Loans for Bad Credit

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Written by Amanda Push | Edited by Katie Lowery | Updated May 1, 2024

Best loans for bad credit in May 2024

Avant: Best for quick funding

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9.95% - 35.99%

$2,000 to $35,000

12 to 60 months

Up to 9.99%

580

Pros

  • No prepayment penalties
  • May receive funds as soon as the next business day
  • May consider household income instead of just individual income

Cons

  • Charges late and dishonored payment fees
  • Charges an origination fee
  • Can only borrow up to $35,000

Why we like it

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If you’re approved for a personal loan with Avant, your funds may be deposited into your bank account as soon as the next business day.

Overview

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Avant has higher interest rates than some lenders, but you may receive your loan faster than competitors. After approval, you may receive your funds within one business day. This online lender also offers a 10-day grace period with no late fees if you’re not able to make payments on time.

Avant does charge an origination fee. Minimum loan amounts may vary by state.

To learn more, read our full Avant personal loan review.

How to qualify

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Avant doesn’t provide much insight into its personal loan requirements. Applicants must have a 580 minimum credit score and can’t live in the following states:

  • Hawaii
  • Iowa
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New York
  • Vermont
  • West Virginia
  • Happy Money: Best for debt consolidation

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    11.72% - 17.99%

    $5,000 to $40,000

    24 to 60 months

    1.50% - 5.50%

    640

    Pros

    • No application or late fees
    • No prepayment penalties
    • May offer lower interest rates than credit cards

    Cons

    • No joint applications available
    • Loans can only be used toward paying off credit cards
    • Funding timeline can be slow

    Why we like it

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    Happy Money personal loans are designed to help consumers consolidate high-interest debts.

    Overview

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    Happy Money bad credit loans are specifically available to help borrowers pay off credit card debt. While you may not be eligible for Happy Money’s lowest interest rates, their personal loan rates may be lower than those on your current credit card.

    If this lender approves you, you can typically expect to see your funds deposited into your account within three to six business days. This is much slower than other lenders on this list.

    To learn more, read our full Happy Money personal loan review.

    How to qualify

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    You’ll need to meet the following requirements to be eligible for a personal loan with Happy Money:

  • 640 minimum credit score
  • Zero current payment delinquencies
  • Can’t live in Massachusetts or Nevada
  • LendingClub: Best for co-borrowers

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    (6,895)
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    8.98% - 35.99%

    $1,000 to $40,000

    24 to 60 months

    3.00% - 8.00%

    600

    Pros

    • 15-day grace period if you’re late on payments
    • Allows for co-borrowers
    • Option to pay creditors directly if using funds to consolidate debt

    Cons

    • High maximum APRs
    • Charges late fees
    • Charges an origination fee between 3.00% - 8.00%

    Why we like it

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    Unlike some other competitors, LendingClub allows applicants to apply for a joint personal loan with a co-borrower.

    Overview

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    LendingClub is a peer-to-peer lending marketplace where you can borrow up to $40,000. You may also change your due date with LendingClub, but be sure to check how changing your payment deadlines could affect your interest rates.

    As an added bonus for borrowers with low credit scores, LendingClub also offers joint personal loans. The option to add a co-borrower may make it easier for some applicants with poor credit to qualify for a personal loan.

    To learn more, read our full LendingClub personal loan review.

    How to qualify

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    To qualify for a personal loan with LendingClub, you’ll need to:

  • Have a 600 minimum credit score
  • Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have a verifiable bank account
  • OneMain Financial: Best for secured loans

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    18.00% - 35.99%

    $1,500 to $20,000

    24 to 60 months

    1.00% - 10.00% or $25 - $500

    Not specified

    Pros

    • Offers both secured and unsecured loans
    • Ability to change your payment due date
    • No prepayment fees

    Cons

    • APR is higher than some other lenders
    • Charges late fees
    • Small maximum loan amount

    Why we like it

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    For borrowers with bad credit, OneMain Financial offers both unsecured and secured loans — the latter of which may require collateral (a vehicle, for example).

