The best bad credit loans (As of April 2021)
Unlike before, consumers can now apply and qualify for a bad credit loan. With a bad credit score, you may not qualify for the best rates out there. But still, interest rates for bad credit loans are lower than those imposed on payday loans.
Here, we have review different bad credit loan options. The recommendations in our list are easy to qualify for once you meet the requirements. The interest rates are also manageable for consumers with bad credit scores.
How to find the best personal loans for bad credit
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With the information we have, it will be easier to find the best loan product for your needs.
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We have listed the lenders based on important factors like;
- The APRs and fees charged
- Loan requirements
- The maximum loan amounts.
Rates applied on bad credit loans as of April 2021
|Lender||Minimum credit score||Best for||APR charged|
|Bad credit loans||unspecified||Applicants with poor credit||5.99% to 35.99%|
|Upstart||600||Limited or no||8.94% to 35.99%|
|OneMain Financial||unspecified||Loans backed up with collateral||18.00% to 35.99%|
|TD Bank||unspecified||Low rate caps||6.99% to 21.99%|
|Avant||580||A wide range of payment options||9.95%–35.99%|
|LendingPoint||590||Small short term loans||9.99%–35.99%|
|Upgrade||unspecified||Instant funding||6.94%–35.97% (with autopay)|
|LendingClub||600||100& online experience||8.05%–35.89%|
What you need to know about bad credit loans
Bad credit is at times referred to as low credit or limited credit history. There are several things that can reduce your credit score and put you in the bad credit category. The main ones include;
- Making late payments
- Defaulting on loans and
- Going above your credit card limits
Bad credit loans or loans for bad credit are a good choice for consumers who have many negative marks in their credit report. The loans also target consumers with a limited credit history.
You can find secured bad credit loans.
This means that you have to issue an asset (like your car, house, savings account, etc.) To qualify for the loans. Others are unsecured. The loans vary in interest rates, loan terms, and fees.
Different institutions offer loans to consumers with bad credit. You can apply for loans from banks, direct lenders, and credit unions.
Also, the criteria used to determine your creditworthiness varies depending on the lender. There are some lenders with tight requirements compared to others.
This is why it is always advised to compare different options before making a decision.
Bad credit loans and the Coronavirus
The increase in economic stimulus payment has helped millions of Americans who need a break. Still, this is not enough to provide relief for those with poor credit scores.
The Covid 19 Pandemic has affected our finances the same way it has affected our health. For instance, online lenders have revised their loan lending requirements.
With a good credit score, lenders can waive fees or even defer payments. But still, those who intend to apply for the loans find it very difficult during these hard times.
Banks are currently not lending money due to the risks involved. Online lenders continue lending the money but with high-interest rates. On the positive side, there are now lenders that offer coronavirus hardships loans.
What challenges do bad credit borrowers have?
Generally, people with bad credit scores find it difficult to qualify for loans. This is the opposite of those with excellent credit. Their borrowing options are also limited.
Even those who would otherwise qualify for loans in the best of times find it very challenging now. But those who qualify can still enjoy the low-interest rates.
According to financial advisers, the trick lies in shopping around. If one lender denies you a loan doesn’t mean that others will also follow suit.
With so many options available, there will always be that lender who will be willing to work with you.
At times, you might have bad credit but are not sure whether applying for a loan will work. In this case, consider starting your search with your bank.
That is, where your savings or checking account is). You can even check whether you pre-qualify from lenders that offer bad credit loans.
Defining a bad credit score
There are different credit scoring models used to determine consumers’ credit scores. The most common and popular one is FICO. The highest FICO score is 850 while the lowest score is 300. A FICO score of between 579 and 300 is in the category of low or poor credit.
Effects of having poor credit
Poor credit will not only have an impact on loan approvals. You might also find it difficult to rent an apartment, get employment or buy a home.
Even if you are lucky to get approved, your interest rate and fees will be on the higher end. Luckily, there are simple things you can change in life to improve your credit score.
This can be paying bills on time and prevent over-borrowing on credit cards.
How to get a bad credit loan
Even if you have bad credit, it is still possible to qualify for a personal loan. The only thing you should be aware of is that your interest rate will be a bit higher.
Below, we have explained important steps to help you apply and qualify for the loans.
Check your credit score
Start by knowing what your credit score is. You can request copies of your credit reports for free from the credit bureaus. You can get access to free credit reports once every year.
But for now, you can get weekly access to your credit reports up to April 2022.
