According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, America’s unemployment rate was 3.7% in September 2018. Although this number may seem relatively small in the grand scheme of things, this hasn’t historically been the case. During the market crash of 2008-2009, America’s unemployment rate swung from 4.7% to 10.1% in a matter of months.Long-term unemployment can be emotionally and financially challenging. Although most people actively work to avoid getting into debt, especially while they’re unemployed, sometimes their financial situation leaves them with no other course of action but to take out a personal loan.
Unfortunately, many lenders require that borrowers have some proof of income before they’re willing to pass out personal loans. However, in some cases, you may be able to secure a loan – even without the proof. Let’s walk through the steps you’ll need to take to get a loan when you’re unemployed.
Can I get a personal loan with no income?
Yes, you can get a personal loan without income. At the end of the day, lenders are looking for borrowers who can prove that they’ll make repayments. It’s true that having a consistent source of income certainly helps prove that you’re eligible for a loan, but it’s also true that you can “prove” your worthiness as a borrower in other ways.
If you don’t have a full-time job that’s providing you with a consistent income that would be used to repay your personal loan, you’ll need to meet the lender’s alternative eligibility requirements.
These might include:
- Proof of alternate income. Any of the following may qualify when you apply for a loan: Social Security benefits, a pension, child support, funds from your retirement account distributions, unemployment benefits, disability, employment offers for a job that starts in the future, housing income, capital gains from your investments, income from a spouse or partner, trust income, savings or cash that you’ve built up, VA benefits or a government annuity.
- Automatic payments. Your lender might require that you have payments automatically deducted from your bank account to help ensure that you’re always paying in full and on time.
- Security. If you’re struggling to get a loan while unemployed, your lender might ask for you to provide collateral for the loan. This would mean taking out a secured personal loan. Lenders often accept cars (as long as they’re paid in full), property or any other assets that you own outright as security.
- Find a cosigner. To get a personal loan while you’re unemployed, you may need to find a cosigner. A cosigner is essentially a third party who applies with you for your loan. If you fail to make your payments, the lender may turn to them for the money they’re owed. A cosigner isn’t always a perfect solution, and asking family or close friends to cosign a loan could potentially cause some tension if you can’t repay it. However, if you’re confident that you have the funds set aside to repay your loan, or that you’ll find employment soon, this may be an option worth considering.
Remember that lenders don’t just look at your current income during the loan approval process. They’re also looking at your credit history and your credit score. If you’ve always been consistent with repaying your debts in the past, you have a good (or better) credit score and you’re not utilizing very much credit in comparison with your current income, you may be able to secure a personal loan with fewer issues – even if you’re unemployed.
As low as 3.99%
Minimum 500 FICO®
Minimum Credit Score
24 to 60
LendingTree is our parent company. LendingTree is unique in that you may be able to compare up to five personal loan offers within minutes. Everything is done online and you may be pre-qualified by lenders without impacting your credit score. LendingTree is not a lender.
A Personal Loan can offer funds relatively quickly once you qualify you could have your funds within a few days to a week. A loan can be fixed for a term and rate or variable with fluctuating amount due and rate assessed, be sure to speak with your loan officer about the actual term and rate you may qualify for based on your credit history and ability to repay the loan. A personal loan can assist in paying off high-interest rate balances with one fixed term payment, so it is important that you try to obtain a fixed term and rate if your goal is to reduce your debt. Some lenders may require that you have an account with them already and for a prescribed period of time in order to qualify for better rates on their personal loan products. Lenders may charge an origination fee generally around 1% of the amount sought. Be sure to ask about all fees, costs and terms associated with each loan product. Loan amounts of $1,000 up to $50,000 are available through participating lenders; however, your state, credit history, credit score, personal financial situation, and lender underwriting criteria can impact the amount, fees, terms and rates offered. Ask your loan officer for details.
As of 17-May-19, LendingTree Personal Loan consumers were seeing match rates as low as 3.99% (3.99% APR) on a $10,000 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).
Beware these risks of borrowing with no income
Although it’s possible to receive a personal loan when you’re unemployed, that doesn’t always mean it’s in your best interest to do so. Lenders are taking a risk by lending you money that you technically don’t have (and may not have for the foreseeable future). As a result, they’re likely to give you a less attractive loan offer.
