If you plan to make a big purchase or pay off credit card debt with a personal loan, your options broaden when you have a good credit score. With good credit – a FICO score of 670 or better – you’re more likely to receive approval for a personal loan and qualify for a lower interest rate than consumers with fair credit or worse.
Still, the ball is in your court to find the best rates and terms for a personal loan. You’ll want to compare the best personal loans for good credit to find the lowest interest rate and the best repayment terms.
What you’ll learn here:
- Can you get a personal loan with good credit?
- How can you compare the best personal loans for good credit?
- Where is the best place to get a personal loan?
U.S. News selects the Best Loan Companies by evaluating affordability, borrower eligibility criteria and customer service. Those with the highest overall scores are considered the best lenders.
To calculate each score, we use data about the lender and its loan offerings, giving greater weight to factors that matter most to borrowers. Personal loan companies are evaluated based on customer service ratings, interest rates, maximum loan term, minimum and maximum loan amounts, minimum FICO score, online features, and origination fees. The weight each scoring factor receives is based on a nationwide survey on what borrowers look for in a lender.
To receive a rating, lenders must offer qualifying loans nationwide and have a good reputation within the industry. Read more about our methodology.
When you shop around for the best personal loan interest rate, you can save. Compare your personal loan offers with national average trends for personal loans to know whether you’ve found a good deal.
Select your desired loan amount and loan purpose, your credit score range, and your state to see estimated annual percentage rates and loan terms.
Can You Get a Personal Loan With Good Credit?
Good credit makes approval more likely but doesn’t guarantee it. You should have no problem meeting the minimum credit score requirement, but you’ll still need to satisfy other criteria, including annual income and debt-to-income ratio.
Your debt-to-income, or DTI, ratio is a percentage that tells lenders how much you spend on debt each month compared with how much you earn. Generally, personal loan companies prefer a DTI of no more than 43%, which means monthly debt obligations as a percentage of your income should not exceed that amount.
A low DTI ratio can offer easier approval and better interest rates than a high DTI, which can signal to lenders that you might be taking on too much debt.
Lenders also look at your ability to make monthly payments and how consistent your income has been recently, says Sarah Pierce, head of sales and operations for online mortgage lender Better.com.
“To determine this, lenders typically need documentation of your income history from the last two years, verified by tax returns and pay stubs,” Pierce says.
In addition to income and DTI, loan purpose could play a role in approval, but this factor may receive less weight than others. A personal loan application might ask how you plan to use your loan funds, such as paying for a wedding, repairing a home or car, or consolidating credit card debt.
If your income, DTI or another factor disqualifies you from getting an unsecured personal loan, you could consider a secured personal loan, also known as a collateral loan.
Whatever you choose, your credit score is critical to determining loan terms, including loan amount, says Mark Victoria, head of personal lending at TD Bank. Make sure your credit report is accurate before applying for a loan, he says.
You’ll want to review your credit reports and dispute errors. Normally, you’re entitled by law to one free copy of your credit report from each of the three national credit bureaus every 12 months at AnnualCreditReport.com or 877-322-8228. But the credit bureaus are now providing consumers free weekly access to their credit reports through April 2021 amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Evaluating factors such as APR, loan amount and fees will help you select the right loan. You can start your comparison shopping by prequalifying with at least three personal loan lenders.
Many personal loan companies offer online prequalification, which uses a soft credit check to determine your eligibility. Unlike a hard credit check when you formally apply for a loan, a soft credit check does not hurt your credit score.
When you prequalify, you will provide personal information to the lender that will let you learn an estimated loan amount, APR and monthly payment.
The APR provides a simple way to assess the cost of a loan. It includes interest charges and fees, such as origination fees, providing your total yearly cost of borrowing.
Taking the lowest APR deal may save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars, depending on your loan’s principal balance. The average APR for a personal loan is about 9.6%, according to the Federal Reserve’s most recent data, but a good credit score can result in more competitive interest rates.
Good-credit borrowers may qualify for rates at the low end of a lender’s APR range. Personal loan lenders may offer you lower rates because your good credit score suggests that you’ve used credit responsibly and may have a lower risk of default than other borrowers.
Make sure that you read the terms and conditions of your loan offer, and note all fees and when they will apply. In addition to origination fees, some lenders charge late fees, application fees andprepayment penalties.
Calculate how quickly you can realistically afford to repay the personal loan. But keep in mind that the longer the loan term, the more you will pay in interest over the life of the loan.
The term range you’ll have to repay your loan in full varies by lender. Some lenders offer a maximum loan term of three years, and others provide up to seven years to pay back loans.
You might even get flexible repayment terms, allowing you to tailor your payoff plan to attain a monthly payment that works best for your budget.
Personal loan amounts vary by lender, and a good credit score isn’t a guarantee of an offer for a lender’s maximum loan amount. You’ll need to meet the financial institution’s minimum annual income and other requirements for approval.
You can request a loan amount in your application, and the lender will evaluate whether that figure is reasonable based on factors such as income and credit history, Victoria says.
“Some lenders allow borrowers to request a higher loan amount, but in some cases, decisions are automated based on eligibility,” he says.
Lenders may offer you discounts to earn your business. “The most common incentive is a rate discount, typically used to incentivize consumers to sign up for autopay,” Victoria says.
Knowing what other borrowers think of working with a lender can be helpful because you can gain insight into what to expect if you get a loan. Read full reviews to learn about a lender’s interest rates, terms, loan amounts and fees.
The best place to get a personal loan with good credit depends on the loan terms you seek. Traditional banks, credit unions and online lenders offer personal loans for good-credit borrowers.
You can choose from among many lenders offering personal loans if you have good credit. Here’s a look at how different types of lenders may stack up:
- Your financial institution. If you have good credit and a relationship with a financial institution, see what loan offers it has for you. It already has your identifying information and some of your financial details and could provide a fast decision on your loan application.
- A traditional bank. Conventional banks, as for-profit financial institutions, could charge higher APRs and fees on personal loans than other lenders. But if you prefer banking at convenient brick-and-mortar branches, this option might be for you.
- Credit unions. These member-owned financial institutions return profits to members in the form of lower fees and competitive personal loan rates. If you meet a credit union’s eligibility requirements, then you can join and apply for a loan.
- Online lenders. Because these lenders lack physical branches, you apply and upload documents digitally.
You’ll want to compare not only personal loan companies but also consider whether a personal loan is the best solution for your needs. With good credit, you have the ability to shop around.
If you’re making major home repairs, for instance, a home equity loan might be a better choice than a personal loan and could offer a lower interest rate. But if you need to consolidate and pay off a small amount of credit card debt, a balance transfer credit card with an interest-free period may be best.