Only apply for a loan if you can afford to pay
Check your budget and determine whether you can afford to repay an extra loan. If not, it is better if you don’t take out the loan at all.
Compare different options before applying
Bank loans have stringent requirements. But they also come with more affordable rates compared to other options.
So if you can qualify for a personal loan from your local bank, the better it will be for you. If not, compare options from different online lenders. Also, ensure that you go through the terms and conditions before applying.
Take advantage of prequalification
A majority of online lenders allow borrowers to prequalify.
This means knowing whether you can qualify for a loan before applying. It makes it easier to shop around without hurting your credit score.
Consider applying for secured loans
There are also online lenders that provide secured personal loans. The loans are a good option for those who have poor credit scores. Secured personal loans need collateral.
This can be your car, savings account, home, or any other asset. The loans come with a lower APR compared to the unsecured options.
Add a cosigner
A cosigner pays the loan in case you missed a payment or defaulted. If the cosigner has a good credit standing, it will be easier to qualify for an affordable bad credit loan.
It is always advised to shop around when looking for a loan online. Comparing options gives you a chance to find a lender that offers better loan terms. This especially applies to those with a poor credit score.
With a low credit score, you may not have plenty of loan options available.
But it doesn’t mean that you won’t find a lender who will be willing to work with you. There are so many loan options designed for those with bad credit.
The different types of bad credit loans available
If you have bad credit, there are two main loan options available for you. These include secured and unsecured personal loans. If you can’t qualify for affordable loans from banks, these are alternative options.
- Secured and unsecured personal loans for bad credit
- Personal loans are either secured or unsecured;
These types of loans require some form of security collateral. It can be your home, car, piece of jewelry among other assets.
Usually, secured personal loans come with convenient terms and rates. This is because you have a high chance of paying the loan on time.
If not, you might risk losing your valuable asset. Secured loans are easy to qualify for if you have a poor credit score. The main types of secured loans are auto loans and home equity loans.
With unsecured personal loans, you don’t need to provide collateral. It is your creditworthiness that will determine whether you qualify for a loan.
It will also determine your loan rates. If you have poor credit, qualifying for an unsecured loan may never be easy. Even if you are lucky to qualify, the interest rate might be on the higher end. The main features of unsecured loans include;
- High-interest rates
- High fees
- Lower loan amount
- Secured personal loans are available in large amounts
- With unsecured loans, you don’t require collateral to qualify
- Unsecured loans have high APRs
- Unsecured loans are difficult to qualify for
- If you default on a secured loan, you might risk losing your asset
These are short-term loans offered in smaller amounts (usually not more than 0). Payday loans come with high interest rates and fees.
On the positive side, you can get the money within one business day. You have to pay the money as soon as your paycheck arrives.
- No credit checks
- Easy to apply and qualify
- You can get the money within 24 hours
- A good option for emergencies
- You can apply online from any location
- Extremely high-interest rates (at times over 400%)
- The loans might not be available in some states
- The industry is full of scammers. It is thus important to conduct a deep research before applying
Cash advances are also short-term loans provided by credit card companies. You can borrow the money based on your credit card balance.
- The easiest and fastest way to get cash for short term needs
- The interest rate is quite high for unsecured credit cards.
Home equity loans
Home equity loans are also offered in huge amounts. The loans are paid in fixed monthly installments. They also have a longer repayment term.
With home equity loans, it is your home that acts as collateral. So in case your default, the lender has the right to seize your home. But since it is a secured loan, you can enjoy the low interest rates that come with it.
- People with bad credit can apply and qualify
- Low interest rate
- Manageable repayment plan
- You are putting your home at risk
- It may take years to pay the loan in full
Home equity lines of credit
Home equity lines of credit or HELOC also use your home equity as collateral. But unlike home equity loans, HELOCs work the same way as credit cards.
You only borrow the money when you need it and the interest rate is only paid on the borrowed amount.
- You can take the money when you need it.
- You have full control over the cash
- A good option is you want to do small home improvement projects
- You might risk losing your home
Student loans for bad credit
Student loans can help cover tuition expenses, purchase of textbooks, and accommodation. Very few lenders offer student loans due to the high risks involved. The best place to start is from lenders that specifically offer student loans for bad credit.
Best way to pay for tuition and other related expenses
Difficult to qualify for if you have bad credit
Best bad credit loan lenders
Bad Credit Loans
Best for Those with bad credit
The company connects borrowers to potential lenders who are willing to provide loans for bad credit. It is easy to apply for a loan through the company. You must be at least the age of 18 to qualify for a loan
- The company doesn’t charge any fees
- The application process makes it easier for any person to qualify
- Best place to go if your application can’t get approved elsewhere
- Bad Credit Loans is not a lender. What the company does is send your applications to hundreds of potential lenders. It is therefore important to compare options before applying. This is especially in the loan amount, interest rate, and fees.
