Earnest and LendingClub are both bigger names in the online personal loan space. But while they each offer competitive options for borrowers with good credit, they may not be the best choice if you have excellent credit.

Still, they are worth looking into while comparing your options. Earnest is a great way to do just that — and it may help you find a competitive loan. And while LendingClub has a high APR, it can still be good if you’ve exhausted other, less expensive options.

Earnest vs. LendingClub at a glance

Earnest works with lenders that offer a wide range of loan amounts and terms. However, it means extra steps — something you can avoid by working with a direct lender like LendingClub.

Bankrate Score 4.8 4.3
Better for Comparing multiple lenders Midsize loans
Loan amounts $1,000-$250,000 $1,000-$40,000
APRs Varies by lender 9.57%-35.99%
Loan term lengths 6-144 months 36-60 months
Fees None 3%-8% origination fee
Minimum credit score 680 600
Time to funding As soon as the next business day Within four days

Earnest personal loans


  • Joint applications accepted.
  • Wide range of loan options.
  • Quick approval process.


  • Not a direct lender.
  • Good credit required.
  • Approval not guaranteed.

Earnest is a platform that matches borrowers to lenders they qualify for. Because of this, it can be a great choice if you are new to borrowing. If you have a credit score under 740, you are unlikely to qualify for the biggest loans — those are designed for borrowers with excellent credit — but you may still be able to find a lender that fits your needs.

You won’t need to wait long, either. Many of the lenders in Earnest’s network are able to fund loans as soon as the next business day after you are approved. You will need to be on top of submitting documents and providing any extra info needed to ensure a quick turnaround.

LendingClub personal loans


  • Joint applications accepted.
  • Flexible due dates.
  • Low starting amount.


  • Slower funding timeline.
  • High origination fees.
  • Starting APR is not competitive.

LendingClub does not have the most competitive rates or terms on the market. In fact, its high starting APR may be a turn off for borrowers with excellent credit who could qualify for lower rates elsewhere. Its processing time is also set at around four days, which is much slower than other online lenders that can potentially fund your loan within one or two days.

However, it’s one of the few lenders that accepts co-borrowers. And while its APR is nothing to write home about, LendingClub does give you the ability to change your due date. This can help you avoid missing a payment or simply align your due date with your normal payment schedule.

How to choose between Earnest and LendingClub

Earnest and LendingClub offer different services. If you’re interested in comparing multiple options at once, use Earnest. If you want a one-and-done experience, LendingClub is a good direct lender for borrowers with bad or fair credit.

Earnest is better for comparing multiple lenders

Earnest is best if you are new to personal loans. As a matching platform, it can help you see what loans you could qualify for, which makes the comparison process much simpler.

You will still have to provide additional information to the lender you are matched with to confirm your loan, but you can potentially avoid some of the headache that comes with doing the research yourself. And some of its lenders accept co-borrowers, which can help make it easier to find a loan you qualify for.

LendingClub has relatively competitive midsize loans

LendingClub does have higher rates — and a high origination fee — but its flexible payment schedule may make up for that. And while you likely won’t snag the best APR on the market with excellent credit, LendingClub can still be a less expensive option than many other lenders if you have fair credit. Combined with the ability to add a co-borrower to your loan, LendingClub is a good choice if you want a direct lender and have already been rejected from lenders with lower rates.

Compare lenders before applying

Earnest can be a useful tool if you aren’t sure what you might qualify for. Since it works with a wide variety of lenders, you can compare multiple personal loans to see what fits you best. But it requires submitting an application with Earnest and then following it up with the lender you are matched with. If you want to skip this step, you can apply with a direct lender like LendingClub.