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Best personal loans for fair credit in April 2024

Updated Apr 11, 2024

What to know first: Most personal loans are unsecured, this means your approval, as well as your interest rate, will be based on your credit profile and income. If you have a fair credit score — typically a FICO score between 580 and 669 — you can still get approved for a loan, but it will likely come with a higher rate.

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PERSONAL LOANS

Upstart: BEST FOR SHORT CREDIT HISTORY

4.8

Est. APR
7.80- 35.99%
Loan term
3-5 yrs
Loan amount
$1k- $50K
Min credit score
Not disclosed
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PERSONAL LOANS

Achieve: BEST FOR JOINT APPLICATION DISCOUNT

4.7

Est. APR
8.99- 35.99%
Loan term
2-5 yrs
Loan amount
$5k- $50K
Min credit score
620
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PERSONAL LOANS

LendingClub: BEST LOAN FOR USING A CO-BORROWER

4.7

Est. APR
8.98- 35.99%
Loan term
2-5 yrs
Loan amount
$1k- $40K
Min credit score
600
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PERSONAL LOANS

Happy Money: BEST FOR CREDIT CARD DEBT

4.6

Est. APR
11.72- 17.99%
Loan term
2-5 yrs
Loan amount
$5k- $40K
Min credit score
640
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PERSONAL LOANS

OneMain Financial: BEST FOR SECURED LOANS

4.4

Est. APR
18.00- 35.99%
Loan term
2-5 yrs
Loan amount
$1.5k- $20K
Min credit score
Not disclosed
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PERSONAL LOANS

Upgrade: BEST FOR SMALL AMOUNTS

4.7

Est. APR
8.49- 35.99%
with AutoPay
Loan term
2-7 yrs
Loan amount
$1k- $50K
Min credit score
600
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PERSONAL LOANS

Best Egg: BEST FOR HOME IMPROVEMENTS

4.6

Est. APR
8.99- 35.99%
Loan term
3-5 yrs
Loan amount
$2k- $50K
Min credit score
600
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Prosper: Bankrate 2024 Awards Winner for Best Fair Credit Loan

4.7

Est. APR
8.99- 35.99%
Loan term
2-5 yrs
Loan amount
$2k- $50K
Min credit score
Not disclosed
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PERSONAL LOANS

Avant: BEST FOR BORROWERS WITH LOW CREDIT

4.7

Est. APR
9.95- 35.99%
Loan term
1-5 yrs
Loan amount
$2k- $35K
Min credit score
550

PERSONAL LOANS

Lending Point: Best for low minimum rate with a wide variety of terms

4.4

Est. APR
7.99- 35.99%
Loan term
2-6 yrs
Loan amount
$2k- $36.5K
Min credit score
600

Compare fair credit loan rates from Bankrate's top picks

Use the table below to take a deeper dive into the loan details and lender requirements. Make sure you know the ins and outs of the loan before making a decision.

Consider the minimum credit score requirement and the best for category to make sure the loan fits your situation. Also, when looking at the estimated APRs, know that fair-credit borrowers are more likely to be offered the higher rate than those with good or excellent credit. The most competitive rates go to borrowers who show lenders the lowest risk level, typically carrying a score above 740.

 Compare fair credit loan rates from Bankrate’s top picks

LENDER BEST FOR EST. APR LOAN AMOUNT LOAN TERM MIN CREDIT SCORE
Upstart Short credit history 7.80%-35.99% $1,000-$50,000 3 or 5 years No requirement
Achieve Joint application discount 8.99%-35.99% $5,000-$50,000 2-5 years 620
LendingClub Using a co-borrower 8.98%-35.99% $1,000-$40,000 2-5 years 600
Happy Money Credit card debt 11.72%-17.99% $5,000-$40,000 2-5 years 640
Avant Borrowers with low credit 9.95%-35.99% $2,000-$35,000 1-5 years 550
Upgrade Small loan amounts 8.49%-35.97% with Autopay $1,000-$50,000 2-7 years 600
Best Egg Home improvements 8.99%-35.99% $2,000-$50,000 3-5 years 600
LendingPoint Lowest minimum rate for wide variety of repayment terms 7.99%-35.99% $2,000-$36,500 2-6 years 600
Prosper Joint applications 8.99%-35.99% $2,000-$50,000 2-5 years Not specified

A closer look at our top fair credit loan lenders

The following looks are a more in-depth view into each lender's history, details and benefits. Using this information will make it easier to identify how each lender compares to the rest in the fair-credit space and the industry on the whole.

