Personal Loans for Good, Fair and Bad Credit

by Shelton on December 6th, 2015

filed under Debt Consolidation

*Range of rates shown includes fixed- and variable-rate loans.  Rates are not guaranteed and vary based on the credit profile of each applicant. **With AutoPay discount.  ***Other credit standards apply, generally 700+ 

A personal loan is a loan that is not backed by any collateral (like a house or car). It differs from a mortgage or car loan in that the lender cannot directly seize your assets if you fail to pay back the loan.


  • Debt consolidation.  A personal loan can be used to consolidate high-interest credit card debt to lower interest payments and accelerate debt payoff.
  • Lower interest rates than payday lenders. Personal loan providers can offer significantly lower interest rates than payday lenders, even when borrowers have bad credit.


  • Higher interest rates than secured loans and (some) credit cards. If you have good credit and can pay off the loan in 12 18 months, you can likely get a credit card that has 0% interest on purchases for a year or longer. Alternatively, if you are a homeowner, home equity loans often have lower interest rates.
  • Extended application process. The approval process for a loan can last a few days and may require more information than that for a credit card.

If you have good credit and an existing banking relationship, it’s worth checking out your current provider or local credit union. Be sure to consider multiple options to find a good rate. Almost all lenders will require you to be over 18 and a legal US resident, with a verifiable bank account and not in bankruptcy or foreclosure.

Check out our choices for:

  • Best credit card consolidation loans
  • Best debt consolidation loans
  • Best personal loans for good credit
  • Best bad credit loans

Additional NerdWallet articles on personal loans:

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