    Overview

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    OneMain Financial has the lowest loan amount cap ($20,000) on our bad credit loans lender list, so this company may be best for those searching for bad credit small personal loans.

    While OneMain Financial’s interest rates are fairly high, they may be lower than what you find with other bad credit loan companies and predatory lenders.

    OneMain Financial charges late fees either ranging from $5 to $30, or as a percentage of your entire monthly payment charge (or the late portion of your monthly payment), which can range from 1.5% to 15%.

    To learn more, read our full OneMain Financial personal loan review.

    How to qualify

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    When you apply for a OneMain Financial bad credit loan, you’ll likely need to provide documentation such as your Social Security card, proof of residence, proof of income and a government-issued ID. OneMain Financial doesn’t provide specific details on eligibility criteria, but it does take the following into consideration:

  • Financial history
  • Credit history
  • Loan purpose
  • Any recent bankruptcy filings
  • State of residence
  • Upgrade: Best for long repayment terms

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    8.49% - 35.99%

    $1,000 to $50,000

    24 to 84 months

    1.85% - 9.99%

    580

    Pros

    • Can receive funds in as little as one business day
    • Offers autopay discount
    • Offers auto secured loans

    Cons

    • Charges $10 late fees and $10 failed payment attempt fees
    • Charges an origination fee
    • High maximum APR

    Why we like it

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    You could be eligible to borrow for as long as 24 to 84 months if you qualify for a personal loan from Upgrade.

    Overview

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    This online lender not only offers a wide range of loan terms that consumers can choose from. Borrowers can receive their loans as quickly as one business day after approval. Furthermore, you could get a discount on your rates if you sign up for autopay and repay some of your current debts directly.

    However, not only does Upgrade charge an origination fee (ranging from (1.85% - 9.99%), but if borrowers are unable to keep up with their payments, this online lender also charges late and failed payment attempt fees.

    To learn more, read our full Upgrade personal loan review.

    How to qualify

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    While Upgrade doesn’t offer clear-cut criteria on its website, to qualify for a personal loan, you must:

  • Have at least a 580 credit score
  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or living in the U.S. on a valid visa
  • Have a verifiable bank account
  • Have a valid email address
  • Upstart: Best for thin credit histories

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    (16,470)
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    7.80% - 35.99%

    $1,000 to $50,000

    36 and 60 months

    0.00% - 12.00%

    300

    Pros

    • Loans can be used toward education-related expenses
    • Can receive funds in one business day
    • Flexible loan amount options

    Cons

    • No option to apply with a co-borrower
    • Limited loan terms
    • High maximum APR

    Why we like it

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    Upstart uses artificial intelligence (AI) rather than traditional FICO credit score models to make lending decisions.

    Overview

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    Like Upgrade, Upstart offers flexible loan amounts to borrowers, providing larger personal loans for poor credit than many other conventional lenders. Its application process may make it easier for some consumers with thin credit histories to qualify, since this lender also takes into account your education, areas of study and employment history.

    Upstart loans are limited to just two repayment terms — 36 and 60 months — and come with much higher origination fees than some other lenders.

    To learn more, read our full Upstart personal loan review.

    How to qualify

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    Aside from meeting Upstart’s minimum credit score requirements, potential borrowers will also have to meet the following criteria:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident
  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Provide an email address
  • Provide their name, date of birth and Social Security number
  • Have a full-time job or an offer to start within six months (or some form of regular income)
  • Have a personal bank account
  • Why do millions of Americans trust LendingTree?

    25+ years in business. 110+ million Americans served. $260+ billion in funded loans.

    SECURITY

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    SAVINGS

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    What are bad credit loans?

    When lenders receive applications for personal loans, they typically take your credit score and overall creditworthiness into heavy consideration. Often, they require minimum credit scores to qualify — which can make it difficult for borrowers with poor credit to access these loans. Some lenders, however, offer personal loans for bad credit, meaning you can still qualify for a loan even if you have poor credit.

