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A personal loan calculator shows your monthly personal loan payments based on the loan amount, interest rate and repayment term. It also shows the total interest cost, with or without an origination fee.

Use this calculator to help you decide whether a personal loan is the right financing option for your plans.

How to use this calculator

  1. Enter a loan amount. Personal loan amounts are from $1,000 to $100,000. Borrowers with strong credit and income are more likely to qualify for large loan amounts. 

  2. Enter your interest rate. Your personal loan interest rate is based primarily on your credit profile and financial information. Good-credit borrowers with low debt-to-income ratios often get the lowest rates.

  3. Choose a repayment term. Personal loans typically have repayment terms from two to seven years. A loan with a long term has lower monthly payments, while a shorter-term loan costs less in interest. Look for a repayment term that balances affordable payments and low interest costs.

  4. Add a repayment start date. This is the date your first payment is due. Many lenders require the first payment 30 days after the loan is funded.

  5. Include an origination fee (optional). An origination fee is a percentage of the loan that goes to the lender, usually 1% to 10% of the loan amount. Not all lenders charge an origination fee. You typically learn whether you’ll pay one and how much it is when you get a loan offer.

How to read your personal loan calculator results

  • Monthly payment: The amount you pay the lender each month for the life of the loan. Part of each payment goes to interest and the rest goes to the principal.

  • Total principal: The amount you’re borrowing. It will match your loan amount.

  • Total interest payments: The amount you’ll pay in interest alone over the life of the loan.

  • Total loan payments: The loan principal plus the total interest cost.

  • Payoff date: The date you’ll make your final loan payment. Your start date and loan term determine the payoff date.

  • Amortization schedule: A table showing how each monthly payment is distributed between principal and interest.

How to compare personal loan costs

Pay special attention to the monthly payment, total interest costs and interest rate or APR when comparing personal loans.

Monthly payment: On-time personal loan payments help you build credit, while late and missed payments hurt it. Loan payments should fit comfortably into your monthly budget. 

Total interest payments: Looking at the total interest paid by itself lets you compare the cost of one loan to another. You can also use it as a gut-check to decide if the loan is worth it.

APR or interest rate: APR represents the cost of borrowing, making it the best apples-to-apples cost comparison tool. A lender is required to disclose this number before you get a loan. A personal loan’s APR is only different from its interest rate if there are other fees, like an origination fee.

What is a good personal loan rate?

A good personal loan rate is one that keeps monthly payments affordable and total interest costs low. The loan with the lowest rate is the least expensive.

Lenders determine your rate using your credit profile and history, income and existing debts.

Here are average personal loan rates for each credit score range.

Source: Average rates are based on aggregate, anonymized offer data from users who pre-qualified in NerdWallet’s lender marketplace from Feb. 1, 2024, through Feb. 29, 2024. Rates are estimates only and not specific to any lender. The lowest credit scores — usually below 500 — are unlikely to qualify. Information in this table applies only to lenders with maximum APRs below 36%.

🤓Nerdy Tip

Borrowers with poor credit may qualify for a bad-credit personal loan, however, you can improve your chances of qualifying and reduce your rate by getting a joint, co-signed or secured personal loan.

Next steps: How to get a personal loan

Once you’ve calculated monthly payments and interest costs, it’s time to compare loan offers and apply. Here’s what’s next:

  1. Pre-qualify. Many online, bank and credit union lenders allow you to pre-qualify for a personal loan. You give the lender some information about yourself, such as your name, income, desired loan amount and loan purpose, and the lender will do a soft credit check to determine what loan amount, rate and repayment term you may qualify for. Pre-qualify with multiple lenders to find the best offer.

  2. Compare lender features. The loan with the lowest rate and affordable monthly payments is typically the best loan offer. If you have multiple promising offers, compare special features to break the tie. Some lenders have credit-building tools, unemployment protection or fast funding.

  3. Submit an application. Accept your pre-qualified offer and fill out the lender’s formal application. At this time, the lender does a hard credit pull, causing your credit score to temporarily dip. Having documents ready that prove your identity and income, like W-2s and tax forms, can help move the application process more quickly.

  4. Get funded. If approved, most personal loan lenders can fund a loan within a week. Some say they’ll send you the money the same or next business day.

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