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Best Small Personal Loans

The best small personal loans can be used for a variety of purposes, from debt consolidation to paying for a surprise expense. Since many lenders require a hefty minimum loan amount, however, you'll want to compare the best small loans online before you apply.

Best Small Personal Loans
Holly Johnson
Award-Winning Personal Finance Contributor

Small personal loans are worth checking out if you need access to some cash but you want to avoid overborrowing. With anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000 in funding in your account, you can pay for a vacation, consolidate outstanding debts you have, or pay for a necessary medical procedure. Our team of financial experts reviewed and ranked more than 30 online lenders to help you get the funding you need, so read on to discover our top picks.

Our Top Picks for Best Small Personal Loans

 Marcus_logo
  • No origination fees or late fees
  • Customizable monthly payment
  • No prepayment penalties
Min. Credit Score
Min. Credit Score 660+
Loan Amounts
Loan Amount $3.5K-$40K
Est. APR
Loan Repayment Up to 72 months
credible_logo
  • Uses a soft pull that doesn’t affect credit
  • No minimum credit score required
  • No application or disbursement fees
Min. Credit Score
Min. Credit Score 560+
Loan Amounts
Loan Amount $600-$100K
Est. APR
Loan Repayment Varies
avant_logo
  • Low credit score requirements
  • Allowed to refinance personal loans
  • No prepayment penalties
Min. Credit Score
Min. Credit Score 580+
Loan Amounts
Loan Amount $2K-$35K
Est. APR
Loan Repayment 24 to 64 months

How to Choose the Best Small Personal Loan?

If you're angling to get a small loan, you should know that a variety of companies offer personal loans in amounts as low as $1,000. Still, there are additional factors to consider in addition to your loan amount, including rates, fees, company reviews, and more.

  • Loan features: Compare the best small loans online based on the amounts you can borrow and the available repayment plans. Use a loan calculator to see whether the monthly payment for the loan you want makes sense for your budget and your goals.
  • Interest rates and fees: Compare lenders based on the interest rates they charge, and see if you can check your rate without any impact to your credit score. Also look for loan fees that could impact your borrowing costs, including origination fees or prepayment fees.
  • Application process: Find out what you need to apply online, and look for lenders that make it easy to fill out the loan application from the comfort of your home.
  • Qualification process: Find out about minimum qualifications each company has, which they may or may not be transparent about. These may include a minimum credit score, a minimum income, and more.
  • Customer support: Look for companies that offer several ways to contact them, from phone support to email assistance or online chat.
  • Online user reviews: Read the reviews of past users on websites like Trustpilot and the Better Business Bureau (BBB), and look for companies that have mostly positive testimonials.
  • Perks and Bonuses: Check whether loan companies offer any extra benefits, like auto-pay discounts to refer-a-friend programs.

Best Small Personal Loans of 2022 - Full Overview

We compared more than 30 top online lenders to find the best small personal loans of 2022. The lender reviews below explain more about each company's offerings, as well as their pros and cons.

 

1. Marcus by Goldman Sachs — Best Small Loans Overall

While Marcus by Goldman Sachs has a slightly higher minimum loan amount ($3,500) than other lenders on our list, they are still the best overall due to their competitive rates and lack of fees. Borrowers can even score an auto-pay discount if they agree to pay their loan bill via bank transfer each month, and they get to skip a month of payments interest-free after making 12 months of consecutive payments on time.
Pros
Check your rate with no impact on your credit
Competitive interest rates for good credit
Discounts for automatic payments
On-time payment rewards
No origination fees or hidden fees
Borrow $3,500 to $40,000
Cons
Good credit required
Longer repayment plans require higher rates

marcus by goldman sachs
Marcus by Goldman Sachs personal loans are available in amounts that start at $3,500 and go up to $40,000, so they are ideal for moderate borrowing needs. Interest rates can range from 6.99% to 19.99% APR, and applicants can choose to repay their loans over 36 to 72 months. There are no origination fees or hidden fees for their loans, and a .25% auto-pay discount is available.

The Bottom Line

Consider Marcus by Goldman Sachs for your borrowing needs if you want to access at least $3,500 in funding with competitive interest rates and no fees required. You can even check your rate without any impact to your credit score.

