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Personal Loans

Can You Get a Personal Loan Without a Job? What to Consider

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

Written By

Reviewed By

Personal loan lenders determine eligibility based on a number of factors, such as credit score and income. It can be difficult to get a loan without a job, but it may be possible to qualify if you have some other source of income or meet other requirements. We break down how to apply for a personal loan while unemployed, and suggest other types of loans to consider.

Where to get a personal loan with a low income

Traditional personal loans are unsecured, meaning you don’t need collateral like your car or savings to back them. However, personal loan lenders generally have stricter eligibility guidelines for unsecured loans than for secured ones.

If you’re unemployed, you may struggle to qualify for a personal loan as lenders will see you as high-risk. But they may consider other types of income besides employment income, including:

  • Retirement income
  • Social Security income
  • Unemployment benefits
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI), including disability benefits
  • Alimony
  • Child support

Some lending platforms, like the ones in the table below, may be more likely to approve unemployed or low-income earners:

7 loans for fair credit
Lending platformEst. APR*Min. incomeMin. credit score
Best Egg5.99% - 29.99%Not specified640
Citi7.99% - 23.99%$10,500Not specified
LendingPoint9.99% - 35.99%$25,000585
Payoff5.99% - 24.99%Not specified640
Peerform5.99% - 29.99%Not specified600
Prosper7.95% - 35.99%Greater than $0640
Upstart7.86% - 35.99%Not specified600
* Annual percentage rate (APR) is a measure of your cost of borrowing and includes the interest rate plus other fees. Available APRs may differ based on your location.

Explore your loan options

What lenders consider besides income

While lenders typically ask about your annual income and may request proof, it’s not the only information they’re interested in when deciding whether to extend a loan. If you’re unemployed, you may still be a good candidate if you have the following:

  • A high credit score. Borrowers with good credit are likely to pay on time and keep the account in good standing. Those with low credit scores, delinquent accounts, past bankruptcies or lots of outstanding debt will have a much harder time getting approved.
  • A low amount of debt in your name. Lenders want to see a low debt-to-income ratio, so even if you have a low income, a low amount of debt can offset that. Make sure you consider credit card debt, auto loan debt and student loan debt when calculating your debt load.
  • Money in the bank. A healthy savings account balance shows lenders you have the funds to make debt payments, thereby making you appear a less risky borrower than someone with both low income and little to no savings.
  • A cosigner. You can leverage a friend or family member’s good credit score by asking them to cosign on a loan. Lenders will consider a cosigner’s credit history and finances in addition to your own when reviewing your application. However, the cosigner shares the responsibility of repayment; if you fail to make payments, their credit will suffer alongside your own.

5 types of loans for unemployed or low-income borrowers

Getting a loan when you have no income is always a risky move, as you could struggle to make ends meet with the added debt. And if you can only qualify for a personal loan with a high APR, it might be better to consider alternative borrowing options, such as the ones detailed below.

1. Secured personal loans

A secured personal loan requires that you offer up something of value to act as collateral if you default, such as a vehicle or savings. Because the lender can take possession of the asset used as collateral if you fail to repay the loan, lenders view these loans as less risky than traditional personal loans. As a result, they are more likely to offer you more favorable terms, including lower interest rates, than you might qualify for otherwise.

Carefully read the terms of the loan before agreeing. If you have trouble paying your bills, it’s not just your credit score that will suffer: You could lose your collateral, perhaps putting you in a worse financial situation than before you borrowed the loan.

2. Joint personal loans

If your credit score (or income) is too low to meet lender requirements, you can ask a family member or friend with a good credit score and higher income to open a joint personal loan. This means if you fail to repay, you and the co-borrower are responsible for the debt. In a way, you’re borrowing someone else’s best financial attributes to shore up your own and secure the loan.

Some personal loan lenders allow you to use a cosigner, which is slightly different than a joint personal loan. A co-borrower on a joint personal loan has shared interest in the loan and pays back the loan with the primary borrower, whereas a cosigner is simply a party that assumes responsibility for the loan if the borrower fails to make payments.

3. Credit union personal loans

Credit unions are nonprofit, member-owned financial institutions, and they may be more willing to work with borrowers with a low income. To apply for a personal loan through a credit union, you must first become a member. Most credit unions have membership requirements based on where you live or work, but others open their membership to people who make a donation to a charitable cause.

Here are a few credit unions offering personal loans that are open to anyone:

  • Affinity Federal Credit Union
  • Alliant Credit Union
  • Digital Federal Credit Union (DCU)
  • PenFed Credit Union
  • Spectrum Credit Union

Some credit unions also offer payday alternative loans (PALs), which are small-dollar loans worth up to $2,000 that must be repaid within one year. They have a maximum APR cap of 28%, and borrowing fees are limited to $20. Regulated by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), PALs are a safer alternative to payday loans.

4. Home equity loans

Homeowners who need a loan but have low or no income may consider borrowing a home equity loan. This type of lump-sum installment loan lets you tap into the equity you’ve built in your home, and it typically comes with a lower interest rate than an unsecured personal loan.

