Best Personal Loans for Fair Credit in 2020

Bankrate's guide to choosing the right personal loan with fair credit

By Dori Zinn

As of Monday, April 06, 2020

Not everyone has the best credit score. In fact, Experian reports 17 percent of Americans have a fair credit score, a FICO score between 580 and 669. With a less-than-stellar score, you might have a hard time finding ways to borrow money.

Luckily, personal loans for fair credit are available. These are the best personal loans if you have fair credit.

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When comparing the best loans for people with fair credit, the first thing to look for is the lender’s minimum credit score requirement. Then, it’s important to compare interest rates across multiple lenders; fair credit loans tend to carry higher APRs than loans for good or excellent credit, so shopping around is critical. Also, before you ultimately decide on a lender, make sure it offers flexible repayment terms and keeps fees to a minimum.

Loan details presented here are current as of the publish date. Check the lenders’ websites for more current information. The lenders listed here are selected based on factors such as credit requirements, APR, loan amounts, fees and more.

Bankrate's picks for best fair credit personal loans of 2020

  1. Avant - 580 minimum credit score
  2. Best Egg - 640 minimum credit score
  3. Upgrade - 620 minimum credit score
  4. Payoff - 640 minimum credit score
  5. Upstart - 620 minimum credit score
  6. LendingClub - 600 minimum credit score
  7. Prosper - 640 minimum credit score
  8. FreedomPlus - 620 minimum credit score
  9. Discover - 660 minimum credit score
  10. PenFed - Mid-600s minimum credit score
  11. LendingPoint - 585 minimum credit score
  12. LightStream - 660 minimum credit score

1. Avant - 580 minimum credit score

Overview: Avant targets bad and fair credit borrowers. Even with a credit score as low as 580, you may still be eligible to borrow a personal loan of as little as $2,000.

Perks: Get access to your funds within a day of approval. Repayment terms go as long as five years.

What to watch out for: The lowest APR available is 9.95%, which is much higher compared to competitors. Avant charges an administration fee and late fees.

Lender Avant
Bankrate Rating 4.0 / 5.0
Min. Credit Score 580
Est. APR 9.95%-35.99%
Loan Amount $2,000-$35,000
Term Lengths 2 to 5 years
Min. Annual Income None
Fees Administration fee, late fee

Read Bankrate's expert Avant Review

2. Best Egg - 640 minimum credit score

Overview: Best Egg offers personal loans to borrowers with credit scores ranging from fair to excellent credit. Terms are three or five years. Loan amounts range from $2,000 to $35,000, making them ideal for sizable expenses such as home repairs.

Perks: Approval and deposit of funds can come as quickly as within a day. Good for borrowers with a credit score as low as 640.

What to watch out for: The origination fee can go as high as 5.99% and there’s a $15 late fee.

Lender Best Egg
Bankrate Rating 3.7 / 5.0
Min. Credit Score 640
Est. APR 5.99%-29.99%
Loan Amount $2,000-$35,000
Term Lengths 3 to 5 years
Min. Annual Income None
Fees Origination fee, late fee

Read Bankrate's expert Best Egg Review

3. Upgrade - 620 minimum credit score

Overview: Upgrade offers loans ranging from $1,000 to $50,000 for a variety of purposes, like an emergency or debt consolidation.

Perks: Take advantage of the 5.99% APR if you qualify. The minimum credit score is 620.

What to watch out for: The origination fee can go as high as 6%. If you don’t pay your loan on time every month, you could face a $15 late payment fee.

Lender Upgrade
Bankrate Rating 4.1 / 5.0
Min. Credit Score 620
Est. APR 5.99%-35.89%
Loan Amount $1,000-$50,000
Term Lengths 3 to 5 years
Min. Annual Income None
Fees Origination fee, late fee

Read Bankrate's expert Upgrade Review

4. Payoff - 640 minimum credit score

Overview: If you’re suffering from a mountain of credit card debt, you might be best suited for a Payoff personal loan for debt consolidation.

Perks: No fees for late payment or paying by check. No prepayment penalty.

What to watch out for: Even though you can get a Payoff loan with fair credit, its minimum credit score requirement is 640, which is on the higher end of a fair credit score. Be mindful of the origination fee.

Lender Payoff
Bankrate Rating 3.6 / 5.0
Min. Credit Score 640
Est. APR 5.99%-24.99%
Loan Amount $5,000-$35,000
Term Lengths 2 to 5 years
Min. Annual Income None
Fees Origination fee of 0% to 5%

Read Bankrate's expert Payoff Review

5. Upstart - 620 minimum credit score

Overview: While Upstart evaluates your credit score to determine your creditworthiness, it’s not the company’s only method. It’ll also consider your education and job history, which might be helpful if you’re struggling to qualify for a personal loan based on your credit score.

