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Best installment loans in October 2023

Oct 03, 2023

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Check Your Personal Loan Rates

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    Check personalized rates from multiple lenders in just 2 minutes
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    Explore loans ranging from $500 to $100,000
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Personal loans

Best for joint applications

Est. APR
Loan amount
$1k– $40k
Term: 2-5 yrs
Min credit score
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Personal loans

Best for fair credit

Est. APR
Loan amount
$1k– $50k
Term: 3-5 yrs
Min credit score
Not specified
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Personal loans

Best for large loan amounts

Est. APR
* with AutoPay
Loan amount
$5k– $100k
Term: 2-7 yrs
Min credit score
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Personal loans

Best for credit card debt consolidation

Happy Money
Est. APR
Loan amount
$5k– $40k
Term: 2-5 yrs
Min credit score
See offers Arrow Right

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Personal loans

Best for bad credit

Est. APR
Loan amount
$2k– $35k
Term: 1-5 yrs
Min credit score
See offers Arrow Right

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Personal loans

Best for unemployment protection

Est. APR
with AutoPay
Loan amount
$5k– $100k
Term: 2-7 yrs
Min credit score
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on Bankrate

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How to get an installment loan in 3 easy steps

1. Answer a few questions

Take a few minutes to answer questions about yourself and the loan that you need, and we can match you with potential lenders. This service is free and will not affect your credit score. 

Make sure you have good credit, look into a co-signer or find a lender that works with bad credit borrowers.
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2. Compare your offers

Get prequalified and compare loan product offers based on important factors like APR, loan amount and minimum monthly payments. 

Take your time and check with multiple lenders to ensure you get the best deal possible.
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3. Lock in your rate

Choose a lender and visit its website to complete the application process. If you’re approved, you could get funding within a few weeks.

Make sure you have financial documents regarding existing loans, income verification, etc.

How to choose the best lender

It is a good idea to compare at least three lenders before deciding on one. When looking for an installment loan, consider the following.

  1. Approval requirements: Each lender has its own requirements for loan approval. They consider your credit score, debt-to-income ratio and overall financial health. Some lenders also consider other factors, like your education and job history. 
  2. Interest rates: The lowest advertised interest rate is never guaranteed. Make sure to incorporate any added fees the company charges when calculating your interest rate.
  3. Loan amounts: Make sure the lenders you consider offer the amount of money you need to borrow. Some lenders offer loan ranges better suited for small purchases, while others offer loans up to $100,000.
  4. Repayment options: Personal loan lenders typically offer several different repayment term options. A longer repayment period will decrease your monthly payment, but a shorter repayment period cuts down on overall interest.
  5. Unique features: Keep an eye out for perks offered by lenders, such as introductory APRs, discounts and online financial tools.
  6. Customer service: Different lenders provide different levels of customer service. If you are more comfortable with in-person service, choose a lender that offers that. Many lenders have online chat features and daily customer support phone hours.

Compare installment loan rates in 2023

LendingClub Joint applications 9.57%-35.99% $1,000-$40,000 3-5 years 600
Citi Best for multiple discounts 11.49%-19.49% $2,000-$30,000 1-5 years 720
Upstart Fair credit 5.40%-35.99% $1,000-$50,000 3 or 5 years No requirement
LightStream Large loan amounts 7.99%-25.49%* with Autopay $5,000-$100,000 2-7 years 695
Happy Money Credit card debt consolidation 11.52%-24.81% $5,000-$40,000 2-5 years 640
SoFi Unemployment protection 8.99%-25.81% $5,000-$100,000 2-7 years 680
Avant Bad credit 9.95%-35.99% $2,000-$35,000 1-5 years 550

A closer look at our top installment loans

Here's a deep-dive into each lender, why its the best in each category and specifically who would benefit most from borrowing from the lender.