We also elaborate why each lender was awarded its superlative, who will best benefit from the loan and, if available, how the average Bankrate user is using their balance.

Upstart: Best for short credit history

Upstart
Rating: 4.8 stars out of 5
4.8

Overview: A pioneer in AI-lending technology, Upstart looks at more than just the borrowers’ credit scores for approval. This can make qualifying for a loan easier for those with short credit history or imperfect credit.

Est. APR
7.80%–35.99%
Loan amount
$1k– $50k
Min credit score
Not specified

Achieve: Best for joint application discount

Achieve
Rating: 4.7 stars out of 5
4.7

Overview: Formerly known as FreedomPlus, Achieve offers accessible starting rates and a range of loan amounts. The lender is one of the few in our best fair credit lineup that allows joint applications  — and even offers a rate discount for adding a qualified co-borrower.

Est. APR
8.99%–35.99%
Loan amount
$5k– $50k
Min credit score
620

LendingClub: Best loan for using a co-borrower

LendingClub
Rating: 4.7 stars out of 5
4.7

Overview: Initially launched as one of the first applications on Facebook in 2007, LendingClub started as a peer-to-peer lender, and continued to operate one until 2020. Now, the lender offers traditional personal loans while still setting a lower minimum credit score than the industry average. It also is one of the few fair-credit lenders allowing co-borrowers, which can help you land an even better rate.  

Est. APR
8.98%–35.99%
Loan amount
$1k– $40k
Min credit score
600

Happy Money: Best for credit card debt

Happy Money
Rating: 4.6 stars out of 5
4.6

Overview: Since Happy Money opened its virtual doors in 2009, it has funded over $6 billion in personal loans for borrowers looking to consolidate high-interest credit card debt. The lender offers direct payment to creditors, which streamlines the debt consolidation process, and doesn’t charge late fees or prepayment penalties.

Est. APR
11.72%–17.99%
Loan amount
$5k– $40k
Min credit score
640

Avant: Best for borrowers with low credit

Avant
Rating: 4.7 stars out of 5
4.7

Overview: Based in Chicago, Illinois, Avant is a highly regarded online lending platform. Its personal loans offer a wide range of repayment terms and a competitive starting rate. However, its best feature is the low credit minimum of 550 — which is the second lowest requirement out of our entire fleet of best personal loan lenders.  

Est. APR
9.95%–35.99%
Loan amount
$2k– $35k
Min credit score
550

Upgrade: Best for small amounts

Upgrade
Rating: 4.7 stars out of 5
4.7

Overview: As one of the youngest fair credit lenders on our list, Upgrade was founded in 2016. In this short time, however, it has gained a trustworthy reputation, known for its discounts and multiple loan options. Unlike most of the lenders on the market, it provides multiple ways to save money, whether it be through one of its three discounts, joint application or secured loan options. 

Est. APR
8.49%–35.99%
Loan amount
$1k– $50k
Min credit score
600

Best Egg: Best for home improvements

Best Egg
Rating: 4.6 stars out of 5
4.6

Overview: Best Egg has funded over 1.1 million loans since its inception in 2014, earning a reputation as a trusted personal loan lender. Its loan amounts range from $2,000 to $50,000 — ideal for a variety of home improvement projects, from emergency repairs to full remodels.

Est. APR
8.99%–35.99%
Loan amount
$2k– $50k
Min credit score
600

Lending Point: Best for lowest minimum rate for wide variety of repayment terms

Lending Point
Rating: 4.4 stars out of 5
4.4

Overview: LendingPoint is an Atlanta-based online lender known for its flexible eligibility requirements. Its stated mission is to give fair credit borrowers access to credit and loan products by using AI and data models. Plus, it has the second lowest minimum APR out of our best fair credit loans, starting at 7.99 percent. 

Est. APR
7.99%–35.99%
Loan amount
$2k– $37k
Min credit score
600

Prosper: Best fair credit loan

Prosper
Rating: 4.7 stars out of 5
4.7

Overview: A pioneer in peer-to-peer lending, Prosper has helped over 1.4 million borrowers since its inception. As the only peer-to-peer company on our best list that caters to fair credit borrowers, its unique lending model could result in lower rates and improved eligibility odds. 

Est. APR
8.99%–35.99%
Loan amount
$2k– $50k
Min credit score
Not specified

How to compare fair-credit lenders

To find the best lender for you, keep an eye on the following factors.

