Personal Loans for Self-Employed

If you’re an entrepreneur, you may have given up on finding a personal loan for self-employed people.  Lenders tend to focus on things like paycheck stubs and a steady income. But personal loans for the self-employed with no proof of income do exist, and if you have a steady income you probably qualify for one.

We’ve reviewed the best self-employed personal loans and brought you our top recommendations, using our proprietary SimpleScore methodology to evaluate each lender’s rates, terms, customer satisfaction, customer support and fees.

Check Your Personal Loan Rates

Answer a few questions to see which personal loans you pre-qualify for. The process is quick and easy, and it will not impact your credit score.

In this article

The 5 best personal loans for the self-employed

  • Best for Good Credit: SoFi
  • Best for Autopay Discounts: Citibank
  • Best for Customer Satisfaction: Marcus
  • Best for Bad Credit: NetCredit
  • Best for Credit Card Debt Consolidation: Discover

Best personal loans for the self-employed at a glance

Lender APR range Loan term Min. loan Max loan SimpleScore
SoFi 5.99%–18.53% 24 to 83 months $5,000 $100,000 4.6/5
Citibank 7.99%–17.99% 12 to 60 months $2,000 $50,000 4.2/5
Marcus 6.99%–19.99% 36 to 72 months $5,000 $40,000 5/5
NetCredit 34%–155% 6 to 60 months $1,500 $10,000 2/5
Discover 6.99%–24.99% 36 to 84 months $2,500 $35,000 4.4/5

*Data accurate as of August 12, 2020

Best for good credit – SoFi

SoFi

If you have great credit and can prove a steady income, SoFi offers excellent rates on loans up to $100,000.

APR range
5.99%–18.53%
Loan Amount
$5K–$100K
Terms
2–7 years
SimpleScore
4.6 / 5.0
close
SimpleScore
SoFi
4.6
  • Rates
    5
  • Loan Size
    5
  • Customer Satisfaction
    3
  • Support
    5
  • Fees
    5
If your business or freelance work produces a steady, verifiable income and you have a good credit score, you could borrow as much as $100,000 from SoFi at outstanding rates. The prequalification process is simple, and SoFi charges no origination fee, prepayment fees or late fees. You’ll need a credit rating of at least 680 to qualify, but if you’re near the bottom of that range, SoFi’s 18.53% rate is very competitive.
Full review

Our Two Cents — High loan limits and low rates are the prizes SoFi offers to self-employed people who maintain good credit.

Best for autopay discounts – Citibank

Citibank

If you’re a Citibank customer, you could qualify for financing at attractive rates even without a high income.

APR
7.99%–17.99%
Loan Amount
$2K–$50K
Terms
12–60 months
SimpleScore
4.2 / 5.0
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SimpleScore
Citibank
4.2
  • Rates
    5
  • Loan Size
    5
  • Customer Satisfaction
    3
  • Support
    4
  • Fees
    4
One way to get a personal loan for self-employed folks is to have a relationship with the bank already. Citibank’s income threshold for existing customers to qualify for personal loans is just $10,500. You’ll need a FICO score of at least 680, and your income will impact the loan amount you are eligible for. Citibank offers an attractive 0.25% APR discount when you sign up for autopay. There are no origination or prepayment fees, but Citibank does not offer prequalification, so you’ll have a hard credit pull on your record if you apply.
Full review

Our Two Cents — If you’re the type of person who’s always reaching out for their phone to check what day it is, Citibank’s autopay plan is exactly what you need.

Best for customer satisfaction – Marcus

Marcus

Customers love Marcus’s personal loans because it offers excellent service with no fees.

