5 Best Medical Loans for Bad Credit in 2024

Checking rates won’t affect your credit score

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Written by Amanda Push | Edited by Katie Lowery and Pearly Huang | Updated July 19, 2024
Best For:
Short-term loans
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Best For:
Secured loans
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Best For:
Borrowers new to credit
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Best For:
Joint applications
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Best For:
Monitoring your credit
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More Options

Medical loan lenders for bad credit at a glance

Avant: Best for short-term loans

9.95% - 35.99%

$2,000 - $35,000

24 to 60 months

Up to 9.99%

580

Pros

  • Funding may be available on the next business day
  • Flexible loan terms
  • Offers prequalification

Cons

  • Charges administrative fees
  • Charges late payment fees
  • No joint loans offered

What to know

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If you want to pay off your loan quickly and save on interest. Avant offers short-term loans, ranging from 24 to 60 months. This lender also offers flexible loan terms and allows potential borrowers to prequalify for a loan without any impact to their credit score.

Avant charges a one-time administrative fee, so you’ll need to budget for that when you decide how much you want to borrow. An Avant medical loan may also come with high APRs, especially if you have bad credit. Read our full Avant personal loan review.

Eligibility requirements

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Other than its 580 minimum credit score, Avant doesn’t provide much information about its loan requirements. It does, however, state that applicants will need a personal checking and savings account.

OneMain Financial: Best for secured loans

18.00% - 35.99%

$1,500 - $20,000

24 to 60 months

1.00% - 10.00%

Not specified

Pros

  • Offers secured and unsecured loans
  • Quick funding timeline
  • No prepayment penalties

Cons

  • High minimum APR
  • Low maximum borrowing amount
  • Charges an origination fee 

What to know

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OneMain Financial offers both secured and unsecured loans. This may be good news for bad-credit borrowers since secured loans — which require collateral — can be easier to qualify for than unsecured loans. OneMain Financial may approve and fund your loan within one business day of receiving your application.

This lender charges an origination fee that can range from 1.00% - 10.00% and only offers loan amounts up to $20,000. Read our full OneMain Financial personal loan review.

Eligibility requirements

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OneMain Financial doesn’t provide much transparency about its personal loan requirements. What we do know is that before closing on a loan, you’ll be required to provide the following:

  • Government-issued identification
  • Proof of residence
  • Proof of income

Universal Credit: Best for monitoring your credit

11.69% - 35.99%

$1,000 - $50,000

36 or 60 months

5.25% - 9.99%

560

Pros

  • Offers an autopay discount
  • Provides free credit monitoring
  • Funding may be available within one business day

Cons

  • Charges an origination fee
  • Charges late payment fees
  • Limited repayment term options

What to know

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Universal Credit offers free credit monitoring services to its borrowers. This can help you track your credit as you make repayments on your loan. Plus, Universal Credit borrowers may receive funds within one business day.

On the other hand, Universal Credit loans come with a 5.25% - 9.99% origination fee. Bad-credit borrowers may pay APRs as high as 35.99%, and this lender does not allow joint applications. Read our full Universal Credit personal loan review.

Eligibility requirements

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Universal Credit provides a clear picture of the criteria applicants will need to meet to get a medical loan:

  • 560 minimum credit score
  • Debt-to-income (DTI) ratio of less than 75%
  • Must have at least two other credit accounts
  • Must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or living in the U.S. with a valid visa

Upgrade: Best for joint applications

8.49% - 35.99%

$1,000 - $50,000

24 to 84 months

1.85% - 9.99%

580

Pros

  • Long loan terms
  • Allows joint applications
  • Offers autopay discounts

Cons

  • Charges late fees
  • Charges an origination fee

What to know

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Upgrade offers joint loans to consumers who have bad credit. Adding a second person to your medical loan application can make it easier to qualify and receive lower rates. Upgrade customers may also qualify for long loan terms and interest rate discounts if they sign up for autopay.

Upgrade borrowers will have to account for a one-time origination fee ranging from 1.85% - 9.99%. You could also get stuck with APRs as high as 35.99%, particularly if you have bad credit. Read our full Upgrade personal loan review.