  1. Interest rates: Many personal loan lenders advertise low APRs (annual percentage rates), but those rates are reserved for people with the best credit scores and high incomes. With fair credit, you can expect higher APRs, so you'll need to compare prequalification offers to find the best option.
  2. Fees and repayment terms: Find a lender that has minimal fees and flexible repayment terms, such as choosing your due date. Additionally, some lenders offer longer repayment terms that could reduce your monthly payment amount.
  3. Co-signers or co-borrowers: If you can’t find a lender because of your fair credit score, search for one that allows co-signers or co-borrowers, as this could help you get approved for a better rate. Also, consider waiting until you can boost your score.
  4. Discounts and extras: Some lenders offer discounts for signing up for automatic payments and having other accounts with them, among other things. It’s equally important to take a look at any additional perks offered. These may include unemployment protection, flexible payment dates and grace periods.

What is a fair credit score?

Fair credit loans typically carry higher interest than good credit or excellent credit loans, but can still be affordable. It's important to identify where on the scale your credit falls, the types of loans available and the benefits and drawbacks of a fair credit loan.

A FICO score between 580 and 669 or a VantageScore between 650 and 699 is considered fair credit. Having a fair credit score means that your score is neither poor nor good, it’s average. You may still qualify for a loan, but only with select lenders. If you do qualify, you might not get the lowest interest rate available.

Lenders that offer personal loans for fair credit may charge more or higher fees than lenders that target borrowers with good or excellent credit. This means you might be on the hook for more money over the life of your loan.

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What is considered a fair credit score?

Having fair credit is much better than having poor credit, in terms of financial opportunities—but building your credit score up to good or excellent will provide access to better credit cards, lower interest rates and more.

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Raising your credit score will give you the best chance of qualifying for a personal loan with lower rates. Ways to improve your credit score include:

  • Pay off existing debt: Your credit utilization ratio makes up 30 percent of your FICO score. Lowering your total debt shows more responsible use of credit.
  • Make payments on time: Payment history makes up 35 percent of your credit score, so making late payments or missing payments altogether will tank your score.
  • Keep old accounts open and don't open new ones: Keeping old, unused accounts open raises the average age of your accounts, which makes up 15 percent of your credit score. Don’t open new credit accounts before applying for a loan, as that will lower the average age of your account.
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Expert Insight

“If you graduated from a poor to fair credit score, congratulations! You may be eligible for APRs 10 percent lower than a bad credit personal loan. To keep the momentum going, pay all your bills on time, all the time. This may seem obvious, but one overlooked payment could sink your scores by 100 points overnight. Consider paying off small credit card balances a few months before you apply for a fair credit loan. You could boost your score to the higher end of the fair credit range which could land you a lower fair credit rate.  Also, don’t switch jobs. Personal loans are approved based on your paycheck's consistency and credit score. While fair credit is a step up from poor credit, lenders still need to see that you receive a regular paycheck to cover the new payment.”

– Denny Ceizyk, Bankrate Senior Loans Writer

Types loans for users with fair credit

Individuals with fair credit have multiple loan options to choose from. However, eligibility will depend on the type of loan and the lender. While it may be a bit more difficult to qualify for a loan with fair credit, it isn't impossible and you still have options to choose from. 

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Unsecured loans are among the most common types of personal loans. They don't require any collateral for approval but often come with higher interest rates and more stringent eligibility requirements.

Secured loans are backed by collateral — an asset or property — and often come with lower rates than unsecured loans. They're also easier to qualify for, as the lender incurs less risk. But if you default on a secured loan, your collateral could be seized to satisfy the delinquent payments.

Co-signed and joint loans increase your approval odds by allowing a creditworthy individual to sign onto the loan with you. 

While this can be a great solution for those with fair credit, it can take a toll on the relationship if you're not careful. This is because the co-signer (or joint borrower) assumes legal responsibility for the balance, and if you miss a payment it impacts their credit as well.

Emergency loans are used specifically to finance an unexpected expense, like a medical bill or an expensive car repair. Because these loans are intended to fill an immediate need, the interest rates tend to be higher than with other types of loans.

Pros and cons of personal loans for fair credit borrowers 

A fair credit personal loan can either help your credit score in the long run or can cause financial damage, depending on if you manage it well. Consider every advantage and disadvantage before making a final decision so as not to negatively impact your credit score. 

