If you’re in need of some cash, you may have considered taking out a personal line of credit – and depending on your circumstances — it could be a great idea to do so.
But if you want to find the best personal lines of credit for your specific situation, it’s vital you do your research before making any decisions. Whether you have good or bad credit, there are several lenders you’ll want to consider. Let’s take a look.
Personal lines of credit for excellent credit
Most lenders that offer personal lines of credit tend to be larger companies. However, there are also online lenders that provide personal lines of credit at reasonable rates.
SunTrust is considered one of the largest banks in the country and offers a wide variety of products in addition to their lines of credit. They offer one of the best variable rates and have high loan limits at $500,000 for unsecured loans.
You’ll also save money as it doesn’t have any cash advance, application, or annual fees. However, unless you have excellent credit or at least $100,000 in verifiable assets (can be with other financial institutions), you most likely won’t get approved.
Founded in 2016, Upgrade is a marketplace lender that offers personal lines of credit in Washington, DC and 43 states. The lender offers one of the lowest rates, but of course that depends on your creditworthiness.
Upgrade is one of the better lenders because they don’t charge origination fees and prepayment penalties. This means you won’t be charged to process the loan and for paying it back early.
Wells Fargo, aside from their wide range of financing options, also offers some of the highest limits on a line of credit. Borrowers can borrow up to a maximum of $100,000 for an unsecured line of credit.
If you want to qualify for a large amount, you need to be an existing customer and must have excellent credit.
For those intending to use the funds towards home expenses, you may want to consider a Wells Fargo HELOC. Their home equity lines of credit tends to have lower rates than their personal lines of credit.
Personal lines of credit for fair to bad credit
Since most personal lines of credit require borrowers to have pretty stellar scores, you may think you’re out of luck if you have bad credit. But you’re not.
Instead, look to alternative lenders and credit unions, as they be more willing to work with you to get a line of credit approved.
Elastic is a direct online lender that claims to make the approval process quick and simple. Borrowers can receive funds as soon as the next business day. They offer lines of credit anywhere from $500 to a maximum of $3,500.
Unfortunately, this loan can get expensive really fast. First, you’ll be charged a cash advance fee of 5% to 10% of the amount you take out. In addition, their loans have extremely high APRs.
Elastic does, however, offer transparency – if you do carry a balance from month to month, you’ll know exactly what your minimum payment is.
PenFed Federal Credit Union
PenFed Federal Credit Union is one of the largest credit unions in the country and are more willing to work with borrowers who have bad to fair credit scores.
It’s easy to join as you just need to make a $17 donation to Voices for America’s Troops or the National Military Family Association. If you’re worried you won’t get approved, you can get always get a co-signer.
Although their rates seem a bit steep, it actually offers one of the lowest maximum APRs since most of its competitors offer a maximum of 36% APR. It’s also a fixed rate, meaning that your rate won’t change and you always know what your minimum payment is each month.
How to shop for a personal line of credit
The best place to start is at your local bank and credit union, especially if you already have an account with them. Since you’re an existing customer, these places may be more willing to help you out or give you a discounted rate (depends on the type of account you have).
Because a personal line of credit is considered a revolving credit, not all online lenders are allowed to offer these types of loans. If you know exactly how much you want to borrow, you may want to consider a personal loan. You’ll find more online lenders and possibly get better rates.
And you can find out what you qualify for within minutes without hurting your credit score. The more you know, the easier it will be to make the right decision.
Sarah Li Cain is a finance writer based in Jacksonville, Florida. She’s written on topics such as real estate, banking and FinTech and has appeared in publications such as KeyBank, Vistaprint and Quicken Loans.