Personal loan rates rose last week. Yet, it’s still possible for highly qualified borrowers to pick up a reasonable interest rate on a personal loan. If you’re interested in financing a major purchase or project, it’s a good time to shop for a loan.
From March 13 to March 18, the average fixed rate on a three-year personal loan was 13.10% for borrowers with a credit score of 720 or higher who prequalified on Credible.com’s personal loan marketplace. The rate was 11.98% the previous week, according to Credible.com. The average rate on a five-year personal loan fell 0.16% last week to 15.01% from 15.17%.
The most qualified borrowers generally receive the best rates. In fact, well-qualified borrowers may receive a rate that’s significantly lower than average. The rate you receive depends on several factors, including your creditworthiness and the loans available through your chosen lender.
Related: Best Personal Loans
How to Receive More Favorable Interest Rates
Your credit is a big factor in the rates you receive. According to Rod Griffin, senior director of consumer education and advocacy at Experian, “checking your credit report and scores three to six months before you apply for a personal loan” is a good idea. This gives you enough time to make any necessary fixes.
A credit score of 720 or better will typically get you the best terms. If you’re not quite in that credit score range, consider taking action to improve your credit score. Pay down existing debt to lower your credit utilization ratio, remove errors from your credit report and pay your bills early or on time.
Calculate Monthly Personal Loan Payments
To see if it fits into 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 with a personal loan calculator. You’ll need your loan rate, term and amount.
For example, let’s say you get a $5,000 personal loan with a term of five years at a fixed interest rate of 15.01%. You’d pay about $119 monthly and about $2,139 in interest over the life of the loan, according to the Forbes Advisor personal loan calculator. Overall, you’d pay $7,139 in total, which includes both principal and interest.