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Best Loans for Bad Credit

Upgrade offers the best loans for bad credit

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Personal loans can help you fund your next project or purchase, and are a great way to lower the interest rates on your outstanding debt. But if you have bad credit, it can be difficult to find a lender to work with. With a poor credit score or negative marks on your credit reports, many lenders won’t offer you a loan, and some charge astronomical interest rates.

But there are several online lenders that offer personal loans at reasonable rates to borrowers with bad credit, and also offer opportunities to bring on a co-applicant or co-signer to help you qualify for better terms. After reviewing dozens of lenders, we’ve found the top loan companies for borrowers with poor credit, all offering competitive rates, quick online applications, and flexible repayment terms.

Best Loans for Bad Credit of January 2023

Why Trust Us
38
Lenders reviewed
40
Loan features considered
1,520
Data points analyzed
112
Primary data sources used
Investopedia collected key data points from several lenders to identify the most important factors to borrowers. We used this data to review each lender for fees, accessibility, repayment terms, and other features to provide unbiased, comprehensive reviews to ensure our readers make the right borrowing decision for their needs.

Is your credit not too bad, or are you planning to apply with a co-signer? See our picks for the best personal loans to find the best possible rate.

Best Overall : Upgrade

The Balance's Rating
4.3

  • APR Range: 7.96% - 35.97%
  • Time To Receive Loan: 1 day
  • Loan Amount: $1,000 - $50,000
Pros and Cons
Pros
  • Co-applicants available

  • Low minimum recommended credit score of only 560

  • Next-day funding available

Cons
  • Up to 8.99% origination fee

  • Late payment fees applied

Why We Chose It

Upgrade offers some of the best personal loans for bad credit because of its low credit score requirement, fast funding, and payment flexibility. You can borrow $1,000 to $50,000. Once you take out an Upgrade loan, you’ll be able to change your payment dates to better fit your budget. You can also land a 0.5% autopay discount and take advantage of a free credit monitoring program, known as Credit Health.

With Credit Health, you can monitor your VantageScore 3.0 credit score and receive tips on how to improve it so you can open the doors to loans with great rates and terms in the future. Upgrade also offers a handy mobile app you can use to access Credit Health, manage your loan, and make payments.

Upgrade offers reasonable rates, but can charge more than 35% APR on some loans. And there is an origination fee of up to 8.99% on all personal loans, which is deducted from your total loan amount. You can apply with a co-signer who has better credit, if possible, to get a better chance at qualifying along with lower rates and fees.

Qualifications
  • U.S. citizen or permanent resident, or living in the U.S. on a valid visa
  • At least 18 years old (19 years old in Alabama and certain other states)
  • Able to provide a verifiable bank account
  • Able to provide a valid email address
  • Qualify based on credit score, credit usage, and payment history

Best for Quick Loan Funding : Rocket Loans

The Balance's Rating
4.0

  • APR Range: 8.42% - 29.99%
  • Time To Receive Loan: 0 days
  • Loan Amount: $2,000 - $45,000
Pros and Cons
Pros
  • Minimum 580 credit score

  • Can prequalify without hurting credit score

  • Same-day funding possible

Cons
  • Charges an origination fee

  • Rates can be as high as 29.99%

  • Only two potential loan terms

Why We Chose It

Rocket Loans is the sister company of Rocket Mortgage, an online mortgage lender. Rocket Loans offers personal loans that you can apply for online, with same-day funding available. The loan process can be completed in less than one hour, and if the promissory note on the loan is signed by 1 p.m. Eastern Time, funds may be deposited in your bank account on the same business day.

Rocket Loans offers personal loans from $2,000 up to $45,000, and there are only two loan terms to choose from (36 and 60 months). Rocket Loans has a recommended minimum 580 credit score to qualify, and rates start under 9% APR. The origination fee on loans can be up to 7% based on your credit and financial history, and rates go as high as 29.99%. 

Overall, Rocket Loans is the first place to look if you need quick funding for personal loans.

Qualifications
  • At least 18 years old
  • U.S. resident
  • Qualify based on monthly income, tax forms, and debt-to-income ratio (DTI)

Best for Refinancing : Avant

The Balance's Rating
3.7

  • APR Range: 9.95% - 35.95%
  • Time To Receive Loan: 1 day
  • Loan Amount: $2,000 - $35,000
Pros and Cons
Pros
  • Personal loan refinancing available

  • Next-day funding

  • Minimum credit score of 550

Cons
  • Origination fees on all loans

  • Late payment fee of $25

  • No co-signers or co-applicants

Why We Chose It

Avant offers personal loans, and those loans can be refinanced if needed (which is rare). Most personal loan companies won’t refinance an existing unsecured personal loan, but Avant allows you to refinance, and possibly even lower your rate. Avant states that customers that receive additional funding as part of their refinance may get a lower APR.

