Personal Loan Reviews

Our Personal Loan Reviews Platform

Everyone needs a little extra money at some point during their lives. A personal loan is an alternative to revolving credit that provides you only with the specific amount of money that you need in a lump sum when you need it. Like revolving credit, personal loans can help you rebuild your finances and improve your credit score.

It does not matter if you are looking for a financial institution and personal loan product to perform home renovations, pay for a vacation or wedding, cover an emergency or consolidate the debt from multiple or high-interest credit card bills so that you only have to make one payment monthly. Our consumer reviews offer the right kind of insight into available options.

On this website, you can find bank, credit union and loan product reviews from real people who have experienced positive and negative situations when applying for and utilizing personal loans from domestic and international lenders. We guide their content by asking all reviewers to rate their experiences in four topic areas: interest rates, fee responsibilities, customer service and borrower satisfaction. We also ask reviewers to summarize their experiences in a testimonial format.

Look for Important Details

Each review contains vital information that can help you narrow down your list of lenders and products. Although some reviews have more of this information than others, we believe that searching our reviews for the following important details can help you make a wiser decision:

  • Loan Types
    Financial institutions like banks and credit unions offer secured and unsecured personal loan options. With a secured loan, you agree to use an asset, such as property or money in a savings account, as collateral to secure the loan. This concept is similar to providing a cable or utility company a deposit to set up an account. Lenders typically prefer secured loan products when dealing with borrowers who have fair or average credit. Unsecured personal loans, also known as signature loans, require no collateral. They only require your promise to pay. They are usually offered to borrowers who have a positive credit and repayment history and good to excellent credit score.
  • Application Requirements
    Although banks and credit unions obviously do not hand out loans to everyone, some lenders do approve loans for people who have poor credit histories. You must typically have a current low debt-to-income ratio and a steady income or a history of recent consecutive on-time payments. If you want to consolidate your current debts into one loan, a lender might require that you show several years of steady employment. With almost all scenarios, you must typically have a credit score of 580 or higher.
  • Cosigner Release
    A cosigner can help you get a loan if you are younger than 18 years old and/or have less-than-perfect credit, no credit or low or fluctuating income. That said, your cosigner is responsible for your loan repayment if you fail to make payments. As a result, always check if the lender has a cosigner release option that removes a cosigner's name from the agreement after the primary borrower has made a certain number of consecutive on-time payments.
  • Interest Rates
    The interest rate that a lender charges you is based on a wide variety of factors. For example, if the lender does not perform a credit check or you have damaged credit, then you likely will receive the highest rate possible or a high processing or origination fee. A credit score between 580 and approximately 660 can increase the rate. A credit score of approximately 700 or higher can lower the interest rate below 12 percent. Lenders offer interest in fixed and variable forms. Always look for fixed rate loans since they are not as affected by market fluctuations as variable rate products.
  • Extra Fees
    Although banks and credit unions charge a variety of fees to make a little extra money off of borrowers, many lenders try to retain long-term business relationships by lowering or waiving fees for customers who fulfill certain qualifications or on a case-by-case basis. That said, you might have to deal with any of the following fees. Beyond standard late payment and overdraft fees, some lenders charge an administrative fee known as an application, disbursement, origination or processing fee. A "payment processing" fee can also pop-up if you make a manual payment with a phone agent or need to extend your agreed upon payment schedule. Many lenders charge a prepayment penalty fee if you decide to make higher than agreed upon payments or pay off your loan early.
  • Insurance Protection
    A loan agent might attempt to sell you an insurance plan that covers the cost of one or more loan payments or pays off the entire loan amount during a financial hardship. These programs almost always benefit lenders more than they do borrowers because many borrowers already have other types of insurance that offer them this protection. Worst yet, some programs have terms in the fine print that undermine the entire purpose of these programs by making it extremely difficult to get approval for a claim. Refuse the lender-offered option and go with life or unemployment insurance or look for financial institutions that offer a free financial hardship postponement program.
  • Product Discounts
    A loan product discount can come in any form. A lender might offer you lower interest or waive fees because you have an excellent credit history or you simply received a better quote elsewhere. Teachers, veterans, college graduates and first-time borrowers typically receive discounts based on their status. If they have no credit history or a poor one, they often receive the benefit of the doubt in the form of lower interest or a smaller origination fee. If you have an existing positive relationship with a lender or you plan to open an account, you can usually negotiate a discounted rate or fee waiver because the financial institution wants your future business. Since credit unions work for their members, they often offer better loan deals than banks. Lastly, you might receive lower interest if you agree to repay the loan via a monthly automatic electronic funds transfer.
  • Repayment Terms
    The fine print in a loan contract often contains terms that a loan agent fails to point out. For this reason, it is important to check our reviews for stories about borrowers who were hit with unnecessary fees because they did not read the fine print or the fine print had unclear language. You should also keep in mind that lower monthly payments equal a longer repayment period and more interest. Personal loan repayment periods typically last two to five years depending on the loan amount and other factors.
  • Credit Date
    It is important to also look for stories about financial institutions who failed to credit a phone or online payment on the same day a borrower physically made the payment. Many lenders only permit credit for these payments during business days and hours, which means that you might get a late payment fee if you have a financial delay and pay after hours or on a weekend. Of course, this is one area where borrowing from a lender that offers a free financial hardship postponement program or one-time waiver can keep you from paying a penalty.
  • Loan Transfers
    Financial institutions sell loan products to other businesses, including other lenders and debt collectors, for various reasons. Borrowers often pay the price for this practice because adjusted terms, original paperwork hard copy or electronic data transfer errors, missing paperwork, new payment processing fees and policies, automatic electronic payment problems and late forwarding of billing statements causes payment delays and confusion. Some borrowers do not even find out about a loan transfer until a month or longer after a new company has taken over the loan.
  • Account Tools
    One way you can prevent communication issues and better manage your loan and track your repayment history is by picking a bank or credit union that offers modern online account tools. Look for lenders who help their customers be proactive with their loans with excellent online access security features, user-friendly navigation options and thorough account details. You should always be able to at least view online the total amount of your loan, the remaining balance owed, the due date, the final repayment date, interest details, a payment history and printable/downloadable statements.
  • Customer Service
    One of the biggest complaints that some borrowers have after they procure a loan is that they received poor customer service. Remove any bank or credit union from consideration that handled a lot of past accounts poorly or failed to offer 24/7 emergency customer support. Additionally, reconsider any lender that makes customers wait on hold on the phone for longer than 10 minutes during peak call periods. The goal with a loan is to improve your financial situation. Waiting for the next "business day" or on hold to speak with a representative can make your financial situation worse if the experience results in a repayment delay or interrupts other critical areas of your life like work.