Perks: Borrow as little as $1,000, and don’t feel like a short credit history will hold you back. You can apply even with minimal credit on your report.

What to watch out for: If you don’t qualify for a loan on your own, you might have to look elsewhere. Upstart doesn’t allow cosigners.

Lender Upstart
Bankrate Rating 3.8 / 5.0
Min. Credit Score 620
Est. APR 6.46%-35.99%
Loan Amount $1,000-$50,000
Term Lengths 3 to 5 years
Min. Annual Income None
Fees Late fee of 5% or $15

Read Bankrate's expert Upstart Review

6. LendingClub - 600 minimum credit score

Overview: Having a cosigner might be the difference-maker you need to qualify for a loan. You can use one when you apply for a LendingClub personal loan.

Perks: Aside from being able to use a cosigner, you might qualify for a loan if you have at least a 600 credit score. The lender also allows a 15-day grace period on late monthly payments.

What to what out for: You could get your funds around four days after approval, which might be too long if you need your money right away. You’ll also face an origination fee.

Lender LendingClub
Bankrate Rating 3.3 / 5.0
Min. Credit Score 600
Est. APR 6.95%-35.89%
Loan Amount $1,000-$50,000
Term Lengths 3 to 5 years
Min. Annual Income None
Fees Origination fee of 1% to 6%

Read Bankrate's expert LendingClub Review

7. Prosper - 640 minimum credit score

Overview: Prosper offers loans to borrowers with fair credit, but a little on the higher side. The minimum credit score is 640, so if you’re still in the fair range but moving up, you might qualify.

Perks: While Prosper doesn’t accept cosigners, it does accept joint applications. Prosper also lets you change your monthly due date to ensure on-time payments.

What to watch out for: Lots of fees - origination fee 2.4% to 5%, late fee of 5% or $15 (whichever is greater), $15 insufficient funds fee, $5 check fee. Getting your money can take up to three days after you’re approved, which might be too long, depending on your situation.

Lender Prosper
Bankrate Rating 3.5 / 5.0
Min. Credit Score 640
Est. APR 6.95%-35.99%
Loan Amount $2,000-$40,000
Term Lengths 3 to 5 years
Min. Annual Income None
Fees Origination fee 2.4% to 5%, late fee of 5% or $15 (whichever is greater), $15 insufficient funds fee, $5 check fee.

Read Bankrate's expert Prosper Review

8. FreedomPlus - 620 minimum credit score

Overview: Even though its minimum loan amount is a bit high, FreedomPlus offers decent interest rates, even for those who qualify for a loan with fair credit.

Perks: Repayment terms go as long as five years, which could help keep your monthly payments affordable.

What to watch out for: The minimum loan amount of $7,500 might be more than you need. If you need to borrow less, you may want to explore other personal loan options.

Lender FreedomPlus
Bankrate Rating 3.5 / 5.0
Min. Credit Score 620
Est. APR 5.99%-29.99%
Loan Amount $7,500-$40,000
Term Lengths 2 to 5 years
Min. Annual Income None
Fees Origination fee 0% to 4.99%

Read Bankrate's expert FreedomPlus Review

9. Discover - 660 minimum credit score

Overview: While Discover accepts borrowers with fair credit, it’s at the very tip of a qualifying FICO score of 660. If you’re on the lower end of fair credit, you may not qualify.

Perks: No origination fee, competitive interest rates, and fast funding — within a day of getting approved. Relatively long repayment terms — up to seven years — could mean lower monthly payments.

What to watch out for: The $39 late fee is high compared with competitors, and you might not qualify with fair credit, even if it’s on the higher end. Discover doesn’t have a co-sign option.

Lender Discover
Bankrate Rating 4.0 / 5.0
Min. Credit Score 660
Est. APR 6.99%-24.99%
Loan Amount $2,500-$35,000
Term Lengths 3 to 7 years
Min. Annual Income $25,000
Fees Late payment fee of $39

Read Bankrate's expert Discover Review

10. PenFed - mid-600s minimum credit score

Overview: Don’t ignore credit unions to help you get a personal loan when you need it. If you don’t qualify for a PenFed personal loan, you may want to reach out to your local credit union to see what you need to become eligible.

Perks: The low minimum loan amount of $500 is enticing for those who don’t need to borrow much but still need help.

