Updated October 16, 2023

Personal Loans with No Origination Fees

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The best personal loans with no origination fees include SoFi, PenFed, and Discover®. Here's what makes them stand out.

Can you avoid loan origination fee?
Here are the best personal loans with no origination fees:
  1. SoFi: best overall
  2. PenFed Credit Union: for small loans
  3. Discover®: for debt consolidation
  4. Lightstream: for low interest rates
  5. Wells Fargo: for large amounts

Personal loans are a great way to get money fast. You can pay off your debt and bills, make large purchases, or use them for emergencies. But they usually come with additional costs like origination fees.

That's not helpful at all since interest rates can be expensive enough. To save a few extra bucks, you can choose lenders that don't charge for processing your application.

Which of the following factors is most important to you when choosing a personal loan provider?

Here are your best options.

Best Personal Loans with No Origination Fees

Personal loans have varying loan amounts, term lengths, and APRs. Be sure to check if you meet the ideal credit score, too.

Start with the best of the best options.

SoFi: Best Overall

To get one of the best offers on the market, consider applying for a loan with SoFi. Aside from having no origination fees, they don't charge prepayment fees or late fees either.[1]

Pros + Cons:

  • High maximum loan amount
  • Autopay discount
  • Fast funding
  • Allows co-borrowers
  • No cosigner option
  • High minimum loan amount
  • Does not offer direct payment to creditor

SoFi Personal Loan: [2]

  • Required Credit Score: 680
  • Loan Amount: $5,000 to $100,000
  • Loan Terms: 24 to 84 months

Why Choose SoFi:
SoFi lets you borrow up to $100,000. But if you're not qualified for a large amount, you can have a co-borrower. It's like having a cosigner, but the responsibility for repayment is equally shared.

SoFi lets you enjoy discounts, too, with their autopay feature. And if you're in a tough spot in your career, the Unemployment Protection feature lets you postpone payments. This can make it easier for you financially.

PenFed Credit Union: Best for Small Loans

PenFed is a credit union that offers lower rates compared to other lenders. You can borrow as little as $600, which is great if you only need a small loan amount.

Pros + Cons:

  • Fixed rates
  • No prepayment fees
  • Allows co-borrowers
  • Low minimum loan amount
  • Membership required
  • Limited loan terms
  • Late fees

PenFed Personal Loan:

  • Required Credit Score: 650[3]
  • Loan Amount: $600 to $50,000[4]
  • Loan Terms: 12 to 60 months

Why Choose PenFed Credit Union:
While you do need a membership before you apply for a loan, that won't be a problem since PenFed has easy membership access and a low deposit requirement.

Plus, sometimes, you just need a few extra bucks to get by. So borrowing from big lenders might not be what you need. You can opt for PenFed instead.

Discover®: Best for Debt Consolidation

Discover® is ideal for those with good credit who only need a small loan amount and need it fast. Discover offers direct payment to your creditor, too, which is great when paying off debt is your main priority.

Pros + Cons:

  • Fast funding
  • Available in all states
  • Low minimum loan amount
  • Direct payment to creditor
  • Late fees
  • No cosigners
  • Low maximum loan amount

Discover Personal Loan:[5]

  • Required Credit Score: 660
  • Loan Amount: $2,500 to $40,000
  • Loan Terms: 36 to 84 months

Why Choose Discover:
With a minimum loan amount of $2,500, you can reap all the benefits those with good credit scores usually get, like lower rates and more flexible terms.

You can use the loan to settle other balances. But say the loan was too much of what you can pay for, you can cancel and return the amount within 30 days. The best part? Discover won't charge any interest for backing out of the loan.

Lightstream: Best for Low Interest Rates

LightStream doesn't just give you the option of getting a loan with no origination fees. They guarantee the lowest interest rates, too.

Pros + Cons:

  • Fast funding
  • Low interest rates
  • Autopay discount
  • No prepayment and late fees
  • High minimum loan amount
  • Limited loan uses

LightStream Personal Loan:

  • Required Credit Score: 660
  • Loan Amount: $5,000 to $100,000
  • Loan Terms: 24 to 144 months

Why Choose LightStream:
LightStream's Rate Beat Program promises to match any competitor's offer by giving you a rate that is lower by 0.10%.[6] On top of that, if you use autopay for repayments, you can also get a 0.50% discount.

Wells Fargo: Best for Large Amounts

Wells Fargo can offer larger loans with low APRs and manageable loan terms. Because large personal loan amounts can be risky, it's essential to borrow from a reliable source such as them.

