Best Installment Loans in March 2024

An installment loan comes as a lump sum which you’ll pay it back in equal monthly payments.

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.
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Written by Carol Pope | Edited by Amanda Push and Stephanie Cervone | Updated February 28, 2024

Best installment loans for bad credit

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.
LenderUser ratingsAPR rangeLoan termsLoan amountsCredit score requiredOrigination fee
(129)
User Ratings & Reviews rating-reviews-tooltip-icon

Ratings and reviews are from real consumers who have used the lending partner’s services.

11.69% - 35.99%36 or 60 months$1,000 - $50,0005605.25% - 9.99%
(2,184)
User Ratings & Reviews rating-reviews-tooltip-icon

Ratings and reviews are from real consumers who have used the lending partner’s services.

8.49% - 35.99% (with discounts)24 to 84 months$1,000 - $50,0005801.85% - 9.99%
(16,291)
User Ratings & Reviews rating-reviews-tooltip-icon

Ratings and reviews are from real consumers who have used the lending partner’s services.

7.80% - 35.99%36 and 60 months$1,000 - $50,0003000.00% - 12.00%

Best installment loans online

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.
LenderUser ratingsAPR rangeLoan termsLoan amountsCredit score requiredOrigination fee
(2,467)
User Ratings & Reviews rating-reviews-tooltip-icon

Ratings and reviews are from real consumers who have used the lending partner’s services.

8.99% - 35.99%36 to 60 months$2,000 - $50,0006000.99% - 8.99%
(1,593)
User Ratings & Reviews rating-reviews-tooltip-icon

Ratings and reviews are from real consumers who have used the lending partner’s services.

7.49% - 25.49% (with autopay)24 to 144 months$5,000 - $100,000Not disclosedNone
(97)
User Ratings & Reviews rating-reviews-tooltip-icon

Ratings and reviews are from real consumers who have used the lending partner’s services.

8.99% - 29.99% (with discounts)*24 to 84 months$5,000 - $100,0006800.00% - 7.00% (optional)

Best unsecured installment loans

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.
LenderUser ratingsAPR rangeLoan termsLoan amountsCredit score requiredOrigination fee
(1,593)
User Ratings & Reviews rating-reviews-tooltip-icon

Ratings and reviews are from real consumers who have used the lending partner’s services.

7.99% - 24.99%36 to 84 months$2,500 - $40,000720None
(1,952)
User Ratings & Reviews rating-reviews-tooltip-icon

Ratings and reviews are from real consumers who have used the lending partner’s services.

7.99% - 35.99%24 to 72 months$2,000 - $36,500660Up to 10%
(1,593)
User Ratings & Reviews rating-reviews-tooltip-icon

Ratings and reviews are from real consumers who have used the lending partner’s services.

8.99% - 35.99%24 to 60 months$2,000 - $50,0005601.00% - 7.99%
Read more about how we chose our picks for best installment loans.

Bad credit installment loan lenders at a glance

Universal Credit: Best for bad credit

APR range11.69% - 35.99%
Loan terms36 or 60 months
Loan amounts$1,000 - $50,000
Minimum credit score560
Origination fee5.25% - 9.99%
ProsCons

  Can compare multiple loan offers at one time

  Includes free credit monitoring

  May accept fair to poor credit

  Mandatory origination fee

  Loan terms not as flexible as some

  No live chat for customer service

Upgrade: Best for bad credit

APR range8.49% - 35.99% with discounts
Loan terms24 to 84 months
Loan amounts$1,000 - $50,000
Minimum credit score580
Origination fee1.85% - 9.99%
ProsCons

  APR discounts for autopay and debt consolidation

  Secured installment loans available

  Offers joint loans

  Will pay an origination fee

  High maximum APR

  $10 late payment fee

Upstart: Best for bad credit

APR range7.80% - 35.99%
Loan terms36 and 60 months
Loan amounts$1,000 - $50,000
Minimum credit score300
Origination fee0.00% - 12.00%
ProsCons

  One of the lowest minimum credit score requirements around

  May still be eligible if you have no credit

  Next-day loans possible

  Potential for high origination fee

  Only two loan terms

  High maximum APR

Online installment loan lenders at a glance

Best Egg: Best for online lending

APR range8.99% - 35.99%
Loan terms36 to 60 months
Loan amounts$2,000 - $50,000
Minimum credit score600
Origination fee0.99% - 8.99%
ProsCons

