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Personal loan rates fell last week. If you want to finance a vehicle or home improvement project, or if you temporarily need to improve your cash flow, you can get a fair rate, as long as you are able to meet the qualifying requirements.
From March 14-18, the average fixed rate on a three-year personal loan was 10.23% for borrowers with a credit score of 720 or higher who prequalified on Credible.com’s personal loan marketplace. The rate was 10.44% the previous week, according to Credible.com. The average five-year personal loan rate rose 0.12% last week from 12.63% to 12.75%.
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 many 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.
Compare personal loan rates
Start by researching lenders who offer a prequalification process for personal loans. Lenders offer a range of rates online, not an exact rate based on your specific qualifications. Prequalification provides a more accurate view of the rate you will receive. During the prequalification process, lenders perform a soft credit check, which has no impact on your credit score.
Based on this information, the lender will give you an overview of the terms you may qualify for, including loan rates, terms and limits. You can prequalify with multiple lenders and compare terms to find the best loan for your specific situation.
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 get the best rates
Two quick ways to help you qualify for better rates is to pay down your existing debt to help lower your DTI and improve your credit score. The interest rate you receive on a personal loan is based on a number of factors. This includes your overall creditworthiness, credit score, income, and debt-to-income ratio (DTI).
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 lowering your credit utilization rate, removing errors from your credit report, and paying your bills early or on time.
Calculate monthly 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 the interest rate, amount and term of your loan. This will help you determine how much you will owe monthly and how much interest you will pay over the life of your loan.
For example, suppose you get a $5,000 personal loan with a term of five years at a fixed interest rate of 12.75%. You’d pay about $113 a month and about $1,788 in interest over the life of the loan, according to Forbes Advisor’s Personal Loan Calculator. All in all, you would pay $6,788 in total, which includes both principal and interest.