Avant offers personal loans from $2,000 to $35,000, and flexible repayment terms from 12 to 60 months in length. Next-day funding is available for borrowers who need access to cash quickly, and rates start at 9.95% APR.

Avant charges an origination fee of 4.75%, assessed on all loans, and interest rates can go up to 35.95%, which is high. And co-signers and co-applicants are not available, so you will need to qualify as an individual. 

Overall, Avant is a flexible lender that allows you to refinance your unsecured loan if needed.

Qualifications
  • At least 18 years old (or age of majority in your state)
  • U.S. resident with a Social Security number
  • Live in a supported state (not Hawaii, Iowa, New York, Vermont, or West Virginia)
  • Minimum credit score of 550
  • At least $1,200 monthly net income
  • Maximum DTI of 70%

Best for Low Fees : LendingPoint

The Balance's Rating
3.6

  • APR Range: 7.99% - 35.99%
  • Time To Receive Loan: 1 day
  • Loan Amount: $2,000 - $36,500
Pros and Cons
Pros
  • No application or prepayment fees

  • Origination fee as low as 0%

  • Low rates for qualified borrowers

Cons
  • Max APR up to 35.99%

  • No co-signers or co-applicants

Why We Chose It

LendingPoint is an online lender that offers personal loans with low fees and competitive rates. There are no application or prepayment fees, and the origination fee may be waived for certain applicants. Loans are available from $2,000 up to $36,500.

Interest rates vary, but start at 7.99% APR, which is low compared to other lenders. Repayment terms vary from 24 months up to 72 months in length, giving borrowers flexibility on their monthly payment options.

Once you make timely payments for six months, LendingPoint will review your account and may give you a lower rate. Depending on your situation, you might even qualify for more than one personal loan. The lender also offers hardship assistance that can come in handy if you lose your job or are unable to make your payments for certain other reasons.

Overall, LendingPoint offers low fees and a simple application process for personal loans.

Qualifications
  • 18 years or older
  • Provide a U.S federal, state, or local government-issued photo ID and a Social Security number
  • Minimum annual income of $35,000 (from employment, retirement, or some other source)
  • Have a verifiable personal banking account in your name
  • Not reside in Nevada or West Virginia

Best for Very Low Credit : Upstart

The Balance's Rating
3.7

  • APR Range: 6.50% - 35.99%
  • Time To Receive Loan: 0 days
  • Loan Amount: $1,000 - $50,000
Pros and Cons
Pros
  • Minimum credit score only 300

  • Same-day funding possible

  • Low minimum rates

Cons
  • High average rates

  • Up to 10% origination fee

  • Not available in all states

Why We Chose It

Upstart offers personal loans to borrowers with very low credit scores, only requiring a 300 credit score to apply. Considering this is the lowest score possible, this means you have a chance of approval even if you’ve wrecked your credit. You can prequalify in just a few minutes online, without hurting your score.

Upstart will look at your credit history, income, employment history, and other factors when considering you for a loan. This means that you don't have to rely solely on your credit score to qualify.

But Upstart does charge a high origination fee (up to 10% of the loan), and you might pay up to 35.99% APR. But on the other end, rates can be as low as 6.5%. Upstart is not available in West Virginia and Iowa.

Overall, Upstart is ideal for applicants who have a very low credit score but still need access to a personal loan.

Qualifications
  • U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • Must not live in West Virginia or Iowa
  • At least 18 years old
  • Valid email account
  • Have a verifiable name, Social Security number, and birth date
  • Minimum credit score of 300
  • Have a full time job, a full time job offer starting in 6 months (except if accepted to a partner bootcamp and seeking employment after graduation), a regular part time job, or another source of regular income
  • Have a personal banking account at a U.S. financial institution with a routing transit number

Best for Military Members and Vets : Navy Federal Credit Union

The Balance's Rating
4.0

  • APR Range: 7.49% - 18.00%
  • Time To Receive Loan: 0 days
  • Loan Amount: $250 - $50,000
Pros and Cons
Pros
  • Flexible loan terms

  • No origination fees

  • Minimum loan of $250

Cons
  • Requires Navy Federal membership

  • No prequalification available

Why We Chose It

Navy Federal offers personal loans to members of the credit union, which is open to all military members (and their families). Navy Federal loans are available from 2 to 15 years in length, and there are no origination fees.

