Discover Personal Loans Review

Best for Low-Cost, Online Borrowing – Discover, Member FDIC

If you haven’t heard of Discover personal loans, you’ve at least heard of Discover credit cards — but its personal loans are a lower-cost way to borrow money.

APR Range
6.99%–24.99%
Loan Amount
$2,500–$35K
Term
36–84 months
SimpleScore
4.4 / 5.0
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SimpleScore Discover, Member FDIC 4.4
Rates 5
Loan Size 5
Customer Satisfaction 3
Support 5
Fees 4
  • Apply online
  • No origination fees
  • Loan can be “returned” in 30 days
  • Very good credit required
  • Can’t be used to pay off secured loans
In The News
Discover in the news:

The coronavirus has made it difficult for millions of Americans to pay their bills. One in three adults are unable to cover all their household expenses, much less keep up with loans. Discover is helping customers facing financial hardship due to COVID-19 by deferring payments and waiving late fees. If you’re struggling or worry about how you will make your payments if you have a Discover loan, contact its COVID-19 support line for personal loans.

Check Your Personal Loan Rates

Answer a few questions to see which personal loans you pre-qualify for. It’s quick and easy, and it will not impact your credit score.

Get Started

with our trusted partners at Bankrate.com

In this article

    Though there are few stringent requirements to apply, those with credit scores below 660 won’t be able to secure a loan through Discover. If you fall into this category, you may want to check out another personal loan lender, like OneMain Financial, that doesn’t have a credit score requirement. On the other side of the spectrum, those with excellent credit will likely be able to find a better deal elsewhere. Some of the best personal loan companies offer rates as low as 3% APR to those with good credit, which could save you a significant amount of money over the life of your loan.

    Discover personal loans at a glance

    APR6.99%–24.99%
    Eligibility requirementsGood credit, minimum annual household income of $25,000
    FeesNone
    Best forBorrowers who are comfortable with online or mobile banking and in need of a loan up to $35,000
    Not forBorrowers with blemishes on their credit or who need a co-signer
    Standout featuresCustomize your loan by referring to Discover’s personal loan calculator and choosing terms between 36 and 84 months.
    Discover can pay your lenders directly if you have a debt consolidation loan.
    Customer serviceAccount login
    Application phone support: 1-866-248-1255, weekdays 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET and weekends 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET.
    General questions: 1-877-256-2632, weekdays 8 a.m to 8 p.m.
    Mail: Discover Personal LoansP.O Box 30954Salt Lake City, UT 84130-0954

    *Rates accurate as of April 2021.

    What we like about Discover personal loans

    Online application process

    The online loan application process is streamlined and relatively quick. That’s good news if you’re in a cash crunch and don’t have weeks to wait on a decision from a lender. You can even check for a rate by prequalifying first, with no hit to your credit score. If you like the offer and wish to proceed, Discover will do a hard credit pull to finalize the loan. Discover claims that most loan applications receive a decision same-day. And if you’re stuck along the way, you can always call and continue the loan application over the phone.

    No origination fees

    Most loans come with loan application and origination fees. Some borrowers don’t realize this until they’re ready to close on the loan. Loan origination fees can end up costing you as much as 1% to 8%, usually deducted from your loan funds. Discover personal loans don’t come with this steep fee so you can focus on getting your personal loan — and your Discover loan paid off as quickly as possible.

    Things to consider

    As with all loan products, there are pros and cons when you borrow. It doesn’t hurt to prequalify for a Discover personal loan — the initial application won’t affect your credit score and you’ll get a good idea of what your interest rate may be. However, before you move too far along in the process, keep the following in mind.

    Good credit required

    Discover doesn’t offer bad credit loans. You’ll need good credit to successfully get funded. Discover doesn’t specify the exact credit score you’ll need, but anyone with a FICO below 650 will probably get declined. There are workarounds — most lenders allow you to have a cosigner with good credit to take responsibility for the loan if you can’t make payments. Unfortunately, Discover doesn’t allow for cosigners.

