How to Get a Personal Loan With Fair Credit

A personal loan can help you pay off multiple expenses at once. If the interest rate of your loan is lower than the interest rate of your outstanding debts, a personal loan can provide a financial advantage. The best personal loan rates go to those with excellent credit, but if you have just “okay” or fair credit, you still have options.

Check Your Personal Loan Rates

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

Get Started

with our trusted partners at Bankrate.com

Refreshing data.
We found results in California.
    In this article

      The Simple Dollar’s best personal loans for fair credit

      Fortunately, some lenders do offer personal loans for fair credit with competitive interest rates and terms that are easy to understand. We compared various personal loan lenders by looking at their loan amounts, APR ranges, eligibility requirements, terms, fees, and time to funding in search of those that offer the best value.

      Best for a quick turn around – Avant

      Avant is a direct lender that offers personal loans that can fund as soon as the business day after you’re approved.

      APR Range
      9.95%–35.99%
      Loan Amount
      24–60 months
      Term
      $2K–$35K
      SimpleScore
      3.2 / 5.0
      close
      SimpleScore Avant 3.2
      Rates 2
      Loan Size 5
      Customer Satisfaction 2
      Support 4
      Fees 3

      Avant is a direct lender that offers personal loans that can fund as soon as the business day after you’re approved. Loan amounts are offered from $2,000 to $35,000, and you can repay your loan over terms that range from 24 to 60 months. Like other personal loans for fair credit, you’ll need to keep an eye on the costs with Avant.

      Not only does this lender charge an APR between 9.95% and 35.99%, but you’ll also pay an up-front administrative fee up to 4.75%. Fortunately, Avant Personal Loans are available for consumers with credit scores as low as 580. Furthermore, the upfront fee can be deducted from your loan so you don’t have to pay it out-of-pocket.

      Avant Disclosure

      The actual loan amount, term, and APR amount of loan that a customer qualifies for may vary based on credit determination and state law. Minimum loan amounts vary by state. Avant branded credit products are issued by WebBank, member FDIC.

      P2P lending – LendingClub

      LendingClub is a peer-to-peer lender that makes it easy for consumers with fair credit to borrow money.

      APR Range
      10.68%–35.89%
      Loan Amount
      $1K–$40K
      Term
      36–60 months
      SimpleScore
      3.2 / 5.0
      close
      SimpleScore LendingClub 3.2
      Rates 2
      Loan Size 5
      Customer Satisfaction 3
      Support 3
      Fees 3

      LendingClub is a peer-to-peer lender that makes it easy for consumers with fair credit to borrow money. With peer-to-peer lending, you borrow from individual investors instead of a traditional financial institution. The minimum credit score to qualify is just 600, and loan amounts ranging from $1,000 to $40,000 are on offer.

      You can repay your personal loan over a three or five-year term, and your APR will fall between 10.68% and 35.89%, depending on your creditworthiness. Keep in mind that with LendingClub, you’ll pay an origination fee on your loan that typically falls between 1% to 6% of the loan amount. Additionally, upon approval, funds can be received in as little as four days.

      LendingClub Disclosure

      All loans made by WebBank, Member FDIC. Your actual rate depends upon credit score, loan amount, loan term, and credit usage and history. The APR ranges from 10.68% to 35.89%. For example, you could receive a loan of $5,700 with an interest rate of 7.99% and a 5.00% origination fee of $300 for an APR of 11.51%. In this example, you will receive $5,700 and will make 36 monthly payments of $187.99. The total amount repayable will be $6,767.64. Your APR will be determined based on your credit at time of application. *The origination fee ranges from 1% to 6%; the average origination fee is 5.2% (as of 12/5/18 YTD).* There is no down payment and there is never a prepayment penalty. Closing of your loan is contingent upon your agreement of all the required agreements and disclosures on the www.lendingclub.com website. All loans via LendingClub have a minimum repayment term of 36 months or longer.

      Best for those still building credit – Upgrade

      Upgrade is another lender that is recommended for those with credit that needs some work.

