Personal Loans
How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appears on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

Best Personal Loans for Fair Credit in November 2022

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It can be tough to achieve a perfect credit score, especially if you’re struggling financially. If you have fair credit — a 580 to 669 credit score — you probably have a few dings on your credit report. For example, maybe you missed a payment or two, or perhaps your credit utilization is high.

Having fair credit may mean you’ll pay more to borrow money than someone with excellent credit. But sometimes, borrowing is unavoidable. If you’re looking for loans for fair credit, you’ll want to make sure you evaluate your options carefully so you can find the best APR (annual percentage rate, which includes interest and any origination fee) and terms for your financial need.

10 personal loans for fair credit borrowers

How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

Best forMinimum credit scoreAPRLoan amountLoan term
AvantFast funding6009.95%-35.95%$2,000 to $35,00012 to 60 months
Happy Money (formerly Payoff)Credit card refinancing6407.99%-29.99%$5,000 to $40,00024 and 60 months
LendingClubCo-borrowingNot specified8.30%-36.00%$1,000 to $40,00036 to 60 months
LendingPointLow credit scores5807.99%-35.99%$2,000 to $36,50024 to 72 months
LightStreamLarge loansNot specified6.99%-22.49%$5,000 to $100,00024 to 144 months
Marcus by Goldman Sachs®Repayment perks7206.99%-24.99%$3,500 to $40,00036 to 72 months
OneMain FinancialSmaller loansNot specified18.00%-35.99%$1,500 to $20,00024 to 60 months
ProsperPeer-to-peer lending6406.99%-35.99%$2,000 to $50,00024 to 60 months
UpgradeFlexible loan terms6207.96%-35.97%$1,000 to $50,00024 to 84 months
UpstartFlexible loan amounts6006.50%-35.99%$1,000 to $50,00036 or 60 months

Lenders were selected based on minimum APR using the LendingTree personal loan marketplace and using the following filters: (1) $5,000 loan amount; (2) fair credit (640 to 679); (3) loan purpose is debt consolidation; (4) and location of Charlotte, N.C. Lenders were chosen on October 31, 2022.

Avant: Best for fast funding

  • Minimum credit score: 600
  • APR: 9.95%–35.95%
  • Loan amount: $2,000 to $35,000
  • Loan term: 12 to 60 months

Overview

Borrowers who want to go through online lender Avant can receive their funds as quickly as one business day after they’re approved. Though Avant’s minimum APR is a bit higher than that of other lenders, it does offer flexible repayment terms of 12 to 60 months.

Unfortunately, aside from requiring a minimum credit score of 600, Avant is a bit vague about its other eligibility requirements. It also charges an origination fee Up to 4.75%, though this isn’t nearly as much as other lenders, such as OneMain Financial or Upgrade.

If your credit score isn’t quite up to Avant’s standards, you may have a hard time qualifying for a loan as this lender doesn’t offer a cosigning option.

ProsCons

  Receive funds as soon as the next business day

  Flexible loan terms

  No prepayment penalties

  No option to apply with a cosigner

  Charges a high origination fee (Up to 4.75%)

  Unclear eligibility requirements

Happy Money: Best for credit card refinancing

  • Minimum credit score: 640
  • APR: 7.99%–29.99%
  • Loan amount: $5,000 to $40,000
  • Loan term: 24 and 60 months

Overview

Happy Money (formerly Payoff) is an online lender that only provides loans for credit card debt consolidation. It requires a minimum 640 credit score, so they can be a good debt consolidation option for fair credit borrowers. However, you’ll likely be charged an origination fee of 0.00% - 5.00% of the loan amount. A 5% origination fee on a $5,000 loan is equal to $250.

Aside from an origination fee, Happy Money doesn’t charge fees, including late fees or prepayment penalties. Potential borrowers can also prequalify with a soft credit check. Prequalification doesn’t guarantee you’ll be approved, but it’s a good way to see the loan terms you may get before you formally apply.

Happy Money is available in most states, with the exception of Massachusetts and Nevada. Most loans are funded within two to five business days of loan approval.