Home equity loans typically require that you have at least 15% equity in your home. To calculate your home’s equity, simply subtract the amount you have left on your mortgage from the current value of your home. For example, if you have a home value of $300,000 and a mortgage balance of $250,000, you have $50,000 equity, or 16.67% equity.

Keep in mind that home equity loans are secured by your house. As such, if you fail to repay the loan, you may lose the roof over your head. Plus, you may also have to pay fees when borrowing this type of loan, including closing costs.

5. 401(k) loans

401(k) loans let you borrow from the money you’ve invested in your retirement account. Since you’re borrowing from yourself, 401(k) loans don’t have the credit score or income requirements of traditional loans, which are borrowed from a financial institution. Interest rates are low — typically the prime rate plus 1% — and you’re paying interest back to yourself.

With a 401(k) loan, you can borrow up to $50,000 or half the vested amount, whichever is less. The loan has a maximum repayment term of five years, and payments must be made at least quarterly.

Not all retirement plans offer 401(k) loans, so check with your plan provider. It’s also worth noting if you’re borrowing from a 401(k) through your current employer, you may be required to repay the amount borrowed if you lose or otherwise leave your job. You may also have to pay taxes and other penalties, depending on the circumstances.

Risks of borrowing when you are unemployed

Even if you qualify for a loan while unemployed, carefully consider these major drawbacks before signing on the dotted line:

  • Falling behind on payments: If you do not have a regular source of income — or your earnings are unpredictable — taking on a new debt could later mean you struggle to make payments. Falling behind on debt will negatively affect your credit as lenders report your payment history to credit bureaus. This could limit your ability to qualify for debt later.
  • Receiving unfavorable loan terms: Because you have low income, or none at all, lenders will offset their risk in lending to you by charging you a higher interest rate. This can make repaying your debt difficult, or stick you in debt for longer than you’d prefer.

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Personal Loans

Where to Find the Best Personal Loan Rates Online for You

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

Written By

Reviewed By

If you want to refinance or consolidate debt, make a major purchase or cover another expense, a personal loan might be one of your best options as it will come with:

  • Fixed monthly payments
  • Fixed APRs
  • A set payoff period

One of the best ways to get the lowest possible personal loan rates for your financial situation is to prequalify through several lenders, so you can compare offers. As long as you shop with lenders that use a soft credit pull, you can check your rate without hurting your credit score.

How MagnifyMoney Gets Paid

Advertiser Disclosure

Company
APR
Terms
Credit Req.
LendingTree

As low as 2.49%

24 to 60

months

Minimum 500 FICO®

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

LendingTree is our parent company

Disclosure

Disclaimer


As of 17-May-19, LendingTree Personal Loan consumers were seeing match rates as low as 2.49% (2.49% APR) on a $20,000 loan amount for a term of three (3) years. Rates and APRs were based on a self-identified credit score of 700 or higher, zero down payment, origination fees of $0 to $100 (depending on loan amount and term selected). Terms Apply. NMLS #1136

4.99% - 19.99%*

with AutoPay

24 to 144*

months

Not specified

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Lender Disclosure

*Your loan terms, including APR, may differ based on loan purpose, amount, term length, and your credit profile. Excellent credit is required to qualify for lowest rates. Rate is quoted with AutoPay discount. AutoPay discount is only available prior to loan funding. Rates without AutoPay are 0.50% points higher. Subject to credit approval. Conditions and limitations apply. Advertised rates and terms are subject to change without notice. Payment example: Monthly payments for a $10,000 loan at 3.99% APR with a term of 3 years would result in 36 monthly payments of $295.20.
SoFi

5.99% - 20.69%*

24 to 84

months

680

Minimum Credit Score

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Lender Disclosure

Fixed rates from 5.99% APR to 20.69% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of January 19, 2021 and are subject to change without notice. Not all rates and amounts available in all states. See Personal Loan eligibility details. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, to qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including evaluation of your credit worthiness, years of professional experience, income and other factors. See APR examples and terms. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account.
Marcus by Goldman Sachs®

6.99% - 19.99%

36 to 72

months

Not specified

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Lender Disclosure

Your loan terms are not guaranteed and are subject to our verification of your identity and credit information. To obtain a loan, you must submit additional documentation including an application that may affect your credit score. The availability of a loan offer and the terms of your actual offer will vary due to a number of factors, including your loan purpose and our evaluation of your creditworthiness. Rates will vary based on many factors, such as your creditworthiness (for example, credit score and credit history) and the length of your loan (for example, rates for 36 month loans are generally lower than rates for 72 month loans Your maximum loan amount may vary depending on your loan purpose, income and creditworthiness. Your verifiable income must support your ability to repay your loan. Marcus by Goldman Sachs is a brand of Goldman Sachs Bank USA and all loans are issued by Goldman Sachs Bank USA, Salt Lake City Branch. Applications are subject to additional terms and conditions.