    Unfortunately, those with unpolished credit scores often get saddled with higher interest rates and other less-than-ideal terms when applying for a loan. If you have bad credit, it’s typically difficult to qualify for a loan.

    Bad credit loans generally come with fixed rates and are offered by lenders willing to loan you funds despite your limiting credit rating. You can use these types of loans to build credit so you can eventually become eligible for better loan terms and other financial opportunities.

    What is considered a bad credit score?

    If you have bad credit, your score in most scoring models likely falls somewhere between 300 and 579. Poor credit may be a result of the lack of time or opportunity to build up your credit, financial missteps — such as missing payments or having a high debt-to-income ratio — or perhaps being a victim of a scam or identity theft.

    Whatever the reason, lenders often consider your credit score as a signal of your creditworthiness, or how likely you are to pay them back. As a result, poor-credit borrowers often have to pay higher APR rates than those with good or excellent credit.

    If you’re looking for a personal loan, here are some of our most recent statistics on what kind of APR you may expect based on your credit score.

    Average personal loan APR by credit score

    Credit score rangeAverage APRAverage loan amount
    720+16.01%$18,594
    680-71925.78%$15,302
    660-67937.57%$11,160
    640-65951.61%$8,088
    620-63971.55%$6,300
    580-619112.28%$4,397
    560-579152.35%$3,071
    Less than 560175.16%$2,405

    Source: LendingTree user data on closed personal loans for the fourth quarter of 2023.

    How to get a bad credit loan

    It’s possible to get a personal loan with bad or no credit. However, if you take the time to work on your credit, you could save a lot of money by benefiting from a lower interest rate. If you need a personal loan now, however, consider these tips to finding the best personal loan for bad credit for you:

    1. Check your credit score. Keeping tabs on your score can help you gauge which lenders you may qualify with. You can use LendingTree Spring to see where you stand, then find ways to improve your credit score. You can also request your credit reports from the bureaus through AnnualCreditReport.com.
    2. Seek lenders that consider more than just your credit. Lenders whose assessments of your creditworthiness aren’t solely dependent on your FICO Score may be easier to qualify with. For instance, some lenders may take into account your income, employment and education level.
    3. Prequalify for loans online. Through loan prequalification, you can check whether you’re likely to be approved for a loan and what rates you might be eligible for. The process won’t harm your credit score, as it only generates a soft inquiry. This can be a good way to assess what you could qualify for and how much it would cost you.
    4. Compare loan offers. Once you’ve received a few personal loan offers, you’ll want to select the best option for you. That means reviewing interest rates, lender fee structures and available terms.
    5. Submit an application. After narrowing down your options, it’s time to submit a formal application. This will trigger a hard credit inquiry, which will temporarily lower your credit score. After applying, you may need to wait a few business days to receive a loan decision. If your application is denied, you’ll typically be notified of the factors that contributed to the denial.

    Where to find bad credit loans

    Personal loans for bad credit can be found at a variety of types of institutions. At LendingTree, you can browse through our personal loan marketplace to compare eligibility requirements, interest rates, terms and loan amounts.

    Here are a few different types of lenders that we offer where you can start your search:

    • Banks: Some banks, such as Wells Fargo Bank, offer personal loans. However, you may be required to visit the bank’s local branch in order to go through the application process. While the online process can be convenient, visiting a branch can provide a personal touch when seeking a personal loan.
    • Credit unions: Getting a personal loan through a credit union often requires borrowers to be members of that institution. For instance, with PenFed Credit Union, you don’t have to become a member to apply, but if you decide to proceed with your offer, you’ll have to become a PenFed member to close the loan.
    • Online lenders: When applying for an online personal loan, the process is typically 100% remote. You’ll fill out an online application then submit documentation to verify your identity, income and address.

    Types of loans for bad credit

    Bad credit loans aren’t just limited to traditional, unsecured loans. Here are the types of loans you can get with bad credit.

