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Best Personal Loans For Bad Credit

Even if you have a low credit score, we can help you find a loan. We make it simple to compare bad credit loan options. There's a lot of relevant information available about personal loans for those with poor credit scores. This includes how to decide whether or not it's right for you and how to avoid scams.

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Compare Top Bad Credit Lenders

Editor's Choice

LendingTree

Quick & Easy Online Process

  • APR: 2.49-35.99
  • Loan Term: 3-180
  • Min Credit Score: 300
View details

Key Facts

  • The nation’s largest online lending marketplace
  • Over $260 billion in loans facilitated
  • One short form for multiple loan options
Read LendingTree Review »

LendingTree Disclaimer: 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. Rates and APR assume fixed rate for the term of the loan may not be available for all consumers, ask your lender for a fixed rate quote. Loan Example: A $10,000 loan with a 5-year term at 13% Annual Percentage Rate (APR) would be repayable in 60 monthly installments of $228 each. The actual payment amount and year-end balance will vary based on the APR, loan amount, and term selected. In this case the total amount expected to pay by the borrower will be $13,680 *This examples are for illustrative purposes only. The examples and match rates are not a guarantee, agreement, or commitment to loan funds or extend credit. Interest rates and terms are subject to change at any time without notice.

Easy Application

Bankrate

More than 4 decades of experience

  • APR: 3.09%-35.99
  • Loan Term: 6-144
  • Min Credit Score: 550
View details

Key Facts

  • Borrowers can find a personal loan option that fits their exact needs
  • Offers a comprehensive knowledge hub
  • Simple to use online loan comparison tool
Read Bankrate Review »

The rate information is obtained by Bankrate from the listed institutions. Bankrate cannot guarantee the accuracy or availability of any rates shown. Institutions may have different rates on their own websites than those posted on Bankrate.com. The listings that appear on this page are from companies from which this website receives compensation, which may impact how, where, and in what order products appear. This table does not include all companies or all available products.

All rates are subject to change without notice and may vary depending on location. These quotes are from banks, thrifts, and credit unions, some of whom have paid for a link to their own website where you can find additional information. Those with a paid link are our Advertisers. Those without a paid link are listings we obtain to improve the consumer shopping experience and are not Advertisers. To receive the Bankrate.com rate from an Advertiser, please identify yourself as a Bankrate customer. Bank and thrift deposits are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Credit union deposits are insured by the National Credit Union Administration.

Consumer Satisfaction: Bankrate attempts to verify the accuracy and availability of its Advertisers’ terms through its quality assurance process and requires Advertisers to agree to our Terms and Conditions and to adhere to our Quality Control Program. If you believe that you have received an inaccurate quote or are otherwise not satisfied with the services provided to you by the institution you choose, please click here.

Rate collection and criteria: Click here for more information on rate collection and criteria.

Loans Under 36

Over 100 Lenders at Your Fingertips

  • APR: 5.99-35.99
  • Loan Term: 3-72
  • Min Credit Score: 300
View details

Key Facts

  • See loan offers from over 100 lenders
  • Loans available for any type of credit
  • Fees depend on specific lender
Read Loans Under 36 Review »

loansunder36 Disclaimer: “loansunder36.com (the “website”) is not an offer or solicitation to lend. The website only provides a service and is not an agent, representative, or broker of any lender and does not endorse or charge you for any loan or product. The website operators are not lenders, do not make loans of any type, and do not make credit decisions. The website collects personal information provided by you and forwards it to partners in our lender network. You are under no obligation to use this website or service to initiate, contact, nor apply for credit or any loan product with any service provider or lender. Loan amounts vary from $500 and $35,000 but not all lenders can provide up to $35,000. Providing your information on the website does not guarantee you will be approved for a loan or credit product. Cash transfer times may vary between lenders and may depend on your individual financial institution. In some circumstances faxing may be required. If you have any questions, contact your lender directly for details, questions, or concerns regarding your loan or credit product. Short-term cash loans are meant to provide you with short-term financing to solve immediate cash needs and should not be considered a long-term solution. This service and lenders are not available in all states. Lenders may perform credit checks with the three credit reporting bureaus: Experian, Equifax, or Trans Union or may perform alternative credit checks or consumer reports through alternative providers. By submitting your request, you acknowledge, agree, and authorize that (a) your information may be sent to lenders and/or third-party partners on your behalf, and (b) such lenders may obtain consumer reports and related information about you from one or more consumer reporting agencies, such as TransUnion, Experian and Equifax to evaluate your creditworthiness. Loan products  have a 3 months minimum repayment term. Loan example: A $6,000 loan with a 24.99% APR that is repayable in 60 monthly installments would have monthly payments of $176.07 to a total of $10,565.2″