ProsCons

  Low, fixed rate APRs

  Prequalification and fast funding

  No late fees or prepayment penalties

  Can be used for debt consolidation only

  High minimum borrowing amount

  No joint applications

LendingClub: Best for co-borrowing

  • Minimum credit score: Not specified
  • APR: 8.30%–36.00%
  • Loan amount: $1,000 to $40,000
  • Loan term: 36 to 60 months

Overview

As an online personal loan marketplace, LendingClub offers loans ranging from $1,000 to $40,000.

Those with lower credit scores or a lack of credit history may benefit by going through LendingClub for a loan, as this company allows you to co-borrow. This means that you can apply with a second individual, which can increase your chances of getting approved for a loan. However, co-borrowing isn’t without its risks — the person who signs a loan with you will be held equally responsible if you’re unable to make repayments on it.

While LendingClub charges an origination fee between 3.00% - 6.00%, it does allow applicants to prequalify within minutes so they can check their potential rates, terms and loan amounts.

ProsCons

  Allows borrowers to file joint applications

  Allows applicants to prequalify within minutes

  Offers the option to place funds into your bank account or directly pay your creditors

  Charges an origination fee of 3.00% - 6.00%

  Funding can take several days, where other lenders provide funds within one business day

  APR can go as high as 36.00%

LendingPoint: Best for low credit scores

  • Minimum credit score: 580
  • APR: 7.99%–35.99%
  • Loan amount: $2,000 to $36,500
  • Loan term: 24 to 72 months

Overview

With a minimum credit score of 580, LendingPoint has one of the lowest thresholds borrowers must cross in order to be approved for a loan. It does, however, have a minimum income requirement of $25,000 and isn’t available in Nevada or West Virginia.

LendingPoint does offer borrowers a wide range of loan terms of 24 to 72 months, so borrowers seeking repayment flexibility may find it with this lender.

Depending on where they live, borrowers may also have to pay an origination fee of 0.00% - 8.00% if they decide to take out a personal loan with LendingPoint, which will be deducted from the total amount of the loan.

ProsCons

  Flexible loan terms of 24 to 72 months

  Receive funds as soon as next business day

  No prepayment fees

  May charge an origination fee of 0.00% - 8.00%

  No option for joint or cosigned loans

  Not available in all 50 states

LightStream: Best for large loans

  • Minimum credit score: Not specified
  • APR: 6.99%–22.49%
  • Loan amount: $5,000 to $100,000
  • Loan term: 24 to 144 months

Overview

With available amounts up to $100,000, Lightstream offers the largest loans on our list of fair credit lenders. However, the minimum amount borrowers can take out is $5,000, so this lender may not be a great choice for those looking for small personal loans.

Lightstream’s lack of fees and lower APRs may make it an attractive lender for some borrowers. This lender even offers a 0.50% autopay discount as well as same-day funding.

Before applying for a personal loan, however, borrowers should keep in mind that Lightstream doesn’t offer prequalification. Borrowers will have to go through a hard credit check (which may temporarily impact your credit score) in order to see what rates and terms Lightstream is willing to offer.

ProsCons

  Low maximum APR rate of 6.99%-22.49%

  Offers autopay discount of 0.50%

  Can receive same-day funding

  Doesn’t offer prequalification

  Requires a higher credit score than other fair credit lenders

  Borrowers need an established credit history to qualify

Marcus by Goldman Sachs®: Best for repayment perks

  • Minimum credit score: 720
  • APR: 6.99%–24.99%
  • Loan amount: $3,500 to $40,000
  • Loan term: 36 to 72 months

Overview

Borrowers who take out a personal loan with Marcus by Goldman Sachs can enjoy this lender’s many unique perks. Marcus doesn’t charge its borrowers any types of fees, and even allows those who have made 12 consecutive on-time payments the option to skip a payment without accruing interest.

This lender also offers borrowers an autopay discount of 0.25% and the ability to send funds directly to your original creditors.

On the flip side, Marcus doesn’t allow for co-borrowers, so applicants will have to have a fair credit score on the higher side of the bracket to qualify.