What to watch out for: Credit unions typically require membership before getting a personal loan and might not approve a loan for a few weeks. If you need money fast, you might want to look elsewhere.

Lender PenFed
Min. Credit Score Mid-600s
Est. APR 6.49%-17.99%
Loan Amount $500-$25,000
Term Lengths 1 to 5 years
Min. Annual Income None
Fees None

11. LendingPoint - 585 minimum credit score

Overview: LendingPoint specializes in loans for subprime borrowers. You could get a loan with a credit score as low as 585.

Perks: No prepayment penalty for paying off your loan early, and the credit score requirement is very loan compared with other fair credit lenders.

What to watch out for: You’ll need to prove income and employment. LendingPoint prefers you to be with your current employer for at least a year. There’s no co-sign option, which means if you don’t qualify on your own, you won’t be able to get a loan.

Lender LendingPoint
Bankrate rating 3.6 / 5.0
Min. Credit Score 585
Est. APR 9.99%-35.99%
Loan Amount $2,000-$25,000
Term Lengths 2 to 4 years
Min. Annual Income None
Fees Origination fee of 0% to 6%

Read Bankrate's expert LendingPoint Review

12. LightStream - 660 minimum credit score

Overview: Despite a minimum credit score requirement of 660, LightStream has personal loan options to cover all your borrowing needs.

Perks: No fees. Depending on how you’ll use the loan, you can take up to 12 years to pay off your loan. Allows co-signers.

What to watch out for: The high minimum credit score threshold means you may not qualify for a loan on your own. You’ll need to prove a few years of credit history, as well.

Lender LightStream
Bankrate rating 4.0 / 5.0
Min. Credit Score 660
Est. APR 3.99% - 17.29% (with autopay)
Loan Amount $5,000-$100,000
Term Lengths 2 to 12 years
Min. Annual Income None
Fees None

Read Bankrate's expert LightStream Bank Review

Summary of the best fair credit loan rates of 2020

Lender
Best for
Minimum credit score
Minimum loan amount
Maximum loan amount
Estimated APR
Avant
Very low credit
580
$2,000
$35,000
9.95%-35.99%
Best Egg
Home repairs
640
$2,000
$35,000
5.99%-29.99%
Upgrade
Fast funding
620
$1,000
$50,000
5.99%-35.89%
Payoff
Credit card debt
640
$5,000
$35,000
5.99%-24.99%
Upstart
Short credit history
620
$1,000
$50,000
6.46% - 35.99%
LendingClub
Using a cosigner
600
$1,000
$50,000
6.95% - 35.89%
Prosper
Joint applicants
640
$2,000
$40,000
6.95% - 35.99%
FreedomPlus
Competitive interest rates
620
$7,500
$40,000
5.99% - 29.99%
Discover
Longer repayment terms
660
$2,500
$35,000
6.99% to 24.99%
PenFed
Credit union members
Mid-600s
$500
$25,000
6.49% - 17.99%
LendingPoint
Very low credit
585
$2,000
$25,000
9.99 - 35.99%
LightStream
Longer repayment terms
660
$5,000
$100,000
3.99% - 17.29% (with autopay)

What is a fair credit score to get a personal loan?

A fair FICO credit score is one between 580 and 669.

Category
Credit Score
Percentage of people in this category
Excellent
800-850
21%
Very good
740-799
25%
Good
670-739
21%
Fair
580-669
17%
Very poor
300-579
16%

While a fair credit score is below the average credit score, you may still qualify for a personal loan with many lenders.

Choosing a fair credit lender

If you don’t have good or excellent credit, you might not find favorable lending terms for your personal loan needs.

Watch out for high interest rates

Interest rates for fair credit personal loans aren’t generally as low as for those with good or excellent credit scores. For instance, while many personal loan lenders offer low APR rates, they are reserved for those with the very best credit score and history. With fair credit, you can expect higher APRs.

Compare fair credit lenders

When you’re exploring personal loan lenders, look for those that offer the lowest interest rates based on your credit score.

Find a lender that has minimal fees and flexible repayment terms. For example, some lenders let you choose which monthly payment due date is best for you, and some offer longer repayment terms that would reduce your monthly payment amount.

Unless necessary, avoid personal loan lenders with lots of fees, short repayment terms, and high interest rates.

If you’re not finding lenders that will work with you based on your credit score, consider waiting until you can boost your score or enlisting the help of a consigner. You may also want to ask friends and family for money to tide you over until you can qualify for a personal loan with favorable terms.

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