5.99% - 29.99%

36 or 60

months

640

Minimum Credit Score

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Lender Disclosure

The Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is the cost of credit as a yearly rate and ranges from 5.99% to 29.99%, which may include an origination fee from 0.99% - 6.99% that is deducted from loan proceeds. Any origination fee on a loan term 4-years or longer will be at least 4.99%. The loan term and the APR offered will depend on your credit score, income, debt payment obligations, loan amount, credit usage history and other factors. Additionally, the APR offered is impacted by your loan term and may be higher than our lowest advertised rate. Requests for the highest loan amount may result in an APR higher than our lowest advertised rate. You need a minimum 700 FICO® score and a minimum individual annual income of $100,000 to qualify for our lowest rate.

*Trustpilot TrustScore as of June 2020. Best Egg loans are unsecured personal loans made by Cross River Bank, a New Jersey State Chartered Commercial Bank, Member FDIC. “Best Egg” is a trademark of Marlette Funding, LLC. All uses of “Best Egg” refer to “the Best Egg personal loan” and/or “Best Egg on behalf of Cross River Bank, as originator of the Best Egg personal loan,” as applicable. The term, amount and APR of any loan we offer to you will depend on your credit score, income, debt payment obligations, loan amount, credit history and other factors. Your loan agreement will contain specific terms and conditions. The timing of available funds upon loan approval may vary depending upon your bank’s policies. Loan amounts range from $2,000–$35,000. Residents of Massachusetts have a minimum loan amount of $6,500 ; New Mexico and Ohio, $5,000; and Georgia, $3,000. For a second Best Egg loan, your total existing Best Egg loan balances cannot exceed $50,000. Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) range from 5.99%–29.99%. The APR is the cost of credit as a yearly rate and reflects both your interest rate and an origination fee of 0.99%–6.99% of your loan amount, which will be deducted from any loan proceeds you receive. The origination fee on a loan term 4-years or longer will be at least 4.99%. Your loan term will impact your APR, which may be higher than our lowest advertised rate. You need a minimum 700 FICO® score and a minimum individual annual income of $100,000 to qualify for our lowest APR.

To help the government fight the funding of terrorism and money laundering activities, federal law requires all financial institutions to obtain, verify, and record information that identifies each person who opens an account. When you open an account, we will ask for your name, address, date of birth, and other information that will allow us to identify you.

8.05% - 35.89%

36 or 60

months

Not specified

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

9.95% - 35.99%*

24 to 60**

months

600

Minimum Credit Score

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Lender Disclosure

*If approved, the actual loan terms that a customer qualifies for may vary based on credit determination, state law, and other factors. Minimum loan amounts vary by state.

**Example: A $5,700 loan with an administration fee of 4.75% and an amount financed of $5,429.25, repayable in 36 monthly installments, would have an APR of 29.95% and monthly payments of $230.33.

Based on the responses from 7,302 customers in a survey of 140,258 newly funded customers, conducted from August 1, 2018 - August 1, 2019, 95.11% of customers stated that they were either extremely satisfied or satisfied with Avant. 4/5 Customers would recommend us. Avant branded credit products are issued by WebBank, member FDIC.

18.00% - 35.99%

24 to 60

months

Not specified

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Lender Disclosure

Not all applicants will qualify for larger loan amounts or most favorable loan terms. Loan approval and actual loan terms depend on your ability to meet our credit standards (including a responsible credit history, sufficient income after monthly expenses, and availability of collateral). Larger loan amounts require a first lien on a motor vehicle no more than ten years old, that meets our value requirements, titled in your name with valid insurance. Maximum annual percentage rate (APR) is 35.99%, subject to state restrictions. APRs are generally higher on loans not secured by a vehicle. Depending on the state where you open your loan, the origination fee may be either a flat amount or a percentage of your loan amount. Flat fee amounts vary by state, ranging from $25 to $400. Percentage-based fees vary by state ranging from 1% to 10% of your loan amount subject to certain state limits on the fee amount. Active duty military, their spouse or dependents covered under the Military Lending Act may not pledge any vehicle as collateral for a loan. OneMain loan proceeds cannot be used for postsecondary educational expenses as defined by the CFPB’s Regulation Z, such as college, university or vocational expenses; for any business or commercial purpose; to purchase securities; or for gambling or illegal purposes.

Borrowers in these states are subject to these minimum loan sizes: Alabama: $2,100. California: $3,000. Georgia: Unless you are a present customer, $3,100 minimum loan amount. Ohio: $2,000. Virginia: $2,600.

Borrowers (other than present customers) in these states are subject to these maximum unsecured loan sizes: North Carolina: $7,500. New York: $20,000. An unsecured loan is a loan which does not require you to provide collateral (such as a motor vehicle) to the lender.
PenFed Credit Union

5.99% - 17.99%

60

months

Not specified

SEE DETAILS Secured

on PenFed Credit Union’s secure website

7.86% - 35.99%

36 or 60

months

600

Minimum Credit Score

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Personal loans for excellent credit

LightStream

APR

4.99%
To
19.99%*

with AutoPay

Credit Req.