Green circle with a checkmark inside

Pros

  • Fair credit loans provide an opportunity for credit growth with consistent, on-time payments.
  • Depending on the lender, fair credit loans can be used for just about any purpose.
  • If you have large amounts of high-interest credit card debt, you may be able to consolidate it and score a lower interest rate with a fair credit loan.
Red circle with an X inside

Cons

  • You're more likely to be offered a higher interest rate if you have fair credit.
  • Fair credit loans often come with steeper origination fees.
  • It's often more difficult to get approved for a personal loan with a lower credit score.

How to qualify for a loan with fair credit

Qualifying for a fair credit loan takes time and research. There are seven considerations to keep in mind when trying to apply.

  1. Assess your needs: Use a personal loan calculator to calculate exactly how much you need. It's important that you don't come up short on funding and it's even more important that you don't over-borrow. 
  2. Check your credit: Many financial products, like credit cards, allow you to view your FICO credit score for free. If something looks off or incorrect, check your credit report. A credit report houses all of the information related to your score, like repayment history and current debt load. 
  3. Pay down your current debt: Pay off existing debt, make timely payments and keep old accounts open while avoiding opening new ones.
  4. Compare loan offers: When you've narrowed down your choices, prequalify with at least three lenders to make sure you're getting the best rates possible.
  5. Consider banks and credit unions: A credit union or smaller bank that you already have an account with may be able to offer you lower rates than a national bank.
  6. Use a co-signer: A co-signer may secure you lower interest rates than you would get on your own.
  7. Submit a formal loan application: Gather documents you may need, such as bank statements and proof of employment, and apply. You'll undergo a hard credit check, which may temporarily lower your credit score by a few points.

Where to get a fair credit personal loan

You can get a fair credit personal loan from online lenders, banks and credit unions. While most of these institutions will offer personal loans, not all will approve borrowers with a thin credit history or a low score. Check the credit score minimums and APR ranges to make sure you're eligible and if you are, you're not stuck with a sky-high rate.

Every institution had different application processes and timelines. For example, online lenders are typically best for fast funding and lower rates than banks and credit unions. However, if you need in-person assistance at all during the application or repayment process, then a local bank branch or credit union will better suit your needs. 

Before you decide on where you're going to get your loan, compare benefits with institutions you're already a member of. For example, many national banks offer perks for existing customers, like an extended grace period or an interest rate reduction. While not as common, some online lenders may offer similar benefits for existing customers.

Should you take out a loan with fair credit?


Nationally recognized student financial aid expert

Be careful when borrowing a loan if you have fair credit. Borrowers with fair credit often struggle to make on-time loan payments. You may also have to pay a much higher interest rate and higher fees, increasing the amount you must pay each month. You may have more challenges qualifying for a loan. You might have to provide some collateral, such as a secured loan, and risk losing the collateral if you don’t repay the loan. It is better to work on improving your credit by paying down debt and making on-time loan payments for a few years before applying for a loan. The main benefit of a fair credit loan is it can help you improve your credit score if you make on-time payments on the loan and don’t miss any payments.

Senior Loans Writer

It makes sense to get a fair credit loan if it’s part of an overall plan to improve your financial safety net. For example, a borrower may have needed a bad credit personal loan to pay off a bunch of maxed-out high-interest credit cards that were dragging their credit scores down. If that borrower’s scores improve into the fair credit range, replacing the bad credit loan with a lower-rate fair credit loan may save on their monthly payment. The savings could be applied to the new loan to pay it off faster or to beef up an emergency fund.

Alternative loan options for fair credit

  • Peer-to-peer loans: Unlike a traditional personal loan, peer-to-peer lending connects borrowers to investors. Eligibility requirements are often less strict due to lowered risk.
  • Federal credit union: While you usually have to join a credit union before taking out a personal loan, federal credit unions tend to be more forgiving to those with fair credit. 
  • Balance transfer credit card: If you’re looking to pay off credit card debt, consider getting a credit card with a 0 percent APR introductory offer. That way, you can move your balance over and keep interest from adding up. Keep in mind that you might not qualify for the full balance to be moved over.
  • Home equity loan or line of credit: If you have at least 20 percent equity in your home or property, you may be able to use that as collateral and take out a home equity loan or home equity line of credit (HELOC). Remember, your home is used to secure the loan, so if you miss payments, the house could be subject to foreclosure.

Frequently asked questions about personal loans

How we choose our best fair credit loan lenders

Bankrate's trusted personal loans industry expertise

57

years in business

30

lenders reviewed

20

loan features weighed

665

data points collected

To select the best personal loans, Bankrate’s team of experts evaluated over 30 lenders. Each lender was ranked using a meticulous 20-point system, focusing on four main categories:

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