If you are looking for a personal loan, you have plenty of options out there. I often get asked where the best place is to find a personal loan. My answer to them is that there is no “best place” to find a personal loan. Instead I advise people to rate shop and find a personal loan whose terms, conditions and interest rates match their lifestyle and personal needs.
If you were to ask me where to find them however, that I can help you with. There is a wide variety of options you have to find the best personal loan for you. Here are just a few of the places to locate a personal loan:
Peer-to-peer lenders (For example Prosper and Lending Club)
Payday lenders (commercial)
Credit unions (not for profit)
Credit building groups (not for profit)
Online lenders (commercial)
The bank you already do business may or may not be the best option. Some banks will give more credit leeway with existing customers, meaning if you already do business with your bank, they may be willing to overlook some credit problems you may have, if you agree to loan payments on auto-pay. However banks do not always have your best interest at heart, and you could end up paying a higher interest rate than you would have, had you done some rate shopping among other lenders. By all means see what your bank offers you, but do not rush to sign off on the loan, instead check your rate elsewhere and return to the bank if they are the best offer you receive.
Credit unions should be your first option, if you belong to one. Most credit unions require you to be a member before they will even consider lending to you. If you are a member however, an entire world of options opens up for you. Since credit unions are not for profit, they charge lower rates on average than any for profit lender would charge. This can equal a tremendous savings for you over the lifetime of you loan.
Credit building groups can be option as well. But there is a catch, it is for people building credit. In effect you are lending money to yourself, so this option is not so good if you need money today. How it works is people with poor credit can deposit a sum of money, usually $1000 in an interest baring account. You can then borrow money with this as your collateral. When you borrow against that money, the loan is reported to the credit reporting agencies. The down side is it is not really a loan, just a glorified savings account.
Peer to peer lenders used to be truly peers, private investors who would make loans to borrowers, with a wide range of credit scores. It used to be easy with poor credit to obtain a loan from these lenders, but today that is not the case due to tightened up credit requirements. Also today most of the loans in so called peer to peer lending are made by banks. Banks went into the peer to peer lending business during the peer to peer lending heyday, due to missing out on the profits from personal loans. You can always check your interest rate with a peer to peer lending platform, but almost always the rate given will not be favorable.
Payday lenders should be your last resort and avoided if at all possible. These lenders charge around 400% APR, and often times much more than that. People can rarely repay these loans without financial difficulty. Sometimes people need to take out a second payday loan to pay back the remainder of the first one, in a process called rolling the loan over. It is not uncommon for people to become trapped in an ever increasing loan rollover period, with interest building to unsustainable levels.
Online lenders often will provide you with the best interest rate and fastest turn around time. Our website features reviews on some of the best online lenders, and possible rates. Some of these lenders will even allow you to check your rate without effecting your credit score. You can also use online to check your options for banks, credit unions and more, since nearly every lender on the planet operates a website.