2. Credible — Best Small Loans Comparison Site

Credible isn't a direct lender, but this site can still be immensely helpful when you need to get a small loan. This lender comparison site lets you enter your information once, then compare rates and loan terms across multiple companies. Not only can using Credible save you time as you shop for the best small loans, but comparing options can help you get the best rates and loan terms, too.
Pros
Check your rate with no impact on your credit
Borrow as little as $600
Competitive rates and loan terms apply
No added fees to use this platform
Cons
Not a direct lender
Companies on the platform have varying terms

credbile
Small personal loans through Credible are available in amounts that range from $600 to $100,000, and interest rates can fall between 3.99% and 35.99% depending on creditworthiness. Since this platform is a loan comparison site, other terms like repayment plans and fees can vary by lender.

The Bottom Line

Consider Credible if you want to compare multiple loan offers without having to spend a bunch of time or effort. This loan comparison platform lets you see options from several lenders in a matter of minutes, and you can even check your rate without any credit score impact.

3. Avant — Best Small Loans for Flexibility

Avant is worth considering if you need a small loan but you want some flexibility. Not only do they let you borrow as little as $2,000, but repayment plans range from 24 to 60 months. The Avant mobile app can also help you track your loan progress and payments using your mobile device.
Pros
Check your rate with no impact on your credit
Mobile app available
Available for fair and poor credit
Borrow $2,000 to $35,000
Cons
Administration fee up to 4.75%
Potential for a high APR

avant
Avant personal loans are offered in amounts that range from $2,000 to $35,000, and interest rates can fall between 9.95% and 35.99% based on creditworthiness. While this lender does not charge an origination fee, they do tack on a 4.75% "administration fee" instead. Repayment plans last from 24 to 60 months.

The Bottom Line

Choose Avant if you want to borrow as little as $2,000 with several flexible repayment plans to choose from. You can choose to pay your loan off over 24 to 60 months if you prefer.

Try Avant

4. Earnest — Best Repayment Options

Earnest personal loans come with the longest potential repayment plan out there — up to 144 months. Since this is a loan comparison platform that works with another company called Fiona, you can use it to compare loan options and terms across multiple lenders in as little as 60 seconds. Searching loan options has no impact on your credit score, either.
Pros
Check your rate with no impact on your credit
Repayment plans up to 144 months
Loan amounts start at just $1,000
Cons
Not a direct lender
Companies on the platform have varying terms

earnest
Earnest personal loans are offered in conjunction with a search engine called Fiona, and they come in amounts that range from $1,000 to $250,000. Repayment plans can last from six to 144 months, and interest rates can be as low as 2.49%. Since this is a loan comparison site, other terms and conditions can vary by lender.

The Bottom Line

If you want a small personal loan with the potential to pay it off over a longer timeline, checking out Earnest makes a lot of sense. Fortunately, you can check your rate and get an idea of the payment plans you could qualify for before you apply.

5. Prosper— Best for Fast Funding

Prosper offers personal loans for borrowers who need as little as $2,000, and we chose them for our ranking based on the fact they offer lightning fast funding through direct deposit. Credit scores as low as 600 may be accepted, and potential applicants can also check their rate without a hard inquiry on their credit report.
Pros
Check your rate with no impact on your credit
Loans from $2,000 to $40,000 available
Credit scores as low as 600 accepted
Next day funding available
Cons
Potential for a high APR
Only two repayment plans to choose from
Origination fee up to 5% applies

prosper
Prosper personal loans are available in amounts that range from $2,000 to $40,000, and borrowers can repay their loans over 36 or 60 months. Interest rates fall between 7.95% to 35.99% APR based on creditworthiness, and Prosper lists a minimum credit score requirement of 600. Next day funding is available for borrowers who need their money quickly.

The Bottom Line

If you hope to borrow a small loan starting at $2,000 but you need your money fast, Prosper is worth checking out. They offer next day funding for qualified borrowers, and you can check your rate with no impact on your credit score.

