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Loans

4 personal loan lenders to consider if you need to borrow as little as $1,000

We looked at key factors like interest rates, fees, loan amounts and term lengths offered.

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Personal loans are known for being used to cover big ticket expenses like weddings, funerals and home renovations. However, they can also be used to cover things that may be a little less costly but that you don't have the money to cover on your own — like a small emergency or a car fix that, luckily, won't run you thousands.

Many personal loan lenders offer funding amounts that start at around $5,000. However, that isn't ideal for someone who needs to borrow significantly less since it forces them to apply for more money than they'll actually need (which means higher monthly payments and interest charges).

Select dug through dozens of personal lenders to find ones that allow you to apply for as little as $1,000. We looked at key factors like interest rates, fees, loan amounts and term lengths offered, plus other features including how your funds are distributed, autopay discounts, customer service and how fast you can get your funds. (Read more about our methodology below.)

Select's picks for the best personal loans for borrowing as little as $1,000

Compare offers to find the best loan

When searching for a personal loan, it can be helpful to compare several different offers to find the best interest rate and payment terms for your needs. With this comparison tool, you'll just need to answer a handful of questions in order for Even Financial to determine the top offers for you. The service is free, secure and does not affect your credit score.

Editorial note: The tool is provided and powered by Even Financial, a search and comparison engine that matches you with third-party lenders. Any information you provide is given directly to Even Financial. Select does not have access to any data you provide. Select may receive an affiliate commission from partner offers in the Even Financial tool. The commission does not influence the selection in order of offers.

Best overall

Upstart Personal Loans

  • Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

    6.95% to 35.99%

  • Loan purpose

    Debt consolidation, credit card refinancing, home improvement, wedding, moving or medical

  • Loan amounts

    $1,000 to $50,000

  • Terms

    36 and 60 months

  • Credit needed

    FICO or Vantage score of 600 (but will accept applicants whose credit history is so insufficient they don't have a credit score)

  • Origination fee

    0% to 8% of the target amount

  • Early payoff penalty

    None

  • Late fee

    The greater of 5% of monthly past due amount or $15

See our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • Open to borrowers with fair credit (minimum 600 score)
  • Will accept applicants who have insufficient credit history and don't have a credit score
  • No early payoff fees
  • 99% of personal loan funds are sent the next business day after completing required paperwork before 5 p.m. Monday through Friday

Cons

  • High late fees
  • Origination fee of 0% to 8% of the target amount (automatically withheld from the loan before it's delivered to you)
  • $10 fee to request paper copies of loan agreement (no fee for eSigned virtual copies)
  • Must have a social security number

Who's this for? Upstart allows borrowers to apply for as much as $50,000, but its low funding minimum of $1,000 makes it an option for those who don't need to borrow as much. This lender is also more flexible when it comes to who can qualify for this loan — it has a minimum credit score requirement of 600, however, Upstart also accepts applicants with no credit history. Just keep in mind that if you are approved for the loan with a lower credit score, you may be subject to a higher interest rate — just like with any other financial product that charges interest. Upstart's interest rates range from 6.95% to 35.99%.

While there are no penalties for paying off your balance early, Upstart does charge an origination fee (up to 8% of the amount you borrow) and late fees ($15 or 5% of the past due balance, whichever is greater).

When it comes to repaying the balance, loan terms range from 36 to 60 months, which can be appealing to borrowers who think they may need a longer time horizon to repay the entire loan.

Best for low minimum monthly payments

PenFed Personal Loans

  • Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

    5.99% to 17.99% APR

  • Loan purpose

    Debt consolidation, home improvement, medical expenses, auto financing and more

  • Loan amounts

    $600 to $35,000

  • Terms

    1 to 5 years

  • Credit needed

    Good/Excellent

  • Origination fee

    None

  • Early payoff penalty

    None

  • Late fee

    $29

See our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • Credit union membership available to anyone
  • Loans as low as $600
  • Can pick up a physical at a branch
  • May apply with a co-borrower

Cons

  • Funds come as a physical check
  • Must be a member to get funds (no membership needed to apply)
  • Must pay for expedited shipping to get your funds next day
  • Maximum loan amount of $35,000
  • Late fee of $29

Who's this for? PenFed loans can be used for a variety of reasons, including debt consolidation, home improvement, medical expenses, auto financing and more. This lender is actually a credit union and while you don't need to be a member to apply, you will need to sign up for a PenFed membership and keep $5 in a qualifying savings account to receive your funds.

You can actually get approved for a loan as little as $600 with this lender, which makes it the lender with the lowest minimum funding amount on this list. So this might ensure that you don't borrow more than you can afford to pay back if you don't necessarily need $1,000 or more. Personal loan interest rates range from 5.99% to 17.99%. Not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate, since it will depend on your creditworthiness, but the higher your credit score the more likely you are to receive a lower interest rate.

One thing to keep in mind, though, is that PenFed provides its funds in the form of a paper check. If you know a nearby PenFed location, you can pick up your check at any time directly from the bank. Otherwise, you can receive your funds as early as the next day if you pay for expedited shipping.