5K Funds

Fast & easy online application

  • APR: 5.99-35.99
  • Loan Term: 3-72
  • Min Credit Score: 300
View details

Key Facts

  • 5K Funds makes it easy to get rates and start comparing terms from multiple lenders.
  • 5K Funds has an extensive network of reputable lenders.
  • Borrowers have the freedom to use a personal loan in a number of ways.
Read 5K Funds Review »

5kFunds.com (the “website”) is not an offer or solicitation to lend. The website only provides a service and is not an agent, representative, or broker of any lender and does not endorse or charge you for any loan or product. The website operators are not lenders, do not make loans of any type, and do not make credit decisions. The website collects personal information provided by you and forwards it to partners in our lender network. You are under no obligation to use this website or service to initiate, contact, nor apply for credit or any loan product with any service provider or lender. Loan amounts vary from $1,000 and $35,000 but not all lenders can provide up to $35,000. Providing your information on the website does not guarantee you will be approved for a loan or credit product. Cash transfer times may vary between lenders and may depend on your individual financial institution. In some circumstances faxing may be required. If you have any questions, contact your lender directly for details, questions, or concerns regarding your loan or credit product. Short-term cash loans are meant to provide you with short-term financing to solve immediate cash needs and should not be considered a long-term solution. This service and lenders are not available in all states. Lenders may perform credit checks with the three credit reporting bureaus: Experian, Equifax, or Trans Union or may perform alternative credit checks or consumer reports through alternative providers. By submitting your request, you acknowledge, agree, and authorize that (a) your information may be sent to lenders and/or third-party partners on your behalf, and (b) such lenders may obtain consumer reports and related information about you from one or more consumer reporting agencies, such as TransUnion, Experian and Equifax to evaluate your creditworthiness. Loan products have a 3 months minimum repayment term. Loan example: A $6,000 loan with a 24.99% APR that is repayable in 60 monthly installments would have monthly payments of $176.07 to a total of $10,565.2

OneMain Financial

No Early Payment Fees

  • APR: 18.00-35.99
  • Loan Term: 24-60
  • Min Credit Score: 300
View details

Key Facts

  • Trusted lender for over 100 years.
  • Online prequalification with a soft credit pull.
  • No pre-payment fees.
Read OneMain Financial Review »

Example Loan: A $6,000 loan with a 24.99% APR that is repayable in 60 monthly installments would have monthly payments of $176.07 to a total of $10,565.2. 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 $300. 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. 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 $300. 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.

Best Egg

Hassle-free. Fixed rates

  • APR: 5.99 - 29.99
  • Loan Term: 36 & 60
  • Min Credit Score: 600
View details

Key Facts

  • Soft credit pull for pre-approval.
  • Funding of approved loans in as little as one business day.
  • Application takes just a few minutes.
Read Best Egg Review »

“Best Egg Disclaimer: *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–$50,000. 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. What this means for you: 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.We may also ask to see your driver’s license or other identifying documents. For example: a 5‐year $10,000 loan with 9.99% APR has 60 scheduled monthly payments of $201.81, and a 3‐year $5,000 loan with 5.99% APR has 36 scheduled monthly payments of $150.57 to a total amount of $10,564.2.”

What is a Bad Credit Personal Loan?

While we typically talk about a credit score coming from one agency, multiple agencies publish credit scores. Each has slightly different criteria and range, and what’s considered poor credit at one might not be considered poor credit by the others. The four-credit agencies and their range for poor credit are as follows:

Credit Karma – A score of 300-600 is considered poor.

Equifax – A score of 280-559 is considered poor.

Experian – A score of 300-579 is considered poor.

Transunion – A score of 300-600 is considered very poor, while a score of 601-657 is still considered poor.

As you can see, in general, any score from the lower range of 280-300 to an upper range of 560-600 is going to be considered poor. Just above that is the range of fair credit, which begins as low as 560 and generally goes as high as 719, depending on the agency. So on average, a score of 600-660 can be considered fair.

There are several reasons you might have a poor credit score with any of these agencies. A recent bankruptcy will almost always result in poor credit for two or more years following. Other potential reasons for poor credit include late payments, charge-offs, defaulting on loans, or simply short credit history. Because lenders use credit scores to determine the interest rate charged, a poor credit score will inevitably lead to higher APRs from lenders. Those with poor credit looking to consolidate their debt will often find that a debt consolidation loan company can offer a better interest rate than payday loans or credit card companies.