6. Best Egg — Best Small Loans for Debt Consolidation

Best Egg is a good option for debt consolidation since you can secure a lower interest rate than credit cards charge. Loan amounts start at just $2,000, so you don't have to access more funding than you need. Interest rates for these loans are also incredibly competitive, although rates for bad credit are on the higher end.
Pros
Check your rate with no impact on your credit
Competitive rates and terms
Loan amounts start at $2,000
Qualify with a credit score as low as 550
Cons
Origination fee of 0.99% to 5.99% required
Potential for a high APR
Credit score of 700 needed for best rates

bestegg
Personal loans from Best Egg are offered in amounts that range from $2,000 to $50,000, and origination fees of 0.99% to 5.99% will apply. Borrowers can repay their loans over 36 to 60 months depending on their needs. Best Egg shares a minimum credit score requirement of just 550, which means these loans are available for a broad range of applicants.

The Bottom Line

Consider Best Egg if you want a small loan for debt consolidation or any other purpose. Rates and terms are competitive, and you can check your rate without a hard inquiry on your credit report.

7. LendingClub — Best Small Loans with a Joint Borrower

If you want to apply for a small personal loan with another person, LendingClub is a smart option to consider. This lender lets you get a small loan with another person who is jointly responsible for repayment. Interest rates and loan terms are competitive, and loan amounts start at just $1,000.
Pros
Check your rate with no impact on your credit
Borrow as little as $1,000
Apply with a joint borrower
Cons
3% to 6% origination fee applies
Two repayment options to choose from
Potential for a high APR

lending club
Small personal loans from LendingClub can be found in amounts from $1,000 to $40,000, and interest rates range from 6.34% to 35.89% APR. There are two repayment plans to choose from — 36 or 60 months. Note that an origination fee applies to all LendingClub loans, and this fee ranges from 3% to 6%.

The Bottom Line

Consider LendingClub if you want to apply for a small personal loan with another person on the same application. This means you will both be legally responsible for repayment.

8. Discover — Best Small Loans for Good Credit

Discover is a good option for small personal loans if you have good credit. After all, this lender offers flexible repayment plans, competitive interest rates, and loans with no origination fees and no hidden fees. Discover also promises a same-day loan decision in most cases, and you can check your rate online before you apply.
Pros
Check your rate with no impact on your credit
No origination fees or hidden fees
Loans start at $2,500
Five repayment plans to choose from
Competitive rates and terms
Cons
Not available for bad credit

discover
Small personal loans from Discover come in amounts from $2,500 to $35,000, and borrowers can repay their loans over 36, 48, 60, 72 or 84 months depending on their needs. Interest rates start at just 5.99% APR up to a maximum of 24.99% APR, and borrowers can check their rate with no impact on their credit scores. These personal loans also come with no origination fees and no hidden fees.

The Bottom Line

Consider Discover if you need to borrow at least $2,500 and you have a solid credit rating. These loans come with no origination fees or hidden fees, and their interest rates are lower than most competitors.

9. Upstart — Best Small Loans for Fair Credit

Upstart offers small loans that rely on more than just your credit score to qualify. In fact, this company uses banking information and alternative data to secure approvals. If you have a fair credit score, you should use this site to check your rate and gauge your approval odds. Loan amounts start at just $1,000, so these loans are ideal for fair credit borrowers who only need a small amount of funding.
Pros
No credit score impact to check your rate
Get approved with a fair credit
Loan amounts start at just $1,000
Competitive interest rates and terms
Cons
Potential for a high APR
Only two repayment terms to choose from
Origination fee from 0% to 8% required

upstart
Upstart personal loans come in amounts that range from 1,000 up to $50,000. Borrowers can choose to repay their loans over three-year or five-year terms, and interest rates can range from 5.35% to 35.99% APR based on creditworthiness. An origination fee of 0% to 8% of the loan amount can apply, and these loans are available to borrowers with a credit score in any range.

The Bottom Line

Upstart is worth considering if you are hoping to get approved for a small personal loan based on more than your credit score. Fortunately, this company lets you check your rate and your approval odds before you apply.

