Life throws you a curve-ball sometimes. No matter who you are, everyone needs a little financial help from time to time. Maybe you find yourself facing something like a family emergency, an urgent medical procedure, or even essential repairs on your car. When that happens, you’ll need access to cash quickly. Online installment loans can be a great help in times like these.
Still, everyone has different needs. You may need to find the lender with the best interest rates. Or, you might prefer one that has a simple, no-fuss application process. No matter what your needs are, there’s a lender out there for you.
In this article, we’ll look at 7 of the best online installment loan lenders for your specific needs.
Best for Bad Credit Borrowers
There are many important reasons why a borrower would want to consider online installment loans. So, when you need the money the most, you don’t want a bad credit score to become an obstacle. Thankfully, these lenders make it easier for people with bad credit to borrow money.
Again, all of these lenders are excellent in their own way, but we’ll start with the most excellent one and work our way down.
- SimpleFastLoans – Keep an eye on lenders like SimpleFastLoans, as they’re famous for a good reason. They find themselves at the top of this list for requiring a minimum credit score of just 580!
- Avant – When it comes to credit scores, SimpleFastLoans and Avant are tied on this list. This lender, too, only requires a minimum credit score of 580.
- LendingPoint – Only five points shy of tying in with the previous two lenders is LendingPoint. They also have an impressively low minimum credit requirement of only 585 points.
- Upstart – This lender isn’t too far behind, with its minimum credit score requirement of 600 points. As you can see, they’re not too far off from the top-scoring lender on this list Upgrade, with a requirement gap of only 20 points between them.
- OneMain Financial – Now, we’ve come to a fascinating part of this list. Lenders like OneMain Financial, Opportun, and Opploans do not have a minimum credit score requirement. That’s why they’re good options for bad credit borrowers. So, to rank them, we’ll look at their minimum APR instead. For this lender, the estimated APR starts at 18%.
- Oportun – Similarly, Opportun doesn’t have a minimum credit score requirement. However, its estimated APR is a little higher at 20%.
- Opploans – Lastly, Opploans. No minimum credit score required here, but their estimated APR starts at 59%, which is much higher than the previous two lenders.
Best on Interest Rate
If you’re looking for an lender that can offer you the best interest rates, check out these great options. These lenders offer the lowest estimated Annual Percentage Rates or APRs on the market.
All of them are great options, but let’s rank them from the best of the best to the least of the best:
- Lightstream – Lightstream tops this list for having the lowest minimum APR so far of just 3.49%. Bear in mind that the final APR will depend on a few factors like the reason for your loan, the total amount, length, and so on. Still, this is a pretty impressive rate.
- Earnest – Earnest is a lender that brands itself as specializing in low-interest loans. It seems they live up to that brand by having a low minimum APR of 4.99%
- Sofi – Sofi is another name you’ll see a lot when looking for installment loans online. With a minimum APR of 5.99%, they tie with Best Egg on this list.
- Best Egg – Tied on this list with Sofi, Best Egg also offers a minimum APR of 5.99%. This lender is great, especially if you’re looking for personal loans or debt consolidation loans.
- Upgrade – As you can see, lending rates are competitive. Upgrade ties with Marcus by Goldman Sachs on this list with an estimated APR of 6.99%.
- Marcus by Goldman Sachs – Here’s a fun fact: ‘Marcus’ is actually the name of the man who founded Goldman Sachs. On this list, Marcus (the lending company) is tied with Upgrade offering an estimated APR of 6.99%.
- Upstart – An estimated 7% APR might seem like a lot when you stack it up against the other lenders on this list. Still, it’s one of the lowest rates on the market. On the plus side, they verify your details almost instantly and send you the money one business day after signing the agreement.
Best for Easy Application Process
Applying for an installment loan isn’t just about the money. It’s also about how easy the application process might be. Not all lenders offer a smooth application process, but these seven lenders do.
Ranked from the easiest application process to the least easy (but still pretty easy!), the lenders are:
- Upgrade – Noticed a pattern yet? Upgrade is a name you’ll see a lot in this article. Their application process is the most straightforward one we’ve seen so far. Their application process is online and easy to finish. Once you’ve applied, their people will get in touch with you to complete the process.
- SimpleFastLoans – SimpleFastLoans prides itself in offering simple, fast, and personalized service. This is evident in not just their brand name but also how highly-rated they are by previous borrowers.
- Avant – This lender takes a more ‘human’ feel. Sure, you’ll deal with human loan agents with other lenders too. But a lot of those lenders have automated their process so much that human contact is minimal. With Avant, you’ll be dealing with real people who will help you with your application process.
- LendingPoint – When it comes to Lendinpoint, they’re exceptionally transparent. They present loan options in an easy-to-understand way. Even after you’ve signed on, you’ll have a direct line to loan agent for continued support.
- Opportun – Opportun also has a pretty straightforward application process. One element they highlight is the option for secured loans, so you can put up your car or another asset up as collateral to apply for the money you need.