Eligibility requirements

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Unfortunately, Upgrade doesn’t provide much insight into its medical loan requirements:

  • 580 minimum credit score
  • Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, or have a valid visa
  • Must be least 18 years old
  • Must have verifiable bank account and email address

Upstart: Best for borrowers new to credit

7.80% - 35.99%

$1,000 - $50,000

36 or 60 months

Up to 12.00%

300

Pros

  • Works with inexperienced borrowers
  • Fast funding timeline
  • Offers prequalification

Cons

  • Limited repayment terms
  • No option for cosigners or joint loans
  • Charges an origination fee

What to know

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Upstart uses its artificial intelligence-enabled lending platform to assess applicants’ creditworthiness and considers factors beyond just your credit score, such as employment and education. This nontraditional approach may make it easier for consumers with bad credit or little credit experience to qualify for a loan with lenders on its marketplace. Once you close on your loan, you may receive your funds quickly, often within one business day.

However, if you borrow a medical loan through Upstart, you may have to pay an origination fee as high as 12.00%. Borrowers also don’t have the option to add a co-borrower or cosigner to their loan, so you’ll need to be able to qualify on the strength of your individual application. Read our full Upstart personal loan review.

Eligibility requirements

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Unlike some companies, Upstart is upfront about its personal loan requirements. Here’s what you need to know:

  • 300 minimum credit score
  • Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident living in the U.S.
  • Not be a resident of Iowa or West Virginia
  • Minimum annual income of $12,000
  • Have a full-time job, an offer to start in six months, have a part-time job or a different source of regular income

What to know about medical loans for bad credit

If you need to fund a medical procedure or pay for emergency medical expenses, you may be considering a medical loan. When you have bad credit, it may be more challenging to qualify for financing. Here’s what you’ll need to know when taking out a medical loan with bad credit:

  • Interest rates: A lender’s interest rate is part of the cost of borrowing and is often included in a loan’s annual percentage rate (APR), along with fees. If you have bad credit, you can expect to receive a higher APR, as high as 36%.
  • Fees: Many lenders charge origination fees and late fees. Origination fees — which can be as high as 12.00% — are one-time administrative fees taken out of the amount you’re borrowing.
  • Loan amounts: Medical loans typically range anywhere from $1,000 to $50,000, though some lenders may offer more. If you have bad credit, a small personal loan may be easier to qualify for since larger loans tend to come with stricter eligibility criteria.
  • Repayment terms: The repayment terms you’re offered can determine both your monthly payments and APR. Short-term loans come with higher monthly payments but you’ll pay less in interest overall. On the other hand, long-term loans tend to have lower monthly payments but you’ll pay more in interest over the life of the loan.

How to get a medical loan with bad credit

Medical loans for bad credit are like any other type of personal loan. If you have less-than-ideal credit, consider taking some time to boost your chances of loan approval before applying. However, if you’re in need of a medical loan in a hurry, you’ll need to take the following steps:

  1. Check your credit. Understanding your credit score can give you an idea of which lenders you may qualify with and the rates you may expect. Checking your credit yourself won’t impact your score, but if you submit an official application, your lender will review your credit history, which can cause your score to slightly decrease.
  2. Determine how much you need to borrow. You shouldn’t borrow more than you can afford to pay back. Use a personal loan calculator to estimate your monthly payments and assess how much you can afford to borrow.
  3. Prequalify for a loan. Getting prequalified will allow you to check the rates, terms and borrowing amounts a lender may be willing to offer you. Loan prequalifications will not impact your credit score, but the rates you receive aren’t guaranteed.
  4. Add a co-borrower or cosigner. During the prequalification process, you may have the option to add a co-borrower or cosigner. Adding a second person to your medical loan application can improve your chances of getting approved if you have bad credit. However, not all lenders offer joint loans or allow cosigners.
  5. Formally apply. Once you’ve found the right lender, you’ll need to formally apply and verify your personal and financial information. You may need to provide bank statements, W-2s, recent pay stubs and a government-issued form of identification. During this part of the process, your lender will run a hard credit pull.
  6. Close on your loan. The final step of the process will involve officially accepting your bad-credit medical loan by signing a loan agreement. Be sure to read the fine print before signing so you understand the terms of your contract. When your contract is finalized, your lender will disburse your funds.