10. OneMain Financial — Best for Bad Credit

If you have a low credit score, OneMain Financial is one of the few lenders who will let you access the cash you need. You can borrow as little as $1,500, and checking your rate won't impact your credit score in any way. OneMain Financial even offers more than 1,400 branches nationwide, so you can work with a lender in person if you prefer.
Pros
Check your rate with no impact to your credit
Available for bad credit borrowers
Loans start at just $1,500
Visit 1,400 nationwide locations
Flexible repayment options
Cons
Potential for a very high APR
Origination fee of 1% to 10% applies

OneMain
Small loans from OneMain Financial come in amounts from $1,500 to $20,000, and borrowers can repay their loans over 24, 36, 48 or 60 months. Interest rates can fall between 18% to 35.99% depending on creditworthiness, and an origination fee of 1% to 10% of the loan amount also applies. Applicants in some states may be asked to pay a flat fee instead.

The Bottom Line

OneMain Financial offers pet loans for bad credit when other lenders will not. Consider this company if your credit isn't great but you still need pet financing fast.

Best Small Personal Loans — Feature Comparison

Company Name

Estimated APR

Minimum Credit Score

Loan Amount

Loan Terms

Marcus by Goldman Sachs

6.99% to 19.99% APR

660

$3,500 to $40,000

36 to 72 months

Credible

3.99% to 35.99% APR

Varies by lender

$600 to $100,000

Varies by lender

Avant

9.95% to 35.99% APR

580

$2,000 to $35,000

24 to 60 months

Earnest

2.49% APR and up

Varies by lender

$1,000 to $250,000

6 to 144 months

Prosper

7.95% to 35.99% APR

600

$2,000 to $40,000

36 or 60 months

Best Egg

5.99% to 35.99% APR

550

$2,000 to $50,000

36 to 60 months

LendingClub

6.34% to 35.89% APR

600

$1,000 to $40,000

36 or 60 months

Discover

5.99% to 24.99% APR

720

$2,500 to $35,000

36, 48, 60, 72 or 84 months

Upstart

5.35% to 35.99% APR

300

$1,000 to $50,000

36 or 60 months

OneMain Financial

18% to 35.99% APR

Not disclosed

$1,500 to $20,000

24, 36, 48, or 60 months

What is a Small Loan?

A small loan is typically considered any loan for less than $5,000. However, the best small loans online are frequently offered in amounts as low as $1,000.

If you only need a small amount of funding, this part of the loan process is important to consider. After all, you don't want to be forced to borrow more than you need for your goal, whether that's debt consolidation or financing a large purchase.

Reasons to Get a Small Personal Loan

There are myriad reasons to get a small loan, including the following:

  • Debt consolidation: If you have high interest credit card debt to consolidate, a small personal loan could help you pay it off with a lower interest rate.
  • Surprise bills: Get the cash you need to pay for surprise bills you weren't able to plan for ahead of time.
  • Car repairs: Use a small personal loan to pay for new brakes or new tires for your car, then pay off the cost over time with fixed monthly payments.
  • Wedding expenses: Cover wedding expenses like your cake or dress with a small personal loan.
  • Vacation: Use your loan funds to pay for the vacation you desperately need, whether you want to visit family or friends or enjoy a trip to a far-flung locale.
  • Budgeting issues: Free up some wiggle room in your budget with a small personal loan, then pay your loan amount off over time.

How Do Small Personal Loans Work?

Small personal loans come with fixed interest rates, fixed repayment terms and fixed monthly payments that will never change. Once you're approved, you get a lump sum of cash you can spend however you want.

Also note that personal loans are unsecured, meaning you don't have to put down any collateral to apply.

How to Get a Small Personal Loan?

Although the steps involved in getting a small personal loan vary from lender to lender, there are some general rules of thumb to be aware of. Consider these moves as your roadmap to get the small loan you need.

  • Step 1: Decide how much you need to borrow, and don't feel obligated to take out a larger loan than you actually need.
  • Step 2: Compare loan companies to see which ones offer the loan amount you prefer, whether that's just a $1,000 dollar loan or up to $10,000 in funding.
  • Step 3: Check your rate online with at least three or four personal loan companies. This way, you can see how several companies stack up.
  • Step 4: Look closely at lenders and offers based on their interest rates, fees and loan terms. Watch out for hidden fees like origination fees.
  • Step 5: Decide which lender suits your needs best, and move forward with the full loan application.
  • Step 6: Fill out the application with your full contact details, Social Security number, and employment data and more.
  • Step 7: See if your loan has been approved, which could happen in a matter of hours or several days.
  • Step 8: Send any additional documentation your lender asks for in order to get final approval.
  • Step 9: Receive your loan funds electronically in your bank account.
  • Step 10: Begin repaying your loan based on the terms and conditions you agreed to.