Navy Federal offers several loan options for different types of expenses, with lower rates available on shorter-term loans. Loans up to 36 months offer rates as low as 7.49%, but longer-term loans may charge 14% or more (at a minimum).

Navy Federal offers loans as low as $250 for small expenses, and up to $50,000 for larger needs. There is no prequalification tool, so you must submit a full application to see your rates.

Overall, Navy Federal offers quite a range of loan options for military members and veterans, but if you don’t qualify for membership, it won’t be for you.

Qualifications
  • Navy Federal member
  • At least the age of majority in your state
  • U.S. citizen, eligible permanent resident, or non-permanent resident alien
  • Available in all 50 U.S. states and Washington, D.C. 
  • Qualify based on credit history, income, and other financial factors
  • Meet minimum borrowing requirements

Best Credit Union : First Tech Federal Credit Union

The Balance's Rating
4.1

  • APR Range: 8.99% - 18.00%
  • Time To Receive Loan: 0 days
  • Loan Amount: $500 - $50,000
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • No fees (application, origination, prepayment)

  • Quick funding of loans

  • Minimum recommended credit score of only 600

Cons
  • Need to be a First Tech FCU member

  • Rates are higher for longer-term loans

Why We Chose It

First Tech Credit Union is a national credit union available to anyone in the U.S., offering personal loans with no fees and same-day funding. You must be a First Tech member to apply for a loan, but membership is free.

A minimum credit score of only 600 is recommended for applicants without co-signers, which means you can apply even with poor credit. First Tech offers both secured and unsecured personal loans, with low rates and no origination fees. This can save you hundreds of dollars, depending on the loan amount.

First Tech offers loans starting at just $500 all the way up to $50,000. Loan repayment terms are from 2 to 7 years in length, but the rates are higher for longer-term loans. 

If you are a First Tech member (or want to join), First Tech FCU is a great option for personal loans, even if you have poor credit.

Qualifications
  • U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • At least 18 years old
  • Minimum recommended credit score of 600
  • Qualify based on financial history, credit history, and other factors

Best for Debt Consolidation : Best Egg

The Balance's Rating
4.1

  • APR Range: 8.99% - 35.99%
  • Time To Receive Loan: 1 day
  • Loan Amount: $2,000 - $50,000
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Pays off creditors directly

  • Only need a 600 credit score to apply

  • Can borrow up to $50,000

Cons
  • Not available in all states

  • Origination fee up to 8.99%

Why We Chose It

Best Egg offers personal loans to borrowers with credit scores as low as 600. Best Egg pays your creditors directly, so you can consolidate multiple debts into a single payment without having to pay each company directly. 

Best Egg offers loans as low as $2,000, up to $50,000. Rates start at 7.99%, which could save you a lot in interest payments over time, although Best Egg doesn’t allow co-signers so if you have poor credit you’ll probably get a higher rate. The origination fees range from 0.99%–8.99%.

Best Egg is great for borrowers with limited income, as the annual requirement is only $3,500.

Best Egg charges a minimum 4.99% fee on loans over four years in length. 

Overall, Best Egg makes it easy to consolidate your debt and potentially save; just be aware of the fees and interest rates before applying.

Qualifications
  • U.S. citizen or permanent resident, or living in the U.S. on a valid visa
  • At least 18 years old (19 years old in Alabama and certain other states)
  • Resident of a state supported by Best Egg (not available in Iowa, Vermont, West Virginia, or Washington, D.C.)
  • Verifiable income and employment
  • Minimum recommended 600 credit score
  • Minimum $3,500 annual income

Best for Secured Loan Options : OneMain Financial

The Balance's Rating
3.7

  • APR Range: 18.00% - 35.99%
  • Time To Receive Loan: 1 day
  • Loan Amount: $1,500 - $20,000
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Secured loans available

  • May receive funds within 1 business day

  • Loan minimum of $1,500

Cons
  • Origination fee up to 10% (or $500)

  • Late fee up to 15% (or $30)

  • Not available in all states

Why We Chose It

OneMain Financial offers secured personal loans, which are ideal for borrowers who cannot qualify for an unsecured personal loan. Secured loans require putting up money or property, such as an automobile, for collateral. which acts as a guarantee for the loan. 

OneMain Financial offers secured loans from $1,500 up to $20,000, which can be used for a variety of purposes. If you are consolidating your debt, OneMain will also pay your creditors directly.

There is an origination fee on every personal loan, which can be up to 10% of the loan amount (or $500). Late payment fees can reach 15% as well, which is very high. Overall, OneMain Financial is a decent option for smaller secured personal loans. But keep an eye on the rates and fees when applying.