      APR Range
      6.99%–29.99%
      Loan Amount
      $1K–$35K
      Term
      36–60 months
      SimpleScore
      3.5 / 5.0
      close
      SimpleScore Upgrade 3.5
      Rates 2
      Loan Size 5
      Customer Satisfaction N/A
      Support 4
      Fees 3

      Upgrade is another lender that is recommended for those with credit that needs some work. This direct lender offers loans to consumers with credit scores as low as 620, and you may be able to borrow anywhere from $1,000 up to $35,000 depending on your credit score, income, and other factors.

      Loans can be repaid over terms that range from three to five years, and if you are approved, you will receive funds within four business days. Note that you’ll need to pay an origination fee of up to 8% for these loans and APRs range between 7.99% and 35.97%.

      Upgrade Disclosure

      Personal loans made through Upgrade feature APRs of 7.99%-35.97%. All personal loans have a 1.5% to 6% origination fee, which is deducted from the loan proceeds. Lowest rates require Autopay and paying off a portion of existing debt directly. For example, if you receive a $10,000 loan with a 36-month term and a 17.98% APR (which includes a 14.32% yearly interest rate and a 5% one-time origination fee), you would receive $9,500 in your account and would have a required monthly payment of $343.33. Over the life of the loan, your payments would total $12,359.97. The APR on your loan may be higher or lower and your loan offers may not have multiple term lengths available. Actual rate depends on credit score, credit usage history, loan term, and other factors. Late payments or subsequent charges and fees may increase the cost of your fixed rate loan. There is no fee or penalty for repaying a loan early. Personal loans issued by WebBank, Member FDIC.

      No minimum credit score requirement – OneMain Financial

      One Main Financial is a direct lender that caters to applicants with poor-to-fair credit. It has over 1,600 branches, offers a variety of services online, and has no minimum credit score requirement.

      APR Range
      18%–35.99%
      Loan Amount
      $1,500–$20K
      Term
      24–60 months
      SimpleScore
      4.4 / 5.0
      close
      SimpleScore OneMain Financial 4.4
      Rates 4
      Loan Size 5
      Terms 5
      Support 5
      Fees 3

      One Main Financial is a direct lender that caters to applicants with poor-to-fair credit. It has over 1,600 branches, offers a variety of services online, and has no minimum credit score requirement. The personal loan offerings range from $1,500 to $20,000, although larger loan amounts require a first lien on a qualifying motor vehicle.

      APRs start at 18% and go up to 35.99%, and the loans come with an origination fee which could be 1% to 10% of the loan amount or a flat fee ranging from $25 to $400, depending on your state laws. If your application is approved, you can receive your funds as soon as the same day. While the loan amounts are smaller, One Main makes it easier to get approved than many other lenders, enabling applicants to borrow who have been denied elsewhere.

      OneMain Financial Disclosure

      Not all applicants will qualify for larger loan amounts or most favorable loan terms. Loan approval and actual loan terms depend on your ability to meet our credit standards (including a responsible credit history, sufficient income after monthly expenses, and availability of collateral). Larger loan amounts require a first lien on a motor vehicle no more than ten years old, that meets our value requirements, titled in your name with valid insurance. Maximum APR is 35.99%, subject to state restrictions. APRs are generally higher on loans not secured by a vehicle. The lowest APR shown represents the 10% of loans with the most favorable APR. Active duty military, their spouse or dependents covered under the Military Lending Act may not pledge any vehicle as collateral for a loan. OneMain loan proceeds cannot be used for postsecondary educational expenses as defined by the CFPB’s Regulation Z, such as college, university or vocational expenses; for any business or commercial purpose; to purchase securities; or for gambling or illegal purposes.

      Borrowers in these states are subject to these minimum loan sizes: Alabama: $2,100. California: $3,000. Georgia: Unless you are a present customer, $3,100 minimum loan amount. Ohio: $2,000. Virginia: $2,600.

      Borrowers (other than present customers) in these states are subject to these maximum unsecured loan sizes: Florida: $8,000. Iowa: $8,500. Maine: $7,000. Mississippi: $7,500. North Carolina: $7,500. New York: $20,000. Texas: $8,000. West Virginia: $7,500. An unsecured loan is a loan which does not require you to provide collateral (such as a motor vehicle) to the lender.

      P2P lending without a credit score requirement – Prosper

      Prosper is a peer-to-peer lender that looks beyond a borrower’s credit score.