Where to Get a Small Personal Loan?

There are many places to get a small personal loan, and the best choice for you depends on your needs and goals

  • Online Lenders: Small loans online are easy to apply for, and you can complete the full application process from the comfort of your home. Because online lenders don't have a building to pay for, they typically offer the best rates and terms on the market today.
  • Traditional Bank: Traditional banks also offer personal loans, and often with competitive rates and terms. Make sure to compare loan offers from online lenders before you go with a traditional bank.
  • Credit Union: Credit unions also offer small personal loans, although you typically need to be a member to qualify. Because credit unions are member-owned, they typically offer very low rates and fair terms to qualified borrowers.

Small Personal Loans To Avoid

While there are many high-quality small personal loans to consider, there are some loans you should avoid at all costs. Loans you should steer clear of include the following:

  • Payday loans: Payday loans let you use your next paycheck as collateral, yet their loan costs can be exorbitant. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the fees on payday loans often amount to an APR of almost 400%.
  • Auto title loans: Car title loans let you use your car as collateral, and you typically have to repay within 30 days. The Federal TradeCommission (FTC) notes that the fees on auto title loans can work out to nearly 300% APR.
  • 401(k) loans: Try to avoid borrowing against your 401(k) or other retirement plan if you can. Not only will you pay fees and interest charges to do so, but you'll lower your chances at retiring when you want to.
  • Credit card cash advance: You can take cash out of an ATM with many credit cards, but that doesn't mean you should. Cash advances require upfront fees and high interest charges, and they don't come with a grace period.

Alternatives to Small Personal Loans

While you should avoid the small loan options we just discussed above, there are some decent alternatives to small personal loans out there. Consider these options before you borrow money for debt consolidation, unanticipated bills, or any other reason.

  • Home equity loans: Similar to personal loans, home equity loans come with fixed interest rates, fixed monthly payments, and a set repayment schedule that will not change. These loans use your home as collateral, so they will not work for you unless you're a homeowner who has considerable equity to rely on.
  • Home equity lines of credit (HELOC): HELOCs also rely on home equity as collateral, and they serve as a line of credit you can borrow against. Unlike home equity loans, HELOCs typically come with variable interest rates.
  • 0% APR credit cards: If you want to make a few purchases and pay them off over time, you can also consider 0% APR credit cards. Many let you avoid interest on purchases for up to 21 months, and some even offer rewards on your spending.

Conclusion

The best small personal loans let you access the cash you need, and you don't even have to have a concrete reason to apply. Once approved, your loan funds will be transferred directly to your bank account where you can use the cash to pay bills or splurge for something you want.

Before you pick a loan company, however, you should compare the best online lenders based on their interest rates, fees, terms, and repayment plans. Also consider using a personal loan calculator so you can find out what your monthly payment might be.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

Which bank gives personal loans easily?

Finding the best small personal loans is a breeze since these companies let you get approved online. If you want a loan as quickly as possible, look for lenders that let you check your rate ahead of time and offer same-day or next-day loan funding.

Is it possible to get a small personal loan?

Many small loans online are offered in amounts as low as $1,000, so there's no reason to borrow more than you really need to.

What is the easiest loan to get right now?

The easiest loan to get depends on your credit score, your income, your debt-to-income ratio (DTI), and other factors. The best way to find out if you're eligible for a personal loan is checking your rate and your approval odds. You can typically complete this step in a matter of minutes.

What's the difference between small personal loans and payday loans?

Small personal loans come with competitive fixed interest rates and payment plans that can last several years. These loans may come with origination fees, but they are considered to be an affordable borrowing option overall.

Payday loans are meant to be repaid in the short-term, or over a few weeks at most. They also come with exorbitant fees that work out to the equivalent of up to 400% APR.

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