Best Personal Loans for Excellent Credit

Borrowers with excellent credit may qualify for the best personal loan rates

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If you've got excellent credit, you鈥檝e got plenty of loan options at your disposal. Though other factors can influence whether a lender will actually approve you, a stellar credit score and history at least proves to them that you鈥檙e someone who handles debt responsibly and pays bills on time. As a result, you鈥檙e seen as a less risky borrower鈥攚hich means you鈥檙e more likely to qualify for the best terms and rates.

Best Personal Loans for Excellent Credit鈥揙ctober 2020

Lender Best For APR Range Minimum Loan Amount Maximum Loan Amount Terms Recommended Credit Score
LightStream Best Overall and Lowest Rate 2.49%鈥19.99% with autopay $5,000 $100,000 24鈥144 months 660+
Payoff Best for Debt Consolidation 5.99%-24.99% $5,000 $40,000 2鈥5 years 640+
SoFi Best Customer Experience 5.99%鈥18.28% with autopay $5,000 $100,000 2鈥7 years 680+
Discover Personal Loans Best Minimum Loan Amount  6.99%鈥24.99% $2,500 $35,000 36鈥84 months 680+
Marcus by Goldman Sachs Best for Transparency 6.99%鈥19.99% $3,500 $40,000 36鈥72 months 660+
Wells Fargo Best for In-Person Service 5.99%鈥24.49% with relationship discount $3,000 $100,000 12鈥84 months 620+
Alliant Credit Union Best Credit Union 6.24%鈥10.24% with autopay $1,000 $50,000 12鈥60 months 640+
American Express Best Wedding Loan 5.91%鈥19.98% $3,500 $25,000 12鈥36 months 670+
Loan amounts, APR, and repayment period may vary by loan purpose or type.

LightStream: Best Overall and Lowest Rate

LightStream

LightStream, the online lending arm of Truist bank, offers some of the lowest fixed rates around: as low as 2.49% and no higher than 19.99%鈥攚ith automatic payments (it's .5% higher without). Minimum rates and your repayment duration do vary, depending on the purpose of the loan鈥擫ightStream is big on categorizing loans, offering financing for everything from autos to weddings. There are also no fees and borrowers may take out up to a maximum of $100,000.聽

Pros
  • Extremely low APRs (with autopay)

  • Wide range of loans

  • Guarantees to better competitors' rate (restrictions apply)

Cons
  • Hard inquiries only (which can dampen credit score temporarily)

  • Longer credit history required, usually several years

  • Inability to change due date once repayments start

Other important information:

  • Minimum/maximum amount you can borrow: $5,000 to $100,000
  • APR range: 2.49%鈥19.99% with autopay
  • Fees: None (Florida residents pay Documentary Stamp Tax of .35%)
  • Minimum credit requirement: 660
  • Other qualification requirements: LightStream looks for borrowers with a decent credit mix, few delinquencies, a decent debt-to-income ratio and several years of credit history
  • Repayment terms: 24 to 144 months
  • Restrictions: LightStream won鈥檛 count income from the cannabis industry. Plus, you can鈥檛 refinance an existing LightStream loan and use the funds for educational or business expenses
  • Time to receive funds: Could be as soon as the same business day

Read the full review:LightStream

Payoff: Best for Debt Consolidation

Payoff

Payoff advertises as a lender to help borrowers consolidate high-interest credit card debt. Their competitive rates, starting at 5.99% offers those looking for breathing room finally get some. Though the minimum requirements are a 640 credit score, it鈥檚 safe to assume the best rates will go to the most creditworthy individuals. Applicants can take out a loan starting from $5,000.

