How to get a $20,000 personal loan

You can get a $20K loan from a number of personal lenders, including banks, credit unions and online lenders. Here are the top options. (iStock)

If you need to borrow $20,000 to consolidate debt, complete a home improvement project, pay medical bills or beyond, you can likely take out a personal loan from a bank, credit union or online lender. 

You can use a $20,000 loan from a personal lender for just about anything you want, so knowing where to look and how to find the best one for you is critical. 

Credible makes it easy to compare rates for a $20,000 personal loan.

  • Where to get a $20,000 personal loan
  • How much will a $20,000 loan cost?
  • How can I qualify for a $20,000 loan?
  • Getting a $20,000 loan with fair or bad credit
  • Alternatives to a personal loan

Where to get a $20,000 personal loan

Many different types of lenders offer personal loans, but the interest rates, fees and other terms can vary widely. As such, it's crucial that you take the time to compare lenders to determine the right fit for you.

Online loans can be convenient because it’s easy to apply for them, they generally fund quickly and they can also offer lower interest rates because they don't have physical branches like banks and credit unions. 

The following 17 Credible partner lenders offer $20K loans.

Avant

Avant is an online lender that allows applicants to e-sign their loan contracts.

  • Loan amounts: $2,000 to $35,000
  • Loan terms: 2 to 5 years
  • Minimum credit score: 550
  • Good for: Borrowers with fair or poor credit

Axos

With online bank Axos, approved borrowers can get their funds within two business days after accepting their offer. 

  • Loan amounts: $5,000 to $50,000
  • Loan terms: 3 to 6 years
  • Minimum credit score: 700
  • Good for: Borrowers looking to fund home improvements or major purchases

Best Egg

Best Egg personal loans have no prepayment penalty but do come with origination fees between 0.99% and 5.99% of the loan amount. 

  • Loan amounts: $2,000 to $50,000
  • Loan terms: 2 to 5 years
  • Minimum credit score: 600
  • Good for: Borrowers with good credit

Discover

Online bank Discover can give you up to seven years to repay a personal loan. 

  • Loan amounts: $2,500 to $35,000
  • Loan terms: 3 to 7 years
  • Minimum credit score: 660
  • Good for: Good credit borrowers who’d like more time to repay their loan

FreedomPlus

FreedomPlus offers larger loans but also charges an origination fee ranging from 1.99% to 4.99%.

  • Loan amounts: $7,500 to $50,000
  • Loan terms: 2 to 5 years
  • Minimum credit score: Does not disclose
  • Good for: Borrowers looking to pay off high-interest credit card debt

LendingClub

LendingClub is a peer-to-peer personal loan platform that matches borrowers with investors willing to lend money. 

  • Loan amounts: $1,000 to $40,000
  • Loan terms: 3 or 5 years
  • Minimum credit score: 600
  • Good for: Borrowers with strong credit

LendingPoint

LendingPoint can be a solid option for people with fair credit scores, but it charges origination fees that can run as high as 6% of the loan amount. 

  • Loan amounts: $2,000 to $36,500
  • Loan terms: 2 to 4 years
  • Minimum credit score: 580
  • Good for: Borrowers with below-average credit

LightStream

LightStream is the online lending division of SunTrust Bank and offers large loan amounts.

  • Loan amounts: $5,000 to $100,000
  • Loan terms: 2 to 7 years (up to 12 years for home improvement loans)
  • Minimum credit score: 660
  • Good for: Borrowers looking to fund a home improvement project

Marcus

Marcus by Goldman Sachs offers an entirely digital, paperless loan application process, and allows you to defer one payment after you’ve made at least 12 full, on-time payments. 

  • Loan amounts: $3,500 to $40,000
  • Loan terms: 3 to 6 years
  • Minimum credit score: 660
  • Good for: Borrowers who want to tailor their monthly payments to fit within their budgets

OneMain Financial

OneMain Financial is unique in that it doesn't have a minimum credit score requirement.

  • Loan amounts: $1,500 to $20,000
  • Loan terms: 2 to 5 years
  • Minimum credit score: None
  • Good for: People who need to borrow $20,000 or less

Payoff

Payoff specializes in helping consumers pay off high-interest debt, like credit cards, but may charge an origination fee as high as 5%. 

  • Loan amounts: $5,000 to $40,000
  • Loan terms: 2 to 5 years
  • Minimum credit score: 600
  • Good for: Borrowers looking to consolidate credit card debt

PenFed

PenFed Credit Union offers very small personal loans as low as $600 — something few personal loan lenders do — but you’ll have to qualify to join the credit union in order to get a loan from it. 

  • Loan amounts: $600 to $50,000
  • Loan terms: 1 to 5 years
  • Minimum credit score: 660
  • Good for: Borrowers who need a small loan amount

Prosper

A Prosper personal loan will come with origination fees of 2.4% to 5%, but funding can occur as soon as one business day after loan approval.

