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How Much Can You Borrow With a Personal Loan?

How Much of a Personal Loan Can You Get?
Kim Franke-Folstad

Kim Franke-Folstad

Updated February 21, 2022
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Editor’s note: Lantern by SoFi seeks to provide content that is objective, independent and accurate. Writers are separate from our business operation and do not receive direct compensation from advertisers or partners. Read more about our Editorial Guidelines and How We Make Money.
If you’re preparing to make a major purchase, do some home improvements, or consolidate debt, you might be wondering how much you can borrow with a personal loan.Personal loans can come in small and large amounts, from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands. Some lenders even offer personal loans for up to $100,000. And hard money lenders may go even higher. Of course, not everyone can qualify for a loan of that size. And you might not even need or want to borrow that much. But if you’re trying to figure out how big of a personal loan you can or should — get, here are a few things to consider.

How Much of a Personal Loan Can You Typically Get? 

Personal loans typically range from $1,000 to $50,000. But the maximum amounts available can vary widely, depending on the lender and several other factors, including a borrower’s creditworthiness, whether the loan is unsecured or backed with some sort of collateral, and what the money will be used for. 

What Impacts the Amount You Can Borrow with a Personal Loan? 

Even if a lender offers large personal loans, you may not qualify for the maximum amount. Some factors that could determine the amount you can borrow include: 

Credit Score 

If you’ve been researching personal loans, you already may have noticed that your credit score can influence the interest rates various lenders offer. But did you know your score also can affect the amount you’re eligible to borrow? If you have a good credit score — or better yet, a very good or exceptional score — you can expect to qualify for a higher loan amount than someone with a lower score.  

Credit History 

Lenders also will check your credit reports for signs that you could be a risky borrower — and that could include looking at bad stuff from the past. Most negative information must be removed from your credit report after seven years. However, some items, such as a bankruptcy, can stay there for up to 10 years. (If you aren’t sure about what’s on your credit report, you can request one free copy each year from each of the major credit bureaus.) 

Income and Debt-to-Income Ratio 

Lenders want to be sure a borrower can afford to make the monthly payments on a loan, so you may find there are minimum income requirements for obtaining a larger loan amount. You also can expect lenders to calculate your debt-to-income ratio (the percentage of your gross monthly income that goes toward paying your debt) to assess whether you can manage another fixed monthly payment. Generally, the lower your debt-to-income ratio (DTI) the better. 

Purpose of the Loan 

Although it isn’t always a factor, some lenders may ask how you intend to use the money you’re borrowing. In some cases, the loan purpose could affect the loan amount and the interest rate you’re offered. And some lenders have restrictions on how a borrower can use a personal loan. If you’re thinking about using a personal loan to make a down payment on a home purchase, you might want to check with your mortgage lender to be sure it’s allowed. Many lenders won’t let borrowers use a personal loan for a mortgage down payment.  You also may have to try another route if you’re looking for a same-day, quick personal loan for an emergency. Just be sure you’re borrowing from a reputable lender. 

Using a Cosigner 

If your creditworthiness needs a boost to meet a lender’s large-loan requirements, it might help to add a cosigner with good credit and a higher income to your application. You’ll want to make sure the person you choose knows what they’re signing up for, though. Your cosigner’s credit score could suffer if you make late payments or default on the loan. And they may have to take over your payments if you can’t or don’t follow through on the obligation. This could put a serious strain on any relationship.

Collateral 

Most personal loans are “unsecured,” which means you promise to pay the money back within a predetermined period of time, but you aren’t putting up some sort of collateral that the lender can take if you don’t. This puts more risk on the lender and could result in a higher interest rate or a lower loan amount. If you choose to go with a secured loan—by offering your car or some other valuable property as collateral—a lender might be willing to give you a larger loan and/or lower interest rate.  

