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Average Personal Loan Interest Rates & What Affects Them

By Anna Davies · July 14, 2023 · 9 minute read

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Average Personal Loan Interest Rates & What Affects Them

You may have seen personal loans advertised as starting at a certain interest rate or annual percentage rate (APR). But when you check your personal loan interest rate, you may find that what is offered to you is significantly higher. Why is that?

The average personal loan interest rate is dependent on several factors, including the amount borrowed, credit history, and income, among others. Average interest rates for personal loans may also differ depending on the type of the loan. Here are some factors that may affect the personal loan interest rate you’re approved for.

Average Personal Loan Interest Rates By Credit Score

The APR for a personal loan is calculated by looking at several factors, including the requested amount, the applicant’s income history, and the reasons for borrowing. One of the biggest factors, however, is an applicant’s credit score. In general, the higher a borrower’s credit score, the lower the loan interest rate they will be offered.

Here’s a look at average personal loan interest rates for different credit scores.

Credit Score

Average estimated APR

Excellent credit (720 to 850)

11.30%

Good (690-719) 15.60%
Fair (630-689) 22.30%
Bad (300-629) 25.20%

Factors That Can Lower Personal Loan Interest Rates

One thing to know about personal loans is that your unique credit profile will likely affect the interest rate offered to you. Here’s a look at some ways you may be able to qualify for a lower personal loan interest rate.

Improving Credit Score

Improving your credit score can, potentially, be one way to qualify for a personal loan with better rates and terms. Some strategies that can help you strengthen your credit profile include:

•  Checking your credit report It’s a good idea to get copies of your credit reports (you have three — from Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian) and make sure that your personal information — e.g., name, address, phone number, Social Security number — is correct in each one. Also look for any erroneous public record information, such as lawsuits or bankruptcies filed that you were not a part of, and any errors or inaccuracies in the credit accounts section. You can dispute any errors with the credit reporting agency.

•  Lowering your credit utilization ratio Your credit utilization ratio — the amount of debt you have compared to the amount of credit available to you — plays a large part in credit score calculation. Paying down your debt will lower this ratio.

•  Avoiding late payments Late payments can have a large and lasting impact on your credit score. If there are any late payments in your history, you may be able to minimize their impact by creating a record of on-time payments moving forward. Setting up autopay for debt payments is one way to make sure those payments are made regularly and on time.

Secured Versus Unsecured Personal Loans

How a personal loan works depends on the type of personal loan you choose. As you research loan options, you may come across options for secured and unsecured personal loans.

What’s the difference between a secured and unsecured personal loan?

•  A secured personal loan requires the borrower to pledge collateral to guarantee the loan. This collateral is something of value that the borrower owns, such as a car, investments, or a savings account. If the borrower cannot or does not make the loan payments, then the lender can seize that collateral to recoup its losses.

•  An unsecured personal loan, also called a signature loan, is backed by the borrower’s estimated creditworthiness. If the borrower can’t pay back the loan, the lender can’t take any of their property or valuables to recoup its loss. The lender can, however, take other steps to recoup its loss, such as suing the borrower, which may affect the borrower’s credit score and future financial options.

Personal loans are commonly unsecured loans. However, some lenders offer secured personal loans, which can allow borrowers with fair credit to qualify for a loan or get a better rate than they otherwise would with an unsecured loan.

Income and Employment Status

Your income and employment status may affect the rate you’re offered on a personal loan. Lenders generally see borrowers with solid, steady income as lower risk and, therefore, offer them lower rates. If you’re a freelancer, independent contractor, or business owner, you might need additional paperwork to prove your income than you would if you work a W-2 job.

If your income is irregular, having a creditworthy co-applicant may help you get approved for more favorable interest rates. Asking someone to be a co-applicant is a big commitment, though, and having a conversation about all that it entails can help alleviate any concerns of both parties.

Factors That May Increase Personal Loan Interest Rates

Lenders must assess how risky an unsecured loan might be and the likelihood of the loan being paid back. To do that, they look at the applicant’s credit history, employment status, and loan amount requested, among other factors. Here are some things that may lead a lender to think a loan is more risky — and potentially offer a higher rate to the borrower.

Credit Score

An applicant’s credit score is one factor that affects the personal loan interest rate they might be approved for. In general, the lower the applicant’s credit score, the higher the rate of interest they will be offered. Improving your credit over time may make it possible to qualify for a loan with a lower interest rate.

