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Discover the Best Small Personal Loans

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Small personal loans can be a lifesaver when you're in a pinch. Whether it's for an unexpected bill or to consolidate high-interest debt, these loans offer a flexible solution. With our comprehensive guide, you'll understand the ins and outs of small personal loans, helping you make an informed decision that aligns with your financial goals.
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Updated:
20.02.2024
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100.00 – 2000.00 $
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0.05 – 2.50 %
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5 days – 3 months
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3.09
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from 4.00 %
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Check Into Cash
Payday Loan
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4.06
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APR 390%
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up to 30 days
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Moneytree
Payday loan
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3.138
(13 Ratings)
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$100-$500
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up to 482.32%
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up to 14 days
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CashNetUSA
Payday Loan
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3.68
(25 Ratings)
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up to 805.28%
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up to 30 days
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3.84
(20 Ratings)
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$1,000-$50,000
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up to 35.99%
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up to 60 months
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3.75
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to 1.46 %
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Approved Cash
Payday Loans
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2.956
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2.00 – 2.00 %
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Marcus
Personal Loans
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up to 72 months
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Money Mart
Payday Loan
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The legal status of payday loans in the USA

A payday loan is an expensive short-term financial solution. Some lenders call it cash advance. Typically, a borrower repays it on their next payday. We recommend getting payday loans only to cover unexpected expenses and emergencies. Each state regulates payday lending to protect its residents from predatory lending. Payday loans amount, interest, and fees must not exceed the value under your state law. More

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Reviews
CreditFresh
4.8
The application process was a breeze, and I received a response within minutes. This straightforward and prompt procedure proved to be a great help to me during a crucial time of need.
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JG Wentworth
4.6
The assistance I received was exceptional. My representative handled my case with care and provided all the necessary information...
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OneMain Financial
4.4
The loan application process was straightforward, and the representative I interacted with displayed patience, provided informative answers, and was quite pleasant throughout...
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My Funding Choices
4.6
The process was swift and straightforward, which was particularly helpful during a time when, despite my reluctance to seek assistance, I genuinely needed help.
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Plain Green Loans
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The interest rate is shockingly high, and it feels like taking advantage of individuals facing financial challenges when unexpected expenses arise...
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Advance America
4.6
I have never encountered any issues with this company. They consistently deliver funds on time, and the repayment process is straightforward...
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Discover the Best Small Personal Loans

What are Small Personal Loans?

A small personal loan is a popular type of loan that allows borrowers to obtain a relatively small amount of money for a short period. These loans are commonly used to cover expenses such as small purchases, home repairs, car repairs, medical bills, and unexpected costs. There are several major types of small personal loans.

Unsecured personal loans are loans that do not require collateral and are based on the borrower's credit history. These loans are suitable for individuals with a high credit score and commonly involve high-interest rates. Examples of unsecured personal loans include credit card debt and student loan offers.

Secured personal loans, on the other hand, require collateral. Real estate or a car may be used as collateral for larger loan amounts, while smaller loans may only require cash. These loans are suitable for borrowers with insufficient credit scores to qualify for an unsecured loan. Examples of secured personal loans include car title loans and bad credit loans.

Debt consolidation loans allow borrowers to combine multiple loans into a single payment, making repayment more manageable. This type of loan is beneficial for individuals with multiple high-interest credit cards or debts with varying repayment terms. It helps reduce monthly payments by consolidating the interest rates and payments into one.

Buy now, pay later loans enable borrowers to make a purchase and pay for it in several equal installments over a specified repayment term. Typically, a down payment of 25% is required at the beginning, and the remaining amount is paid later. This type of loan is often interest-free, depending on the borrower's credit history and the purchase amount.

Joint personal loans involve co-borrowers and offer advantages such as better loan terms and higher loan amounts. If the primary borrower has a less favorable credit history, the co-borrowers credit score can significantly impact loan approval. Lenders often provide better conditions for borrowers with excellent credit reports.

Personal lines of credit differ from traditional loans in that they allow borrowers to withdraw funds within their credit limit. Interest is only charged on the withdrawn amount. The credit limit and interest rates depend on the borrower's creditworthiness, debt obligations, and credit score.