Pros
  • No late payment fees or prepayment penalties

  • Soft credit inquiry (so no affect on credit score)

  • Offers transparency on loan approval requirements

Cons
  • High minimum loan amount

  • Charges an origination fee, up to 5%

  • No joint applications

Other important information:

  • Minimum/maximum amount you can borrow: $5,000 to $40,000
  • APR range: 5.99%鈥24.99%
  • Fees: 0%-5% origination fee
  • Minimum credit requirement: 640
  • Other qualification requirements: Applicants need to have at least 3 years of credit history, a debt-to-income ratio of 50% or less and have no current delinquencies
  • Repayment terms: 2 to 5 years
  • Restrictions: Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, and West Virginia residents ineligible
  • Time to receive funds: Within 3 to 6 business days after approval

Read the full review: Payoff

SoFi: Best Customer Experience

SoFi

In addition to some of the lowest rates around and a high maximum loan limit, online lender SoFi offers benefits for its members, as it calls clients鈥攁nd you become a member once you take out a loan. These benefits include no origination, prepayment, or late fees, plus access to credentialed financial advisors to offering personalized money advice.

Pros
  • No fees or late or prepayment penalties

  • Exclusive member benefits

  • Highly competitive APRs

Cons
  • Slower funding times

  • Higher minimum loan amount

  • High income a factor in getting best rates

Other important information:

  • Minimum/maximum amount you can borrow: $5,000 to $100,000
  • APR range: 5.99%鈥18.28% (with autopay)
  • Fees: No prepayment penalties, late and origination fees
  • Minimum credit requirement: 680
  • Other qualification requirements: Need to be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and the age of majority in your state. Applicants will also need to have a regular income source (such as full-time employment).
  • Repayment terms: 2 to 7 years
  • Restrictions: Personal loans aren鈥檛 available for Mississippi residents.
  • Time to receive funds: As soon as a few days after approval

Read the full review:SoFi

Discover Personal Loans: Best Minimum Loan Amount

Discover

Discover Bank is the online banking arm of the credit card company, famed for its cashback rewards and 100% U.S.-based customer service. One of Discover's strong points is that its loans come in relatively small amounts, excellent if the minimums set by other lenders exceed the amount of financing you really need. Yet its interest rates are competitive (many lenders reserve the better rates for larger loans).

Pros
  • Variety of loan terms offered, up to 84 months

  • Direct payment of creditors on debt consolidation loans

  • Soft credit inquiry (so no affect on credit score)

Cons
  • Lower maximum loan amount (only $35,000)

  • Restrictions on use of funds, particularly debt consolidation loans

  • Late payment fee of $39

Other important information:

  • Minimum/maximum amount you can borrow: $2,500 to $35,000
  • APR range: 6.99%鈥24.99%
  • Fees: $39 late fee but no origination fees or prepayment penalties
  • Minimum credit requirement: 680
  • Other qualification requirements:聽Applicants need to be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, at least 18 years old and have a $25,000 minimum household income
  • Repayment terms: 36, 48, 60, 72 or 84 months
  • Restrictions: If loan is for debt consolidation, at least 70% of loan proceeds need to go to your creditors. Otherwise, your APR and final approval could change
  • Time to receive funds: As early as the next business day or up to 7 days

Read the full review:Discover

Marcus by Goldman Sachs: Best for Transparency

Marcus

Marcus by Goldman Sachs, the online banking arm of the brokerage firm, offers a comprehensive FAQ section that may be able to address all your questions before applying for a loan. The lender also offers remarkable transparency in the form of the fees it charges (which are none, by the way) along with various rewards borrowers may receive, such as for on-time payment.

