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Personal loans can be a strategic option for financing big purchases, as long as you understand the terms of your loan. By shopping around with your budget in mind, you can sometimes find flexible payment terms suitable to your needs.
LightStream Personal Loans are Select's best overall pick for personal loans because they offer the lowest APRs of any lender (pending your credit approval). The one caveat to this loan is that you need at least a good credit score to qualify, and having an excellent score is needed to qualify for the most favorable loan packages.
LightStream offers loans for nearly everything, from credit card refinancing to home improvement (higher education and small business loans are excluded, however).
Find the best personal loans
To make your search easier, Select reviewed LightStream loans, looking at APR, perks, fees, loan amounts and terms factors. (Read more about our methodology below.) Ahead, we break down what you need to know.
Annual Percentage Rate (APR)
5.99% to 23.99%* when you sign up for autopay
Debt consolidation, home improvement, auto financing, medical expenses, wedding and others
$5,000 to $100,000
24 to 144 months*
Early payoff penalty
LightStream offers APRs ranging from 3.49% to 19.99%, and signing up for autopay could qualify you for a 0.5% discount. Credit score, loan amount and term length all impact what APR you qualify for at the time of application.
Your rate may also vary based on the type of loan you need: Auto loans start at 3.49% and debt consolidation loans start at 5.95%. Home improvement loans start at 3.99% APR.
Same-day funding is available through wire transfer or ACH when you: 1) apply on a business day, 2) are approved and 3) electronically sign your loan agreement with time left before banks close. Once you are approved for a loan you have 30 days to transfer the funds directly into your checking account before your application expires.
A noteworthy perk for environementalists, LightStream plants a tree for every loan they give in partnership with American Forests, an organization dedicated to protecting and rebuilding forests.
LightStream's customer service was ranked first in customer satisfaction among personal loan lenders in 2020 by J.D. Power.
LightStream does not charge any late fees or origination fees. There is also no penalty for paying off your loans early, making LightStream a good choice if you have inconsistent cash flow and need flexibility.
Depending on the loan you apply for and your credit, you can receive between $5,000 to $100,000.
LightStream loans payment term lengths range from 24 to 144 months. Term lengths vary depending on your credit and other factors.
LightStream Personal Loans are a great fit for people who have good to excellent credit. Those who have solid credit are eligible for better terms and even lower rates, which LightStream makes available to qualified borrowers. The flexibility of no early-pay-off fees allows you to pay off the loan earlier than planned without penalty. No late fees or origination fees are also a perk.
Borrowers with less-than-ideal credit might consider looking into a loan with Upstart for debt consolidation or credit card refinancing. If you are working on building credit, think twice before taking out loans for nonessential purchases. Instead, work on the basics like budgeting and saving, and learn what goes into your credit score.
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.
*Your LightStream loan terms, including APR, may differ based on loan purpose, amount, term length, and your credit profile. Excellent credit is required to qualify for lowest rates. Rate is quoted with AutoPay discount. AutoPay discount is only available prior to loan funding. Rates without AutoPay are 0.50% points higher. Subject to credit approval. Conditions and limitations apply. Advertised rates and terms are subject to change without notice. Payment example: Monthly payments for a $10,000 loan at 3.99% APR with a term of three years would result in 36 monthly payments of $295.20.