LendingClub: Best for joint applications

Overview: LendingClub has been in business since 2007, funding loans for over 4.7 million customers nationwide. The company’s loans are capped at $40,000, with repayment terms of three to five years. LendingClub’s loans can be used to pay for medical bills, home repairs, credit card debt consolidation and more.

Citi: Best for multiple discounts

Overview: Citi is a global bank with over 2,600 branches across 19 countries. The bank offers many financial products and services, including credit cards, mortgages, checking and savings accounts in addition to personal loans.

Upstart: Best for fair credit

Overview: Upstart loans have revolutionized the personal loan market by approving loans based on more than just the borrower’s credit score and income. The peer-to-peer lender takes a look at factors such as the applicant’s job history and educational background to make a decision, making its loan products accessible to many credit profiles.

LightStream: Best for large loan amounts

Overview: LightStream is Truist’s online lending platform. The company offers generous loan amounts with repayment terms of up to seven years and no fees. LightStream’s application process only takes a few minutes to complete and borrowers can get the funds the same day they’re approved.

Happy Money: Best for credit card debt consolidation

Overview: Happy Money’s loans range from $5,000 to $40,000 and are specifically designed to help borrowers get rid of credit card debt in as little as two years. The lender has one of the lowest credit score requirements on this list and starting APRs that are much lower than those of credit cards.

SoFi: Best for unemployment protection

Overview: SoFi is best known for its student loan refinancing products but the bank also has some of the best personal loans in the market. SoFi’s loans feature competitive APRs, zero mandatory fees, flexible repayment terms and generous amounts to accommodate different financial needs.

Avant: Best for bad credit

Overview: Avant offers personal loans to fund small to midsize expenses. Loan amounts are capped at $35,000 and borrowers can get the funds as soon as the next business day after approval, with same-day decisions.

How we choose our best lenders

To select the best personal loans, Bankrate’s team of experts evaluated over 30 lenders. Each lender was ranked using a meticulous 20-point system, focusing on four main categories:

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    The interest rates, penalties and fees are measured in this section of the score. Lower rates and fees and fewer potential penalties result in a higher score. We also give bonus points to lenders offering rate discounts, grace periods and that allow borrowers to change their due date. 
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    Minimum loan amounts, number of repayment terms, eligibility requirements, ability to apply using a co-borrower or co-signer and loan turnaround time are considered in this category.
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    Customer experience
    This category covers customer service hours, if online applications are available, online account access and mobile apps.
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    For this factor, we consider how well information is presented to the borrower on the lender’s website. This includes listing credit requirements, rates and fees, in addition to offering prequalification.
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years in business
Credit Card Search
lenders reviewed
loan features weighed
data points collected

What is an installment loan?

Installment loans are a form of credit that allows you to borrow a fixed sum of money and pay it back slowly over time. These loans, which include personal loans, typically come with the benefit of fixed interest rates and fixed monthly payments, so you always know how much you owe each month and when your final payment will be due.

Installment loans often have lower interest rates than credit cards, so they’re more affordable. They are also a far better choice than payday loans, which tend to charge triple-digit interest rates and fees, and must be repaid once you receive your next paycheck.

What can I use an installment loan for?

One of the attractive features of an installment loan is its versatility. Personal loans, which are a popular type of installment loan, can be used for multiple purposes, including the following.

  • Debt consolidation: Debt consolidation loans are personal loans intended to combine multiple debts into a single loan, typically with a lower interest rate. The goal of debt consolidation loans is to make your payments more manageable, while allowing you to pay off your debt faster.
  • A wedding: Personal installment loans can be used to finance major expenses, such as a wedding. However, you should be mindful of how much you borrow for a big event, as too much debt can cause financial strain in the long term. 
  • Home remodeling projects: Both personal loans and home equity loans can be used to finance home improvement projects.
  • Emergency expenses: Installment loans can also be used to cover emergency expenses — such as a car or home repair. There are loans specifically intended to cover emergencies, typically with quicker funding times and lower borrowing amounts.