Not specified

Terms

24 to 144*

months

Origination Fee

No origination fee

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Lender Disclosure

LightStream is the online lending division of SunTrust Bank.... Read More


*Your loan terms, including APR, may differ based on loan purpose, amount, term length, and your credit profile. Excellent credit is required to qualify for lowest rates. Rate is quoted with AutoPay discount. AutoPay discount is only available prior to loan funding. Rates without AutoPay are 0.50% points higher. Subject to credit approval. Conditions and limitations apply. Advertised rates and terms are subject to change without notice. Payment example: Monthly payments for a $10,000 loan at 3.99% APR with a term of 3 years would result in 36 monthly payments of $295.20.

At LightStream, a fee-free online lender, the starting APR for a personal loan is 4.99%, the lowest APR among the lenders listed here. Meanwhile, the maximum APR is 19.99%, if you set up automatic payments from your checking account with autopay. That rate is similar to what other lenders on this list offer for excellent credit.

LightStream offers loans for almost any purpose, except for paying post-secondary education costs or to consolidate student debt. Amounts range from $5,000 to a high $100,000. Loan terms are extremely flexible, with terms from 24 to 144 months.

Loans are issued quickly, sometimes the day they’re approved as long as it’s a banking business day. LightStream also lets you schedule extra, principal-only payments on the same day you make regular payments to help you pay down your loan more quickly and with less interest.

Marcus by Goldman Sachs®

APR

6.99%
To
19.99%

Credit Req.

Not specified

Terms

36 to 72

months

Origination Fee

No origination fee

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Lender Disclosure

Marcus by Goldman Sachs® offers personal loans for up to $40,000 for debt consolidation and credit consolidation. ... Read More


Your loan terms are not guaranteed and are subject to our verification of your identity and credit information. To obtain a loan, you must submit additional documentation including an application that may affect your credit score. The availability of a loan offer and the terms of your actual offer will vary due to a number of factors, including your loan purpose and our evaluation of your creditworthiness. Rates will vary based on many factors, such as your creditworthiness (for example, credit score and credit history) and the length of your loan (for example, rates for 36 month loans are generally lower than rates for 72 month loans Your maximum loan amount may vary depending on your loan purpose, income and creditworthiness. Your verifiable income must support your ability to repay your loan. Marcus by Goldman Sachs is a brand of Goldman Sachs Bank USA and all loans are issued by Goldman Sachs Bank USA, Salt Lake City Branch. Applications are subject to additional terms and conditions.

If you prefer working with a traditional bank, Marcus by Goldman Sachs® is an online brand that offers personal loans issued by Goldman Sachs Bank USA. Loans range from $3,500 to $40,000 and can be used for most purposes, except for paying off student loans or educational expenses. APRs start at 6.99%, which is slightly higher than LightStream’s starting APR, but the maximum is the same, 19.99%. Loan terms range from 36 to 72 months, and rates tend to be higher for longer-term loans.

Like LightStream, Marcus doesn’t charge fees for its personal loans, even for late payments. You will, however, be rewarded for on-time payments; the lender lets you skip a month if you meet your due date for 12 consecutive payments, a standout feature.

Applying for a loan online is easy at Marcus, but loan funding is slow compared with competitors here. If you’re approved, you might receive your funds within 5 days.

SoFi

APR

5.99%
To
20.69%*

Credit Req.

680

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

24 to 84

months

Origination Fee

No origination fee

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Lender Disclosure

SoFi offers some of the best rates and terms on the market. ... Read More


Fixed rates from 5.99% APR to 20.69% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of January 19, 2021 and are subject to change without notice. Not all rates and amounts available in all states. See Personal Loan eligibility details. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, to qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including evaluation of your credit worthiness, years of professional experience, income and other factors. See APR examples and terms. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account.

SoFi is another fee-free online lender that offers low-interest personal loans for creditworthy borrowers. APRs range from 5.99% to 20.69% when you set up automatic payments with autopay. If you have a responsible financial history and a strong monthly income, SoFi may be willing to offer you an especially competitive rate. Like LightStream, it also offers loans up to $100,000. Funds are generally available within a few days after approval.

In addition to attractive loan rates, SoFi offers a suite of financial resources to help you stay on top of your finances, like free career coaching, financial planning and estate planning. If you lose your job while paying back your loan — but stay up to date on payments — SoFi’s unemployment protection program may let you pause payments for up to 12 months while the company helps with your job search. This is a fantastic feature to help you weather an unforeseen financial emergency.

Personal loans for good credit

Best Egg

APR

5.99%
To
29.99%

Credit Req.

