How Much of a Personal Loan Can I Get?


How much of a personal loan you can get depends somewhat on the lender you use and the type of loan you apply for, such as a secured loan or an unsecured loan. More importantly, though, the loan amount you can qualify for hinges upon your personal financial factors, like your credit score, your debt-to-income ratio (DTI), your income, and your employment history.

Personal loans can serve a lot of good purposes. You can use a personal loan for debt consolidation, to pay off medical bills, or to renovate your home, to name just a few examples. If you do need some extra money, though, you’re probably wondering: “How much of a personal loan can I get? And what do I need to qualify for a personal loan?”

Read on to learn how much money you can borrow with personal loans, the criteria you need to meet to qualify for a loan, and some tips to help you obtain a larger loan amount.

How much personal loan money can you get?

Personal loans typically start around $1,000 and go up to a maximum amount of $100,000, with the average loan amount hovering around $8,000, according to a report by TransUnion, one of the three major credit bureaus. Of course, just because you theoretically could get a $100,000 personal loan, it’s worth noting that it’s much harder to qualify for the maximum loan amounts. The comparison tool below allows you to filter lenders by loan amount and credit score to help you determine how much you can expect to get.

Click here to complete a short survey and see what loan amount and APR you can qualify for with leading personal loan providers.

In addition, most personal loan lenders cap loan amounts at $50,000 or less — for example, PenFed Credit Union only approves personal loans between $600 and $50,000. It’s important to remember that the loan amount you qualify for isn’t as important as the loan amount you can afford, and you should never borrow more than you need.

Pro Tip

If you know how much you want to borrow and want to see what your monthly payments might be based on the loan term, you might want to try out a personal loan calculator. You can also find out how long it will take to pay off the loan based on your desired monthly payment, and you can play around with different interest rates in a personal loan calculator to see what you can afford. This can be a handy way to budget for payments before applying for loan funds.

Requirements to get a personal loan

While the exact requirements for a personal loan will vary by lender, they will all consider a number of different factors to determine your eligibility. The level of your qualifications will also have an impact on the loan term and interest rate you can get. Here are a few of the elements a personal loan lender is certain to consider when assessing loan applications:

  • Credit score and credit history.
  • Employment history.
  • Income and existing debts.
  • Loan type.

Credit score

Your credit score isn’t the only factor that determines whether you qualify for a personal loan, but it is an important one. A credit score is, essentially, a number between 300 and 850 that illustrates how good you are at repaying your debts.

Your credit score takes into account all of your credit history, including your payment history, total debts, credit utilization rate (how much credit you’re using in relation to your available credit), your credit mix, and how often you apply for new loans or credit.

If you have a good or excellent credit score — and the rest of your personal loan application comes across favorably — you have the best chance of getting more competitive rates, which will cost you less over the life of the loan. On the other hand, if you have a poor credit score, you could be looking at interest rates as high as some credit cards.

Pro Tip

Your history of on-time payments accounts for more than one-third of the credit score on your credit report and is an important indicator of your reliability in repaying your debts. Even one late or missed payment can hurt your credit score and drastically reduce your chances of being approved for a loan.

Employment history

Most lenders want to see that you’ve been at the same job for a while, or at least that you’ve stayed in the same field even if you’ve changed positions. While not as important as your credit profile, stable employment speaks to your overall reliability — that is, you’re more likely to be able to repay your current debt.

Lenders usually require applicants to be employed (although there are some lenders who will consider other sources of income), and it will look best on your personal loan application if you can show steady employment rather than several different jobs over so many years.

Income and existing debts

Your income is also an important factor when applying for a new loan. Obviously, lenders want to see that you earn enough money to fulfill your repayment term, but they also want to know about your income in relation to your debt. This is known as your debt-to-income ratio (DTI), and it describes how much of your monthly income is used to pay down your current debts.

You can calculate your DTI by adding up your total monthly debt payments — such as auto loans, mortgage/rent payments, and credit cards — then dividing that number by your gross monthly income. Ideally, your DTI should be less than 36%, so lenders feel confident that you have enough room in your budget for an additional monthly payment.

For example, let’s say your gross monthly income is $5,000 and your total monthly debt payments amount to $2,000: $1,200 for your mortgage, a $500 car payment, and $300 toward credit cards. To calculate your debt-to-income ratio, you would divide the $2,000 in monthly payments by the $5,000 in income, which gives you a DTI of 40%. While that’s not too bad, it’s still a little on the high side, so you might want to consider paying down some debt to qualify for the best loan terms.

Unsecured vs. secured loan

Most personal loans are unsecured, meaning they’re not backed by any collateral, like a house for a mortgage or a car for an auto loan. Unsecured loans are riskier for lenders because they can’t take your property if you can’t repay the loan (though they can and will sue you and severely damage your credit score). This means that unsecured loans are harder to qualify for, especially large loans.

Depending on how much money you need, you may need to apply for a secured loan to get lender approval. Of course, this means you need to come up with some collateral to secure the loan, such as a car, a boat, a retirement account, or anything else of significant value. Keep in mind, however, that if you fail to repay the loan, the lender can seize your property, and your credit score will suffer as well.

How to qualify for a larger loan

If you’re in need of a larger-than-average personal loan but aren’t sure that you meet the requirements for approval, there are a number of strategies you can use to improve your odds of qualifying.