Here are a few downsides to loan offers you may see while you’re unemployed and taking out a loan:
- Shorter repayment terms. Typically, if you don’t have income to prove your ability to repay a loan over a long period of time, your lender will want to lower their risk. One way they do this is by offering loans to the unemployed with shorter repayment terms. This means you’ll get the funds you need, but you’ll be required to pay them back much faster than had taken out a traditional loan while you were gainfully employed.
- High interest rates. Again, lenders aren’t out to get you if you’re unemployed – they just need to protect themselves against the risk of lending to someone who may not be able to repay the loan they’re offering. One way they do this is by offering you a personal loan with higher interest rates. High rates combined with a shorter term means that you’ll be paying a significant amount of money back to your lender over a short period of time. This ensures that they’ll get the amount they gave back from you (with interest), and they’ll receive it quickly.
- Automatic payments. Many lenders require that automatic payments be set up when a borrower is unemployed. This could mean that they take funds directly from your bank account every month for payment, but it could also mean that they take funds directly from your other income sources (like your pension) each “pay period” to ensure that they get paid first. If you have the funds to repay your loan and cover your bills, this may not be an issue. But as things get tighter the longer you stay unemployed, this becomes a bigger issue.
- Hefty fees. Although many lenders already have notable fees attached their personal loan offerings, it’s even more important to look at the fees in your loan offer if you’re unemployed. Fees are another way that a lender can protect themselves against the risk of lending to someone without an income. If you’re not careful, you could end up paying back a high interest loan over a short time period, with extra fees to boot – hardly an ideal situation for someone who’s lacking cash flow.
- Predatory lending. As much as you may not want to believe it’s true, there are plenty of lenders out there who take advantage of the unemployed. By offering personal loans with egregious repayment terms, interest rates and fees, they could potentially drive you so deeply into debt that you’re unable to pay your monthly bills. Thinking long term, these types of predatory loans could also have a dramatically negative impact on your credit score.
Getting a loan when you’re unemployed isn’t always easy, but it doesn’t have to be a terrifying journey either. As long as you keep a watchful eye out for these non-ideal repayment terms and know what you’re getting into, you’re off to a good start.
Alternative options to a personal loan
Although it’s possible to qualify for a personal loan with no income, that doesn’t mean it’s a given. Many borrowers may run into a situation where they don’t qualify for a personal loan while they’re unemployed, which can be incredibly challenging if their situation is dire and they need cash now.
There are several reasons you may not qualify for a personal loan while you’re unemployed:
- You have no source of alternate income to show the ability to repay
- You have no assets (like a well-padded savings account, or a paid-in-full vehicle) to offer as collateral for the loan
- You have poor credit history
- You have a low credit score
- You’re already utilizing a large portion of the total credit you have available to you
Although it’s impossible to guarantee whether you’ll get approved or denied a personal loan while you’re unemployed, these factors will play a large role in the lender’s final decision. If you aren’t approved for a personal loan, you’re not entirely out of options. First, you can look into alternative lending services that can help give you the boost of cash you need rather quickly:
- Home equity line of credit (HELOC). A HELOC allows you to essentially borrow against the equity you have built up in your home. If you’ve already paid down a significant chunk of your mortgage, this might be an option for you to look into. Typically, you can borrow up to 85% of your home’s value minus what you owe on your mortgage.
- Secured loan. A secured loan is one where you offer up collateral for loan funds. You may put up your car or other property for this type of loan.
- Short-term loan from a family member. Borrowing money from family can be uncomfortable and potentially damaging to both your personal and financial life. However, if you’re confident in your ability to repay the loan, and your relative is willing to offer you favorable terms, this may be a path you pursue. You’ll need to discuss the total amount of the loan, what interest rate they’ll charge you (if any) and what the length of the loan’s repayment term will be. It’s wise to draw up a formal contract to protect both of your interests.
You have several options for borrowing funds, even when you don’t have an income to rely on for repayment. However, there are several other options to consider before you seek out a personal loan or alternate lending option.
Consider these other ways to get cash in a pinch:
- Tighten your budget
- Use your emergency savings
- Pick up a side gig
- Apply for unemployment and/or food stamps
- Find a roommate or rent out part of your home
- Sell what you don’t need
- Transfer your credit card balance to reduce payments
Going into debt should never be your first course of action. Although you can get a loan without an income, pursuing these other ideas first until you’re able to secure another full-time, well-paying job is usually in your best interest.