640

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 or 60

months

Origination Fee

0.99% - 5.99%

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Lender Disclosure

People looking for a process that is fast and straightforward can’t go wrong when applying through Best Egg for a personal loan. ... Read More


The Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is the cost of credit as a yearly rate and ranges from 5.99% to 29.99%, which may include an origination fee from 0.99% - 6.99% that is deducted from loan proceeds. Any origination fee on a loan term 4-years or longer will be at least 4.99%. The loan term and the APR offered will depend on your credit score, income, debt payment obligations, loan amount, credit usage history and other factors. Additionally, the APR offered is impacted by your loan term and may be higher than our lowest advertised rate. Requests for the highest loan amount may result in an APR higher than our lowest advertised rate. You need a minimum 700 FICO® score and a minimum individual annual income of $100,000 to qualify for our lowest rate.

*Trustpilot TrustScore as of June 2020. Best Egg loans are unsecured personal loans made by Cross River Bank, a New Jersey State Chartered Commercial Bank, Member FDIC. “Best Egg” is a trademark of Marlette Funding, LLC. All uses of “Best Egg” refer to “the Best Egg personal loan” and/or “Best Egg on behalf of Cross River Bank, as originator of the Best Egg personal loan,” as applicable. The term, amount and APR of any loan we offer to you will depend on your credit score, income, debt payment obligations, loan amount, credit history and other factors. Your loan agreement will contain specific terms and conditions. The timing of available funds upon loan approval may vary depending upon your bank’s policies. Loan amounts range from $2,000–$35,000. Residents of Massachusetts have a minimum loan amount of $6,500 ; New Mexico and Ohio, $5,000; and Georgia, $3,000. For a second Best Egg loan, your total existing Best Egg loan balances cannot exceed $50,000. Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) range from 5.99%–29.99%. The APR is the cost of credit as a yearly rate and reflects both your interest rate and an origination fee of 0.99%–6.99% of your loan amount, which will be deducted from any loan proceeds you receive. The origination fee on a loan term 4-years or longer will be at least 4.99%. Your loan term will impact your APR, which may be higher than our lowest advertised rate. You need a minimum 700 FICO® score and a minimum individual annual income of $100,000 to qualify for our lowest APR.

To help the government fight the funding of terrorism and money laundering activities, federal law requires all financial institutions to obtain, verify, and record information that identifies each person who opens an account. When you open an account, we will ask for your name, address, date of birth, and other information that will allow us to identify you.

Best Egg is an online lending platform where borrowers can find loans for $2,000 to $50,000, though some borrowers may qualify for up to $50,000. APRs start as low as 5.99%, with a maximum APR of 29.99%. That number is similar to what you might find with many good credit lenders, but it’s much higher than what you might pay at PenFed, a competitor on this list.

To qualify for a personal loan at Best Egg, you’ll need a minimum credit score of 640 and a debt-to-income ratio that is less than 30% to show you can afford to take on more debt. To qualify for the lowest rates, you’ll need a credit score that’s 700 or more and a minimum annual income of $100,000.

Best Egg doesn’t have a prepayment penalty, but it does charge an origination fee for processing your loan that’s 0.99% - 5.99% of the loan amount. If your loan has a term of four years or more, expect to pay an origination fee that is at least 4.99%. Best Egg issues funds quickly to approved applicants, with some borrowers receiving funds the same day upon approval.

PenFed Credit Union

PenFed Credit Union
APR

5.99%
To
17.99%

Credit Req.

Not specified

Terms

Up to 60

months

Origination Fee

None

APPLY NOW Secured

on PenFed Credit Union’s secure website

Pentagon Federal Credit Union (PenFed) offers personal loans with terms up to five years and maximum loan amounts of $35,000.... Read More

PenFed is a credit union that offers some of the lowest personal loan rates for good credit borrowers. You don’t need to be a member to apply, but if you decide to move forward with a loan from PenFed, you’ll need to sign up. The process is easy and anyone can join.

APRs range from 5.99% to 17.99%, and you can borrow up to $35,000 with a term of 60 months. Loans are free of origination fees and prepayment penalties.

At PenFed, you’ll receive your money by mail, which is an inconvenient funding option considering most other lenders will simply deposit funds in your account. For faster delivery, you can opt for expedited shipping, so your funds may arrive as soon as the next day. If you live in the area around Washington, D.C., you can also pick up a check from a PenFed branch.

Upstart

APR

7.86%
To
35.99%

Credit Req.

600

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 or 60

months

Origination Fee

Up to 8.00%

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Upstart is an online lender created by ex-Googlers.... Read More

Online lender Upstart offers personal loans with APRs ranging from 7.86% to 35.99%. That range is higher than for the other two good credit lenders on this list, though it offers flexible loan amounts from $1,000 to $50,000.

Despite a higher range of loan rates, Upstart may be easier to get approved for an Upstart loan. In addition to your credit score, the company also considers data like your income, savings, where you went to college and your major. Upstart cites 27% more approvals — and at lower rates — than with a traditional lending model.

Upstart works fast, too, with almost all approved loans receiving next-day funding. There’s no prepayment penalty at Upstart, but expect a late payment fee and origination fee. (Up to 8.00% of the loan amount.)

Personal loans for fair or bad credit

Avant

APR

9.95%
To
35.99%*

Credit Req.