See Personalized Rates

How to compare bad credit medical loans

If you have bad credit, shopping for medical loans can be challenging since you likely won’t qualify for lenders’ lowest rates. When comparing lenders, keep the following details in mind:

  • APRs: A loan’s APR is the cost of borrowing and includes the interest rate and any fees. The better your credit score, the lower your APRs may be. If you have bad credit, however, you’ll likely receive rates as high as 36%.
  • Lender reputation: Before signing on the dotted line, be sure to do some research into the lender’s reputation with consumers. Be sure to check for any regulatory actions from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB). You can also check the CFPB complaint database.
  • Unique features: Some lenders offer features that could benefit you as a borrower. For example, some lenders offer a mobile app for loan management or the option to skip a payment.
  • Discounts: Some lenders offer interest rate discounts for meeting certain criteria. One of the most common is a rate discount for borrowers who sign up for autopay. This can be especially helpful if you have bad credit and a high interest rate.
  • Customer support: Read a lender’s customer service reviews and locate its customer service hours. If they receive poor reviews or have very limited hours, that lender may not be a good fit for you.
  • Funding speed: If you need a medical loan in a hurry, the funding timeline is an important factor. While some lenders can take three days or more to send you money, some offer next-day or same-day funding.

How to boost your chances of getting a medical loan

If you’re looking for a bad-credit personal loan for medical expenses, you can expect to receive high APRs from some lenders and you may not qualify at all with others. Here are some steps you can take to improve your odds of loan approval:

  • Boost your credit score. If you’re taking out an unsecured personal loan, lenders will take your credit score into heavy consideration. It will take time and patience to improve your credit score, but if you do, you’ll have better odds of getting approved and finding lower rates.
  • Dispute credit report errors. Unfortunately, it’s common for incorrect information to end up on your credit reports. That’s why it’s important to thoroughly examine your reports and dispute errors, as they may impact your score.
  • Consider a secured loan. While most personal loans are unsecured — meaning you won’t have to provide collateral — you may want to consider a secured loan instead. These loans may be easier to get since they are guaranteed by a valuable asset, like a savings account or vehicle.
  • Find a cosigner. If you’re unable to improve your credit score before applying for a loan, consider getting a loan with a cosigner. Because two people are willing to take responsibility for loan repayment, some lenders may be more willing to approve you for a medical loan.

Other ways to pay for medical costs

A medical loan isn’t always the best choice, particularly if you have bad credit. Before applying for a medical loan with bad credit, consider these alternatives:

 Medical credit card

Some doctors and hospitals offer medical credit cards as a way to finance medical expenses. Another financing option is the CareCredit® credit card — issued by Synchrony Bank — which comes with zero interest during the first six to 24 months on purchases of at least $200.

 Payment plan

Some doctors and hospitals offer payment plans to help patients spread out the cost of their medical care. Be sure to ask your medical provider about payment plans before receiving care and ask about any interest and fees.

 Nonprofit assistance

Organizations like the Patient Advocate Foundation and the National Organization for Rare Disorders can help you cover the cost of out-of-pocket expenses that come with expensive procedures, disorders and illnesses.

 Family loan

While this can come with its own set of complications, borrowing from family or friends may be a good option if you’re certain that you can repay the loan. To avoid conflict, it’s best to draw up a loan agreement so you have the loan terms and conditions in writing.

How we chose our picks for best medical loans for bad credit

We reviewed more than 25 lenders that offer medical loans for bad credit to determine the overall best five lenders. To make our list, lenders must accept credit scores below 600 and 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.

Frequently asked questions

Yes — you can get a loan if you have bad credit, but you’ll likely have to pay higher interest rates that may not make taking on the debt worth it. If you choose to move forward with a bad-credit loan, you can always refinance the personal loan down the line if you improve your credit score.

You may need to consider a medical loan if you need treatment as soon as possible or don’t have insurance to cover a procedure. According to a 2022 LendingTree survey, as many as 23% of Americans have medical debt.

The credit score needed for a personal loan depends on the lender, though most require a score of at least 580. However, to qualify for a lender’s lowest rates, you’ll need an excellent credit score.

There is no definitive credit score needed to get a medical credit card, though many lenders require at least a 660 score. If your credit score is less than ideal, check the criteria for credit cards for bad credit to see if you qualify.