Best for a lower credit score

Upgrade Personal Loans

  • Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

    5.94% to 35.97%

  • Loan purpose

    Debt consolidation/refinancing, home improvement, major purchase

  • Loan amounts

    $1,000 to $50,000

  • Terms

     24 to 84* months

  • Credit needed

    Fair, good to excellent

  • Origination fee

    2.9% to 8%, deducted from loan proceeds

  • Early payoff penalty

    None

  • Late fee

    Up to $10 (with 15-day grace period)

See our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • No early payoff fees
  • Loans up to $50,000
  • Fixed interest rates (no surprises)
  • Can pay creditors directly (may take up to two weeks)
  • Fast funding in as little as four days

Cons

  • No joint applications or co-signers
  • Origination fee of up to 8% (deducted from your loan)
  • Not available in Colorado, Connecticut, Iowa, Maryland, Vermont and West Virginia

Why Upgrade is the best for financial literacy:

  • Free credit score simulator to help you visualize how different scenarios and actions may impact your credit
  • Charts that track your trends and credit health over time, helping you understand how certain financial choices affect your credit score
  • Ability to sign up for free credit monitoring and weekly VantageScore updates

Who's this for? Upgrade loans approve qualified borrowers with fair or good credit, which makes it an appealing choice for those with a credit score that's less than ideal. These loans are fast and easy to secure, and all the funds will arrive to your checking account within one business day of submitting the required documents. All Upgrade personal loans have an origination fee of up to 8%, which is deducted directly from your loan proceeds so if you know you'll need $1,000, you should account for the origination fee and apply for a loan amount closer to $1,080.

Upgrade doesn't have any repayment penalties, but it does have a late fee: if you pay late or miss a payment, you could be hit with a $10 late fee if your payment is not received in full within 15 calendar days of the due date. 

And, like most of the other lenders on this list, Upgrade personal loans start at just $1,000, but qualified applicants can apply for as much as $50,000. Upgrade loans come with repayment terms of 24 to 84 months.

Best for flexible terms

PNC Bank Personal Loans

  • Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

    5.99% to 28.74% APR (0.25% APR discount when you sign up for autopay)

  • Loan purpose

    Debt consolidation, home improvement, wedding, moving and relocation or vacation

  • Loan amounts

    $1,000 to $20,000

  • Terms

    Up to 60 months

  • Credit needed

    Not disclosed

  • Origination fee

    None

  • Early payoff penalty

    None

  • Late fee

    10% of the payment or $40, whichever is greater

See our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • No origination fees, no early payoff fees
  • Fixed rate APR
  • Flexible repayment terms
  • Loan amounts start at $1,000
  • No collateral needed

Cons

  • Charges a late payment fee
  • Not the fastest funding (can take up to 10 business days)
  • Rates and terms can vary based on your ZIP code

Who's this for? PNC Bank gives borrowers the potential for having a longer repayment term — the terms can be as long as 60 months. This can be an appealing option for borrowers who would prefer to have smaller monthly payments stretched out over longer periods of time (although, you'll end up paying more in interest over time). Generally, the higher your credit score, the more likely you are to have a longer repayment period.

The interest rate and terms you receive will vary based on your location (you can enter your ZIP code on their website to get an idea of what the rates in your area are like). Also, you'll want to make sure your credit score is in a healthy range in order to increase your chances of getting approved for the lowest possible rate.

On the flip side, funding from this lender is generally not the fastest — it can take up to 10 business days to receive funding in some cases. There are no origination or prepayment fees but there is a late fee, which amounts to 10% of the payment or $40, whichever is greater. Still, though, this could be an option for potential borrowers who are PNC Bank customers who feel more comfortable taking on a loan from their current bank.

Our methodology

To determine which personal loans are the best, Select analyzed dozens of U.S. personal loans offered by both online and brick-and-mortar banks, including large credit unions, that come with no origination or signup fees, fixed-rate APRs and flexible loan amounts and terms to suit an array of financing needs.

When narrowing down and ranking the best personal loans, we focused on the following features:

  • No origination or signup fee: None of the lenders on our best-of list charge borrowers an upfront fee for processing your loan.
  • Fixed-rate APR: Variable rates can go up and down over the lifetime of your loan. With a fixed rate APR, you lock in an interest rate for the duration of the loan's term, which means your monthly payment won't vary, making your budget easier to plan.
  • Flexible minimum and maximum loan amounts/terms: Each lender provides a variety of financing options that you can customize based on your monthly budget and how long you need to pay back your loan.
  • No early payoff penalties: The lenders on our list do not charge borrowers for paying off loans early.
  • Streamlined application process: We considered whether lenders offered same-day approval decisions and a fast online application process. 
  • Customer support: Every loan on our list provides customer service available via telephone, email or secure online messaging. We also opted for lenders with an online resource hub or advice center to help you educate yourself about the personal loan process and your finances.
  • Fund disbursement: The loans on our list deliver funds promptly through either electronic wire transfer to your checking account or in the form of a paper check. Some lenders (which we noted) offer the ability to pay your creditors directly.
  • Autopay discounts: We noted the lenders that reward you for enrolling in autopay by lowering your APR by 0.25% to 0.5%.
  • Creditor payment limits and loan sizes: The above lenders provide loans in an array of sizes, from $500 to $100,000. Each lender advertises its respective payment limits and loan sizes, and completing a preapproval process can give you an idea of what your interest rate and monthly payment would be for such an amount.

After reviewing the above features, we sorted our recommendations by best for overall financing needs, debt consolidation and refinancing, small loans and next-day funding.

Note that the rates and fee structures advertised for personal loans are subject to fluctuate in accordance with the Fed rate. However, once you accept your loan agreement, a fixed-rate APR will guarantee interest rate and monthly payment will remain consistent throughout the entire term of the loan. Your APR, monthly payment and loan amount depend on your credit history and creditworthiness. To take out a loan, lenders will conduct a hard credit inquiry and request a full application, which could require proof of income, identity verification, proof of address and more. 

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Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.