600

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

24 to 60**

months

Origination Fee

Up to 4.75%**

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Lender Disclosure

Avant is an online lender that offers personal loans ranging from $2,000 to $35,000. ... Read More


*If approved, the actual loan terms that a customer qualifies for may vary based on credit determination, state law, and other factors. Minimum loan amounts vary by state.

**Example: A $5,700 loan with an administration fee of 4.75% and an amount financed of $5,429.25, repayable in 36 monthly installments, would have an APR of 29.95% and monthly payments of $230.33.

Based on the responses from 7,302 customers in a survey of 140,258 newly funded customers, conducted from August 1, 2018 - August 1, 2019, 95.11% of customers stated that they were either extremely satisfied or satisfied with Avant. 4/5 Customers would recommend us. Avant branded credit products are issued by WebBank, member FDIC.

Avant is an online lender that issues both unsecured and secured personal loans to fair credit borrowers. Most customers have credit scores between 600 and 700, and loan amounts range from $2,000 and $35,000. Personal loan APRs range from 9.95% to 35.99%, which is similar to other fair credit lenders.

Avant may charge you a loan origination fee that’s Up to 4.75% of your loan amount. The fee is deducted from loan proceeds before disbursement. Avant also charges late fees, and the amount and timing of the late fee varies by state. In general, if your payment is 10 days past due, you’ll pay $25 as a fee. There’s no prepayment penalty if you pay off your loan early.

Avant’s secured personal loan comes with a 2.5% administration fee and also a smaller maximum loan amount, $35,000. It uses your car as collateral, which means it might be easier to qualify for than Avant’s unsecured loan. However, if you default, you risk losing your vehicle. With both loan types, borrowers often receive funds the day after they’ve been approved.

LendingPoint

APR

9.99%
To
35.99%

Credit Req.

585

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

24 to 60

months

Origination Fee

0.00% - 6.00%

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

LendingPoint is an online lender that targets borrowers with fair credit, and allows borrowing up to $36,500.... Read More

LendingPoint is an online lender that targets fair credit borrowers with loans up to $36,500. Besides looking at your credit score, LendingPoint considers factors like your income (a minimum of $35,000 a year), job history and financial history. APRs range from 9.99% to 35.99% for loans of 24 to 60 months. LendingPoint charges an origination fee that’s between 0.00% - 6.00% of the loan amount, depending on the state where you live.

In some cases, you may be able to take on a second loan at LendingPoint even with an existing loan. LendingPoint offers same-day approvals, which means you might have your funds as early as the next business day.

OneMain Financial

APR

18.00%
To
35.99%

Credit Req.

Not specified

Terms

24 to 60

months

Origination Fee

1.00% - 10.00%

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Lender Disclosure

OneMain Financial offers quick turnaround times and you may get your money the same day... Read More


Not all applicants will qualify for larger loan amounts or most favorable loan terms. Loan approval and actual loan terms depend on your ability to meet our credit standards (including a responsible credit history, sufficient income after monthly expenses, and availability of collateral). Larger loan amounts require a first lien on a motor vehicle no more than ten years old, that meets our value requirements, titled in your name with valid insurance. Maximum annual percentage rate (APR) is 35.99%, subject to state restrictions. APRs are generally higher on loans not secured by a vehicle. Depending on the state where you open your loan, the origination fee may be either a flat amount or a percentage of your loan amount. Flat fee amounts vary by state, ranging from $25 to $400. Percentage-based fees vary by state ranging from 1% to 10% of your loan amount subject to certain state limits on the fee amount. Active duty military, their spouse or dependents covered under the Military Lending Act may not pledge any vehicle as collateral for a loan. OneMain loan proceeds cannot be used for postsecondary educational expenses as defined by the CFPB’s Regulation Z, such as college, university or vocational expenses; for any business or commercial purpose; to purchase securities; or for gambling or illegal purposes.

Borrowers in these states are subject to these minimum loan sizes: Alabama: $2,100. California: $3,000. Georgia: Unless you are a present customer, $3,100 minimum loan amount. Ohio: $2,000. Virginia: $2,600.

Borrowers (other than present customers) in these states are subject to these maximum unsecured loan sizes: North Carolina: $7,500. New York: $20,000. An unsecured loan is a loan which does not require you to provide collateral (such as a motor vehicle) to the lender.

OneMain Financial has more than 1,500 branches in 44 states, and could be a good option for borrowers who’d prefer a loan experience that is, in part, conducted in-person. This lender has high APRs, from 18.00% to 35.99%, meaning it may only be a viable option for fair or poor credit borrowers. Loan terms range from 24 to 60 months and amounts are small, ranging from $1,500 to $20,000, though the range varies in some states.