  APR discount for using your home’s fixtures as collateral

  Fast funding timeline

  Can secure your installment loan with your vehicle’s equity

  Requires a FICO score of at least 700 for lowest APRs

  Not available in Iowa, Vermont, West Virginia or U.S. territories

  Customer service not open on Sundays

LightStream: Best for online lending

APR range7.49% - 25.49% with autopay
Loan terms24 to 144 months
Loan amounts$5,000 - $100,000
Minimum credit scoreNot disclosed
Origination feeNone
ProsCons

  Offers Rate Beat, a rate-matching program

  No fees

  Same-day loans possible

  Must have at least good credit to qualify

  Cannot prequalify

  No small loans

SoFi: Best for online lending

APR range8.99% - 29.99% with discounts*
Loan terms24 to 84 months
Loan amounts$5,000 - $100,000
Minimum credit score680
Origination fee0.00% - 7.00% (optional)
ProsCons

  May get same-day funds

  Unemployment Protection benefit available

  Discounts for autopay and direct deposit

  May need to pay origination fee to get the lowest rates

  Bad-credit applicants won’t qualify

  High minimum loan amount

Unsecured installment loans at a glance

Discover: Best for unsecured loans

APR range7.99% - 24.99%
Loan terms36 to 84 months
Loan amounts$2,500 - $40,000
Minimum credit score720
Origination feeNone
ProsCons

  Low APRs

  No origination fees

  Offers three repayment assistance options in case of hardship

  No co-borrowers

  Requires excellent credit

  $39 late payment fee

LendingPoint: Best for unsecured loans

APR range7.99% - 35.99%
Loan terms24 to 72 months
Loan amounts$2,000 - $36,500
Minimum credit score660
Origination feeUp to 10%
ProsCons

  May accept fair credit

  Could get approval decision in seconds

  Can prequalify

  Narrow loan amounts

  May pay a hefty origination fee

  No cosigned or joint loans

Prosper: Best for unsecured loans

APR range8.99% - 35.99%
Loan terms24 to 60 months
Loan amounts$2,000 - $50,000
Minimum credit score560
Origination fee1.00% - 7.99%
ProsCons

  Ultra-low APRs for the most creditworthy borrowers

  May still qualify with bad credit

  Can adjust payment due dates online

  Approval decision could take up to five business days

  Charges numerous fees (origination, late payment, check payment and insufficient funds)

  Customer support unavailable on weekends

Where to get installment loans

You might find an installment loan at your current financial institution. Or perhaps an online lender makes more sense. Knowing where to shop is the first step in finding an installment loan that works for you.

What is an installment loan?

An installment loan is a loan that you get as a lump sum and then pay back in fixed monthly payments, plus interest. Personal loans, mortgages, auto loans and student loans are all installment loans. However, we’re focusing on personal loans in this article.

  Banks

Your current bank can be a great place to get an installment loan. Although eligibility requirements with banks can be strict, you could get a relationship discount if you qualify.

Note that some banks have discontinued their personal loan options in recent years. These include Bank of America, Chase and Capital One. However, below you’ll find some of the most popular banks that offer installment loans with APR discounts. This list isn’t all-inclusive, so contact your bank for more information.

BankAPR Discount
Wells Fargo0.25% to 0.50% for autopay from a Wells Fargo checking account
Citibank0.50% for autopay, 0.25% for existing Citigold and Citi Priority customers
U.S. Bank0.50% for autopay
PNC0.25% for autopay from a PNC checking account
Fifth Third Bank0.25% for autopay from a Fifth Third checking account
M&T Bank0.15% to 0.50% for existing customers and/or autopay through an M&T checking account

  Credit unions

Credit union membership comes with perks. Like banks, they often offer APR discounts for autopay. But unlike banks, APRs on credit union personal loans cannot exceed 18% per federal law.

Additionally, credit unions are nonprofits and are owned by its members. As such, they frequently follow a mission to help their members achieve their financial goals. That means your credit union may be willing to look past imperfect credit.

  Online lenders

One of the easiest ways to get an installment loan is through an online lender. You apply from the comfort of your own home, and many do business with borrowers of all credit scores.

Targeting online installment loans can also help you compare offers. Most online lenders allow you to prequalify and may provide an approval decision in minutes. At LendingTree’s loan marketplace, you could compare up to five lenders at once with no negative impact to your credit.

Installment loans for bad credit

Some lenders specialize in installment loans for bad credit, but there’s no guarantee you’ll be approved. The strategies below could boost your personal loan approval odds.

Improve your credit score: You can’t improve your credit score overnight. Still, small steps like paying your bills on time and chipping away at current debt can help.