Where to get installment loans

You can get an installment loan from banks, credit unions, online lenders and peer-to-peer lenders.

If you have good to excellent credit, banks are usually the best choice as they tend to have lower interest rate caps than other lenders. Banks also tend to offer autopay and loyalty discounts, which may help you further reduce your rate. 

On the other hand, If you have fair credit, credit unions and online lenders may be the better option as they tend to be more lenient with their credit requirements. Peer-to-peer lenders also tend to lend to those with less-than-stellar credit. However, they often charge origination fees of up to 10 percent and interest rates as high as 36 percent.

Types of installment loans

Some installment loans are restricted to a specific use, while others are more versatile. There are five common types of installment loans you’ll find — and are likely familiar with.
  • Personal loan: A personal loan is a lump-sum loan that's usually repaid in one to seven years. It's usually unsecured, and the money from the loan can be used in myriad ways: to consolidate debt, fund home improvement projects, pay for a wedding, cover emergency expenses, and more.
  • Mortgage: A mortgage is a secured loan that is used for a single purpose: to buy property, usually a house. The home serves as collateral and secures the loan, which is paid monthly over a long term, usually 15 or 30 years.
  • Auto loan: An auto loan is a secured loan that is used to buy a car, with the vehicle serving as collateral. The loan is paid monthly, typically in two to seven years. Use our auto loan calculator to determine what your monthly payment might be.
  • Student loan: A student loan is a type of unsecured loan that can be used to pay for education expenses, such as tuition, fees and room and board. These can be obtained through the federal government or through private lenders and have repayment terms ranging from five to 20 years.
  • Buy now, pay later loans: Recently buy now, pay later (BNPL) loans have gained in popularity. Offered at checkout by retailers, it's a loan that's usually paid back in four installments.

Pros and cons of installment loans


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    You can typically get the funds quickly — even the same day you’re approved, in some cases.

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    There are no surprises, as they have fixed terms and interest rates.

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    Interest rates tend to be lower than those of credit cards, while offering similar flexibility.

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    You can use installment loans to cover just about any expense, from home renovations to emergency expenses.


  • If you have less-than-stellar credit, you may end up with a double-digit interest rate.

  • Some lenders may charge origination fees as high as 10 percent.

  • Your credit score could take a hit if you miss a payment.

  • Some lenders may charge a prepayment penalty for paying off your loan early.

How an installment loan affects your credit

Installment loans can be good or detrimental for your credit score, depending on how you manage them. These are some of the ways installment loans can impact your credit.

  • Making on-time payments could boost your credit score: As payment history makes up 35 percent of your score, being on time with your monthly payments can help your credit. On the flip side, being late or having missed payments could negatively impact your score.
  • Paying the loan in full can improve your credit: While paying the loan off on time and in full can bump up your score, paying it off early most likely won't have a huge impact over paying it off on the agreed-upon schedule.
  • It'll stay on your credit report for 10 years: Once your loan is paid off, it's considered a closed account. Closed accounts that are in good standing could do good for your credit, as they stay on your credit file for 10 years.

Alternatives to installment loans

If, after evaluating your options, you’re still wary about applying for an installment loan, here are some alternatives you can explore to get the funds you need:

  • Credit cards: Depending on the size of your expense, using a credit card to fund could be a great option for flexibility. That said, they tend to have higher interest rates than personal loans. If possible, try applying for a 0 percent introductory rate credit card, as this will give you more room to pay off your balance without accruing interest.
  • Money from your savings: If you have enough money saved to fund your expense without cutting yourself short, then this is a good option to explore. By using your savings, you avoid spending money on interest and fees.
  • Tap into your retirement account: Although not ideal, withdrawing money from an IRA or a 401k is another choice to consider. That said, you could be facing a higher tax bill by doing this, plus you may fall behind on your retirement savings.
  • Help from family or friends: If you only need to borrow a small amount, you can ask a family member or a friend to lend you money until you can get back on your feet.

FAQs about installment loans