The Best Personal Loans With No Origination Fee: 2019

As you shop around for personal loan options, you’ll find that some lenders charge what they call “origination fees.” An origination fee covers the lender’s costs of processing your loan application and underwriting. The fee may also safeguard the lender against any interest rates lost if you pay off the loan early.

Some lenders don’t charge origination fees. Instead, they fold the costs of processing your loan into your APR.

An APR, or annual percentage rate, is your full annual cost of borrowing. Your APR includes interest rates and any fees not listed separately Origination fees are listed separately, which means that a lender with an origination fee may offer a lower APR. Your monthly cost may be less, but your upfront cost will be higher

Lenders typically take origination fee amounts out of the loan payout. For example, if you are approved for a $2,000 loan and your origination fee is 5%, your lender will subtract $100 from the loan and you’ll get $1,900 in your pocket.

If you need money right away, consider one of these four lenders. Each offers personal loans with no origination fees.

Marcus by Goldman Sachs

Marcus is the online retail banking arm of Goldman Sachs, a renowned investment bank for 150 years. Marcus exists to provide the general public with accessible personal loans and savings vehicles.

Loan purposes

Marcus offers loans for most personal needs including:

  • Debt consolidation. Receive a lump-sum payment that you then use to pay off your other debts. You’re left with one payment per month, often with a lower interest rate than you were paying before. 
  • Home improvement. Get money to fix up your home without using the property itself as collateral. You could end up increasing your home’s resale value or just add a feature you’ve always wanted. 
  • Wedding expenses. Cover the expenses for your wedding without adding them to a high-interest credit card.
  • Moving and relocation. Pay any of the costs of moving, including a place to stay when you’re in between houses, for a fixed interest rate.  
  • Vacation. Fund your dream get-away and enjoy   

Funding amounts 

In general, Marcus by Goldman Sachs lends up to $40,000 per loan, but some loan types have a lower maximum of $20,000. Your maximum loan amount will vary based on your financial situation and the purpose of your loan.

Rates, fees, and terms

Marcus never charges any fees other than your interest rates. That means no late payment fees (not calculated in APR) or missed payment fees either. However, if you do miss a payment, you will continue to accrue interest and end up paying more, simply because of the standard rules of lending.

Annual percentage rates for Marcus loans can be as low as 5.99% for the most qualified borrowers. The company’s specified maximum APR is 28.99%, but borrowers in New York have a 24.99% APR maximum. The term of each loan is between three and six years, and you’ll usually get a lower rate if you choose a shorter term.

What sets Marcus apart  

Unlike most other online lenders, Marcus has the expertise and resources of Goldman Sachs behind it. The company’s in-depth knowledge is part of why in 2019, J.D. Power ranked Marcus  #1 for personal loan customer satisfaction.

LightStream

LightStream is an online consumer lending division of SunTrust Bank. The company was built around the idea that borrowers with good credit deserve great rates and easy loan experience. 

Loan types

LightStream loans can fund:

  • Automobile purchase or refinance
  • Home improvement
  • Recreation, including aircraft, boat, or timeshare purchase
  • Family needs, including adoption fees and PreK to 12th-grade education
  • Debt consolidation
  • Horse ownership

LightStream also offers general purpose unsecured loans. You can use the money for any legal purpose that suits your needs.

Funding amounts and qualifications

LightStream lets you borrow between $5,000 and $100,000. To get approved, you’ll need to have:

  • Several years of borrowing history including varied account types
  • A proven ability to save
  • Income and assets sufficient to repay the loan
  • A history of responsible repayment  

Rates, fees, and terms

LightStream’s interest rates range from 3.99% to 16.79%. The lowest rates are reserved for borrowers with excellent credit who are borrowing $10,000 or more and those who choose shorter loan terms. Term options range from two to 12 years, although terms of more than seven years are only available for loans of $25,000 and above.