- LightStream – LightStream also uses an online application process like the others. Once you submit an application, you’ll have to wait for them to respond back before the process continues.
- Prosper – Prosper personalizes your experience by giving you a quick questionnaire before presenting you with your options. There are quite a few questions to answer. But once you’ve completed it, you’ll find that your loan options almost feel tailor-made just for you.
Best for Larger Loan Amounts
Borrowers who are looking for much larger loan amounts might find it challenging. Lenders traditionally put a caps on how much they give each person. Thankfully, some offer higher amounts.
Here, we’re going to rank lenders based on their maximum loan amounts.
- Sofi – Sofi comes out on top in this regard. They offer a maximum loan amount of $100,000. This will come in handy for borrowers needing high amounts for medical bills, significant repairs, or similar reasons.
- LightStream – This lender ties with Sofi on this list. They, too, offer up to $100,000 to borrowers.
- Upstart – Upstart offers a much lower maximum amount compared to the previous two. Still, this lender’s maximum loan amount is relatively high at $50,000.
- Marcus by Goldman Sachs – This lender offers a maximum loan amount of $40,000.
- Prosper – Tied with Marcus by Goldman Sachs, Prosper caps their loan amounts at $40,000.
- Avant – It seems that the lowest maximum loan amount on this list is $35,000, as Avant and Upgrade both ties at this amount.
- Upgrade – Similar to Avant, Upgrade’s maximum loan amount offered is $35,000.
Best for Speed of Funding
Borrowers can’t afford to wait too long for their money. So, lenders also compete on how fast they can disburse (or transfer) the money to you. Here, we’ll rank how quickly lenders will give you the money after approval:
- LightStream – LightStream seems to be the quickest in the bunch. Assuming everything goes well during the application process, they should be able to disburse the money to you on the same day.
- SimpleFastLoans – This lender might take a while, as they provide you with funding one day after the agreement is signed.
- Upstart – Like many lenders, Upstart also disburses funds on the next business day after you’ve signed the loan documents.
- Avant- Avant also ties in with the last two lenders, as it offers next-day transfer of money after approval.
- Prosper – This lender takes a little longer. Typically, if everything goes smoothly, the money will be transferred to you as soon as possible. However, they do note that the transfer should happen somewhere within five days.
- Marcus by Goldman Sachs – Unlike previous lenders, Marcus by Goldman Sachs does not seem to make any indications or promises about when they’ll transfer funding to you. Assuming your documents are in order and everything goes well, it shouldn’t take too long. However, you’ll need to manage your expectations about how soon you’ll get your money.
- Sofi – While Sofi does have a relatively straightforward application process. Still, there is no indication or promises made about how soon funds will be transferred to borrowers after approval.
Best Direct Installment Loan Lender
Finally, we’ve come to the most exciting part of this article. Which lender is the best when it comes to providing installment loans online?
Here’s our final verdict:
- LightStream – LightStream is the top lender overall. Firstly, they offer one of the highest maximum loan amounts at $100,000. At the same time, their minimum estimated APR is only 5.95%, while they offer loan tenures anywhere from 2-7 years.
- Sofi – In a close Second Place is Sofi. Just like Lightstream, this lender also offers a high maximum loan amount of $100,000 with loan tenures of 2-7 years. However, their estimated APR is slightly higher, at 5.99%.
- SimpleFastLoans – In terms of simplicity, speed of funding, and minimum credit requirements, SimpleFastLoans is the best lender. Choose this lender if your credit profile is fair or poor and you need money by tomorrow.
- Marcus by Goldman Sachs – This lender has earned its spot on this list with its maximum loan amount of $40,000, estimated APR of 6.99%, and loan tenures from 3-6 years.
- Upstart – Upstart has a higher maximum loan amount than most on this list at $50,000. Combine that with an estimated APR of 7% and 3- to 5-year loan tenure, and you have them holding the 5th spot on this list.
- Prosper – A maximum loan amount of $40,000, 7.95% APR, and 3-5 year loan tenure puts Prosper comfortably at sixth place on this list.
- Upgrade – Lastly, we have Upgrade. They offer a maximum loan amount of $35,000, an APR of 7.99%, and 3-5 years in loan tenure. They may bet at the bottom of this list, but they remain among the best of the best lenders offering online installment loans today.
As you can see, there are several lenders out there who will offer you an installment loan with relatively no hassle. The important thing for you to remember is that an online installment loan is a long-term commitment, just like getting into a relationship.
When you sign your loan agreement, you’ll be in a lender-borrower relationship with one of those lenders for a long time; as many years as it takes for you to repay that loan. So, take a bit of time to figure out your options. Even if you need the money urgently, try your best not to take the first attractive offer you see.
Take some time to figure out your options. Do the math to figure out what loans you can or can’t afford. Even though the application process can be done online, don’t be afraid to call them or visit their offices. When it comes to getting online installment loans from lenders, you’ll be better off doing your homework about who you’re getting into a financial ‘relationship’ with.