OneMain Financial is available in most states, but is not available in Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, or Washington, D.C.

Qualifications
  • At least 18 years old (or age of majority in your state)
  • U.S. resident with a Social Security number
  • Live in a supported state (not Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, or Washington, D.C.)
  • Minimum loan of $1,500
  • Must pledge collateral for secured loans
  • Qualify based on financial history, credit score, collateral, and other factors

Best for Small Loan Amounts : Mariner

The Balance's Rating
2.9

  • APR Range: 14.99% - 35.99%
  • Time To Receive Loan: 1 day
  • Loan Amount: $1,000 - $25,000
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Can borrow as little as $1,000

  • No application or prepayment fees

  • In-person branches available

Cons
  • Max APR is 35.99%

  • Not available in all states

Why We Chose It

Mariner Finance offers fairly small personal loans with short repayment terms. Borrowers can access $1,000 to $25,000, and pay back the loan in 12 to 36 months. Rates are a bit higher than competitors, as expected with a lender for poor credit, but there are no application or prepayment fees.

Mariner Finance loans start at 14.99% APR, and rates can go up to 35.99%. Mariner doesn’t publish a minimum required or recommended credit score, but it does support co-signers, which may help you qualify for a better rate.

Mariner Finance is not available in all states. In fact, it only supports 28 states currently. But you can go to a physical branch in those states and apply for a loan in person, rather than online, if you prefer.

Overall, Mariner Finance is a decent option for borrowing small amounts if you live in one of the supported states. (Some of the other lenders on our list may offer smaller loan amounts, but they come with some membership hurdles.)

Qualifications
  • 18 years or older
  • Provide a U.S federal, state, or local government-issued photo ID
  • Have a valid Social Security number
  • Show proof of residence (e.g. a driver’s license with your current address, a utility bill, or a signed lease)
  • Provide proof of income (e.g. pay stubs or tax returns)

Compare the Best Loans for Bad Credit of January 2023

Overall Rating Best For
APR Range
Average Origination Fee
Late Fee
Time To Receive Loan
Loan Amount
Latest Repayment
Reset All
Upgrade
4.3
Best Overall 7.96% - 35.97% 1.85%–8.99% $10.00 1 day $1,000 - $50,000 84 months Check Rates
Hide, not for me
Rocket Loans
4.0
Best for Quick Loan Funding 8.42% - 29.99% 1.00% - 7.00% $15.00 0 days $2,000 - $45,000 60 months Check Rates
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Avant
3.7
Best for Refinancing 9.95% - 35.95% 0.00% - 4.75% $25.00 1 day $2,000 - $35,000 60 months Check Rates
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LendingPoint
3.6
Best for Low Fees 7.99% - 35.99% 0.00% - 8.00% $0.00 - $30.00 1 day $2,000 - $36,500 72 months Check Rates
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Upstart
3.7
Best for Very Low Credit 6.50% - 35.99% 0.00%–10.00% 5% of the late payment amount or $15, whichever is greater 0 days $1,000 - $50,000 60 months Check Rates
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Navy Federal Credit Union
4.0
Best for Military Members and Vets 7.49% - 18.00% 0.00% $29.00 0 days $250 - $50,000 180 months Check Rates
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First Tech Federal Credit Union
4.1
Best Credit Union 8.99% - 18.00% 0.00% $0.00 0 days $500 - $50,000 84 months Check Rates
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Best Egg
4.1
Best for Debt Consolidation 8.99% - 35.99% 0.99% - 8.99% $0.00 1 day $2,000 - $50,000 60 months Check Rates
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OneMain Financial
3.7
Best for Secured Loan Options 18.00% - 35.99% $25 or 1.00% of loan amount $5.00 or 1.50% of loan amount - $30.00 or 15.00% of loan amount 1 day $1,500 - $20,000 60 months Check Rates
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Mariner
2.9
Best for Small Loan Amounts 14.99% - 35.99% Varies by State Varies by State 1 day $1,000 - $25,000 36 months Check Rates
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Final Verdict

Having bad credit doesn’t mean you can’t access quality personal loans. Many companies offer flexible loan terms and decent rates, and you can apply even with a credit score under 650. In fact, many of our top companies have fairly lenient requirements and allow co-signers or co-applicants, giving you more options to qualify.

Upgrade is our top pick, with a flexible qualification process that is welcoming even to those without the best credit. The other lenders on our list are more open than most to borrowers with a poor credit history, and can be just as useful if you’re looking for something like quick loan funding or secured loans. Just make sure to shop around for the best rates with several lenders, and fully understand the interest rates and loan fees before signing the loan application.