Pros + Cons:

  • No prepayment fees
  • With cosigner option
  • Flexible due date
  • Rate discounts available
  • Limited branch locations
  • Late fees
  • In-person banking

Wells Fargo Personal Loan:

  • Required Credit Score: 660
  • Loan Amount: $3,000 to $100,000
  • Loan Terms: 12 to 84 months

Why Choose Wells Fargo:
If you have a Wells Fargo checking account, you can get rate discounts of 0.25% or 0.50% on your personal loan by using the autopay feature.[7]

And if you need a little more time for repayment, you can ask to move your due date by calling Wells Fargo's customer service.

Are loans with no origination fees better?
Not necessarily. Origination fees are only a one-time payment for processing your loan. There are other fees that affect you even more, such as prepayment fees, late fees, and interest rates. Be sure to take all of these into account when weighing your loan offer.

Why Choose Loans with No Origination Fees?

Personal loans with high origination fees can make the loan more expensive than it needs to be. These fees typically cost 1% to 10% of your total loan amount.

If you qualify for personal loans with no origination fees, you can use the amount you'll save for repayment instead.

Also, lenders may deduct origination fees from your total loan amount. But others include it with your interest or ask for separate payment. You can avoid these headaches if you just avoid origination fees entirely.

What are origination fees?
Origination fees are upfront payments that are either included in your personal loan amount or charged separately. They cover the lender's expenses for processing and disbursing your funds.

Personal Loan Factors to Consider

Besides the origination fees, there are a few other things to consider with your personal loan.

  • Interest Rates
    The average interest rate falls at 10.95% but can be anywhere from 6% to 35%. You want to get the lowest percentage possible since this is the amount that will be added to your monthly installments.

  • Loan Terms
    A loan term pertains to the repayment period. It can be as short as 1 year or as long as 12 years.

  • Other Fees
    Some lenders charge you for paying too early or too late. You can avoid prepayment and late fees by looking for loan offers with no additional payments and penalties.

Personal Loan Calculator
You can use a personal loan calculator to estimate how much the loan truly costs. You'll get an overview of your total and monthly repayments and interest payments.

How to Qualify for a Personal Loan

The better your qualifications, the higher your chances for loan approval and more favorable loan terms.

Here are the typical loan requirements you can prepare for:

  • Credit Score
    Your credit score is your track record that reflects how consistent and reliable you are with repayments. A higher credit score makes your application more appealing to lenders. A good credit score would be around 600 and above.

    Can I get a personal loan with no origination fee if I have bad credit?
    Personal loans for those with bad credit typically have origination fees. You may also get other fees and high-interest rates from them. It may be better to improve your credit score first to get better loan offers.

  • Cosigner
    Securing a loan offer might be more difficult if you aren't financially stable, have poor credit, or have a lot of debt. But a cosigner can help.

    A cosigner is someone who will be responsible for loan repayments when you can't pull through. They can be your friend, colleague, or family member.

  • Income
    Many lenders have a minimum income requirement to qualify you for one of their loans. This assures them that you're earning enough to repay the loan and still have enough to keep yourself afloat.

  • Debt
    Lenders consider your debt-to-income ratio (DTI), too. It helps to keep it lower than 36%. Anything above that number will make applying for loans more difficult for you.

    If that's the case, consider paying off your other debts first before getting a new one.

    To get your DTI, combine your monthly bills and debts, divide the total by your monthly income, and multiply by 100. Let's say you earn $5,000/mo. Your bills plus debts add up to $750. 750 divided by 5,000 times 100 equals 15%. This DTI is relatively low, so lenders may consider your application.

Bottom Line

Remember, while origination fees affect your total loan amount, they do not make or break the deal on their own. It's best to consider other factors, such as interest rates, loan terms, and other fees.

Also, work on improving your credit score, maintaining a stable income, and managing your debt to get good offers. These efforts may get you the best rates beneficial for your financial health in the long run.


  1. ^ SoFi. Ways to Avoid Student Loan Fees, Retrieved 9/11/23
  2. ^ SoFi. Personal Loan, Retrieved 9/11/23
  3. ^ PenFed. Conventional loans, Retrieved 9/11/23
  4. ^ PenFed. Personal loan, Retrieved 9/11/23
  5. ^ Discover. Personal loan, Retrieved 9/11/23
  6. ^ LightStream. Rate Beat Program, Retrieved 8/25/2023
  7. ^ Wells Fargo. How do I qualify for an interest rate (relationship) discount?, Retrieved 8/25/2023

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