February 7, 2022—Rates Decline – Low Cost Advisor
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Last week, rates on personal loans moved lower. This means if you’re in the market for a personal loan, whether to finance a project or major purchase, you can grab a relatively low interest rate, so long as you’re a qualified borrower.
For borrowers with a credit score of 720 or higher who prequalified on Credible.com’s personal loan marketplace, the average interest rate on a three-year personal loan was 10.42% from January 31 to February 4. According to Credible.com, that’s a 0.60% drop from the previous week. The average rate on a five-year personal loan fell 0.86% last week to 12.62% from 13.48%.
The most qualified borrowers generally receive the best rates. In fact, well-qualified borrowers may receive a rate that’s significantly lower than average. The rate you receive depends on various factors, including your creditworthiness and the loans available through your chosen lender.
Related: Best Personal Loans
How to Compare Personal Loan Rates
If you’re out to get the best rate, be sure to look for lenders who offer a personal loan prequalification process. While many lenders post their rates online, this only gives you a range of what they offer, not an exact rate based on the qualifications you meet. However, when you prequalify for a personal loan, a lender will run a soft credit check to prescreen you, which has no impact on your credit score.
After you prequalify, the lender can provide you with a snapshot of your loan options. This snapshot generally includes loan rates, terms and limits. To find the best loan for your situation, consider prequalifying at multiple lenders and comparing the terms.
Prequalification doesn’t imply approval for a loan. You’ll still need to submit a formal application and additional documentation to get the loan you want. Typically, lenders run a hard credit check when you’re officially applying for a loan. Hard credit checks can ding your score by one to five points.
Related: 5 Personal Loan Requirements To Know Before Applying
How to Calculate Your Personal Loan Payments
Once you have an idea of your personal loan interest rate, you can calculate your monthly payments. You will need to enter your loan’s interest rate, amount and term. This will help you determine how much you’ll owe monthly and how much you’ll pay in interest over the life of your loan.
For example, let’s say you get a $5,000 personal loan with a term of five years at a fixed interest rate of 12.62%. You’d pay about $113 monthly and about $1,768 in interest over the life of the loan, according to the Low Cost Advisor personal loan calculator. Overall, you’d pay $6,768 in total, which includes both principal and interest.
Personal Loan Rates by Credit Score
The rates below are average estimated personal loan interest rates according to VantageScore risk tiers, according to Experian. Though the rates below can serve as a general guideline, note that interest rates are ultimately set and determined by lenders.
How to Get the Best Rates
Your credit is a big factor in the rates you receive. According to Rod Griffin, senior director of consumer education and advocacy at Experian, “checking your credit report and scores three to six months before you apply for a personal loan” is a good idea. This gives you enough time to make any necessary fixes.
A credit score of 720 or better will typically get you the best terms. If you’re not quite in that credit score range, consider taking action to improve your credit score. Pay down existing debt to lower your credit utilization ratio, remove errors from your credit report and pay your bills early or on time.