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Bank of America Personal Loan Alternatives

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Bank of America Personal Loan Alternatives

Bank of America does not offer large, unsecured personal loans. But Bank of America does offer other types of loans and a short-term loan program called Balance Assist for amounts under $500. For anything long term or over $500, you’ll need to look elsewhere.

We’ve gathered your options, and you’ll find some solid Bank of America personal loan alternatives below. Keep reading to discover which company offering personal loans is the right fit for you and, as a bonus, more information on Bank of America’s Balance Assist and the other types of loans Bank of America does offer.

Personal Loan Options

While getting a personal loan used to simply mean heading down to your local bank, these days there are so many more options for personal loans on the market because of the many online banking possibilities.

The great news for borrowers is whether you’re looking to cover debt consolidation, home improvements or emergency expenses, you’ll find the loan and lender that fits your needs.

Finding out which type of lender is the best match for you comes down to your credit score, your timeline, and your comfort zone.

Read on to understand the categories of lenders, with a few recommendations to get headed in the right direction

Online Lenders

Online lenders have stepped into the personal loan market in a big way, offering online-only lending services with competitive rates. Because they’re fully online, these lenders’ processes are streamlined, creating fast turnarounds for approval and disbursement, sometimes as quick as the same day.

We also love that most online lenders offer pre-approval, which allows you to check rates, monthly payments, and compare personal loan services through a soft credit check that doesn’t affect your FICO credit score.

Online lenders often offer competitive rates, sometimes as low as 4.49% APR if you have good credit, but if you’re a subprime borrower, rates can jump up to as high as 36% APR which is nearly twice the APR limit for credit unions.

Check out two lenders we consider solid alternatives to get an idea of what to expect.

Two Personal Loan Vendors at a Glance

Features LightStream Upstart
Rates 2.99%-19.99% APR with auto pay 3.09%-35.99% APY
Minimum credit score 660 300
Origination fee None 0-8%
Late fee None $15 or 5% of payment
Deposit time Same day possible One business day
Repayment term 24 to 144 months 36 or 60 months
Loan amounts $5,000 to $100,000 $1,000 to $50,000
Best for Borrowers with good credit Borrowers with bad credit scores

As you can see, different lenders offer different perks.

Lightstream is a solid choice for borrowers with fair to excellent credit as they focus on low rates and zero fees.

Upstart, on the other hand, takes on borrowers with lower credit scores, so they’re a good option for subprime borrowers, but you have to watch out for fees and interest rates as they can add up. If you’re wanting to learn more about Upstart, check our Upstart review.

One downside of online lenders is you miss out on some of the traditional customer service that banks offer. But if you’re comfortable working financially online, online lenders might be a great alternative to the non-existent Bank of America personal loan.

Big Bank Options

If you were interested in Bank of America because you like the familiarity of a big bank name, there are lots of other recognizable banks that offer personal loans. Here are a few:

  • Discover
  • Citibank
  • Wells Fargo
  • USAA

A big bank lender often offers better customer service and a physical storefront which can make some borrowers more comfortable. Because less of the filing is online, big bank lenders often take a little longer to approve and/or disburse funds than online lenders.

Banks often require that you have an established relationship with their bank, like having a checking account open for 12 months. While this is annoying if you don’t already have this relationship, the on-going relationship also grants you a higher chance of being approved by the bank lender.

Often banks have slightly higher rates than online lenders, but, on the other hand, their maximum rates are typically lower. While most banks have undisclosed minimum credit scores, most borrowers will need fair credit scores or above. Check out the two banks we’ve highlighted below to get a better idea.

Two Big Bank Options at a Glance

Features Discover Citibank
Rates 5.99%-24.99% APR 7.99-23.99%* .5% rate discount for autopay
Minimum Credit Score 660; household income of $25,000 Undisclosed; household income of $10,500
Origination fee $0 $0
Late fee $39 $25
Deposit time Next business day 5 days to fund loan
Loan amounts $2,500 – $35,000 $2,000-$30,000
Repayment term 36-84 months 12-60 months

We love that Discover offers a personal loan calculator that allows you to get your personal loan interest rate and monthly payments without impacting your credit score–an unusual offering for a bank.

