How We Chose the Best Personal Loan Companies

Payoff

  • Minimum credit score of 640
  • Must have a debt-to-income ratio of 50% or less
  • Designed to help boost your FICO score

Payoff offers a personal loan designed to help borrowers eliminate credit card debt. Their loan allows you to consolidate multiple high-interest credit card balances into one monthly payment with a fixed interest rate.

Something that makes Payoff unique amongst other personal loan lenders is the transparency around their approval criteria. In order to be approved for a loan you will need a FICO score of 640 or higher, a debt-to-income ratio of 50% or less, and three years of good credit amongst other criteria.

If you are looking for a personal loan to help you repay high-interest credit card debt, then Payoff may be a good option.

In order to help you find a personal loan company, our Editorial Team reviewed our partner lenders for multiple data points.

We rated lenders based on interest rates, fees, term lengths, loan amounts, deposit time, soft credit pull availability, discounts, availability of cosigned or joint loans, BBB rating, Trustpilot rating, and extra benefits. You can learn more here.

What to Look for in the Best Personal Loan

In order to find the best personal loan, there are certain things you should consider. While the best loan for you will depend on your personal situation, here are some common things to watch out for:

Rates & Terms

Interest Rates: Look for personal loans with the lowest interest rates. The rate will have the biggest influence over the total cost of the loan, so it’s important to shop around for the lowest rate.

Repayment Terms: Lenders usually allow you to choose from a range of repayment terms. This is the amount of time you will have to make monthly payments for. Shorter term lengths result in higher monthly payments but more interest saved over time, and vice-versa for longer repayment terms. Make sure the lender you choose has a repayment term that will result in a monthly payment that fits your budget.

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Available Discounts: Many lenders offer interest rate discounts to help reduce the total cost of the loan and to promote financially healthy behaviors. Most often, lenders will offer a rate discount (typically 0.25%) for setting up automatic payments. Other lenders may offer discounts for other things such as having a bank account with the lender.

Origination Fees: This fee is charged when you take out a personal loan and is calculated as a percentage of the total loan amount. Many of the best personal loan organizations don’t charge any origination fees, but some do. If there is one, be sure to consider it when calculating your total loan cost.

Prepayment Penalties: This fee is charged if you pay off your loan early. Like origination fees, most of the top personal loan companies don’t charge prepayment penalties. If you anticipate that you’ll want to pay off your loan faster than your term length requires, be sure to find a lender that doesn’t charge prepayment penalties.

Other Fees: Some lenders may charge other fees such as late fees or fees for paying with a check. Make sure to consider these fees before deciding on which personal loan is best for you.

Application Process

Soft Credit Check for Pre-Approval: Many lenders allow you to see interest rate quotes after they do a soft credit check. This won’t affect your credit score like a hard credit inquiry will, so you can shop around for rates without worrying about your credit taking a hit. Note that most lenders will perform a hard credit inquiry later on in the application process to determine if you are definitely eligible and what your rate will be.