Payday loans are short-term loans designed to provide quick access to funds for urgent payments. Typically offered by online lenders, these loans are repaid in a single payment within a few weeks. Payday loans are suitable for individuals in need of immediate cash before their next paycheck, and the lender focuses more on a steady source of income than credit score requirements.

Features

  1. Loan Amount. These loans typically involve relatively small loan amounts, sometimes as low as $100 or even lower.

  2. Short-Term. The repayment period for small personal loans is relatively short, ranging from a few weeks to a couple of years.

  3. Purpose. These loans are designed to cover various expenses, such as small purchases, home repairs, car repairs, medical bills, and unexpected financial needs.

  4. Unsecured Option. One option is an unsecured personal loan, which doesn't require collateral and relies on the borrower's credit history to determine eligibility.

  5. Secured Option. Alternatively, a secured personal loan requires collateral, such as real estate, a car, or even cash, to secure the loan.

  6. Debt Consolidation Option. Small personal loans can be used for debt consolidation, allowing borrowers to combine multiple loans into one payment for easier management.

  7. Buy Now, Pay Later. Some small personal loans offer the option to make a purchase and pay for it through several equal payments over a specific period.

  8. Joint Borrowers. Borrowers can opt for a joint personal loan, which involves taking out a loan with a co-borrower, offering advantages such as better terms and larger loan amounts.

  9. Personal Lines of Credit. Another option is a personal line of credit, where borrowers can withdraw funds within their credit limit and only pay interest on the amount withdrawn.

Pros and Cons of Small Personal Loans

Pros

  1. Accessibility. Small personal loans are often more accessible to borrowers, as they typically have lower minimum loan amounts and more relaxed eligibility criteria compared to larger loans.

  2. Quick Approval and Disbursement. These loans usually have faster approval processes and quicker disbursal of funds, allowing borrowers to address their financial needs promptly.

  3. Flexible Use. Borrowers have the flexibility to use the loan amount for various purposes, such as covering unexpected expenses, consolidating debts, or making small purchases.

  4. No Collateral Required (Unsecured Loans). Unsecured personal loans don't require collateral, eliminating the risk of losing assets in case of default.

  5. Credit Building. Successfully repaying small personal loans can help borrowers build or improve their credit history and credit scores, as timely payments demonstrate responsible borrowing behavior.

Cons

  1. Higher Interest Rates. Small personal loans often come with higher interest rates compared to larger loans. This is especially true for unsecured loans, as lenders consider them riskier due to the absence of collateral.

  2. Limited Loan Amount. The maximum loan amount available for small personal loans is typically lower compared to larger loan options. This may restrict borrowers who require a substantial amount of funds.

  3. Shorter Repayment Period. Small personal loans usually have shorter repayment terms, which can result in higher monthly payments. Borrowers may need to carefully budget and ensure they can meet the repayment obligations within the given timeframe.

  4. Impact on Credit Score. Failing to repay small personal loans on time or defaulting on payments can have a negative impact on the borrower's credit score, making it harder to obtain future loans or credit.

  5. Potential Predatory Lending. Some lenders offering small personal loans may engage in predatory lending practices, charging excessive fees or imposing unfair terms. Borrowers should be cautious and research reputable lenders.

How to get a Small Personal Loan

  1. Assess Your Needs. Determine the exact amount you need to borrow and the purpose of the loan. Be clear on how the funds will be used.

  2. Check Your Credit Score. Obtain a copy of your credit report and review your credit score. This will help you understand your creditworthiness and potential loan options.

  3. Research Lenders. Research and compare lenders that offer small personal loans. Look for reputable financial institutions, online lenders, or credit unions known for their competitive interest rates and favorable terms.

  4. Gather Necessary Documents. Prepare the required documents, including proof of identification (e.g., driver's license, passport), proof of income (e.g., pay stubs, tax returns), and bank statements. Lenders may have specific document requirements, so check with them beforehand.

  5. Complete the Application. Fill out the loan application accurately and provide all the necessary information. This may include personal details, employment information, financial statements, and the purpose of the loan.

  6. Submit the Application. Submit your loan application to the chosen lender. Depending on the lender's preferred method, this can typically be done online through their website or in-person at a physical branch.

  7. Wait for Approval. Wait for the lender to review your application. The approval process can vary in duration, but some lenders provide instant or quick approvals.

  8. Review Loan Terms. Once approved, carefully review the loan terms and conditions, including the interest rate, repayment period, fees, and any additional requirements or restrictions.