What’s nice about OneMain Financial is that if you don’t qualify for an unsecured loan, they may extend you a loan secured by collateral, like your car, RV or boat. OneMain Financial doesn’t charge a prepayment penalty, but you will find some other relatively high fees:

  • An origination fee, which is either a flat fee between $25 and $400, or 1.00% - 10.00% of the principal on your loan, depending on the state where you live
  • A late payment fee, which is either a flat fee between $5 and $30 or a percentage of the delinquent amount between 1.5% and 15%

OneMain Financial has a different loan application process from the other lenders found here. You’ll need to fill out a loan application online to see if you prequalify and then visit a branch to provide proof of identity and income. Once you sign your loan agreement, you can opt to take a check then, have funds deposited into a bank account connected to your debit card or opt for ACH processing, for access to your funds in likely one to two business days.

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Personal Loans

How to Get a Personal Loan With a 600 Credit Score or Less

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

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Getting approved for a personal loan with a fair credit score of 600 or less can be difficult. As personal loans are typically unsecured — meaning they are not backed by collateral — lenders rely more heavily on your credit to determine loan eligibility.

If you have a credit score of 600 or less but need a personal loan, you may still have options. Below we’ll cover how to find and apply for personal loans for fair credit, how much you might expect to spend, plus some alternatives to consider.

Personal loans for borrowers with a 600 credit score or lower

APR, or annual percentage rate, is a measure of your cost of borrowing over the course of a year. It takes the interest rate plus fees into account.

Avant

APR

9.95%
To
35.99%*

Credit Req.

600

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

24 to 60**

months

Origination Fee

Up to 4.75%**

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Lender Disclosure

Avant is an online lender that offers personal loans ranging from $2,000 to $35,000. ... Read More


*If approved, the actual loan terms that a customer qualifies for may vary based on credit determination, state law, and other factors. Minimum loan amounts vary by state.

**Example: A $5,700 loan with an administration fee of 4.75% and an amount financed of $5,429.25, repayable in 36 monthly installments, would have an APR of 29.95% and monthly payments of $230.33.

Based on the responses from 7,302 customers in a survey of 140,258 newly funded customers, conducted from August 1, 2018 - August 1, 2019, 95.11% of customers stated that they were either extremely satisfied or satisfied with Avant. 4/5 Customers would recommend us. Avant branded credit products are issued by WebBank, member FDIC.

Avant is an online lender that considers personal loan applications from those with a 600 credit score. Repayment terms are flexible, ranging from 24 to 60 months, and loan amounts top off at a middling $35,000.

Expect an origination fee (Up to 4.75%) with Avant. This is a low maximum compared to competing lenders in the fair credit space. However, their maximum APR is on the higher end among unsecured lenders.

LendingPoint

APR

9.99%
To
35.99%

Credit Req.

585

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

24 to 60

months

Origination Fee

0.00% - 6.00%

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

LendingPoint is an online lender that targets borrowers with fair credit, and allows borrowing up to $36,500.... Read More

LendingPoint is an online lender that advertises itself as a fair credit lender that accepts applicants with a minimum credit score of 585. What makes LendingPoint unique is that they consider other factors when determining loan eligibility, including:

  • Income
  • Job history
  • Financial history
  • Credit behavior

LendingPoint repayment periods cap out at 60 months. Like Avant, LendingPoint has a high maximum APR. Keep an eye out for LendingPoint origination fee, too. It ranges from 0.00% - 6.00% of your loan amount.

Peerform

Peerform is an online peer-to-peer marketplace through which borrowers can get a personal loan. To qualify, you must have a fair credit score of 600 or above and a debt-to-income (DTI) ratio below 40%.

Peerform uses a proprietary algorithm to determine your qualification. Through the marketplace, borrowers can get loans ranging from $4,000 up to $25,000 with limited loan term options of either 36 or 60 months. The maximum APR of 29.99% is lower than the other loan options in this list. Loan origination fees range from 1.00% - 5.00% of the loan amount.

Upstart

APR

7.86%
To
35.99%

Credit Req.

600

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 or 60

months

Origination Fee

Up to 8.00%

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Upstart is an online lender created by ex-Googlers.... Read More

Upstart is an online lender with flexible loan amounts from $1,000 to $50,000, though repayment terms are limited to just 36 or 60 months. Like Avant and LendingPoint, you’ll find a high maximum APR.

There’s one notable perk to applying with Upstart, however. The company considers your credit, income, and other information when determining your loan eligibility.

Applying for a personal loan with fair or poor credit

You can use a lending marketplace like MagnifyMoney to prequalify with lenders with a soft credit check. This won’t affect your credit and allows you to see lenders you could be eligible for.

Take note of each lender’s APR ranges, repayment terms and fees. Origination fees are commonplace when applying with subprime credit. This fee ranges from 0% to 8% of your loan amount and is added on top of your borrowed amount or deducted before funds are disbursed.

Make sure to have all your documents pulled together before applying. Requirements vary from lender to lender, but in general you’ll need:

  • Social Security number
  • Proof of address
  • Proof of income and employment
  • Bank information
  • Driver’s license or other government-approved identification

When you submit an application, the lender will do a hard pull on your credit which will result in a small but temporary ding on your score.

Many personal lenders approve loans quickly — sometimes within a matter of minutes, depending on the institution. If you are approved, carefully review the terms of the loan, noting the APR, loan amount, repayment schedule and any additional fees.