Comparing Bad Credit Loan Options

When comparing lenders for bad credit score loans, the first thing you want to check for is if there is a credit score minimum. You can save yourself time by only applying for loans that do not require any minimum. You also, ideally, want to select a lender that offers flexible terms, which includes factors such as repayment fees, the length of the loan, and so on.

Other important qualifications lenders will sometimes consider when looking for a loan with a poor credit score include:

  • The borrower’s debt-to-income ratio, or what percentage of your gross monthly income goes towards paying your monthly debt payments;
  • Your monthly cash flow, which is your total gross monthly income from all sources;
  • Any collateral you might have to put up against the loan. These could be real estate, boats, cars, or any other valuable asset;
  • If there is a co-applicant for the loan, the lender will also consider their credit score. If it is good, that could not only qualify you for a loan; it might also get you better terms.

Another factor to consider is the actual terms of the loan. The more flexible these are, the better off you’ll often be when it comes to repaying the loan. Your loan terms include:

  • The interest rate. The lower this is, the better off you’ll be since more of your payment will go towards paying down the principle rather than going towards interest.
  • The length of the loan. Included in this is the ability to pay the loan off early. You may choose a longer loan term to keep your monthly payments low, but with the intent to pay down the principle through additional payments.
  • Monthly payments. Try to keep these reasonable. You don’t want a monthly payment that’s so high that you might not be able to meet it easily each month.

Don’t forget about the “small print”. Lenders may include additional terms that increase the cost of your loan. Watch out for:

  • Fees. You can expect some standard fees, such as loan origination fees. Be careful, however, as these fees can be as great as 10% of the loan value.
  • Penalties. Take note of the potential penalties, such as late payment. Also, look to see if there is a penalty for paying the loan off early. Avoid this type of penalty if possible.

Turn the loan to your advantage. Your bad credit loan doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Instead, it presents you with an excellent credit-building opportunity. There are two prominent reasons for this:

  • This type of installment loan improves your credit mix. It can also slightly boost your credit score by adding a new installment loan. Just be sure you can make the monthly payments. Miss those, and your credit could be worse off than before.
  • By paying off your credit cards with the debt consolidation loan, you’ll significantly improve your credit utilization rate, which is a major factor in determining your credit score.

Additionally, it’s important to pay attention to the APR as opposed to the interest rate. APR will include any hidden fees that may be involved when securing a loan from a lender so you can have a better idea of what you’ll be paying.

This is where marketplace lenders come in handy. You only have to submit one form to view offers from multiple lenders, making it easy to compare rates and terms.

The Best Bad Credit Loans by Need

If you’re unsure where to start in your search for loans with no credit or loans with bad credit, there are many reputable lenders and marketplaces that cater specifically to those with poor credit or no credit at all. These lenders will view not only your credit score but your entire financial profile for the approval process. Determining creditworthiness includes your debt-to-income ratio, your income, job stability, and other factors.

  • Best for Poor Credit Scores: Upgrade
  • Best for Limited Credit History: Monevo

Best Personal Loans For Credit Score Under 600

Lender APR Min Credit Score
Loan Term (Months)
Lendingtree 2.49-35.99% 300 1-180
Bestegg 5.99-29.99% 600 36, 60
LoansUnder36 5.99-35.99% 300 3-72

Uses for Personal Loans While Having Poor Credit

Even with bad credit, you can still qualify for all kinds of loans — personal loans or otherwise. Just be prepared to spend more time researching so you aren’t stuck at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to loan terms and rates.

Most of the time, those with bad credit wouldn’t be taking out new personal loans. However, there are some situations where someone might be compelled to do so. Taking a personal loan for financing medical expenses is one common example since your health is irreplaceable. 

Most people wouldn’t want to get extravagant with personal bad credit loans though. They might take a car financing personal loan if they need that vehicle for work but doesn’t make good financial sense to finance a car as a luxury. 

Another possibility is taking an emergency household loan. But again, one should make sure that it’s necessary and that they had exhausted all other possibilities before considering a personal loan.

Types of Loans for Bad Credit

Several types of personal loans are accessible, even when you have a poor credit score. Among these are both secured and unsecured loans, credit cards, and cash advances. If you have no alternative to high-interest rate bad credit loans, then these are the various loans you might consider:

  • Personal secured loans: Secured loans are backed by collateral, making them the easiest type of loan to be approved for when you have bad credit. The types of secured loans you might come across include mortgages and home equity loans, auto loans, and home equity lines of credit (HELOCs). Because you’re securing the loan with some type of collateral, it is imperative to be confident you won’t default, as the lender would then be able to take the asset used to secure the loan.
  • Personal unsecured loans: If you don’t have collateral for a secured loan, or don’t want to use the collateral you might have, then an unsecured loan is the answer. Many lenders are offering unsecured loans for those with poor credit scores. These include banks, credit unions, online lenders, and others. Unsecured loans typically have a shorter repayment period, often less than five years. Because there is no collateral securing the loan, this type of loan is usually more expensive than a secured loan.
  • Credit cards: If you have a credit card, you can certainly use it to consolidate any other debts you might have. And when used properly, credit card loans can help you improve your credit score. The important thing to remember is that you’ll need to be able to pay at least the minimum payment every month. However, it would be wise to pay more than the minimum; otherwise, you could be paying the loan back for an extremely long time, and your interest charges over time could be more than the amount you borrowed.

