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Best Personal Loans for the Unemployed

February 2024

Getting approved for a personal loan when you don't have a job can be a struggle. But it's not impossible. Find out which lenders offer the best personal loans to borrowers who are unemployed.
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A personal loan can be a great way to finance a big purchase or pay off an unexpected expense, but getting approved when you don't have a steady income source is a challenge. However, it might still be possible. That doesn't mean you should get a personal loan. You may also want to consider alternatives, such as getting a side job or using a credit card.
This is our list of the most-recommended personal loans for the unemployed.

Methodology

SuperMoney's list of top-rated personal loans for the unemployed is based on our community members' qualitative recommendations and the quantitative recommendations of our ranking algorithms. Additionally, we prioritize lenders that pre-approve applicants with a soft credit check before running a hard credit inquiry.

Commonly Asked Questions About Personal Loans for the Unemployed

Can I get a personal loan if I'm unemployed?

Yes, people can get personal loan offers without a job! However, your options will be more limited, and you may have to get a little creative to provide proof of income. The following alternative income streams can all demonstrate your ability to pay off a loan:
  • Unemployment benefits
  • Freelance income from a side job
  • Retirement benefits
  • A spouse's income
  • Investment income (assuming you receive a regular income from your investments)
  • Alimony or child support payments

How can I get a personal loan without proof of income?

Some banks and credit unions will consider people without an income stream. However, to get a decent offer without proof of income, you'll need to have a great credit score. If your credit history is less-than-great, you may need to secure a more creditworthy cosigner to get approved.
Alternatively, you can acquire an income stream before applying for a loan. These days, it's relatively easy to take on a side hustle in the gig economy. Once you start delivering food or groceries for Postmates or Instacart, you'll have the proof of income you need to get a loan offer.

Can I get a loan while on unemployment benefits?

Yes, some credit unions and banks will consider unemployment benefits as a valid source of income in their application process. The loan amounts available to you may be lower. Of course, they will also consider other factors, such as your credit score and your payment history.

What do lenders consider when evaluating a loan application if you're unemployed?

As well as your income, lenders look at multiple factors when evaluating your loan application. These include your investments, retirement accounts, debt-to-income ratio, and credit history.

What are some alternatives to personal loans for the unemployed?

Do you need cash fast for an emergency expense, but you're unsure if a personal loan is the right solution for your circumstances? There are several types of loans to consider. Try the following alternatives for unemployed borrowers:
  • If you have a good credit score, credit cards with a 0% APR introductory period may be your cheapest option. Assuming you can pay off your balance before the promotional period ends, the money will be totally interest-free! However, if your credit history is not great, you may only qualify for a high interest credit card.
  • Are you a homeowner? Borrow against the equity in your home with a home equity loan or home equity line of credit. You risk losing your home if you default on the loan, but they typically offer favorable terms.
  • A secured loan is lower-risk and easier to qualify for, even for applicants with a poor credit score or no income.
  • The government provides various financial assistance programs to help keep you afloat while unemployed. Find out if you qualify for government assistance programs, such as the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.

How can I find personal loans if I don't have a steady source of income?

The list of best personal loans for the unemployed included above is an excellent place to start. However, you can also compare the rates and terms of other lenders using SuperMoney's free loan comparison tools. Compare rates and terms side-by-side, and remember to get at least three offers before committing. You can also use our personal loan engine to check your rates and terms with leading lenders in just a few minutes. Pre-applying for a loan is a great way to determine what you qualify for, and it won't hurt your credit score!

About the Author


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SuperMoney is the most comprehensive financial services comparison site around. We have published hundreds of personal finance articles and provide detailed reviews on thousands of financial products and services. Our unbiased advice and free comparison tools help consumers make smart financial decisions based on hard data, not marketing gimmicks.

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