      APR Range
      7.95%–35.99%
      Loan Amount
      $2K–$40K
      Term
      36–60 months
      SimpleScore
      3.2 / 5.0
      close
      SimpleScore Prosper 3.2
      Rates 2
      Loan Size 5
      Customer Satisfaction 3
      Support 3
      Fees 3

      Prosper is a peer-to-peer lender that looks beyond a borrower’s credit score. The company’s minimum requirements to borrow include a debt-to-income ratio below 50%, at least three open trades on the person’s credit report, less than five credit inquiries in the past six months, more than $0 income, and no bankruptcies on file.

      Loan amounts range from $2,000 to $40,000, terms are for three or five years, and APRs range from 7.99% to 35.99%. Moreover, Prosper does charge a one-time origination fee which ranges from 2.41% to 5% which is included in your APR. If approved, the loan funds will be directly deposited into your account as soon as the same day.

      Prosper Disclosure

      For example, a three-year $10,000 personal loan with a Prosper Rating of AA would have an interest rate of 5.31% and a 2.41% origination fee for an annual percentage rate (APR) of 6.95% APR. You would receive $9,759 and make 36 scheduled monthly payments of $301.10. A five-year $10,000 personal loan with a Prosper Rating of A would have an interest rate of 8.39% and a 5.00% origination fee with a 10.59% APR. You would receive $9,500 and make 60 scheduled monthly payments of $204.64. Origination fees vary between 2.41%-5%. Personal loan APRs through Prosper range from 7.95% (AA) to 35.99% (HR) for first-time borrowers, with the lowest rates for the most creditworthy borrowers. Eligibility for personal loans up to $40,000 depends on the information provided by the applicant in the application form. Eligibility for personal loans is not guaranteed, and requires that a sufficient number of investors commit funds to your account and that you meet credit and other conditions. Refer to Borrower Registration Agreement for details and all terms and conditions. All personal loans made by WebBank, member FDIC. Prosper and WebBank take your privacy seriously. Please see Prosper’s Privacy Policy and WebBank’s Privacy Policyfor more details. Notes offered by Prospectus. Notes investors receive are dependent for payment on unsecured loans made to individual borrowers. Not FDIC-insured; investments may lose value; no Prosper or bank guarantee. Prosper does not verify all information provided by borrowers in listings. Investors should review the prospectus before investing.

      Runner up – Peerform

      Peerform is a marketplace lender that matches borrowers with investors who fund personal loans that range from $4,000 to $25,000.

      APR Range
      5.99%–29.99%
      Loan Amount
      $4K–$25K
      Term
      12–36 months
      SimpleScore
      3.8 / 5.0
      close
      SimpleScore Peerform 3.8
      Rates 5
      Loan Size 5
      Terms 3
      Support 5
      Fees 1

      Peerform is a marketplace lender that matches borrowers with investors who fund personal loans that range from $4,000 to $25,000. Terms are available for three or five years and APRs start at 5.99% and go up to 29.99%. Like the other lenders, Peerform also charges an origination fee which ranges from 1% to 5% of the loan amount.

      The better your credit the higher loan amount, lower APR and longer loan term you can get. However, you only need a 600 credit score to be eligible. If approved, funds can be directly deposited within a few days.

      Runner up – Upstart

      Upstart connects borrowers with personal loans ranging from $1,000 to $50,000, with three- and five-year terms, and APRs ranging from 8.13% to 35.99%.

      APR Range
      7.98%–35.99%
      Loan Amount
      $1K–$50K
      Term
      36–60 months
      SimpleScore
      3.4 / 5.0
      close
      SimpleScore Upstart 3.4
      Rates 2
      Loan Size 5
      Customer Satisfaction 4
      Support 3
      Fees 3

      Upstart, founded by ex-Google employees, is the first AI lending platform that aims to expand access to affordable credit while lowering losses for its banking partners. While a minimum of a 580 Vantage or FICO score is required in most states, Upstart will accept an applicant with credit histories that are insufficient to produce a credit score.

      Upstart connects borrowers with personal loans ranging from $1,000 to $50,000, with three- and five-year terms, and APRs ranging from 8.13% to 35.99%. Additionally, an origination fee from 1% to 8% of the loan amount will be charged. The majority of applicants who get approved, get their money within one business day of their loan being accepted.

