Do you have bad credit? You’re not alone. According to Experian, in 2019, 16% of Americans had a credit score lower than 579. Unfortunately, the best way to raise your credit score is to pay your bills on time. But when you have bad credit, it can be hard to qualify for an affordable loan, which makes it even harder to maintain responsible payment behavior. To help you get back on track, we’ve put together this list of the very best personal loans for bad credit.
Why personal loans for bad credit?
When you have bad credit, it’s hard to get approved for credit cards or loans. Even if you do get approved, the offers you receive will charge higher interest rates than you’d receive if you had fair or good credit.
However, in order to improve your credit score, you’ll need to use credit. If you simply abstain from taking out loans or paying with credit, your credit score won’t change.
Fortunately, even if you have bad credit, you still have options. Some lenders consider other factors (such as your income and employment history) in addition to your credit score. And some don’t run a credit check at all. These loans will still be more expensive than those available for applicants with stellar credit, but they’re a good deal cheaper than a payday loan.
Ready to evaluate your options? Read on to find our list of the best personal loans for poor credit.
The best personal loans for bad credit
SuperMoney’s list of the best personal loans for poor credit is dynamically generated based on community feedback. The lenders above boast a history of great customer service, intuitive client portals, and flexible payment options. Additionally, we prioritize lenders that pre-approve applicants with a soft credit check before running a hard credit inquiry.
Frequently asked questions
Can you get a personal loan with a credit score of 550?
Yes, but it’ll be harder than it would be if you had good credit! Many lenders won’t even consider an applicant with a credit score under 600. However, there are lenders who are willing to loan money to applicants with FICO scores under 580. Try the lenders on the list above to get started.
How can I get a loan with bad credit?
Even if you have bad credit, there are steps you can take to improve your odds of getting approved for a loan!
Lenders with flexible approval criteria may want to interview you in person. The main purpose will be to determine if you can afford the loan payments.
If you have bad credit, you’ll need to use other examples of responsible payment behavior to prove that you can meet your commitments. Show the loan officer proof that you’ve paid off other assets on time, like a mortgage or an auto loan. Or if you’ve never missed a rent payment, show them proof of that.
Also, if you’ve lived in the same home for a long time and have a steady job, you have a better chance of being approved for a loan.
And if all else fails, you can always take measures to improve your credit before re-applying.
How else can I get cash fast if I have bad credit?
It’s tough to find personal loans for poor credit! If you’re unable to get approved even when applying to lenders with flexible terms, here are some alternatives:
- Do you have a relative or trusted friend with good credit? Find a lender that allows cosigners and ask your friend to co-sign the loan.
- If you own your home, you can borrow against the equity in your home with a home equity loan or a HELOC. Since these are secured by the equity in your home, they’re easy to get, and their interest rates are affordable. But be aware of the risk: if you fail to make your payments on time, you could lose your home.
- Your local credit union may be your best option for an unsecured personal loan. All federal credit unions have a maximum APR of 18% on loans. Plus, if you’re already a member of a credit union, they’re much likelier to approve your application.
- If you have valuable assets to use as collateral, a secured loan can offer you affordable interest rates.
- As a last resort, you can look for a payday loan. Payday lenders rarely run a credit check, but these loans usually feature high interest rates and short loan terms, and have a famously high rollover rate. You should only take out a payday loan if you have no other options.
What will I need when applying for a loan with poor credit?
Lenders who loan to applicants with bad credit often consider other factors, like income and employment status, more heavily than your credit score. As such, they’ll need documentation about these other factors. These documents may include:
- Tax returns from at least the last two years.
- Pay stubs.
- List of unsecured debts such as credit card and medical bills.
- List of assets and how far you are in paying them off.
- Alimony or child support payments.
- Bank statements.
- Bankruptcy or other legal judgments against you.
Remember, you shouldn’t use a personal loan as a way to extend your debt problems. Using a personal loan to consolidate your debts can be a smart financial move. But if you’re simply taking out one loan to pay off another, it will only delay your problems.
That said, if you’re in need of fast cash for an urgent expense, or you’d like to improve your credit through responsible payment behavior, a personal loan can be a great solution.
Ready to get started? Compare personal loans for bad credit and other top-rated loan options in our database of vetted personal lenders.