ProsCons

  Doesn’t charge borrowers any fees

  Allows borrowers to skip a payment

  Maximum APR capped at 24.99%

  Doesn’t allow for joint applications

  Higher minimum credit score than other lenders

  Can take several days for loan disbursement

OneMain Financial: Best for smaller loans

  • Minimum credit score: Not specified
  • APR: 18.00%–35.99%
  • Loan amount: $1,500 to $20,000
  • Loan term: 24 to 60 months

Overview

OneMain Financial, a lender with an online application and 1,400 physical branches, offers loans for fair credit borrowers for a variety of purposes. If you need money for an auto repair or even a vacation, you can apply for a loan through OneMain Financial online to check your eligibility.

OneMain Financial has higher starting APRs than many other lenders, but it’s still worth checking your rate. Since you have fair credit, you might find that the rates are comparable to what other lenders are offering. You can prequalify online without hurting your credit score. You may be offered a secured or unsecured loan, depending on your creditworthiness.

It’s also easy to get fast cash from OneMain Financial. It takes just ten minutes to complete the online application, and once you sign the agreement at your local branch, you can get the money as soon as the next business day.

ProsCons

  Doesn’t charge borrowers any fees

  Allows borrowers to skip a payment

  Maximum APR capped at 24.99%

  Doesn’t allow for joint applications

  Higher minimum credit score than other lenders

  Can take several days for loan disbursement

Prosper: Best for peer-to-peer lending

  • Minimum credit score: 640
  • APR: 6.99%–35.99%
  • Loan amount: $2,000 to $50,000
  • Loan term: 24 to 60 months

Overview

Prosper is an online peer-to-peer lending marketplace, meaning your loan would be funded by individual investors. Depending on eligibility, you could access personal loans for fair credit that can be used for a variety of purposes, from home improvement projects to engagement ring financing. These loans come with a fixed rate and no prepayment penalty, so you’ll know what to expect from your monthly payments and can get ahead when you are able.

Compared with Happy Money, Prosper charges a potentially higher origination fee between 1.00% - 5.00% of the loan amount. Its maximum APR is also higher, at 35.99%. Still, if you have fair credit, you can expect your APR to be on the higher end, no matter the lender.

As is typical with peer-to-peer lending, the application process can take longer than if you worked with a direct lender. The formal loan approval decision takes up to five business days. Upon loan approval, funds can be disbursed within one to three business days after loan approval, but you can prequalify without a hard pull on your credit.

ProsCons

  Can be used for almost any purpose

  Joint applications welcome

  No prepayment penalties

  Not available in all 50 states

  Guaranteed origination fee

  Loan approval and disbursement may be slow

 Upgrade: Best for flexible loan terms

  • Minimum credit score: 620
  • APR: 7.96%–35.97%
  • Loan amount: $1,000 to $50,000
  • Loan term: 24 to 84 months

Overview

Upgrade is a direct online lender that offers personal loans for almost any reason, from a major purchase to business expenses. As with other companies in this list, you can check your loan eligibility and potential terms online without affecting your credit score.

Upgrade charges a high origination fee between 1.85% - 8.99% of the loan amount, there are no other upfront fees. There’s no prepayment penalty, either, but you will be charged for late payments or insufficient funds. Once you’ve been formally approved for a personal loan, you can expect to receive the funds within one business day.

ProsCons

  Can be used for almost any purpose

  Get your funds quickly

  No prepayment penalty

  Credit health tools included

  Late payment and insufficient fund fees

  Origination fee can be high

  Charges late fees if you’re more than 15 days behind payments

Upstart: Best for flexible loan amounts

  • Minimum credit score: 600
  • APR rate: 6.50%–35.99%
  • Loan amount: $1,000 to $50,000
  • Loan term: 36 or 60 months

Overview

Ranging from $1,000 to $50,000, Upstart offers borrowers a wide variety of loan sizes to choose from, whether they want a large or small loan. Upstart also offers borrowers a quick turnaround time with approved borrowers receiving their funds within one business day.

Upstart does charge an origination fee of 0.00% - 10.00% depending on where you live, which is higher than some other lenders. Personal loans from Upstart aren’t available in all 50 states, so borrowers will need to check if they live in an area that Upstart serves.