    Secured loans

    Best for consumers with bad credit who own valuable collateral they can afford to lose should they default on the loan.

    With a secured loan, you’ll have to offer your lender an asset as collateral, like a car, a home or even a savings account. Because secured loans require valuable collateral, they’re often easier to obtain than unsecured loans and generally offer better rates, since the lender is at less risk.

     What to like: Borrowers with poor credit may qualify for lower interest rates since they’re putting up collateral.

     What to watch out for: If you default on a secured loan, your lender may legally confiscate your collateral to recover the money. And if your lender doesn’t recoup the cost of the loan by redeeming your assets, you may be responsible for the difference.

    Unsecured loans

    Best for borrowers who don’t have collateral to secure a loan.

    Since unsecured loans don’t require borrowers to offer up collateral, lenders of these types of loans mostly rely on factors such as credit history, income and debt obligations to determine your eligibility. Unlike secured loans, if you default on an unsecured loan, your lender cannot seize your assets.

     What to like: If you’re unable to repay your unsecured loan, your lender cannot seize your assets.

     What to watch out for: Because these types of loans don’t require collateral, lenders that offer unsecured loans rely heavily on your creditworthiness when it comes to approval and offers. This means that if you don’t have good or excellent credit, you may have a hard time qualifying or receiving low interest rates. If you default, your credit score is likely to take a major hit.

    Joint personal loans

    Best for borrowers who have a supportive family member or friend willing to back their loan request.

    If your credit score isn’t quite high enough to get you approved by a lender, consider getting the support of a loved one and file for a joint personal loan. This enables you to apply for a personal loan with a second person.

     What to like: This approach can make it easier for consumers with bad credit to be eligible for a loan, as it lowers the primary borrower’s risk.

     What to watch out for: If you’re unable to make payments on this type of loan, not only can your lender attempt to collect from you, they can also try to collect on the loan from your co-borrower. This can also impact both of your and your co-borrower’s credit scores.

    Payday loans

    Best for those who can afford the sky-high fees and can pay the loan back right away — though it’s better to avoid this type of loan altogether.

    Payday loans are considered a more dubious type of loan, with astoundingly high fees and interest rates. These loans are typically less than $500 and are expected to be paid back within two to four weeks. Many people who take out payday loans often have to take out additional loans to pay off the original payday loan, trapping them in a cycle of debt.

     What to like: Payday loans don’t require credit checks, and you can often get your money right away.

     What to watch out for: These types of loans are often predatory and may charge as much as 400% APR.

    Cash advances

    Best for those who are in financial emergencies and quickly need money.

    Cash advances are small, short-term loans that you can get from your credit card company. In these instances, you can withdraw cash from your credit card from your total balance.

     What to like: You won’t have to go through a credit check and can receive money fast if you need it.

     What to watch out for: You may have to pay a fee, and you’ll pay much higher APRs than you would on typical credit card purchases.

    Bank agreements

    Best for consumers who have a good history with their bank.

    If you have a strong relationship with your bank, you may be able to get what’s known as a bank agreement. This can take the form of a small, short-term loan or even the ability to overdraft on your account (up to a certain amount).

     What to like: If you’re in need of a short-term fix, you can use an already favorable relationship for financial assistance.

     What to watch out for: This option may not be offered at all banks.

    Bad credit home equity loans

    Best for those who need large sums of money and have equity in their home.

    If you have bad credit, you may be able to cash in on the equity you’ve built into your home using a home equity loan. These loans have fixed rates and are typically paid off between five and 30 years. Like personal loans, with a home equity loan, you’ll be given the money in a lump sum.

     What to like: Allows borrowers to take out up to 80% of their home’s value.

     What to watch out for: Because you’re using your home as collateral, defaulting on your home equity loan may result in losing your home.

    HELOC loans for bad credit

    Best for borrowers who aren’t sure how much money they need and want to be able to borrow from their home’s equity over a period of time.

