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Updated on Thursday, February 11, 2021
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
- Applying for a personal loan with fair or poor credit
- How much a fair credit personal loan costs
- Ways to make your loan more affordable
- Alternative fair credit loan options
Personal loans for borrowers with a 600 credit score or lower
Minimum Credit Score
24 to 60**
Up to 4.75%**
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.
Minimum Credit Score
24 to 60
0.00% - 6.00%
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:
- 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 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.
Minimum Credit Score
36 or 60
Up to 8.00%
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 range||APR|
|Less than 560||113.62%|
|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|
|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.