APR
6.99%–19.99%
Loan Amount
$5K–$40K
Terms
36–72 months
SimpleScore
5 / 5.0
close
SimpleScore
Marcus
5
  • Rates
    5
  • Loan Size
    5
  • Customer Satisfaction
    5
  • Support
    5
  • Fees
    5
Marcus scores high on customer satisfaction because it treats its borrowers like friends. The bank doesn’t charge origination or prepayment fees — it doesn’t even charge late fees. Bank policy lets you skip one payment after you’ve made all your payments for a year, and you can change your payment date if you need to. The application process is user-friendly, too. If your credit score is below 660, however, you’ll need to find a different lender.
Full review

Our Two Cents — The Marcus lending experience is transparent, fee-free and full of little perks that turn customers into besties for life.

Best for bad credit – NetCredit

NetCredit

NetCredit can get you fast money even if you have a poor credit score, although you will need a verifiable source of income.

APR
34.99%–155%
Loan Amount
$1K–$10K
Terms
6–60 months
SimpleScore
2 / 5.0
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SimpleScore
NetCredit
2
  • Rates
    1
  • Loan Size
    2
  • Customer Satisfaction
    N/A
  • Support
    3
  • Fees
    3
Anyone with bad credit who needs an instant personal loan, self-employed or not, has a friend in NetCredit. It takes on customers with scores as low as 550, and the rates are a significant improvement over the predatory payday and title loans ordinarily available to those borrowers. NetCredit offers clearer communication and a more transparent loan process than most bad-credit lenders, too. Still, it’s better to avoid rates like these unless your need for funding is genuinely critical.
Full review

Our Two Cents — If you’re a low-score borrower who really must take on high-interest debt, NetCredit has your back.

Best for credit card debt consolidation – Discover


Discover

Discover personal loans have low rates, easy qualification criteria, and a money-back guarantee.

APR
6.99%–24.99%
Loan Amount
$2.5K–$35K
Terms
36–84 months
SimpleScore
4.4 / 5.0
close
SimpleScore
Discover
4.4
  • Rates
    5
  • Loan Size
    5
  • Customer Satisfaction
    3
  • Support
    5
  • Fees
    4
Discover’s personal loans are a gem among self-employed personal loans. The criteria include an annual income of $25,000 and a credit score of 660, which are achievable goals for starting off as a freelancer. If you’re looking for a loan to consolidate debt, Discover makes it super easy by offering to directly pay your creditors. If your credit score is below 660, NetCredit might be a better fit for you.
Full review

Our Two Cents — Discover will send money directly to your creditors for you, so you don’t hesitate to do it for the millionth time.

What is a personal loan?

Personal loans are unsecured loans used for big purchases like home improvements, weddings, and vacations. People often use personal loans to consolidate high-interest debt like credit cards or payday loans. A personal loan gives the borrower a lower interest rate, a single monthly payment, and a definite time limit for clearing the debt.

Since personal loans aren’t secured by a real estate deed or car title, the lender evaluates the risk by looking at your credit score, income, and debt load. Lower-risk borrowers qualify for higher loan amounts and lower interest rates than those who are considered high-risk.

Check Your Personal Loan Rates

Answer a few questions to see which personal loans you pre-qualify for. The process is quick and easy, and it will not impact your credit score.

How personal loans for self-employed work

Lenders for self-employed personal loans will look at your credit history and debt load, just like any other borrower. To confirm your income, you’ll need to provide some documentation. Tax forms that show your self-employment income are nearly always accepted; conservative lenders might want to see more than one year of returns, so they know your income is consistent. Nontraditional lenders will sometimes accept creative documentation, like bank statements that show your cash flow over a period of several months.

You could have your funds as early as the same day from some lenders. You’ll start making payments the following month and continue until the balance is paid.

If your lender doesn’t have a prepayment penalty, you can pay the loan off at any time, which could save you a bundle on interest expense.

APR

Interest rates vary from one lender to another, so it’s worth your time to shop around. The APR — or annual percentage rate — will tell you that the rate you’re looking at includes all the costs associated with the loan, including fees. When you’re comparing two lenders, make sure you’re looking at both APRs

APRs for personal loans range from below 6% for borrowers with excellent credit to 400% for high-risk customers taking out payday loans.