    A home equity line of credit (HELOC) works similarly to a credit card; consumers can borrow as much as they need (up to a limit) against their home’s equity and only have to pay back the amount they took out. Unlike home equity loans, HELOCs typically have variable interest rates.

     What to like: Consumers can borrow and pay back as needed, and reuse the line of credit.

     What to watch out for: Since interest rates are variable, borrowers may experience high monthly payments.

    Student loans for bad credit

    Best for those who are pursuing financing for educational purposes.

    If you’re in school or preparing to attend college and have poor credit, you may be able to get student loans for bad credit to help cover expenses. While many lenders don’t allow borrowers to use a personal loan toward education financing, lenders like Upstart do allow for it.

     What to like: Some student loan lenders will cover up to the entire cost of your tuition.

     What to watch out for: Some lenders have strict or vague forbearance and deferment programs — or none at all — in case you’re unable to repay the loan down the road.

    How to compare personal loans for bad credit

    Compare lender APRs

    The annual percentage rate (APR) is what your financial institution charges you for taking out a loan, but there is a difference between interest rate and APR.

    While the APR does include the interest rate you’ll be paying to borrow the funds, it gives you a more comprehensive picture of how much your loan will cost, as it also includes any additional fees. The lower the APR is, the less the loan will cost you over time. Therefore, you may want to choose a lender that can offer you a lower APR.

    Account for fees

    Your financial institution could charge you several fees for your personal loan in addition to the annual interest rate. Some of these fees could include administrative costs deducted upfront from the amount you’re borrowing, while others could be charged for making a late payment or paying off your loan before the end of its term.

    3 common personal loan fees

    Late payment feeIf you fall behind on payments, your lender may charge you a late fee. Typically, late fees can run between 3% to 5% of your overdue monthly payment amount.
    Loan origination feeThe origination fee, if included, is typically equal to 1% to 8% of the total amount of the loan. It's a processing or administrative fee that is typically deducted upfront from the total amount you're borrowing.
    Prepayment penaltyYou could be charged a prepayment penalty for paying off your loan ahead of time. However, most lenders don’t charge this fee for personal loans.

    Read lender reviews

    Do your due diligence when deciding on the best lender for your needs. As part of your research, make sure to read online personal loan lender reviews.

    Examine repayment terms

    Your repayment terms can make a difference in how large or small your monthly loan payments will be. Generally, lenders offer unsecured personal loan repayment terms between 12 to 60 months, but you can also find long-term loans with repayment terms as long as 144 months.

    The longer your payment term, the higher your APR rate may be, but you’ll pay in smaller monthly payments. You’ll also pay more in total interest over the life of a long-term loan. If your repayment plan is shorter, however, your APR rates may be lower but your monthly payments will be larger.

    While some lending companies only offer two or three different repayment terms, other companies may have more flexible terms to choose from.

    How to spot scams for bad credit loans

    Unfortunately, some poor-credit loans really are too good to be true. To avoid being scammed by a shady lender, be on the lookout for the following signs:

    • The lender demands you pay fees upfront: A legitimate lending institution won’t ask for payment before you’ve been approved and receive your loan. While some trustworthy lenders may require that you pay an application fee or a credit report fee, these are typically taken out of the loan you borrowed.
    • The lender requires that you act immediately: If a lender is pressuring you to make a decision within a small window of time, that may be a red flag. A proper lender won’t corner you and understands that the decision to take out a loan may require some time to think over.
    • The lender has no physical address: A reputable lender will have the company’s physical address listed on its website (not a post office box), and you’ll be able to confirm it by using Google Maps or a similar app.
    • The lender is not registered in your state: Whether a lender is online or in person, in order to do business in your state, it must be registered in your state, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Lenders should note which states they are or aren’t registered with. If you’re suspicious of a scam, you can reach out to your state attorney general’s office to find out if that lender is registered where you live.
    • The lender contacts you first: If you did not initiate contact with the lender, you may not want to answer any phone calls or other types of communication — it may be a ploy to get your financial information. A credible lender won’t cold call you, asking you to disclose your personal information.
    • The lender doesn’t have a secure website: Some scammers may attempt to steal your information through their website. When researching bad credit loans, be sure to check that a website’s URL has the letter “s” following “http,” as well as a padlock icon on pages that ask you for your financial information.
    • The lender doesn’t check your payment history: A reputable lender won’t guarantee your approval for a loan. Legitimate lending institutions will first want to see your payment history, your credit and DTI ratio and other financial information.