Longer Loan Term 

A lender may be willing to give you a larger loan amount if you opt for a longer repayment term. With most personal loans, the borrower might have two to five years to pay back the money. But with a longer term — maybe 7, 10, or even 15 years—the payments could be lower and more manageable. It’s important to note, however, that even though the monthly payments would be lower, the overall cost of the loan will be higher, because you’d be paying interest for a longer period of time.   

The Lender

Loan amounts and eligibility requirements can vary from lender to lender. And a single lender might have a range of loan amounts available depending on your credit profile and other factors. Using an online comparison site like Lantern by SoFi can make it easy and convenient to check multiple offers at one time.   

Questions to Ask Yourself Before Getting a Larger Loan 

While you’re researching the question “How much of a personal loan can I get?” you also might want to ask yourself, “How much should I be borrowing?”Just because a lender says you qualify to borrow $50,000 or more doesn’t mean you have to or should take the full amount. Before you agree to the lender’s offer, you may want to consider these questions: 

How Large of a Monthly Payment Can You Afford? 

If you follow a monthly budget, you already may know just how much you can add to your debt burden — or if you can drop or reduce another expense in exchange for the new loan payment. But you also could use an online personal loan calculator to determine how much you can afford using different loan amounts, interest rates, and loan lengths.  

What Is the Purpose of Your Loan? 

It’s possible the lender you choose won’t ask you your reasons to consider a personal loan — but you might want to ask yourself.If it’s something you’re doing to improve your finances, it may be a sensible move. Paying off high-interest credit cards with a lower interest personal loan, for example, could help you save money over the long run. Or if you have a pricey bill to pay — an expensive medical procedure, for instance — a personal loan might be your best option.But if you’re thinking about using a large personal loan to pay for an expensive vacation or some trips to the mall for new clothes, you may want to consider how it might affect your other financial goals, now and in the future. 

Alternatives to Large Personal Loans 

Although a personal loan can be a good option when you need money, it might not be the only way to go. A few other strategies to consider might include:

0% Interest Credit Card 

If your goal is to pay off high-interest credit card debt, you may be able to use a 0% balance transfer credit card. This entails moving the debt from one or more cards to a new card for a set amount of time (or promotional period). There may be a balance transfer fee to pay, but you might not pay interest for a year or more. (It’s important, though, to be sure you can pay off the balance on the new card before interest kicks in.) 

Home Equity Loan or HELOC 

Homeowners who’ve managed to build some equity in their home might want to consider a home equity loan or home equity line of credit (HELOC). The downside to this option is that you could put your home at risk if you can’t make your loan payments. But you may be able to get a lower interest rate than you would with an unsecured personal loan. 

Cash-Out Refinancing

A cash-out refinance is another way for homeowners who have enough equity in their home to access some much-needed cash. The process involves obtaining a new mortgage for a larger amount — and preferably a lower interest rate — than the existing mortgage. The borrower then receives the difference in cash. This method can involve paying closing costs, however, which can add to the overall cost of borrowing. And you’ll reduce the equity you’ve managed to build in your home. 

Compare Personal Loan Rates Today

Determining the amount you can and should request is a critical step in borrowing with a personal loan. But it’s also important to pay attention to how much the loan will cost.Annual percentage rates (APR) for personal loans are determined by several factors, including your credit score, your debt-to-income ratio, and the amount you wish to borrow.Lantern by SoFi makes it easy to compare personal loans and shop for the best interest rates available based on your financial circumstances and needs.Compare loan amounts and interest rates today with Lantern by SoFi.
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The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.SOLC1221068

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you qualify for a big personal loan?
What’s the maximum personal loan you can get?
What factors affect how much you borrow with a personal loan?

About the Author

Kim Franke-Folstad

Kim Franke-Folstad

Kim Franke-Folstad is an award-winning journalist with 30 years of experience writing and editing for newspapers, magazines and websites. Her work for SoFi covers a range of topics related to personal finance, including budgeting, saving, borrowing, and investing.
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