Guide to Choosing a Personal Loan for Bad Credit

Should You Get a Personal Loan for Bad Credit?

Your personal situation will determine whether you should take out a personal loan while you have bad credit. If you have an emergency expense and need cash to cover it, it might be a good option. A personal loan can also be useful if you need to pay an essential expense but don’t have the money on hand. They can also be great tools to help you consolidate high-interest debt at a lower interest rate.

Just keep in mind that if you do decide to apply for a personal loan with bad credit, you may find it difficult to get approved. This is because lenders consider borrowers with bad credit scores riskier and may be hesitant to lend them money. 

If you find a lender that approves your application, you may have to pay a higher interest rate that can increase the cost of your loan by thousands of dollars. Plus, you might be on the hook for higher fees and may have to deal with less flexible terms. 

How to Compare Personal Loan Lenders

Not all personal loans for bad credit are created equal. That’s why it’s important to consider the following when you compare your options.

  • Prequalification: Prequalifying for a loan allows you to check your rates and terms without any impact to your credit score. Some lenders allow you to prequalify online and make it easy to find the right choice for your unique needs.
  • Interest rates: Interest is the price you pay to borrow money; when it comes to loans, the interest rate is included as part of the APR. A higher rate will increase the overall cost of the loan while a lower rate can save you hundreds or even thousands.
  • Terms: The term refers to how long you have to repay a loan. While a longer term can lead to lower payments, it will cost you more in interest in the long run.
  • Fees: Most lenders charge fees like origination fees, late fees, and returned payment fees. Some of them, however, are known for low or no fees.
  • Reputation: Just because a lender offers personal loans for bad credit doesn’t mean they are reputable. Check third-party review sites and customer reviews if you’re not sure.
  • Customer service: At some point in time, you may need assistance with your loan. That’s why strong customer service via phone, email, live chat, and/or website resources is essential. 

How to Apply for a Personal Loan

Once you find a lender that meets your needs, it’s time to apply for a loan. Most lenders will let you apply online on their company websites. Be prepared to share your personal and financial information, including your employment status and monthly housing costs, along with why you need the money and how much you’d like to borrow.

Depending on the lender, you may also have to submit certain documents. These may include a government-issued ID, like a driver’s license or passport; pay stubs; tax forms; and/or bank statements to prove your identity and income. 

When a lender receives your application, it will likely perform a hard inquiry, which will impact your credit. Upon approval, you may receive the funds via direct deposit, check, or sometimes prepaid card. You can then manage your loan payments online or through the lender’s mobile app. If you’d like, you can set up automatic payments from a credit card or bank account.

What Does It Mean to Have Bad Credit?

A FICO credit score between 300 and 579 is generally considered to be in the “bad credit” or “poor credit” range. If you have a history of missed payments, bankruptcies, and other negative marks, you might have bad credit.
No credit, on the other hand, means you don’t have any information on your credit reports. This may be because you’re young or recently moved to the U.S. and haven’t opened any credit accounts.

Can I Get a Personal Loan With Bad Credit?

Lenders have different eligibility requirements. Fortunately, some are more lenient than others and are willing to lend to borrowers with bad credit. If you find a personal loan you like but don’t have the best credit, you can apply with a co-signer to increase your chances of approval. 

Or you can work work on improving your credit by paying your bills on time and reducing your debt, and then applying at a later time. Another option is to secure a loan with collateral—collateral is something valuable you own, like your savings account or car.

What’s the Easiest Type of Loan to Get With Bad Credit?

If you have bad credit but want a personal loan, there are several options you may consider, including:

  • Unsecured loans: Unsecured loans are based on your credit and are offered by most lenders. If you go this route, you might find it more difficult to get approved and may be forced to accept higher rates.
  • Secured loans: Secured loans are tied to collateral. Since the lender can seize your collateral if you fail to make your payments, secured loans are easier to qualify for and tend to come with lower rates.
  • Payday loans: Payday loans are small, short-term loans designed to hold you over until you get paid next. While they’re easy to get, you’ll need to pay them back quickly when you receive your next paycheck, usually within a few weeks, and the interest rates are extremely high.
  • Credit cards: Some credit cards are available even if you have bad credit. If possible, find one with no or low annual fees and rewards like cash back or travel points. Be sure to pay your balance in full every month or you might steer yourself into credit card debt.

Methodology

The Balance is dedicated to providing consumers with unbiased, comprehensive reviews of personal loan lenders. To rate providers, we collected hundreds of data points across more than 40 lenders, including interest rates, fees, loan amounts, and repayment terms, to ensure that our reviews help users make informed decisions for their borrowing needs.

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