  9. Accept the Loan Offer. If you're satisfied with the loan terms, accept the loan offer by signing the loan agreement. Make sure you understand the repayment schedule and any penalties for late payments or early repayment.

  10. Receive Funds. After accepting the loan offer, the lender will disburse the funds to your designated bank account. Ensure you have provided accurate banking information for a smooth transfer.

Requirements and Conditions

All online lenders that offer small personal loans have different qualification criteria for a loan. Before applying, personal loan applicants should pay attention to the minimum credit score requirement, debt-to-income ratio requirement, and credit usage history requirements, as these are the main credit requirements.

Most often, to receive credit approval from the lender to get a small personal loan, the borrower's minimum credit score should be at least 600 on a scale from 300 to 850. The higher the credit score, the higher the borrower's chance of getting the best loan term, annual percentage rate (APR), and loan amount limit.

The personal loan lender will also require a low debt-to-income ratio. The borrower is required not to exceed 50%. However, to increase the chance of obtaining approval and getting better credit conditions, the borrower should lower this ratio to the range of 43% to 36% since many online lenders lower the interest rate for such borrowers.

For the credit union, the use of past loans is important. This includes the presence of bankruptcy and late payments. Borrowers who have had a bankruptcy in the last seven years before applying for a new loan may be rejected. It is also better for a potential borrower not to have overdue payments for more than 30 days in total for all loans in recent years.

The development of the industry has led to the fact that online lenders greatly simplified the application process to get a small personal loan. Most lending websites have a similar application process. To apply, the borrower needs to click on the "Apply Now" or "Get Started" button on the online lender's website. The application usually requires filling in personal information such as name, email, phone number, and residential address. Employment information is also required namely the name of the employer, the name of the company, the number of the employer, and the duration of work in this position. In most cases, the borrower must enter their bank account details. Next, the borrower needs to upload the necessary documents and sign the loan agreement.

To confirm the identity of the borrower, an online lender may require the following documents:

  • Driver's license

  • State-issued ID

  • Passport

  • Certificate of citizenship

  • Birth certificate

  • Military ID.

To prove employment and income, the borrower may need to provide these documents:

  • Paystubs

  • Tax returns

  • W-2s and 1099s

  • Bank statements.

To prove the address of residence, the lender may require the following:

  • Recent utility bills

  • A copy of the lease or rental agreement

  • Rental insurance, which shows the residential address.

The borrower needs to pay attention to whether the lender allows you to get pre-qualification after applying. The presence of pre-qualification means that the lender makes a soft credit check that does not affect the borrower's credit score. Some lenders make a hard credit inquiry that affects the credit score. If the borrower does not qualify for a loan from such a lender, their credit score will decrease.

Best Places to get a Small Personal Loan

Apply for a loan

  1. Banks. Traditional banks such as Wells Fargo, Chase, or Bank of America offer personal loans with competitive interest rates and flexible terms. They often have brick-and-mortar branches where you can apply in person.

  2. Credit Unions. Credit unions like Navy Federal Credit Union or PenFed Credit Union are member-owned organizations that often provide favorable interest rates and personalized service. They may have specific membership requirements.

  3. Online Lenders. Online lenders like SoFi, Marcus by Goldman Sachs, or Prosper offer convenient application processes and quick approvals. These lenders often have competitive rates and cater to a wide range of credit profiles.

  4. Peer-to-Peer Lending Platforms. Platforms like LendingClub and Prosper connect borrowers directly with individual investors who fund their loans. These platforms often offer competitive rates and flexible loan terms.

  5. Fintech Lenders. Fintech companies like Avant, Upstart, or Upgrade leverage technology to provide quick and accessible small personal loans. They may consider alternative data points for credit assessment, making them suitable for borrowers with limited credit history.

  6. Local Community Banks: Local or regional banks often provide personalized service and may have more flexible lending criteria than larger institutions. Examples include Frost Bank and Zions Bank.

  7. Online Marketplaces: Online loan marketplaces like Credible or LendingTree allow borrowers to compare offers from multiple lenders. They provide a convenient platform to find competitive rates and terms.

Ways to Receive the Money

  1. Direct Deposit. The most common method is to deposit the loan amount directly into your bank account. This allows for convenient and immediate access to the funds.