ProsCons

  Low minimum credit score of 600

  Offers wide variety of loan amounts

  Flexible APRs

  Charges an origination fee of 0.00% - 10.00%

  Limited repayment options of 36 or 60 months

  Not offered in Iowa or West Virginia

What is a fair credit score? The basics

A fair credit score ranges from 580 to 669. If you have a fair credit score, you may not be able to take advantage of lower APRs or be approved for a personal loan by some lenders.

If you get your credit score up to a 670 (which is considered a good credit score), you may be able to qualify for more loans and receive better offers.

Credit BandCredit TypeDescription
300 to 579PoorConsidered a risky borrower — may not qualify with many lenders
580 to 669FairMay have a thin credit history, missed a couple of payments or has a high debt-to-income ratio
670 to 739GoodAbove-average borrower in eyes of lenders and may qualify for most loans
740 to 799Very goodConsidered a dependable borrower and may be eligible for low APR rates
800 to 850ExcellentConsidered a low-risk borrower and may receive lowest APR rates

What to know about fair credit loans

When applying for personal loans with a low credit score, you should be aware that it could be costly to borrow money. That’s because typical personal loans are unsecured, and, thus, lenders will rely more heavily on your credit and financial information to make a loan decision. If approved, expect a higher interest rate; the starting APRs for these lenders are only available to borrowers with excellent credit. You can expect an origination fee as well.

You should only take out a fair credit personal loan if you need to borrow a larger amount and relatively quickly. For example, a credit card may have a lower cost depending on the loans you qualify for. In July 2021, the average APR on a fair credit personal loan (22.75%) was higher than the average APR on a new credit card that accrues interest (19.62%).

If you do need a personal loan, it’s best to compare rates from multiple lenders before making a decision.

How to improve your credit score

Financial emergencies can arise at any time, and you won’t always have the luxury of waiting to borrow. However, if you can hold off borrowing until you improve your credit score, you could save a significant amount of cash as offered APRs potentially improve.

You can do this the following ways:

  Cut down on your current debt. Credit utilization makes up 30% of your credit score, so lowering your current debts — such as credit card or personal loans — can help increase your score.

  Pay your bills on time. Your payment history makes up 35% of your credit score, so be sure to stay on top of paying your bills by the due dates to raise your credit score.

  Consider consolidating your debt. By rolling your debts into a single loan with a debt consolidation loan, you may be able to pay your current debts off faster.

  Check your credit report for discrepancies. You can check your credit report by visiting AnnualCreditReport.com and report any mistakes or fraudulent activity to the credit bureaus.

If you’re looking for debt consolidation loans for fair credit, you’ll want to ensure that the APR you get is lower than the one on your existing loans. Otherwise, you’d likely only save money if you choose a shorter repayment period with higher monthly payments.

If you have high-interest debts, like payday loans or auto title loans, a personal loan could help you get out of the cycle of debt by facilitating repayment with lower fees.

How to qualify for a loan with fair credit

Qualifying for a personal loan with fair credit may be challenging, as lenders may view you as a riskier borrower. Here are a few ways you may increase your chances of being approved for a loan with fair credit:

  • Avoid applying for new credit. When you apply for new credit, lenders will typically have to perform a hard-credit inquiry to examine your credit score and history. These hard pulls can temporarily damage your credit score, temporarily lowering it further.
  • Prequalify for loans. Prequalifying for a loan allows you to see if you meet a lender’s criteria and see the rates, terms and amounts you may be eligible for without hurting your credit score. This is also known as a soft-credit pull.
  • Add a cosigner. Using a cosigner to get a personal loan can help your chances of getting approved, especially if they have a good credit score. However, this isn’t a risk-free route: If you’re unable to repay the loan, it could negatively impact your cosigner’s credit and they may be held liable for repayment.
  • Consider a credit union. Credit unions typically have fewer fees than other types of lenders, like banks and online lenders. For instance, PenFed Credit Union doesn’t charge borrowers origination fees, a type of fee typically associated with personal loans. Credit unions also often offer co-borrowing and financial hardship resources. Additionally, if you’re already a member in good standing with a history of on-time payments, your credit union may be more lenient on credit score requirements.