    What to do if you’ve been scammed

    If you find out you’ve been scammed, the first step is to contact law enforcement and file a police report. Unfortunately, there may not be much they can do, but you’ll want to document the crime as much as possible.

    Once you’ve filed a police report, you should also report the scam to the FTC Internet Crime Complaint Center. By reporting it, you could potentially prevent others from being scammed in the future.

    Frequently asked questions

    The easiest way to get a loan if you have bad credit may be to seek a payday loan or pawn shop loan, since you’re not required to submit to a credit check for either. However, it’s typically best to avoid these types of loans, as they can be predatory and often involve exorbitant fees and high interest rates. Instead, consider applying for a loan with a reputable lender that offers personal loans to borrowers with bad credit.

    While many trustworthy lenders won’t offer you a personal loan if you have a credit score of 550 or lower, there are other ways you may be eligible to get a loan.

    • Apply with a co-borrower: Some lenders give consumers the option to submit a joint application. In this instance, the primary borrower can ask a loved one with a higher credit score to serve as a co-borrower, which can help lower their risk in the eyes of lenders.
    • Apply for a secured loan: If you aren’t able to find a co-borrower, applying for a secured loan is another route you can take. For these types of loans, you’ll have to offer up collateral — such as a vehicle or bank account — to increase your creditworthiness. If you default on a secured loan, however, your lender can legally seize your collateral.

    The list above outlines what we believe to be some of the best companies for loans for bad credit. To apply for a loan with the lenders mentioned in this article, you’ll typically need to submit to a credit check and verify your identity, address, income and employment status.

    How much money you’ll be able to borrow with a bad credit loan will vary from lender to lender. Personal loans typically range anywhere from $1,000 to $50,000, though certain lenders may offer even smaller or larger loans in some cases.

    Unfortunately, if you have bad credit and you receive a personal loan, chances are that you may be paying higher rates. This can make it more challenging to get out of debt, particularly if you’re already struggling financially. If you find yourself buried in debt, you can consider other options, such as bankruptcy.

    There is no such thing as a no-credit-check loan. What you may encounter are predatory offers from unscrupulous lenders who’ll charge you exorbitant interest rates or offer unfavorable terms (or both), and require you to put up collateral, like your vehicle or next paycheck. These products are commonly known as payday loans.

    While payday loans don’t require a credit check, they do often come with triple-digit APRs and short repayment periods. Because it can be easy to roll over your original payday loan into a new one, you could get stuck in an infinite cycle of debt that’s hard to escape.

    How we chose the best personal loans for bad credit

    We reviewed more than 28 lenders that offer personal loans to determine the overall best six lenders with a credit score requirement at or below 640. To make our list, lenders must offer competitive annual percentage rates (APRs). From there, we prioritize lenders based on the following factors:

    • Accessibility: Lenders are ranked higher if their personal loans are available to more people and require fewer conditions. This may include lower credit requirements, wider geographic availability, faster funding and easier and more transparent prequalification and application processes.
    • Rates and terms: We prioritize lenders with more competitive fixed rates, fewer fees and greater options for repayment terms, loan amounts and APR discounts.
    • Repayment experience: For starters, we consider each lender’s reputation and business practices. We also favor lenders that report to all major credit bureaus, offer reliable customer service and provide any unique perks to customers, like free wealth coaching.

    LendingTree reviews and fact-checks our top lender picks on a monthly basis.