If you’re satisfied with the information presented, you’ll be asked to accept the terms and finalize any additional loan paperwork.

Make sure to set up reminders or automatic payments to pay off your personal loan in a timely manner so you don’t incur late-payment fees or other penalties that will impact your fair credit score even further.

How much a fair credit personal loan costs

A personal loan for anyone with a 600 credit score or less can be quite expensive. While many lenders make a show of low APRs, those rates are generally only available to people with excellent credit scores. You can see average APRs by credit score range:

Average APR by credit band
Credit score rangeAPR
720+7.63%
680-71911.88%
660-67918.53%
640-65926.15%
620-63938.64%
580-61965.70%
560-579105.39%
Less than 560113.62%
Source: LendingTree customer data for Q4 2019.

To give you a more concrete idea about how much a personal loan for a credit score under 600 can cost you, check out these estimates using average APRs:

Cost for a 3-year, $5,000 fair or bad credit personal loan
Credit score640-659620-639580-619
APR26.15%38.64%65.70%
Monthly payment$201.85$236.60$320.84
Total interest charges$2,266.70$3,517.55$6,550.13
Total amount repaid$7,266.70$8,517.55$11,550.13

The lower your credit score, the more lenders will worry about your ability to pay. If you happen to have a credit score below 600, you’re looking at potentially extremely expensive loans. As a result, if you can wait to borrow funds, you can take action now to improve your credit to reduce future borrowing costs.

Ways to make your loan more affordable

While it may be tempting to go with the first loan offer you receive, make sure to do your homework. Research lenders in your area as well as online — you may find that online lenders are a cheaper option, as they don’t have the overhead costs of a brick-and-mortar bank.

Peer-to-peer loans, which can be accessed through an online marketplace, may be another viable option. These loans are funded either by groups of individuals or institutions and come with fixed terms and interest rates.

  • Make all payments in full and on time each month: Lenders typically look at your FICO credit score when helping determine your loan eligibility. As your payment history accounts for 35% of your FICO Score, ensuring all your bills are paid on time and in full each month can help boost your credit and make you a more attractive borrower.
  • Reduce your debt-to-income ratio: Your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio is a measure of how much overall debt you have compared to your income. Ideally, you want your ratio to be 35% or less. Anything higher and lenders may question your ability to afford a new debt.
  • Check your credit report for errors: Check your credit report at least once per year to make sure there are no inaccuracies. Errors on your report could hurt your credit score. To access your credit report for free, visit AnnualCreditReport.com.
  • Keep credit card balances low: You should be paying your credit card’s full balance each month. However, if you absolutely must have a balance, keep it as low as possible. The more debt you have, the worse it is for your credit score.
  • Limit how many new accounts you open: While opening multiple credit cards will increase your overall credit, thus decreasing your DTI, resist this tactic. New credit accounts for 10% of your credit score and can give lenders pause as you’d have new lines of credit to rack up debt with. Further, the application process for new credit accounts results in hard inquiries, which can reduce your credit score slightly but temporarily.

If a family member or friend with a good credit score and a solid financial standing is willing to cosign your personal loan, this can be monumentally helpful. A cosigner agrees to assume financial responsibility for the loan if you don’t keep up with payments, which provides peace of mind to lenders. Consequently, this can help you qualify for a loan you might not get on your own merit and score a lower interest rate.

Just keep in mind that your missed or late payments will have a negative impact on your cosigner’s credit score in addition to your own.

You can make your fair credit personal loan more affordable by setting up automatic payments (autopay). Ask your lender about interest rate discounts in exchange for setting up this service. Most lenders will knock off 0.25% on your personal loan’s APR when you sign up for autopay.

Alternative fair credit loan options

Secured personal loan

A secured personal loan is backed by assets that you put up as collateral, such as your car or savings. This may be a good choice if you have a credit score below 600 as your collateral reduces the lender’s risk and can help you nab lower interest rates and a larger loan amount.

The downside of a secured loan is that if you fail to make payments, you will lose your assets. Make sure you can afford a new debt before taking out a secured loan. If you default, you’ll lose your collateral, on top of taking a credit hit.

Salary advance loan

A salary advance loan is a loan in which you borrow funds from your future paychecks. These small loans can come with zero interest and do not require a credit check. Funds are available quickly, as well.

The main drawback of a salary advance loan is that your future paychecks will be lower until you pay back the debt. Also, not all employers offer these loans. If your company doesn’t make these loans available, you’ll have to search for a third party lender and those loans will come with fees.

Payday alternative loan

Payday alternative loans (PALs) are personal loans available to members of federal credit unions. You’ll need to have been a member for at least one month to qualify.

PAL amounts are small, from $200 to $1,000 with a PAL I and up to $2,000 with a PAL II. Repayment periods also range from one to six months for a PAL I and from one to 12 months with a PAL II. So, be prepared to repay your debt quickly. On the plus side, PAL fees are low; credit unions are barred from charging anything over $20.

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