Consider a secured loan: Lenders may be more willing to offer you an installment loan if you put up collateral. And if you already qualify, collateral could net you a lower APR.

Add a co-borrower: Adding a creditworthy co-borrower or cosigner may entice a lender to approve you. However, missed payments will affect your co-borrower’s credit score as well as your own.

Avoiding predatory installment loans

You’ll need to be selective to avoid predatory lending if you have bad credit. As tempting as they may be, pass on payday loans, title loans and pawn shop loans. These have sky-high APRs that can trap you in a cycle of debt.

Also, note that some online lenders may offer APRs that exceed 36%. Most financial experts agree that APRs higher than 36% are predatory.

How to get an installment loan

Before you apply for an installment loan, be sure that you can afford to pay back what you borrow. Missing payments is a sure-fire way to tank your credit score. Use our personal loan calculator to see the true cost of an installment loan, considering interest.

If your budget shows that you can handle another monthly payment, then you should:

Check your credit

To know what you might qualify for, you need to check your credit score. Many lenders require a good credit score (670+) before they’ll offer you an installment loan. It’s possible to qualify with fair or poor credit, but high interest rates may make it unaffordable to borrow.

Prequalify with multiple lenders and compare

Most lenders allow you to prequalify for a personal loan. This is a quick way to check your eligibility without taking a ding to your credit. While prequalification doesn’t guarantee approval, this process can help you decide whether a lender is worth pursuing.

Formally apply, accept your offer and enter repayment

Once you’ve compared offers (more on that below) and chosen the best installment loan for you, it’s time to apply.

Loan applications are similar across lenders. You’ll need to provide basics like your name and date of birth. The lender will also ask for financial information like your annual income. You may need to provide bank statements, and you’ll almost certainly need to provide a government-issued ID.

When the lender approves you, you’ll sign your loan documents. Then, it will disburse (or send you) your loan. About 30 to 45 days after you get your installment loan, you’ll begin paying it back in equal monthly payments.

How to compare installment loans

When you’re in the market for a big-ticket item, you shop around, right? The same logic applies to personal installment loans. It’s impossible to know if you’re getting the most competitive rate if you don’t compare offers. The definitions below may help when you’re reviewing your options.

APR: An APR measures the total cost of your loan, including interest and fees. The higher the percentage, the more expensive the loan.

Repayment term: Your repayment term is the length of time you’ll have to pay off your loan. A longer loan term can give you lower monthly payments. This is because you’ll have more months to spread your balance across. On the flip side, a short term means you’ll likely pay less overall interest.

Loan amount: Double-check your loan amount before accepting an offer. An installment loan is a lump sum of money. If your loan doesn’t cover what you intended, you’re out of luck unless you get another loan.

Fees: Many installment loans come with fees, the most common being an origination fee. This is an up-front fee that the lender will deduct from your loan amount. Some lenders only charge this fee to bad-credit borrowers. Others apply one to every loan they write or skip them altogether.

Funding timeline: Lenders have two funding timelines — one for loan approval and one for loan disbursal. To get a quick installment loan, choose one that offers same- or next-day approval. Then, ask the lender if it can send your loan via direct deposit as this is typically the fastest method.

Installment loan alternatives

A loan can be a tool that can help you reach your financial goals. For some, an installment loan might not be the right tool for the job.

Credit card

Since a loan provides a lump sum of cash, a credit card makes more sense if you need funds on an ongoing basis.

Paycheck advance app

Paycheck advance apps can be easy to use, which makes them a bit risky. Still, they can get you out of a bind if you need cash in between paychecks.

Loan from friend or family

Borrowing from a friend or family member can be a better alternative to a bad credit installment loan (since these come with high APRs). If you take this path, write up a personal loan agreement and stick to it to avoid damaging your relationship.

How we chose the best installment loans

We reviewed more than 28 lenders to determine the overall best nine installment loans. To make our list, lenders must offer installment loans with competitive 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.

Frequently asked questions

It could. Unless you get a no-credit-check loan, your lender will pull your credit report when you apply. This can cause a small, temporary drop to your credit score. However, making your payments on time (every time) could improve your score down the line.

The easiest installment loans are typically the most expensive ones. These include no-credit-check loans, payday loans, title loans and pawn shop loans. If you have bad credit, consider online lender Upstart or a paycheck advance app, instead.

Installment loans can be handy, but they’re just another form of debt. Also, you’ll pay to borrow through interest and fees. That’s not to say that an installment loan is always a bad idea. Just know what you’re getting into before signing on the dotted line.