Here’s a look at some high quality lenders that cater to a range of borrowers, offering installment loans without the exorbitant APRs and unscrupulous tactics used by some short-term, small-dollar lenders. Prosper is our first choice for online lenders and Springleaf Financial for traditional “brick-and-mortar” banks if you prefer looking your lender in the eye!
Later in this article, I outline why these lenders stand out from the rest when it comes to installment loans. I also examine what installment loans are in more detail, why they aren’t simply for borrowers with bad credit, how to avoid shady installment loans and lenders, and how to shop for the best installment loans.
The Simple Dollar’s Top Picks
Best Online Installment Loans
Best Installment Loans with Physical Office Locations
Best Online Installment Loans: Prosper
You’ll need solid credit to get a loan with peer-to-peer lender Prosper, but qualifying can net you a competitive APR that starts around 5.99%. You’ll also be able to borrow up to $35, 000, a generous amount for personal installment loans. Prosper shines with a transparent, easy-to-use website that doesn’t bury any important information in fine print, and it makes loans in all but three states.
If you need money right away, Prosper won’t be the best option, however. It may take a week or two for investors to fully fund your loan — this is a risk with all peer-to-peer lending. You’ll also pay an origination fee of up to 5% of the loan.
- Makes loans from $2, 000 to $35, 000
- APRs as low as 5.99% for strongest borrowers
- Transparent website has clear FAQs and little “fine print”
- Established, reputable lender has A+ and accreditation with BBB
- You could wait up to two weeks for your funds
- Origination fee can be as much as 5% of your loan
- Borrowers must have good credit (640+) to be eligible
- Loans aren’t available in Maine, North Dakota, and Iowa
Runner-up: Lending Club
Another peer-to-peer loan leader, Lending Club is very similar to Prosper. Loans via Lending Club top out at $35, 000 and APRs range from 5.99% – 32.99%, or up to 35.99% for special Access Loans with slightly looser eligibility criteria.
In general, Lending Club may be a bit stingier about loan approval than Prosper, and it’s not available in Iowa. Fees are competitive between the two companies, but Lending Club charges you a fee if you make a monthly payment by check.
If your credit isn’t quite up to snuff for Prosper or Lending Club, you may still be able to swing a loan with Avant as long as your credit score is at least 580. Your loan will be capped at a lower $35, 000 and APRs are a bit higher (starting at 9.95%), but you can receive your money faster since Avant is a direct lender. The company can make loan in 46 states, and you won’t have to pay a hefty loan origination fee. Note that this is a relatively new startup, which may not appeal to some more nervous borrowers.
Best Installment Loans With Offices: Springleaf Financial
Whether your credit score limits your options or you simply want to shake someone’s hand before you plead your case, Springleaf Financial might be a good fit. This well-established lender makes mostly unsecured loans, but also make secured loans that can get borrowers a lower APR than they may otherwise get. More than 820 branches across the country make Springleaf a convenient brick-and-mortar option for many borrowers, but you can also apply online.
- Works with borrowers who have less then perfect credit
- Secured and unsecured loans both available
- Has more than 820 branches
- Established, reputable lender has A++ rating with BBB
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