Citibank, on the other hand, doesn’t have an option to pre-qualify and takes five days to fund the loan, making it much longer than other loans. These differences are why it’s important to check loan terms.

We do love the convenience factor for both these banks and banks in general. Often you have great traditional customer service to guide you through the process of filing for a loan, making it a decent alternative for a personal loan.

Credit Unions

Credit unions are a solid option for borrowing a personal loan. In order to use a credit union, you must be a member. While some credit unions are open to everyone, many have specific requirements like working for a specific company or attending a specific school.

Credit Unions are nonprofit so once you’ve joined, the credit union is there to work for you, not to nickel and dime. This means they often have lower APRs and fewer fees than traditional banks. There is also an 18% cap for the APR credit unions can offer.

The downside? Credit Unions have pretty barebones customer service, and you have to become a member first.

If you’re still waffling between a credit union or bank, check out our article on the differences between banks and credit unions to get more details.

What Loans Does Bank of America Offer?

While Bank of America does not offer personal loans, it does lots of other types of loans, including credit cards, home equity lines of credit, auto loans and mortgage loans—all at competitive rates.

While Bank of America’s offerings are pretty standard for a big bank, Bank of America’s Balance Assist program really stands out. Balance Assist™ is a small-dollar loan program that allows you to borrow up to $500. Once you’ve been approved for the short-term loan, it’s a $5 flat fee to borrow and the money shows up instantly.

In order to qualify for Balance Assist™, you’ll need to have a checking account for at least a year, show monthly deposits into that account, and hold a positive balance.

Balance Assist™ is a short-term loan with a 90-day repayment term, but if quick cash is what you need, Bank of America might be a good option.

Bank of America Personal Loan Alternatives

To sum up, Bank of America does not offer personal loans, but there are a lot of options on the market that should cover your needs. If you’re ready to move forward, check out our How to Get a Personal Loan and start moving forward.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Bank of America and Personal Loans

Still have questions? We’ve gathered up all of the most common questions to help you find the best lender for you.

What Loans Does Bank of America Offer?

While Bank of America doesn’t offer unsecured personal loans, they do have several other loan options. Bank of America offers credit cards, mortgages loans, home equity lines of credit, auto loans, and business loans. 

Bank of America also offers Balance Assist, which allows for small-dollar loans. Checking account users who have had the account for a year and meet a few other qualifications can borrow up to $500 for a flat fee of $5. From there, there are three monthly installments for repayments over the 90-day term.

Does Bank of America Offer Personal Loans?

No, Bank of America does not offer traditional personal loans. They do offer short term assistance through their Balance Assist program. If you meet their qualifications, you can borrow money for a flat fee of $5. The loan is capped at $500 and has a three month repayment period. 

Which Banks give Personal Loans Easily?

Many banks require high credit scores to receive a personal loan. However, some banks like USAA Bank don’t disclose their minimum credit score and have been known to lend to people with less than perfect scores. Discover might be another good choice as they have a minimum score of 660. 

It might be worth looking outside of traditional banks for a personal loan as well, as online lenders like Upstart are known for helping lower credit scores and their speed of return.

How Long Does it Take to Get Approved for a Personal Loan?

Personal loans can be approved in as little as one day but can also take several days or a week to be approved. How quickly the process moves depends on your credit score, the accuracy of application and the lender you select. 

Online lenders are often faster at getting approval and disbursing funds  than traditional banks, but there is variance among all lenders, so it’s best to read up on the actual company. For example, Citibank requires five business days to process a loan and mail a check, while Discover Bank can deposit within the next business day.

Contributor Whitney Hansen writes for Codetic on personal finance topics including banking and investing.


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