Pros
  • Borrowers have the ability to defer one payment after making 12 consecutive monthly payments on time in and in full

  • No fees, including late and origination fees or prepayment penalties

  • Direct payment of creditors on debt consolidation loans

Cons
  • No joint applications

  • Rates generally higher than competitors'

  • Lower maximum loan amount (only $40,000)

Other important information:

  • Minimum/maximum amount you can borrow: $3,500 to $40,000
  • APR range: 6.99%鈥19.99%
  • Fees: No late, origination or prepayment fees
  • Minimum credit requirement: 660聽
  • Other qualification requirements: Applicants need to be the age of majority in their state with a Social Security or Individual Tax I.D. Number, plus a valid U.S. Bank account.
  • Repayment terms: 36 to 72 months
  • Restrictions: Applicants can鈥檛 apply with a co-borrower
  • Time to receive funds: As few as 1 to 4 business days after approval聽

Read the full review:Marcus

Wells Fargo: Best for In-Person Service

WF2

Wells Fargo offers in-person service for those who are interested in a lender with brick and mortar locations. The bank has more than 5,400 locations to service your loan鈥攏ew customers need to do so in person. Their credit requirements aren鈥檛 as strict as other lenders and rates start 5.99%.

Pros
  • Receive loan processes as soon as the next business day

  • Minimal fees

  • Rate discount available for qualifying customers

Cons
  • Hard inquiry conducted when checking rates

  • No rate discounts or additional loans

  • High minimum loan amount

Other important information:

  • Maximum/minimum amount you can borrow: $3,000 to $100,000
  • APR range: 5.99%鈥24.49% (with relationship discount)
  • Minimum recommended credit score: 620
  • Fees: None
  • Other qualification requirements: Need a qualifying Wells Fargo bank account in addition to opting into autopay to receive a rate discount
  • Repayment terms: 12 to 84 months
  • Time to receive funds: As soon as the next business day
  • Restrictions: New Wells Fargo customers need to apply in person

Read the full review: Wells Fargo

Alliant Credit Union: Best Credit Union

A

Alliant Credit Union offers loans up to five years, best for those who are interested in short-term loans. It also offers a hardship program, also called their Debt Protection program. If you were to sign up for this optional program, you can suspend your monthly payments without being charged extra interest or penalties if some unexpected or emergency event would prevent you from paying your bills.

Pros
  • Most applicants will receive same day approval

  • No origination fees and prepayment penalties

  • Low minimum loan amount

Cons
  • Rates are higher the longer the loan term

  • Need to be a member to receive a personal loan

  • Loan terms short compared to other lenders

Other important information:

  • Maximum/minimum amount you can borrow: $1,000 to $50,000
  • APR range: 6.24%鈥10.24% with autopay discount
  • Fees: No prepayment penalty or origination fee
  • Minimum recommended credit score: 640
  • Other qualification requirements: Applicants need to be a member of the credit union by making a donation to Foster care to Success (a minimum of $5)
  • Repayment terms: 12 to 60 months
  • Time to receive funds: As soon as the same business day
  • Restrictions: The Debt Protection program incurs a monthly fee

American Express: Best Wedding Loan

AE

Known for its travel rewards credit cards, American Express is delving into the world of personal loans. The loan amounts offered make sense for those who are planning a wedding鈥攁n amount that鈥檚 not too high but not a few hundred dollars either. Though American Express is offering competitive rates, the downside is that you need to be an existing cardholder and have an offer to qualify.

Pros
  • Competitive rates for the most creditworthy of borrowers

  • No application or origination fees

  • Fast funding time

Cons
  • Need to be an existing American Express cardholder

  • Need to be invited to apply for a personal loan

  • Charges late fees

Other important information:

  • Maximum/minimum amount you can borrow: $3,500 to $25,000
  • APR range: 5.91%鈥19.98%
  • Fees: $39 late fee
  • Minimum recommended credit score: 670
  • Other qualification requirements: Applicants need to be a qualifying American Express cardholder
  • Repayment terms: 12 to 36 months
  • Time to receive funds: As soon as the next business day
  • Restrictions: Applicants need to be invited to apply for a personal loan

What is Considered an Excellent Credit Score?

