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Personal loan rates fell last week, giving qualified borrowers the chance to earn a decent interest rate and finance a project, purchase or even unexpected bills.
From February 28 to March 4, the average fixed rate on a three-year personal loan was 10.51% for borrowers with a credit score of 720 or higher who prequalified on Credible.com’s personal loan marketplace. . The rate was 10.80% the previous week, according to Credible.com. The average five-year personal loan rate fell 0.05% last week to 13.05% from 13.10%.
The most qualified borrowers generally benefit from the best rates. In fact, qualified borrowers can benefit from a rate that is significantly lower than the average. The rate you receive depends on several factors, including your creditworthiness and the loans available from your chosen lender.
Related: Best Personal Loans
Average Personal Loan Interest Rates by Credit Score
The rates below are estimated average interest rates for personal loans based on VantageScore risk levels, according to Experian. Although the rates below can serve as a general guideline, note that interest rates are ultimately set and determined by the lenders.
How to Compare Personal Loan Rates
If you want to get the best rate, be sure to research lenders that offer a prequalification process for personal loans. Although 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 perform a soft credit check to prescreen you, which has no impact on your credit score.
After your prequalification, the lender can provide you with an overview of your loan options. This snapshot typically includes loan rates, terms, and limits. To find the best loan for your situation, consider prequalifying with several lenders and comparing terms.
You are not guaranteed to be approved if you prequalify. Lenders always require you to submit a formal application and additional documents. After you submit your formal application, lenders typically perform a rigorous credit check, which can lower your credit score by one to five points.
Related: 5 personal loan requirements to know before applying
How to benefit from more favorable interest rates
Personal loan interest rates are based on a number of factors, including your overall creditworthiness, credit score, income, and debt-to-income ratio (DTI). Two quick ways to help you qualify for better rates is to pay off existing debt to help lower your DTI and improve your credit score.
Rod Griffin, senior director of education and consumer advocacy at Experian, recommends “checking your credit report and scores three to six months before applying for a personal loan” as this will give you plenty of time to bring the necessary improvements.
Although qualification requirements differ from lender to lender, a minimum credit score of 720 will generally get you the best deal. If your score falls below this marker and you’re looking for the lowest possible rate, you can take steps to improve your score. Try strategies such as reducing your credit utilization rate, removing errors from your credit report, and paying your bills early or on time.
How to calculate your personal loan payments
To see if this fits your budget, it’s important to estimate how much you’ll pay on a monthly basis and how much you’ll pay in interest over the life of the loan. One of the easiest ways to do this is to use a personal loan calculator. You will need the rate, term and amount of your loan.
For example, suppose you have a personal loan for $5,000 with a fixed interest rate of 10.51% and a term of 36 months. The Forbes Advisor Personal Loan Calculator indicates that your monthly payment would be around $163 and you would pay around $851 in interest over the life of the loan. Overall, you owe $5,851, which includes both principal and interest.