    Strict loan purposes

    Discover restricts its personal loans, depending on what you plan on using the money for. The lender doesn’t allow you to take out Discover personal loans to pay off a secured loan, in which you placed something as collateral, such as a vehicle or other asset. In addition, most of the Discover loans offered can’t be used as student loans to fund college.

    [ More: Pros and Cons of Taking Out a Personal Loan ]

    Discover personal loan borrower requirements

    • Credit score: Good or excellent
    • Income: $25,000 annual household income or higher
    • No cosigners allowed

    The Competition

    It’s neck-and-neck between Citizens One and Discover — but if you need more than $15K, head to Discover.

    APR Range
    Varies
    Loan Amount
    $5K–$15K
    Term
    3–7 years
    SimpleScore
    4.3 / 5.0
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    SimpleScore Citizens One 4.3
    Rates 5
    Loan Size 2
    Customer Satisfaction N/A
    Support 5
    Fees 5

    Discover loans and Citizens One both offer very similar lending products. Neither come with loan origination or application fees and good credit is essential. Citizens One requires a minimum household income of $24,000 vs. Discover’s $25,000 per year. Citizens One loans are more limited — you can borrow between $5,000 and $15,000, compared to Discover personal loans for $2,500 to $35,000. If you still can’t decide between the two, how do you choose? By using both lenders’ prequalification tool to find the interest rate you’ll get and going with the best one.

    PNC Bank’s rates are slightly higher than Discover, but the two lenders are similar in their loan offerings — but if you want the best rates possible, you can find them at Discover.

    APR Range
    Varies by zipcode
    Loan Amount
    $1K–$35K
    Term
    6–60 months
    SimpleScore
    3.8 / 5.0
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    SimpleScore PNC 3.8
    Rates 4
    Loan Size 5
    Customer Satisfaction N/A
    Support 3
    Fees 3

    PNC Bank is known to provide personal loans with competitive interest rates. Depending on your credit and loan amount, Discover loans may just edge PNC out. The lowest rate we found from PNC was 7.24% for an amount of $35,000 — on the other hand, Discover personal loans range from 6.99%–24.99%.

    If you’ve served your country, USAA can serve your financial needs. If not, then Discover is the best substitute for personal loans.

    APR Range
    up to 18.00%
    Loan Amount
    $2,500–$5K
    Term
    12–84 months
    SimpleScore
    4.8 / 5.0
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    SimpleScore USAA 4.8
    Rates 5
    Loan Size 5
    Customer Satisfaction 5
    Support 5
    Fees 4

    USAA is an excellent choice for all financial purposes. It is highly rated among customers and provides value-driven, low-cost products including banking, insurance and personal loans. The problem is, USAA doesn’t offer its services to everyone. You’ll need to become a member first and membership is reserved for active-duty and retired military personnel and their immediate family. If you haven’t served and you’re not closely related to someone who did, Discover loans is a good alternative.

    [ See: Personal Loan vs. Credit Card: Which Is Better? ]

    Discover debt consolidation loan

    A thorough Discover personal loans review reveals comprehensive debt consolidation loans, since they’re one of the most popular loan types for Discover. If you have several credit cards with high balances and a high interest rate, it could make financial sense to roll the debt over into a single loan product at a lower interest rate. Doing so could save you thousands of dollars in interest and shorten how long you’ll need to pay your debt off.

    There are some requirements you need to be aware of, though. If you’re approved for a Discover debt consolidation loan, at least 70% of the funds must be transferred to your creditors. Most borrowers are happy with this requirement. Discover even handles the transfer for you, if you’d like, to take the guesswork of how best to pay off your old creditors with the funds from your new loan.

    Can I refinance a personal loan with Discover?

    Discover loans are pretty flexible, but do come with a few small limitations. You can refinance a personal loan using a Discover loan as long as the debt isn’t from a secured loan or student loans. Secured loans use collateral, such as investment accounts, your vehicle or a down payment to provide you with a loan.

    Check Your Personal Loan Rates

    Answer a few questions to see which personal loans you pre-qualify for. It’s quick and easy, and it will not impact your credit score.