APR: Between 5.99% and 35.99%
Loan amount: Not more than $10,000
Loan term: between 3 months and 6 years
Best for: Those with a limited or no credit history
Upstart is popularly known for offering fast and affordable personal loans. The company does not just focus on the individual’s credit history. It also considers the applicant’s level of education, area of study, and job history.
- The loans feature quick approval. You can get the money within 24 hours
- There are no prepayment penalties
- There is an origination fee that is about 8% of the loan amount.
- The company also has other charges. These are a return check fee and late payment fees that can make the loan expensive to pay.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Minimum credit score: 600
APR: Between 8.94 and 35.99
Loan amount: Between $1000 and $50,000
Loan term: 3 to 5 years
Fees: Late payment fee 5%, origination fee up to 8% paper copies fee 10%
Best for Secured loans
The company provides both secured and secured loans for bad credit. With secured loans, you have to provide collateral, which is mainly your vehicle.
- Fast and easy application process
- You can receive the funds within 3 days of applying
- There are more than 15 branches for those who prefer in-store applications
- The company charges an origination fee that differs based on your state. It can be a flat amount of between $25 and $400. At times, it can be a percentage of the principal amount. The percentage may range from one to ten percent.
- There are also late payment fees charged depending on your state as well. The fee falls between $5 and $30. In some states, it can be up to 15% every time you submit your payments late.
APR: 18% to 35%
Loan amount: From $1500 to $20000
Loan term: 24 to 60 months
Fees: Origination fee up to $400 or 15%, insufficient funds fee up to $50
Best for Low rate caps
TD Bank offers both secured and unsecured personal loans. The loan amount ranges from $2,000 to $50,000. The company does not offer the lowest rates around. However, it has a 21.99% cap on its personal loan rates. This makes the loan attractive to those with a poor credit score whose interest can be over 30% in other places.
- Only late fee charged which is usually $10 or 5%
- No annual fees, monthly fees, insufficient funds fee, or prepayment fee
- The loans are not available in all states. Only those who live in the following states can apply;
- New Jersey
- Rhode Island
- New Hampshire
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
- New York
- Washington, D.C
APR: 6.99% to 21.99%
Loan amount: From $2000 to $50,000
Loan term: From 36 to 60 months
Fees: Only late payment fee which is 10 or 5% whichever less
Best for: A wide range of repayment options
Avant approves unsecured loans for bad credit from $2000 to $35,000. The repayment term ranges from 24 to 60 months.
- You can get the money as soon as the next business day
- Many fee charges; administration fee, insufficient funds fee, and late payment fee
Minimum credit score: 550 Vintage, 580 FICO
Loan amount: $2000 to $35,000
Interest rate: 9.95% to 35.99%
Fees: Late fee of $25, an administration fee of 4.745%, insufficient funds fee of $15
Best for Small loans
LendingPoint offers its services in 49 states. It specializes in offering unsecured loans to borrowers with credit scores of as low as 590. The payment term varies from 24 to 60 months depending on different factors.
- Get instant decision
- Once approved, the money is sent to your bank account within 24 hours
- The loan attracts an origination fee of up to 6% depending on your state
- You must earn at least $35,000 per year to qualify
Minimum credit score: 590
APR: Between 9.99% and 35.99%
Loan term: 24 to 60 months
Minimum yearly income: $35000
Fees: Up to 6% origination fee
Best for Fast funding
Upgrade is popular for providing personal loans for bad credit. You can use the loan for;
- Credit card refinancing
- Debt consolidation
- Major purchases
- Home improvements among other needs
- Get instant decision
- Get the money within 24 hours
- An origination fee of between 2.9 and 8%
APR: 6.94% to 35.97%
Loan term: 36 to 60 months
Fees: Late payment fee, origination fee
With a poor credit score, qualifying for a loan may not be a walk in the park. With LendingClub, you can qualify for a bad credit loan, so long as you have a cosigner. It is easy to apply for the loan and the process can take as little as 5 minutes.
- 15 days grace period if you can’t make payment on time
- An origination fee of 3 to 6%
Minimum credit score: 600
Loan amount: $1000 to $40,000
APR: 8.05% to 35.89%
Fees: Late payment fee, origination fee