Cash advances: Credit card issuers will often offer cash advances when you need a small number of funds quickly. Another alternative for cash advances is payday lenders; however, these loans can have extremely high-interest rates. Often they need to be repaid within weeks, if not days. In general, any type of cash advance loan will be the most expensive option for a bad credit borrower.

The Implications of Bad Credit on Securing a Loan

The system of credit scores is designed to measure a borrower’s ability to pay back loans over time and ensure that borrowers don’t exceed a set percentage of their income in terms of the amount borrowed and their monthly payments. Higher credit scores indicate a borrower who is more likely to repay their loans. Lenders prefer to work with customers who have a proven track record of paying their bills on time and earning enough money to stay on top of their debt while honoring all terms and agreements. That said, lenders make their money by charging interest on loans and will accept additional risk, in the form of a risky borrower, in exchange for higher interest rates on the loan.

What is Considered a Poor Credit Score?

Credit scores are determined by the four credit reporting agencies, and each has its own methodology for calculating credit scores. Factors included are payment history, amounts owed, length of credit history, new credit, and credit mix. Typically, any score under 600 will be considered “poor” credit and will impact the ability to secure a loan.

A credit score under 600 likely won’t completely disqualify one for a loan. Still, it will increase the interest rate and, by extension, the total amount paid on the loan over time.

Bad Credit Loans to Avoid

One example of a bad credit loan to avoid is a payday loan. This is a short-term, small amount loan that provides quick cash but incredibly high-interest rates — sometimes as high as 400%. This option can be tempting because virtually anyone can get approved, including those with the lowest of credit scores.

It’s highly advisable to pass on these types of predatory loans, as there are plenty of loans available from reputable lenders with more reasonable interest rates. Sure, with bad credit your APR may be higher than if you had good credit, but it will not be as high as the APR one would pay on a payday loan or similar cash advance loan.

How to Avoid Bad Credit Loan Scams

Whenever money is involved, you can be sure there are unsavory characters looking to scam honest people. Unfortunately, the bad credit loan industry isn’t immune to this, so consumers need to keep their eyes open for potential scams. There are several ‘red flags’ one can look for to avoid potential scams. Such red flags include:

Guarantees before assessing application – Lender approval is always based on factors that include the borrower’s credit history, employment status, debt-to-income ratio and other factors. If a lender offers guaranteed approval before assessing these factors, it’s almost surely a scam.

Missing state license/registration by the Federal Trade Commission – Lenders and loan brokers must be registered in the states where they are doing business. So if you can’t find a state registration or license for the lender or loan broker, it’s a certain red flag that you’re being scammed.

Pressure for immediate action without due consideration – Reputable lenders do not have constantly changing loan conditions. Therefore, they will not pressure you into accepting a loan based on some deadline. Instead, the reputable lender would be more likely to delay as they take time to research your credit history fully.

Prepayment (outside of reasonable processing fees) – These are also known as “advance-fee loan scams”. The scammer lures borrowers in by offering low-interest rate bad credit loans and then asks for fees in the form of applications, processing, or documentation. Remember that legitimate lenders always disclose all their fees and often roll those fees into the loan itself rather than asking for prepayment.

Unsecured website – Lenders handle huge amounts of personal information, including social security numbers, birth dates, and login credentials. This means they need extremely secure websites to protect their customers. When dealing with websites, this means having a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certification. You can check for this by looking at the URL of the website. If it begins with “HTTPS”, it is secure, but you should avoid it as a potential scam if it only has the “HTTP” prefix.

Lack of a physical address – A reputable lender will always have a physical address where they conduct business and receive mail. Even lenders who work exclusively online will have a physical location as their headquarters. A physical location means customers can visit the business. It also provides accountability for the business to be contacted in the event of some legal action. Any lender without a physical address should be considered a potential scam. Even lenders with a P.O. box should be handled with care.