Consider a co-signer

Maybe you need a large loan as soon as possible, but your credit score, income, and employment history aren’t enough to impress the lenders. In that case, you may want to see if you can get a friend or family member to co-sign the application with you. This can be a great way to get a larger loan with better terms at a more competitive interest rate. However, keep in mind that this can be risky for the co-signer, so it’s not an agreement to be taken lightly.

When you have someone co-sign on a loan, that information is reported on their credit report as well because they’re responsible for the personal loan if you fail to repay it. Plus, if you miss even one monthly payment, that will lower your co-signer’s credit score along with your own. Think carefully before putting your friend or family member in that position!

Ask for a longer repayment term

If lenders doubt your ability to pay off larger loans in a shorter period of time, consider asking for a longer loan term instead. This will result in lower monthly payments, making your loan payments more budget-friendly. Keep in mind, though, that a longer repayment term also means you’ll pay more interest over the life of the loan, so unless you can pay the balance off earlier, a longer term may not save you enough money to be worth it.

Apply for a secured personal loan

As mentioned previously, a secured loan is less risky for lenders because it’s secured by collateral. If you have some collateral to offer along with your loan application, you may be able to get more favorable lender offers, but not without more risk for you, says Kendall Meade, Financial Planner at SoFi.

“Putting collateral down on a loan can make it easier to qualify for or allow you to get a lower interest rate, but keep in mind that if you are unable to make your payments, you will lose that collateral.”

Apply for loans from multiple lenders

Because lender requirements vary, it’s always a good idea to get pre-qualified by multiple lenders. Pre-approvals typically only require a soft credit check, which won’t hurt your credit score and can give you more options. You may find that some lenders who offer personal loans have lower minimum credit score requirements than others, which could also work in your favor.

When you’re shopping through lending platforms, be sure to check online lenders in addition to your own bank or credit union. Online lenders can typically offer better terms than brick-and-mortar banks, but if you have a previous relationship with a financial institution, they may be able to give you a better interest rate.

Pro Tip

Many lenders charge an origination fee for a personal loan, which can cost you up to 10% and is typically deducted from the total loan amount. As you search for lenders, look for ones who don’t charge origination fees, but also be wary of paying a higher interest rate or incurring prepayment penalties in place of an origination fee.

Work on raising your credit score

If your credit score is holding you back, you can work on improving your credit history by reducing your current debts and always making your monthly payments on time. You should also be sure to get free copies of your credit reports. If you find any mistakes, you can dispute the errors and get them taken off your reports. This is one of the quickest ways to boost your credit score.

Get a second job

If your credit score is good but your income is lacking, getting another job may help your chances of loan approval. Some options for extra income include freelancing, driving for a rideshare service like Uber, or delivering food in your spare time. If you can show proof of a larger monthly income, you’ll have a better chance of securing a bigger loan.

Alternatives to a personal loan

Personal loans aren’t the right choice for everyone. If you can’t qualify for a personal loan or you’re not sure it’s the best financing tool at your disposal, take the time to explore a few other options.

Use your home’s equity

If you’re unable to get approved for a personal loan but you own your own home, you may be able to leverage the equity in your home to get a home equity loan or a home equity line of credit (HELOC) instead. Because you’re using your house as collateral, these loans might be easier to get approved for, and you may even get a better interest rate.

Another option is to look into a home equity investment (sometimes called a shared equity agreement). This isn’t actually a loan, but it allows you to access your home’s equity in exchange for a share in the future value of your home. Credit score requirements are generally much lower for this type of financing, making it an attractive option if you’re having difficulty securing other types of funding.

Get a 0% credit card

If you’re looking for a smaller sum of money and think you can pay it off within a reasonably short period of time, a credit card with a 0% introductory rate might be a more realistic alternative, suggests Todd Stearn, founder and CEO of The Money Manual.

“You might find it easier to qualify for a credit card that offers a 0% introductory interest rate for a fixed period, such as 12, 18, or even 21 months. The downside is a credit card typically has a higher interest rate than a personal loan. But you can avoid interest by paying off your balance (before the introductory rate is up).”

Key Takeaways

  • The amount of money you can borrow with a personal loan is usually between $1,000 to $100,000, but this number varies by lender.
  • Most personal loans fall under $50,000, with $8,000 being the national average for a personal loan amount.
  • In most cases, lenders require you to have a good credit score, stable employment, and sufficient income to get approved for a personal loan.
  • If you need a larger personal loan, you can shop multiple lenders, consider a co-signer, get a second job, or take steps to raise your credit score.
  • If you have equity built up in your home, you might want to consider borrowing against your home’s equity as an alternative to a personal loan.
View Article Sources
  1. What is a personal installment loan? – Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
  2. Personal Loan Statistics – Chamber of Commerce
  3. What is a debt-to-income ratio? – Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
  4. Learn about your credit report and how to get a copy –
  5. Home Equity Loans and Home Equity Lines of Credit – Federal Trade Commission
  6. 2023 Personal Loans Industry Study – SuperMoney
  7. 2023 Average Personal Loan Interest Rate Study – SuperMoney
  8. How To Find Best Interest Rates Using Personal Loan Calculators Online – SuperMoney
  9. A Personal Loan With A Cosigner? It Can Lower Your Rates and More – SuperMoney
  10. How to Improve Your Credit Score – SuperMoney