- You don’t have to pay off all of your debt at once, but you can divide it into convenient payments. Unlike installment loans, credit cards give you more options and flexibility.
- Credit cards allow you to improve your credit score if you don’t use all 100% of your available limit and carry over debt from month to month.
Financial experts call credit cards an excellent but very tricky tool because they have many hidden drawbacks. For example, when opening such an account, users don’t even think they will have a significant limit to use, which will cause them to overspend money.
In addition, they believe they can rationally pay all debts on time, which is also not always the case (and credit cards have a high APR). Credit cards are a great way to have a small reserve for emergencies, but they should not act as a long-term solution to your financial problems.
Pros and Cons Of Unsecured Loans
Let’s start with the merits:
- You don’t have to risk your property and provide it as collateral to borrow money.
- You can get the funds in a few business days.
- Such loans have a low interest rate compared to payday loans.
- Hundreds of financial institutions on the market provide such services, so it will be easy for you to find a favorable option for yourself.
Of course, unsecured loans have disadvantages, such as having a high FICO score to get favorable terms. However, compared to other types of loans, they are an excellent option for most categories of borrowers.
How to Get an Unsecured Loan
Getting an unsecured loan is very easy if you follow our plan:
- Find out your credit rating.
Many lenders work with specific categories of borrowers and offer the best terms for them. For example, if you have more than a 670 FICO score, you should not go to financial institutions that lend money, even those with no credit history, because they will offer a higher APR.
Get a free copy of your credit report from one credit bureau to find your exact FICO or VantageScore. That way, you’ll know exactly which lender to go to.
- 2. Do all the calculations.
You need to know how much you want to borrow and what a reasonable monthly payment would be. Then, take the time to calculate all your expenses and income to determine if you can pay off another loan. Even though unsecured loans do not require collateral, defaulting on them can still ruin your credit history.
- 3. Compare offers from different lenders.
For the same information about you, different financial institutions will offer different interest rates, terms, and loan amounts. Imagine what the terms of your ideal loan should be and try to find the right investor.
- 4. Gather the necessary documents.
In most cases, you will need your ID, proof of address, income and employment, and Social Security Number to sign a contract.
- 5. Apply and, if approved, sign the contract.
It usually takes a few minutes to a few days to get a response from the lender – you can generally find out about the speed of the decision before you apply on the website or from customer reviews. We also remind you that it is essential to read the contract and all the terms and conditions and check the final loan amount specified in it.
Can I Get an Unsecured Loan With Bad Credit?
Unsecured loans are available to all types of borrowers. However, if your FICO score is less than 670, you need to find a lender who lends money without credit checks or works with borrowers with bad credit. For example, people with no credit history can go to Upstart.
Those who need money the next day but have less than 580 FICO points can go to Avant. If we’re talking about credit cards, the best options for people with bad credit are “No Credit. Petal® 2 Cash Back, No Fees Visa®” and the “Capital One Platinum Credit Card. You can also get student loans with any FICO score if you apply to federal lenders or apply with a co-signer, such as one of your parents.
Can I Get an Unsecured Loan With No Credit Check?
Usually, lenders, such as banks or credit unions, do hard credit checks to see if you are a reliable borrower and if you should lend your money. However, you can find many online lenders on the Internet who don’t do this but look at a combination of other factors when deciding whether or not to give you a loan.
Half of the financial institutions described above in this article only do soft credit checks, which don’t show up on your rating and allow you a few minutes to find out what terms are available. So try to prequalify with two or three of them and choose the best option for you.
Secured vs. Unsecured Loan
Secured loans differ from unsecured ones in that they require collateral. That is, you must give the lender some property to guarantee that you will pay back all the borrowed funds on time; otherwise, he will have the full right to sell the collateral and recover his losses. The most common examples of secured loans are mortgages, secured credit cards, and auto title loans. Their main advantages are as follows:
- Secured loans allow you to borrow a large amount of money if you provide valuable collateral (such as a house).
- They have lower annual percentage rates.
- You can get such a loan even if you have a meager FICO score or no credit history.
- You can safely build a credit history from scratch with secured credit cards or particular loans.
However, at the same time, they are riskier than unsecured loans. If you suddenly fail to pay back all of your borrowed funds on time, you may ruin your credit history and lose your property provided as collateral. In addition, this option is not suitable for those who want to get the money quickly, as very often, the property assessment takes several days to 3 weeks.
Alternatives to Unsecured Loans
If these loans do not suit you for some reason, you can use one of the alternatives. For example:
- Budgeting Loan.
This option is for those with financial difficulty and a meager income. So, you can borrow money for a couple of years without interest from the Social Fund, but you have to qualify for it.
- Home Equity Loan and HELOC.
This alternative will interest those who need to borrow a few hundred thousand dollars for 10-30 years. You can borrow a fixed amount and pay it back in equal installments, or you can agree with the lender to set a borrowing limit based on your equity, which you will use like a credit card.
- Get early access to your paycheck.
If your employer cooperates with companies that give employees access to their paychecks a few days early, you can avoid any loans and “borrow” money from yourself. There is no annual percentage rates for such a cash advance, just a tiny tip or fee, depending on the terms and conditions of the financial institution you apply.
What is an example of an unsecured loan?
The most famous examples are personal and student loans because you do not have to provide collateral to obtain them. You can also add credit cards and personal lines of credit to this list.
Do unsecured loans hurt my credit?
Loans don’t harm your credit history as long as you pay them on time and keep your credit utilization ratio low. Of course, you may see a slight drop in your credit score when you apply to the lender because this is a consequence of new inquiries. However, after 1-3 months, those 10-15 points will come back.
How much money can I borrow with an unsecured loan?
Most often, lenders will allow you to borrow any amount from $1,000 to $100,000, but sometimes the minimum threshold starts at $5,000 and only goes up to $50,000. Ultimately, how much you can borrow will depend on your credit history, income level, DTI ratio, and bank terms.
Can the bank give me an unsecured loan?
The easiest way to get an unsecured loan is from an online lender, but you can also do it from a bank. So, you can go to U.S Bank, TD Bank or PNC Bank, American Express, Discover, or Marcus by Goldman Sachs.
Why can't I get an unsecured loan, and what to do?
Often, lenders conclude whether to give a loan to a potential borrower based on their credit history, income level, and debt-to-income ratio. If your application is not approved, you likely do not meet one of these three criteria or do not have all the necessary documents (such as proof of official employment). In this situation, you should apply to another lender with less stringent requirements or try to get a secured loan.
What credit score do I need for an unsecured loan?
You can find a lender willing to lend you money with any credit score, but it is easiest to do so with at least a 670 FICO score. Financial institutions generally consider anyone with a score below 600 as a high-risk borrower.
How long does it take to get approved for an unsecured loan?
You can get such a loan very quickly if you go to a lender who responds instantly to your application and promptly transfers funds to your account. You can get a loan from such companies in 1-2 business days, but some lenders can provide this service for up to two weeks.