Steps for Applying for a Personal Bad Credit Loan

A bad credit score doesn’t have to stand in your way if you need a personal loan to cover an emergency or other expenses. Getting a personal loan with a low credit score doesn’t have to be complicated either. Just follow these five steps:

  1.   Check your credit score. Many lenders have minimum credit score requirements, so applying if your credit score is below their requirements is likely a waste of time. Besides checking the score, you might want to look at the full credit report to make sure no errors are lowering your score unnecessarily.
  2.     Compare several lenders. Each lender not only has its own credit score requirements, but they also have its own rate ranges and other borrower requirements, so it’s worth it to look into several potential lenders. You could get lower fees, a better interest rate, or other upgrades to help improve your credit score or manage your loan payments.
  3.     Pre-qualify. When you pre-qualify for a personal loan, you’ll know the interest rate, loan amount, and repayment terms in advance. Plus, pre-qualification does not affect your credit score. Therefore, it can be especially useful in comparing loan offers.
  4.     Add to your application. Consider adding collateral or a co-signer to your application. You can take a secured loan with collateral, which typically offers a lower rate and could help you qualify for a loan that the lender might have otherwise rejected. Co-signers can provide the same benefits since the lender also takes their credit score and income information into account for the loan.

5.     Apply. Gather other documents you might need, such as W-2s or pay stubs, and file that application. Some lenders can give you a decision the same day, while others might take several days, but none will be able to provide you with a decision until you apply.

Tips for Finding a Better Bad Credit Loan

So how do you get a personal loan with bad credit or get a loan with no credit at all? The key is to put in the time to research your options. Gone are the days when consumers were limited to traditional brick-and-mortar banks and credit unions.

In today’s digital age, there’s a wealth of online lenders to choose from when it comes to finding and comparing loans. Just prepare yourself—having poor credit means you won’t qualify for all of them, and those you do qualify for will come with a higher APR.

If you’re having trouble getting approved or finding a comfortable interest rate, here are a few ways you can get approved for loans with bad credit:

Get a Co-signer

If you have a friend, spouse, or close family member with good credit, having them cosign on your loan can make a difference in whether or not you get approved. Additionally, having a trustworthy cosigner can also snag you a better interest rate on your loan.

Marketplace Lenders

Try using an online personal loan marketplace like LendingTree or Monevo. These platforms are free to use and they work with reputable lenders. You can see if you qualify for a loan in a matter of minutes after providing a few details about yourself and your financial profile. From there, they’ll run a soft credit check which won’t harm your credit score, and you can then compare rates from lenders you qualify for.

Improve Your Credit Score

If you aren’t satisfied with the bad credit loan terms you’re receiving from lenders you qualify for, it’s time to start working on improving your credit score. Even if you need a loan fast and ultimately decide to opt for a high-interest loan today, getting started on boosting your credit score now can help you earn better loan rates or even refinance your loan in the future.

Here are a few ways you can improve your credit score:

  • Always pay your bill on time, every time. When viewing your credit report, lenders care about payment history, which will give them a better idea of your ability to repay a loan on time.
  • Keep your debts low. Lenders also pay attention to your debt-to-income ratio, so it’s best to pay down your debts rather than racking up new ones.
  • Don’t max out your credit cards. The more available credit you have on your credit cards, the better. In fact, it’s a good idea to request a higher credit limit on your credit card even if you don’t need it—just do so sparingly, as this will require a hard credit check.
  • Keep unused credit cards open. While it may be tempting, don’t close out unused or paid-off credit cards. Doing so can hurt your credit. Keeping a credit card open will increase your credit history, which is a good thing and can give your score a nice boost.
  • Review your credit report. Check your credit report for any errors or inaccuracies that can affect a lender’s decision when approving you for a loan.
  • Add yourself as an authorized user. If you have a friend or family member with good credit, you can improve your credit simply by having them add you as an authorized user to their credit card or loan. Just keep in mind that while this can help your score if they make payments on time, it can also hurt it if they don’t.

Conclusion

Searching for the best personal loan with satisfactory rates and loan terms will always require work, whether you have excellent credit or bad credit. If you have a little time on your side, start researching the various lenders out there—whether it’s a traditional bank, credit union, or online lender. While many lending institutions place a heavy emphasis on one’s credit score, there are just as many who look at other factors when making a decision.

If you need a loan fast but aren’t happy with the rates you’re seeing, try adding a cosigner to give you a boost, or even applying for a secured loan if you have a valuable asset to back it up. And remember, it’s never too late to start improving your credit score. You can build it up faster than you think, and doing so will open the doors to much better loan rates in the future.

How do I know if I have a bad credit history?

What causes a low credit score?

Can I get a personal loan with a bad credit score?