  2. Check or Draft. Some lenders may issue a physical check or draft for the loan amount. You can deposit or cash the check at your bank or a check-cashing establishment.

  3. Cash at Branch. If you borrow from a traditional bank or credit union with physical branches, you may have the option to visit a branch and receive the loan amount in cash. However, this option may not be available for all lenders or loan types.

  4. Prepaid Debit Card. Certain lenders may provide the loan funds on a prepaid debit card. This card can be used like any other debit card for purchases or cash withdrawals.

Things to Pay Attention to

  1. Repayment Terms. Understand the repayment terms, including the length of the loan and the frequency of payments. Ensure it aligns with your financial situation and ability to make timely payments.

  2. Loan Amount. Consider the loan amount offered by the lender and determine if it meets your needs. Be cautious about borrowing more than necessary, as it can lead to unnecessary debt.

  3. Credit Requirements. Check the credit requirements of the lender. Some lenders have stricter credit score criteria, while others are more flexible. Find a lender that suits your credit profile.

  4. Hidden Terms and Conditions. Read the loan agreement carefully and watch out for any hidden terms or conditions. Pay attention to clauses regarding late payments, defaults, or changes in interest rates.

  5. Reputation and Reviews. Research the lender's reputation and read customer reviews to ensure they have a positive track record of customer service and fair lending practices.

  6. Impact on Credit Score. Understand how the loan will impact your credit score. On-time payments can improve your credit, while defaults or missed payments can negatively affect it.

  7. The true cost of a personal loan. In addition to monthly payments, the borrower also needs to pay several fees. Besides the fact that the borrower needs to pay interest, they also pay origination, late, prepayment, and overdraft fees.

    The origination fee is a payment to the lender for their services. Origination fees are deducted from the loan amount when it is issued, which means that the borrower will receive personal loan funds with the commission already deducted. The origination fee ranges from 1% to 8% of the loan amount. However, the best small personal loans have an origination fee of 0.5%. Some lenders don't require an origination fee, but few exist. The origination fee can be negotiated if the borrower has excellent credit.

    A prepayment penalty is a commission for early repayment of the loan. When the borrower pays the loan early to reduce the amount of interest, lenders demand prepayment penalties from them. However, major credit bureaus have abandoned prepayment penalties. Even under the condition of early repayment, the borrower still pays interest in full.

    A late fee is a penalty for a late payment of the loan that must be paid in addition to the monthly payment. Usually, a late fee is a fixed amount, which most often amounts to about $15. When discussing loan repayment terms with the borrower, personal loan lenders set a certain payment date. It is difficult to keep track of this, so it is recommended that the borrower install automatic loan repayments to avoid delays.

    An overdraft fee appears when the borrower's account does not have enough funds to pay for the loan. The lender still makes the transaction and adds the missing amount to the loan amount. For this, the borrower will also have to pay an overdraft fee in addition to the missing amount. The amount of this fee can reach up to $35.

How to Repay a Small Personal Loan

There are many ways to make payments on a loan. Lenders prefer to charge borrowers automatically from their bank accounts. When signing a loan agreement, a credit union asks the borrower for consent to charge fixed monthly payments from a checking or savings account. Monthly payment is made using ACH debit. Lenders encourage this type of payment without setting any fees for it.

The borrower can pay the loan by sending a check by mail. When using this payment method, the borrower should take into account the payment calendar and send checks in advance so as not to be late. This payment method may require payment of additional fees.

Some lenders can accept payment by phone. This method is not the most convenient and usually has a high fee.

Those lenders who have their mobile application can provide payment functions through it. Since the borrower uses the company's application at the same time, the company does not charge a commission from the transaction.

Many lenders allow customers to make payments on a loan using wire transfer. In this case, the bank through which the transfer takes place sets the commission amount.

Alternatives

  1. Secured Loans. You can explore secured loans if you have collateral, such as a car or savings account. These loans use the collateral as security, typically resulting in lower interest rates compared to unsecured loans.

  2. Credit cards can be used for smaller purchases and short-term financing needs. They offer flexibility and, if used responsibly, can help build credit history. Look for credit cards with low-interest rates or promotional 0% APR periods for purchases.

  3. Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC). If you own a home, you can tap into your home's equity through a HELOC. This revolving line of credit allows you to borrow against your home's value and typically offers lower interest rates than personal loans.