      Upstart Disclosure

      * The full range of available rates varies by state. The average 3-year loan offered across all lenders using the Upstart Platform will have an APR of 19% and 36 monthly payments of $35 per $1,000 borrowed. There is no down payment and no prepayment penalty. Average APR is calculated based on 3-year rates offered in the last 1 month. Your APR will be determined based on your credit, income, and certain other information provided in your loan application. Not all applicants will be approved. ** Estimated savings are calculated based on the credit profiles of all loans originated by Upstart-powered lenders using the Upstart Platform as of April 1, 2019 in which the funds were used for credit card refinancing. Estimated savings are calculated by deriving current credit card APR using minimum monthly payment and 1% of the principal balance. The estimated credit card APR is then compared to the accepted loan to determine median savings per borrower. To evaluate savings on a loan you are considering, it is important to compare your actual APR from your existing debt to the APR offered on the Upstart Platform. More than 303,000 loans have been originated on the Upstart platform as of July 1, 2019. Images are not actual customers, but their stories are real. † If you accept your loan by 5pm EST (not including weekends or holidays), you will receive your funds the next business day. Loans used to fund education related expenses are subject to a 3 business day wait period between loan acceptance and in accordance with federal law. ‡ While most of our borrowers opt for automated recurring payment for ease of use, we also accept payments by check or one time electronic payments. Borrowers have the flexibility to choose the repayment method that works best for them. 9 out of 10 Upstart users surveyed internally reported that they would recommend Upstart. †† When you check your rate, we check your credit report. This initial (soft) inquiry will not affect your credit score. If you accept your rate and proceed with your application, we do another (hard) credit inquiry that will impact your credit score. If you take out a loan, repayment information will be reported to the credit bureaus. § Your loan amount will be determined based on your credit, income, and certain other information provided in your loan application. Not all applicants will qualify for the full amount. Loans are not available in West Virginia or Iowa. The minimum loan amount in MA is $7,000. The minimum loan amount in Ohio is $6,000. The minimum loan amount in NM is $5,100. The minimum loan amount in GA is $3,100.

      Check Your Personal Loan Rates

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

      Get Started

      with our trusted partners at Bankrate.com

      How does your credit stack up?

      Do you have fair credit? Good credit? Bad credit? If you’re not entirely sure, your best bet is taking steps to find out your credit score. Doing so can help you determine where you stand, which will also dictate which personal loans you can qualify for.

      Fortunately, each “level” of credit has a broad range of scores included. There are also plenty of ways to improve your credit score in a short amount of time if required. The following chart shows how each range of scores works and the estimated average APR you may qualify for with each:

      Credit RatingCredit Score RangeAverage Personal Loan APR
      Excellent720 – 8509.8%
      Good690 – 71915.0%
      Fair630 – 68921.3%
      Poor300 – 62928.2%

      Steps to getting a personal loan with fair credit

      You’ll be surprised to find out that even if you’ve qualified for a mortgage or a car loan, you might have trouble getting a personal loan. That’s because personal loans are unsecured debt.

      When you buy a home or a car, the bank can always take back that collateral if you don’t make payments. However, if you don’t make payments on a personal loan, there’s nothing for the lender to repossess — so it’s inherently a riskier investment on their part.

      Thus, your credit score will be the deciding factor when it comes to whether or not you’re going to qualify for a personal loan. That means that if you want to take out a personal loan, the first thing you need to do is find out if you have good credit or not.

      Step 1: Fix what you can

      Before you go any further, pull your free credit reports. Are there any items on your reports that shouldn’t be there? If so, dispute them and try to get them removed. Having incorrect information removed from your credit report can make a substantial difference in your credit score in just a few days.

      Also, try to pay down some debt right away if you can. If you can reasonably get your debt utilization ratio under 30% — that’s the proportion of your available credit limit you’re currently using — that’s also going to cause your credit score to jump, and quickly.

      Taking these steps will not only make it far more likely that you’ll get approved for a personal loan, but they’ll also make it more likely that you’ll get a lower interest rate.