When we're talking credit, we're mainly talking credit score鈥攁 statistical measure, not unlike an academic grade, that summarizes your creditworthiness in three digits. The credit scores most lenders use range between 300-850鈥攚hich sounds a lot wider than it is, in terms of lender approval. Most credit scores fall between 600 and 750, according to , one of the "Big Three" credit reporting bureaus. A score of 740 and above is considered 鈥渧ery good鈥 and scores of 800 and above are considered 鈥渆xcellent.鈥

Credit Score Ranges:

  • Excellent Credit: 800 - 850
  • Very Good Credit: 740 - 799
  • Good Credit: 670 - 739
  • Fair Credit: 580 - 669
  • Poor Credit: under 580

Understanding where you stand in terms of your credit score is important. It can mean the difference between a loan with an interest rate in the double digits (if you have a less-than-good score, under 660 or so) or one just a few percentage points above prime (if you are in the excellent-score category). Other benefits to having a higher credit score include the ability to borrow higher loan amounts and longer repayment terms.

What Are Average Personal Loan Rates For Excellent Credit?

According to , the average rate for personal loans is 9.41%. Of course, it depends on the lender and what factors when determining the borrower's rate, which includes your financial history and credit score.聽

Most likely, the higher your income and credit score, the more likely you鈥檒l be approved for the lowest rates. There may also be other factors such as your debt to income ratio (DTI), which shows the percentage of debt you鈥檙e paying in comparison to your gross monthly income. Lenders look at this number to determine whether you can handle taking on more debt.

What Should You Consider Before Choosing a Personal Loan?

Some factors to look for include:

  • APR: Generally speaking, the lower, the better. The annual percentage rate (APR) is different than the interest rate because it鈥檒l include any fees rolled into your loan.
  • Fees: Look at any origination fees, plus late fees or any prepayment penalties in case you want to pay off your loan early.
  • Repayment terms: Understanding how long you have to pay off your loan can show you how much interest you鈥檒l pay throughout the lifetime of the loan.

In addition, consider factors such as restrictions on how the loan must be used, minimum payment amounts, and how soon you鈥檒l receive funds.聽

Will Taking Out a Personal Loan Hurt Your Credit Score?

There are two types to credit checks: a soft pull (or soft inquiry) and a hard pull (hard inquiry). A soft pull is like a preview: Lenders allow you to see what you qualify for with them (approximately), based on the basic financial data you give them, and it doesn鈥檛 affect your credit score. When you submit a full application, that鈥檚 when the lender will do a hard pull, which will show up on your credit report and possibly affect your credit score鈥攅specially if there are several of them.

Keep in mind that if you have excellent credit, it may not affect your score that much or for that long. Plus, if you apply for multiple personal loans within a short time frame, the credit bureaus may view them as one inquiry, especially if they're for the same purpose (home improvement, auto, etc.). They鈥檙e aware that borrowers like to compare offers before making a decision, and so won't ding you unduly for due diligence.

Where Can I Get a Personal Loan?

As someone with excellent credit, you鈥檒l be able to find a personal loan in many places. Many borrowers tend to think the only places are through banks and credit unions, but many alternative lenders offer fairly competitive rates鈥揺specially if they're online. In fact, such lenders have some of the lowest rates since they鈥檙e not subject to the overhead costs that brick and mortar institutions are.

The Bottom Line

Getting a personal loan with excellent credit means you鈥檒l be able to get loans with the best rates and terms. But you should still shop around: After all, as the ideal applicant, you deserve the ideal lender. When comparing offers, it's not only the APR that matters; consider repayment terms, how much you want to borrow, how soon you'll receive funds, and any restrictions on loan proceeds before signing on the dotted line. And if you do submit applications to multiple lenders, make sure to do so within a short period of time so that your credit score won't be affected as much鈥攁nd your excellent status stays secure.

Methodology

Investopedia is dedicated to providing consumers with unbiased, comprehensive reviews of personal loan lenders for all borrowing needs. We collected over twenty five data points across more than fifty lenders including interest rates, fees, loan amounts and repayment terms to ensure that our content helps users make the right borrowing decision for their needs.

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Article Sources

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  1. Experian. "?" Accessed Oct. 2, 2020.