Quoted rates apply to borrowers who make monthly payments via AutoPay. Rates on invoiced accounts are 0.5% higher. There are no fees at any time.

What sets LightStream apart

LightStream offers a $100 satisfaction guarantee. If you are not fully satisfied with the LightStream experience within the first 30 days of the loan term, you can contact the lender. It will send you $100 in exchange for a completed questionnaire about the company’s service.

SoFi

SoFi is committed to helping its borrowers achieve their goals. The company focuses on transparency and the support of real people who want to see you succeed.

Types of Loans

SoFi advertises two specific kinds of personal loans.

  • Home improvement loans are geared toward helping you to complete projects on your property without needing to tap into your home equity or use a credit card with a potentially high-interest rate.
  • Credit card consolidation loans give you the money you need to pay off your credit cards all at once. You then have only one monthly payment with a reliable fixed rate. Borrowers improve their credit scores by an average of 22 points when they consolidate more than $10,000 in debt.

SoFi also offers general purpose loans, which you can use for most purposes except higher education tuition, business capital, or real estate ownership transfer.

Funding amounts and qualifications

In general, SoFi loans range in value from $5,000 to $100,000. Certain states have higher legal borrowing minimums.

To qualify, you must be a citizen, permanent resident, or visa holder in the United States. Your approval also depends on your income, pre-existing expenses, credit score, and financial history. 

Rates, fees, and terms

Unlike many other personal lenders, SoFi offers variable interest rates for some of its personal loans. APRs range from 5.99% to 17.67% for fixed-rate loans or 5.47% to 14.70% for variable-rate loans, assuming repayment via AutoPay. The APR on an invoiced loan is 0.25% higher.

All SoFi loans are no-fee, so you’ll see no surprise charges. Standard rules of repayment do apply, meaning that missing payments could result in default and a damaged credit score. 

What sets SoFi apart

SoFi has a unique Unemployment Protection program. If you become unemployed and are not at fault, and your loan is in good standing, SoFi can suspend your loan payments and provide you with job placement assistance. Benefits are limited to 12 months total and interest still accrues.

Earnest

Earnest exists to help responsible borrowers to realize their financial goals. The company strives to create a positive relationship with each of its borrowers and meet their needs regardless of obstacles.

Loan purposes

Earnest’s personal loans are designed to help you do what you need to do. They can help you cover:

  • Medical expenses
  • Moving and relocation
  • Home improvement
  • Weddings and engagements
  • Vacations

Earnest also offers debt consolidation loans with flexible monthly payment options. 

Borrowing amounts and qualifications

Earnest allows you to borrow $5,000 to $75,000, assuming the amount you choose is in compliance with your state’s laws and appropriate for your financial situation.

To qualify for a loan through Earnest, you must:

  • Be a legal resident or citizen of the United States
  • Have a credit score of 680 or higher
  • Have enough in savings to cover at least two months of your typical expenses
  • Have increasing bank balances, evidencing habits of earning more than you spend
  • Have not declared bankruptcy in at least 3 years
  • Not have any open accounts in collections and have a solid history of paying on time

Earnest believes in evaluating each borrower’s complete financial picture. Assuming you meet all basic requirements, the company will consider all aspects of your finances to determine your rate.

Rates, fees, and terms

Earnest takes a personal approach to loan approval. Rates start at 5.99% and increase based on your individual circumstances.

Flexibility is built into the Earnest lending process. There are no fees at any time. You choose your regular monthly payment and can increase it or pay the loan off early with no penalty.

What sets Earnest apart

Earnest’s focus is on people serving people. The company has a comprehensive help center and a dedicated staff of customer support professionals. Real people answer the phones Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5 pm Pacific Time, at 888-601-2801. You can also fill out a service request on the company’s website.

A Final Word

Each of these lending options will get you your full approved amount up-front, no origination fee. Check your rates to see which one will be best for you – a rate check doesn’t affect your credit score.

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