Loan amount

The best personal loans for self-employed customers typically come in amounts ranging from $1,000 to $50,000. There are a few lenders who make loans of as little as $500 or as much as $100,000.

The amount you’ll be offered will depend on your credit history, debt load, and verifiable income.

Your odds of being approved for the loan are much higher if you request a smaller loan amount. Smaller loan amounts also give you lower monthly payments.

Terms

Most personal loans for self-employed people have terms of two to five years, with a few lenders offering longer or shorter terms for particular circumstances.

You’ll be able to choose the term of your loan. Your payment will be lower if you select a longer term, but your total interest expense will go up.

You can calculate the total cost or the loan by multiplying the payment times the term. You might be surprised when you see how much the interest adds up over a longer term.

How to choose the best small personal for you

    1. Decide how much money you need to borrow.
    2. Calculate the monthly payment you can afford.
    3. Use free online resources to get an estimate of your FICO score.
    4. Think about any loan features that are especially important for you. Do you need a quick decision and fast cash? Would you like to be able to set up automatic payments?
    5. Review the lenders on this page to see which ones are the best fit for your needs and credit score.
    6. Read the full reviews of the lenders that seem like a good match for you.
    7. Approach your first-choice lender and see if you pass the prequalification process.
    8. If you qualify, and like the interest rate and terms you’re offered, complete the full application.
    9. If your first-choice lender declines your loan request, it will tell you why. Study that information and use it to select a second lender to approach.

Best personal loans for self-employed FAQ

Can I get a loan if I am self-employed?

Yes, you can. You’ll need some documentation to prove that you have enough steady income to manage the payments. Your tax form from the last year or two will usually do the trick. Other than documenting your income, the loan process for self-employed is the same as for anyone else.

What is the best bank for a self-employed personal loan?

Several banks offer personal loans that work well for self-employed people in different situations. Some of the best lenders for self-employed customers include Earnest, SoFi, Citibank, Marcus, NetCredit, and Discover. The one that’s best for you will depend on whether you have good or bad credit, how much you want to borrow, and which banking features are most important to you.

How do I prove my income for a loan if I’m self-employed?

Most lenders will ask to see your tax form from last year, or perhaps the previous two years. If you file taxes quarterly, you can document income with those forms. Some lenders are more flexible about documentation and will accept records of your bank deposits, 1099 forms, and other documents.

Too long, didn’t read?

Personal loans for self-employed with no proof of income can be challenging. Most lenders will accept tax forms, 1099s, quarterly returns, and other documentation as evidence of your income. Your rate will depend mostly on your credit score. Borrowers with lower scores often don’t qualify for the best loans and have to work with higher-interest lenders. If you have a good credit score and a steady income, you should be able to choose the loan you want.

Keep reading

Methodology

The SimpleScore is our proprietary scoring metric to compare products and services at The Simple Dollar in a transparent, evidence-based way. Our editorial team identifies five quantifiable aspects to compare for every brand, determines the rating criteria for each aspect score, then averages the five aspect scores to produce a single SimpleScore. For self-employed loans, we compared interest rates, loan sizes, customer satisfaction, support and fees for every major lender. Our ratings are meant to be a directional tool to help you in the process of choosing a personal loan provider. Be sure to continue your research and shop around for the best loan that fits your specific needs. Learn more about our methodology.

We welcome your feedback on this article and would love to hear about your experience with the personal loans we recommend. Contact us at inquiries@thesimpledollar.com with comments or questions.

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Lauren Haas
Lauren Haas
Contributing Writer

Lauren Haas is a freelance writer who covers personal finance, health, and business topics. She’s a serial entrepreneur who enjoys travel, dance, and yoga.

Reviewed by

  • Andrea Perez
    Andrea Perez
    Personal Finance Editor

    Andrea Perez is an editor at The Simple Dollar specializing in personal finance. Prior to that she specialized in digital marketing content for online learning websites. She holds a master’s degree in journalism and media studies from the University of South Florida.