  4. Payday Alternative Loans (PALs). Some credit unions offer PALs as short-term loans designed as alternatives to high-interest payday loans. They typically have lower interest rates and more affordable repayment terms.

  5. Credit Builder Loans. These loans are specifically designed to help individuals establish or improve their credit. They often have lower loan amounts and are secured by a savings account or certificate of deposit.

  6. Peer-to-Peer lending platforms connect borrowers with individual investors. These platforms offer different loan types and may have more flexible eligibility criteria than traditional lenders.

  7. Secured credit cards require a cash deposit as collateral, which determines your credit limit. They can help build or rebuild credit when used responsibly.

Editorial Opinion

In today's dynamic financial landscape, small personal loans have become a popular tool for individuals seeking quick access to funds. These loans offer a range of benefits, such as ease of application, flexibility in use, and accessibility to borrowers with varying credit profiles. However, it is crucial to approach small personal loans with caution, understanding their potential pros and cons.

On the positive side, small personal loans provide an efficient solution for addressing immediate financial needs. Whether it's unexpected medical expenses, home repairs, or consolidating high-interest debt, these loans offer a lifeline for individuals who may not have other options readily available. The streamlined application process, often online or through mobile apps, allows borrowers to access funds swiftly, making it an attractive choice during emergencies.

However, it's important to consider the potential downsides of small personal loans. The higher interest rates compared to larger loans and credit card debt can result in increased overall costs, especially if the loan term is extended. Borrowers must carefully evaluate their financial capabilities and ensure that they can comfortably meet the repayment obligations. Failure to do so can lead to a cycle of debt, impacting credit scores and financial well-being.

To mitigate risks associated with small personal loans, it is crucial to exercise prudence and conduct thorough research. Compare interest rates, fees, and terms from various lenders to secure the most favorable terms possible. Carefully review the loan agreement, paying close attention to any hidden charges or penalties. Additionally, exploring alternative options, such as secured loans or credit-building strategies, can provide more affordable solutions depending on individual circumstances.

Small personal loans can serve as a valuable financial tool when utilized responsibly. They offer a convenient way to meet urgent financial needs, build credit, and gain financial flexibility. However, borrowers must exercise caution, assess their financial capabilities, and be mindful of the potential risks involved. By understanding the terms, making informed decisions, and borrowing within their means, individuals can effectively navigate the realm of small personal loans while maintaining control over their financial well-being.

FAQ

What is the smallest personal loan you can take out?

Small personal loan amounts range from hundreds to tens of thousands of dollars. Minimum loan amounts for personal loans can be $100 or less, for example, a payday loan. However, the borrower needs to remember that a small loan will require a high interest rate payment.

How do I get a small loan immediately?

The best small personal loans for getting money fast are payday alternative loans. The borrower can come to the offline lender store and get the money immediately. If the borrower wants to get loan funds online, then after receiving approval, loan proceeds usually come in 1 business day.

What is the easiest loan to get approved for?

The easiest loan to get approved is a payday loan. Such a loan is designed for borrowers who need money quickly but cannot get another loan due to a low credit score. Lenders who issue payday loans usually do not pay attention to the borrower's credit score. They need to have proof of a permanent source of income. However, the loan payment terms for this loan are not the best since the interest rate is high.

What is considered a small personal loan?

Small personal loans are loans that allow borrowers to take out small loan amounts that range from several hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. Personal loans feature repayment terms ranging from a few weeks to a couple of years. Usually, borrowers receive small personal loans to pay for unexpected expenses.

Do small personal loans affect your credit?

Yes, small personal loans can affect your credit. When you apply for a small personal loan, the lender will typically check your credit history and request a credit report from one or more credit bureaus. This process results in what's called a "hard inquiry" on your credit report, which can have a slight negative impact on your credit score.

Once you're approved for a small personal loan, how you manage the loan and make payments will further impact your credit. Making timely payments and paying off the loan according to the agreed-upon terms can positively affect your credit score. It demonstrates responsible borrowing behavior and shows that you can manage your debt obligations effectively.

On the other hand, failing to make payments on time or defaulting on the loan can have a negative impact on your credit score. Late payments or delinquencies can be reported to credit bureaus and remain on your credit report for several years, affecting your creditworthiness and potentially making it more difficult to secure future loans or credit.