  • Loan amounts: $2,000 to $40,000
  • Loan terms: 3 or 5 years
  • Minimum credit score: 640
  • Good for: Borrowers who need fast funding

SoFi

Like LightStream, SoFi offers a wide range of loan amounts and longer repayment terms than many lenders.

  • Loan amounts: $5,000 to $100,000
  • Loan terms: 2 to 7 years
  • Minimum credit score: Does not disclose
  • Good for: Borrowers with good to excellent credit

Universal Credit

Universal Credit offers fast personal loans to people with less-than-stellar credit, but its origination fees are higher than some other lenders, ranging from 4.25% to 8%.

  • Loan amounts: $1,000 to $50,000
  • Loan terms: 3 to 5 years
  • Minimum credit score: 560
  • Good for: Borrowers with poor credit

Upgrade

Upgrade offers fast approval and funding, with origination fees that range from 2.9% to 8%.

  • Loan amounts: $1,000 to $50,000
  • Loan terms: 2 to 7 years
  • Minimum credit score: 560
  • Good for: Borrowers looking to build their credit

Upstart

Online lender Upstart considers factors beyond credit scores when evaluating applications, including education, major and job history. 

  • Loan amounts: $1,000 to $50,000
  • Loan terms: 3 to 5 years
  • Minimum credit score: 580 (in most states)
  • Good for: Borrowers with below-average credit or no credit score

How much will a $20,000 loan cost?

The cost of a $20,000 loan can vary depending on multiple factors, including the terms of your loan and your credit score. Here are a couple of examples to help you get an idea:

  • Let’s say you have good credit and borrow $20,000 with a 7% interest rate, no origination fee, and a six-year repayment term. Your monthly payment would be $341, and you’d pay $4,551 in total interest over six years.
  • Alternatively, if your credit isn’t in great shape, your $20,000 loan may come with a 20% interest rate and a 5% origination fee, which is deducted from the loan disbursement. If you have a four-year repayment term, your monthly payment would be $609, and you’d pay $9,213 in total interest — and that’s in addition to the $1,000 origination fee.

Using an online personal loan calculator can help you get an idea of what a $20,000 loan would cost in your particular situation.

How can I qualify for a $20,000 loan?

Eligibility requirements can vary from lender to lender, but many personal loan lenders allow you to get prequalified with just a soft credit check, which won’t hurt your credit. You'll want to go through this process with multiple lenders to ensure you get the best loan for your situation.

Once you pick a lender, here's how the application process will typically go:

  • You’ll provide information about yourself, including your name, address, employment, income and other information.
  • You’ll share how much you want to borrow.
  • In some cases, you may be required to submit documentation to prove your identity, income and other pieces of information.
  • The lender will review your application and provide you with one or more offers, which may be different from the initial prequalification quote.
  • If you accept, you’ll sign the loan agreement and the lender will disburse the loan.

To improve your odds of getting a personal loan, it's best to have good to excellent credit, a low debt-to-income ratio and possibly even a cosigner if the lender accepts them.

You can see your prequalified personal loan rates in minutes with Credible. 

Getting a $20,000 loan with fair or bad credit

Having fair or poor credit doesn’t exclude you from getting a $20,000 personal loan. Some lenders specialize in working with fair- and bad-credit borrowers. These loans typically come with higher interest rates than loans for borrowers with good or excellent credit, and you may not be able to escape an origination fee.

But if you absolutely need the funds and have no cheaper options, it may be worth the additional costs. You can improve your odds of getting better loan terms if you apply with a cosigner. Just make sure you check with lenders first to find out which ones accept cosigners.

Also, if you have some time before you need the money, improving your credit score even a little can make a big difference in the cost of your loan.

Alternatives to a personal loan

Depending on your situation, you may have other ways to get the funds you need. Here are some options to consider.

0% APR credit card

If you're looking to make a big purchase or pay down high-interest credit card debt, and you have good credit, a credit card with an introductory 0% APR on purchases or balance transfers can be helpful. These cards can help you pay down your debt interest-free. 

But once that promotional period is over, the APR can be high, so it’s important to pay off the entire balance before the introductory rate ends. 

Home equity loan or line of credit

If you're looking to make some home improvements, a home equity loan or line of credit can have a much lower interest rate than a personal loan. What's more, you may be able to deduct the interest you pay on your tax return.

But these options can have higher upfront costs, and if you somehow can't repay the debt, you could lose your home.

Ask a family member or friend

If you have a good relationship with your loved ones, you may be able to get the money you need from them. This type of loan can be cheaper, especially if your family member or friend doesn't charge interest. But if you don't repay on time, it could damage your relationship, so it may not be worth it.

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