    Get Started

    with our trusted partners at Bankrate.com

    [ More: Secured Personal Loans vs. Unsecured Personal Loans ]

    How to take out a Discover personal loan

    1. Call 1-866-248-1255 to apply or use the online application.
    2. Select personal loan or debt consolidation loan.
    3. Enter personal contact information including an email address, residential address and phone number.
    4. Choose the loan amount you’d like between $2,500 and $35,000.
    5. Select the loan term length, between 36 and 84 months.
    6. Provide your Social Security number.
    7. Answer questions required to verify your identity.
    8. If you’re applying for a debt consolidation loan, you’ll need to enter information about the creditors you wish to pay off.
    9. Wait for an answer, which typically comes in the same day.
    10. Enter banking information including your bank’s routing number and bank account for Discover to transfer the funds to.

    Discover in the news

    • In July 2020, Discover supported Black-owned restaurants by awarding $5 million among 200 restaurants randomly selected from a long list of nominees to receive $25,000 each.
    • The Human Rights Campaign’s Annual Corporate Equality Index recognized Discover for the seventh year in a row as the best place to work for LGBTQ equality in February 2020.
    • Story2 partnered with Discover in November 2020 to provide free college scholarship essay services during the pandemic for families and students in need.

    Personal loan FAQ

    Discover loans aren’t the right choice for borrowers with bad credit. Discover personal loans require a higher credit score and don’t allow for cosigners.

    Discover does not verify income to issue a personal loan. The lender uses your credit score and stated annual household income to approve you instead.

    According to Discover, most personal loans are approved on the same day you apply for one.

    We welcome your feedback on this article and would love to hear about your experience with the personal loans we recommend. Contact us at inquiries@thesimpledollar.com with comments or questions.

    Methodology

    SimpleScore

    The SimpleScore is a proprietary scoring metric we use to objectively compare products and services at The Simple Dollar.

    For every review, our editorial team:

    • Identifies five measurable aspects to compare across each brand
    • Determines the rating criteria for each aspect score
    • Averages the five aspect scores to produce a single SimpleScore

    Here’s a breakdown of the five aspect scores and their rating criteria for our review of the best personal loans of 2020.

    Why do some brands have different SimpleScores on different pages?

    To ensure the SimpleScore is as helpful and accurate as possible, we developed unique criteria for every category we compare at The Simple Dollar. Since most brands offer a variety of financial solutions, their products and services will score differently depending on what we’re scoring on a given page.

    However, it’s also possible for the same product from the same brand to have multiple SimpleScores. For instance, if we compare NetCredit’s personal loans according to our criteria for the best personal loans, it scores a 2.3 out of 5. But when we compare NetCredit according to the criteria for the best bad credit personal loans, it scores considerably higher, since the criteria for the latter review are more lenient (lenders who serve borrowers with bad credit will always offer higher rates, so we needed to adjust our category methodology to account for different industry standards).

    Questions about our methodology?

    Email Hayley Armstrong at hayley@thesimpledollar.com.

    Rates

    We looked at the maximum APR for each lender — the lower their maximum rate, the higher their score.

    Loan Size

    We awarded higher scores to lenders with more generous loan sizes.

    Customer Satisfaction

    We leveraged the J.D. Power 2019 Personal Loan Satisfaction Study℠ to see how customers rated their experience with each lender. (If a lender wasn’t included in J.D. Power’s study, we skipped this aspect and averaged the four remaining aspect scores.)

    Support

    We awarded higher scores to lenders with the most channels for customer support.

    Fees

    We looked at the three most common fees — origination, late payment, and pre-payment — and penalized lenders for each fee charged.

    Reviewed by

    • Courtney Mihocik
      Courtney Mihocik
      Loans Editor

      Courtney Mihocik is an editor at The Simple Dollar who specializes in personal loans, student loans, auto loans, and debt consolidation loans. She is a former writer and contributing editor to Interest.com, PersonalLoans.org, and elsewhere.