      Step 2: Shop around

      There’s no shortage of lenders in the marketplace today. However, you need to be careful because there are also a lot of less-than-reputable ones out there. Companies that don’t pull your credit report before giving you a loan are often very similar to payday lenders. The APR on a payday loan can be steep, to say the least — as much as 300% or more.

      Look for lenders with good reputations and low interest rates. See what their underwriters require as a minimum credit score, then apply to three different lenders that are 20 to 30 points below your current score. That’ll give you a bit of wiggle room, as well as some options so you can compare the best rates and terms.

      Step 3: Evaluate interest and fees

      If you get approved for a personal loan with fair credit, you’re going to pay more in interest and fees. In fact, your interest rate might be as high as 36% if you have fair credit — worse than even most credit cards. What’s more, sometimes there’s a fee for early repayment, usually equivalent to what you would have paid in interest if you had paid the loan off according to the original terms.

      Many online lenders are going to want you to set up automatic payments. If this is the case, make sure that you have money in your account, or you’ll be paying overdraft charges on top of whatever you’re paying for the loan.

      While you can visit a traditional bank to apply for a personal loan, credit unions, in particular, are known for being more forgiving in terms of their lending policies. Many times, online personal loans wind up being the best option available.

      However, you should also remember that you have options to consider other than personal loans. There are secured loans, which are easier to qualify for but require some form of collateral, and there are also balance transfer credit cards that offer zero interest. Both are available for people with just fair credit, who have been used them time and again to pay down debt and get their finances back on track.

      Check Your Personal Loan Rates

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

      Get Started

      with our trusted partners at Bankrate.com

      We welcome your feedback on this article. Contact us at inquiries@thesimpledollar.com with comments or questions.

      Methodology

      SimpleScore

      The SimpleScore is a proprietary scoring metric we use to objectively compare products and services at The Simple Dollar.

      For every review, our editorial team:

      • Identifies five measurable aspects to compare across each brand
      • Determines the rating criteria for each aspect score
      • Averages the five aspect scores to produce a single SimpleScore

      Here’s a breakdown of the five aspect scores and their rating criteria for our review of the best personal loans of 2020.

      Why do some brands have different SimpleScores on different pages?

      To ensure the SimpleScore is as helpful and accurate as possible, we developed unique criteria for every category we compare at The Simple Dollar. Since most brands offer a variety of financial solutions, their products and services will score differently depending on what we’re scoring on a given page.

      However, it’s also possible for the same product from the same brand to have multiple SimpleScores. For instance, if we compare NetCredit’s personal loans according to our criteria for the best personal loans, it scores a 2.3 out of 5. But when we compare NetCredit according to the criteria for the best bad credit personal loans, it scores considerably higher, since the criteria for the latter review are more lenient (lenders who serve borrowers with bad credit will always offer higher rates, so we needed to adjust our category methodology to account for different industry standards).

      Questions about our methodology?

      Email Hayley Armstrong at hayley@thesimpledollar.com.

      Rates

      We looked at the maximum APR for each lender — the lower their maximum rate, the higher their score.

      Loan Size

      We awarded higher scores to lenders with more generous loan sizes.

      Customer Satisfaction

      We leveraged the J.D. Power 2019 Personal Loan Satisfaction Study℠ to see how customers rated their experience with each lender. (If a lender wasn’t included in J.D. Power’s study, we skipped this aspect and averaged the four remaining aspect scores.)

      Support

      We awarded higher scores to lenders with the most channels for customer support.

      Fees

      We looked at the three most common fees — origination, late payment, and pre-payment — and penalized lenders for each fee charged.

      Jessica Walrack

      Contributing Writer

      Jessica Walrack is a personal finance writer at SuperMoney, Interest.com, The Simple Dollar, and PersonalLoans.org. She specializes in taking personal finance topics like loans, credit cards, and budgeting, and making them accessible and somewhat fun.

      Reviewed by

      • Courtney Mihocik
        Courtney Mihocik
        Editor

        Courtney Mihocik is an editor at The Simple Dollar who specializes in insurance, personal finance, and loans. Previously, she wrote and edited for Interest.com, PersonalLoans.org, Ballantyne Magazine, Thread Magazine, The Post, ACRN, The New Political, Columbus Alive and the Institute for International Journalism.