Debt-to-Income Ratio

Debt-to-income (DTI) ratio refers to how much debt someone has in relation to how much income they have. To calculate your DTI, you add up your monthly debts (including mortgage payments, car payments, and credit card payments) then divide that number by your gross monthly income. DTI ratio is expressed as a percentage. In general, the higher your DTI ratio, the riskier you may seem to lenders. Each lender sets its own DTI ratio requirement.

Unemployment

A personal loan application will ask for proof of income, usually in the form of W2s or tax returns from prior years. The lender wants to know that a borrower has a steady source of income. If a loan applicant is unemployed, it may be harder — but not impossible — to have a loan approved.

Recent Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy will appear on an applicant’s credit report and can make it challenging to be approved for a personal loan. Applying with a cosigner can make it easier to be approved for a personal loan after recent bankruptcy. But keep in mind that if you are unable to repay the loan, your cosigner would be responsible for the debt.

Is a Personal Loan the Right Choice for You?

Individual circumstances really determine whether a personal loan is the right choice for any one person.

•  A personal loan can be a good option for people who want to consolidate high-interest debt, like that of credit cards, to save money. For this method to be successful, it’s important to discontinue using the credit cards to accumulate more debt.

•  Having a fixed interest rate and steady payment amount can be helpful when using a personal loan to cover a big purchase. A personal loan is installment debt with a payment end date, in contrast to the revolving debt of a credit card.

•  A personal loan is still debt and increases a person’s overall debt load, so it can be a good idea to have a sense of how you’ll repay it. Making late payments or failing to repay the loan can negatively affect your credit score.

SoFi Personal Loan Interest Rate Range

SoFi personal loan rates are fixed, and competitive in comparison to other lenders. Specific interest rates are dependent on several factors, including an applicant’s credit history, credit score, income, and loan amount, among others.

A personal loan rate calculator can be a helpful tool to estimate your personal loan rate and will not affect your credit score. Your offered rate may vary slightly when you officially apply for a loan, but an estimate can give you a good benchmark for comparison.

The Takeaway

Personal loan interest rates vary depending on an applicant’s financial circumstances but can also vary by lender, so it can make sense to shop around for rates. If your credit profile is not as strong as it could be, you may want to work on improving your credit before applying for a personal loan. This can help increase your chances of loan approval, as well as your odds of getting approved for a loan with a favorable interest rate.

Checking your rate for a SoFi Personal Loan is an easy, online process that takes just one minute, and won’t affect your credit score. With no fees required and terms to fit a variety of budgets, an unsecured personal loan from SoFi may be a financial tool that will work for your unique needs.

See if a personal loan from SoFi is right for you.

FAQ

What is a good interest rate on a personal loan?

A good interest rate on a personal loan is considered anywhere from 5.99% to 9.00% APR. However, you generally need excellent credit (750 or above) to get an interest rate under 8.00% APR.

Is 10.00% a good personal loan rate?

Yes. If you have good to excellent credit (690-plus), a 10.00% APR is considered a good personal loan interest rate. It exceeds the average personal loan rate for borrowers with excellent credit, which is 11.30%.

Is 12.00% a good personal loan rate?

Yes, a 12.00% APR is considered a good personal loan rate if you have good credit (690 to 719). It beats the average personal loan interest rate for good credit, which is 15.60%.

Which bank has the lowest interest rate on personal loans?

According to Forbes Advisor, the best low-interest personal loans are currently available from LightStream. SoFI, PenFed, U.S. Bank, and Wells Fargo.

What is a personal loan interest rate?

A personal loan’s interest rate is the cost you pay each year to borrow money expressed as a percentage. The interest rate does not include fees charged for the loan. The annual percentage rate (APR) of a personal loan is the cost you pay each year to borrow money, including fees, expressed as a percentage. The higher the APR, the more you’ll pay over the life of the loan.

When comparing personal loan interest rates, you want to look at APRs to make sure you are comparing the loans apples to apples. A loan with a higher interest rate and low or no fees can actually turn out to be a better deal than a loan with a lower interest rate and high fees.

What is the interest rate on a $40,000 loan?

The interest rate on a $40,000 personal loan will depend on the lender, the loan’s term, and the creditworthiness of the borrower. The APR can range anywhere from 4.60% to 35.99%.

What is a good interest rate for an unsecured personal loan?

A good interest rate for an unsecured personal loan can range anywhere from 7.99% to 9.00%. However, you will likely need to have excellent credit to qualify.


Photo credit: iStock/alexsl

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​​Checking Your Rates: To check the rates and terms you may qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull and may affect your credit.

Disclaimer: Many factors affect your credit scores and the interest rates you may receive. SoFi is not a Credit Repair Organization as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. SoFi does not provide “credit repair” services or advice or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history, or credit rating. For details, see the FTC’s website .

Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

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