How to compare loans for fair credit

With regard to your finances, the best loans for fair credit may have no or low origination fees and no prepayment penalty. Or, you may decide that getting the lowest interest rate is most important to you.

As you compare lenders, consider the following factors:

  • Prequalification: Prequalification allows you to see estimates of what your rate and term options could be with each lender and only requires you provide basic information, such as your income and requested loan terms. It doesn’t affect your credit.
  • APR: Annual percentage rate indicates the total cost of borrowing, including interest, origination fees and application fees.
  • Origination fee: This upfront fee for processing your loan may be charged as a flat fee or a percentage of the amount borrowed. It may be taken out of the money you receive from the lender.
  • Term: The term is the amount of time you’ll have to repay the loan. Longer terms mean lower monthly payments, but choosing a shorter term may be less costly overall.
  • Prepayment penalty: Some lenders charge a fee for paying off your loan early. This will reduce the amount you can save on interest if you have enough money to pay your loan back faster than you expected.
  • Other fees: While most lenders charge late payment fees and overdraft fees, some lenders waive these fees. If you’re worried about making your monthly payments on time, you might consider a lender that doesn’t charge for late payments.
  • Time to funding: How quickly do you need the money? Make sure the lender you choose will be able to issue you the funds on time.
  • Secured vs. unsecured: Secured loans require you to offer up assets, such as the title to your vehicle, as collateral. The lender can take your collateral if you fail to make payments. If you’re risk-averse, stick with an unsecured loan.
  • Co-borrowers and cosigners: Different lenders have different rules about joint borrowing and cosigning. Make sure the loan you choose meets your needs.
  • Restrictions: Pay attention to allowable loan purposes when choosing your personal loan.
  • Online vs. in-person: If you want to avoid visiting a branch, choose an online lender. On the other hand, if you prefer in-person service, choose a lender with physical branches.

Alternatives to fair credit loans

While personal loans for fair credit may be a good option for some people, other alternative options worth exploring may include the following:

  • Personal line of credit: A personal line of credit is similar to a credit card in that you may withdraw funds up to a certain amount. You only owe interest on the amount you borrow. Unlike personal loans, personal lines of credit have variable interest rates.
  • Secured loan: Secured loans can be a good alternative to fair credit loans, especially if you have a lower credit score and are having trouble getting approved. A secured loan requires that you put down collateral (such as a vehicle) in order to lower your risk in the eyes of lenders.
  • Credit card: A credit card, particularly one with a 0% intro APR, may be a good alternative to a fair personal loan, especially since you may be able to find a lower interest rate or skip out on paying interest for a set period of time.

How we chose the best loans for fair credit

By offering a detailed and objective account of each lender’s rates and terms, LendingTree’s goal is to provide you with all the information you need to make a financially sound decision specific to your situation. We chose loans for fair credit from online lenders that service borrowers with credit scores ranging from 580 to 669.

Fair credit lenders were chosen based on the following criteria:

  • Minimum personal credit score requirements below 670
  • Transparent rates and repayment terms
  • Flexible loan amounts
  • Low fees

Frequently asked questions

Yes! Although it may be more difficult to secure a personal loan with a fair credit score, there are many lenders that are willing to work with borrowers with less-than-perfect credit. However, keep in mind you may receive a higher APR, as lower rates are typically reserved for those with good or excellent credit.

Loans for fair credit often require that you provide documents proving your income and identification. When applying for a personal loan, you’ll most likely need to provide documents such as W-2s, a government-issued ID and housing costs.

Loans that don’t require credit checks, like payday loans, can be easy for borrowers to qualify for as well as receive funds quickly. However, these types of loans are often predatory and can charge interest rates as high as 391%. Instead, consider a payday alternative loan (PAL) or a secured loan.

The minimum credit score required for a personal loan will vary from lender to lender. Some lenders don’t specify their minimum required score, so be sure to ask the lender directly before applying. Some lenders offer loan products specifically for borrowers with fair or bad credit.

 

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