Additional Personal Loan Tips

In addition to the above recommendations, we recommend that you think about the following as you research and apply for a personal loan:

People who have paid off as much debt as possible beforehand are in a better position to get a personal loan. Even if you repaid any type of previous loan that you defaulted on years ago, a lender today might still refuse your application because of that one default. An excellent interest rate or lower fee is not always a good deal. Some lenders offset the better deal with a higher cost somewhere else. For example, you might receive a higher processing fee to offset a fantastic low APR. Also, look out for and reject any personal loan product that utilizes a "precomputed interest" calculation. When interest is precomputed, you pay more if you pay off your loan faster. Most borrowers do better with both interest and fees if they choose a credit card to cover low purchases or small debt consolidations when they know that they can make their total repayment in under a year. Many credit card products also offer 0 percent APR deals. Choose a personal loan if you need more than approximately $1,000 and longer than a year to repay.

If you decide on a financial hardship postponement program, always keep in mind that a lender might refuse to postpone one or more payments if you have made late payments before. You might also have to pay a late payment fee and extra interest. You can find the details about all fees and penalties in the loan agreement's fine print or addendum. Lastly, always look for banks and credit unions that offer linked checking account low balance notifications via email or text message so that you can stay on top of your loan repayment responsibilities.

Achieve Your Personal Goals

Most banks and credit unions take approximately one to three business days to respond to a personal loan application. If you need money faster, then you might be better served in the short-term by asking for an early paycheck from work, picking up a temporary job, selling property or applying for a credit card, payday loan or online installment loan product. Faster borrowing scenarios though often come with ridiculously high interest and fees. In fact, you might face interest of several hundred percent with a payday or online installment loan product. If a personal loan seems like a better match to your situation, start reading our reviews today.