Before taking out a personal loan, you’ll want to compare your options and figure out which loan will be best for you. This personal loan calculator can help you estimate your monthly payments based on a few pieces of information. You can then change the loan amount, interest rate or repayment term to see how a different loan might be better or worse for your situation.
†The information provided is for educational purposes only and should not be construed as financial advice. Experian cannot guarantee the accuracy of the results provided. Your lender may charge other fees which have not been factored in this calculation. These results, based on the information provided by you, represent an estimate and you should consult your own financial advisor regarding your particular needs.
How to Use This Calculator
The personal loan calculator estimates your monthly payment once you input the loan amount, estimated interest rate and repayment term. By changing one or more of the numbers, you can see how different loan offers will impact your monthly payment and how much interest you’ll pay overall.
Generally, a loan with a longer term will have a lower monthly payment, as you’re taking more time to repay what you owe. But you’ll also wind up paying more interest because it will accrue over a longer period. Some lenders may also charge a higher interest rate if you choose a longer term.
As you compare lenders and loan offers, also find out whether the loans you’re considering charge an origination fee—a common fee on personal loans that’s generally a percentage of the loan amount.
Lenders may deduct this fee from your loan disbursement—for example, sending you $9,500 if you accept a $10,000 loan that has a 5% origination fee. In these cases, use the full loan amount (not how much you receive), as that’s the amount you’ll need to repay. But if a lender adds the origination fee to your loan rather than subtracting it from your disbursement, use the total of the loan plus the fee as your loan amount in the calculator. In both situations you’ll be paying interest on the full outstanding amount, which may include the fee.
Based on the numbers you enter, our calculator’s results will show you how many months it will take to pay off the loan, when it will be paid off and how much you’ll pay in interest.
What Can a Personal Loan Be Used For?
One of the benefits of taking out a personal loan is that you can use the money for almost anything. Popular uses include paying for home or vehicle repairs, medical bills, weddings and paying off higher-interest loans or credit cards.
Credit card debt consolidation is one of several ways you can use a personal loan to save money by refinancing higher-rate debts. For example, say you have $10,000 in credit card debt at a 16% APR and get approved for a $10,000 personal loan with a 10% APR and no origination fee. If you take the same amount of time to pay off the debt—36 months—you’ll save about $1,040 by paying off the credit card debts with the lower-rate personal loan instead of leaving the debt on your credit card.
You could also take out one loan and use it for several purposes. Read the lender’s terms before applying, however, because the lender may limit how you can use the funds. Common restrictions include:
- Post-secondary education
- Anything illegal
The restrictions can vary by lender. If you’re looking for a personal loan for one of these reasons (aside from illegal activity), you may be able to find a lender that allows it. Sometimes, though, a more specific type of loan, such as a student loan or small business loan, may be a better fit over a personal loan.
How to Apply for a Personal Loan
Many lenders let you apply for a personal loan online and complete the entire process electronically. Even the few that require you to go into a branch to complete the application may let you start the process online.
Often, you can start the process with a prequalification that only requires a soft credit check, which won’t hurt your credit scores. You may need to share your personal information, such as your name, address, date of birth and Social Security number, along with an estimate for how much you want to borrow and how you intend to use the money. You also might have to create an online account with the lender before getting your results.
If you’re preaqualified for a loan, you’ll see the estimated loan offers and can choose one before proceeding with an application. If you’re not prequalified, you likely won’t get approved for the loan and shouldn’t submit an application, as the application can result in a hard inquiry that may hurt your credit.
Lenders may ask for more information or verification documents if you proceed with your loan request. For example, you may have to share copies of a government-issued ID, tax returns or pay stubs to verify your identity and income.
Even if you’re prequalified, you might not get approved for a loan if you can’t verify the information you originally shared—or if your income, employment or creditworthiness changed since you were preapproved.
If the lender verifies and approves your application, it can then disburse your loan. Often, lenders can send you the money electronically, and it will appear in your account within a few business days.
How a Personal Loan Can Impact Your Credit Score
A personal loan can impact your credit scores in several ways. When you apply for a loan, the lender may review your credit, and the resulting hard inquiry could hurt your scores a little. Once you open your account, the new account could also lower the average age of accounts in your credit history, which can also hurt scores.
The negative impact from these initial score drops fades over time, however, and opening a new account can also help improve your credit in several ways. If you haven’t had an installment loan before, the personal loan could add to your credit mix, which can help your scores. Also, if you’re using the loan to pay down credit card debt, you’ll be decreasing your credit utilization, which can increase your credit scores.
As you repay the loan, your on-time payments can also help you build a positive credit history, one of the most important credit scoring factors. Although, conversely, missing a payment could hurt your scores.
Check Your Personal Loan Matches
Experian’s CreditMatchTM tool can show you personalized loan offers from our partners. You can sort by the estimated APR, repayment terms or estimated monthly payments to narrow in on a few of the best-fitting options.