Best Personal Loans for Fair Credit in 2020

Not everyone has the best credit score. In fact, Experian reports that 17 percent of Americans have a fair credit score, or 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.

Check Your Personal Loan Rates

Answer a few questions to see which personal loans you pre-qualify for. The process is quick and easy, and it will not impact your credit score.

LightStream
APR from
5.95%
with AutoPay
Term
2-7yr
Max. loan amount
$100,000
NEXT
SoFi
APR from
5.99%
with AutoPay
Term
2-7yr
Max. loan amount
$100,000
NEXT
Payoff
APR from
5.99%
Term
2-5yr
Max. loan amount
$35,000
NEXT
PenFed

Not Rated

APR from
6.49-17.99%
Term
1-5yr
Max. loan amount
$20,000
NEXT
Marcus
APR from
6.99-19.99%
Term
3-6yr
Max. loan amount
$40,000
NEXT
Upstart
APR from
7.00-35.99%
Term
3-5yr
Max. loan amount
$50,000
NEXT
Prosper
APR from
7.95-35.99%
Term
3-5yr
Max. loan amount
$40,000
NEXT
Upgrade
APR from
7.99-35.97%
with AutoPay
Term
3-5yr
Max. loan amount
$35,000
NEXT
Avant
APR from
9.95-35.99%
Term
2-5yr
Max. loan amount
$35,000
NEXT
Lending Point
APR from
15.49-34.99%
Term
2-4yr
Max. loan amount
$25,000
NEXT
OneMain
APR from
18.00-35.99%
Term
2-5yr
Max. loan amount
$20,000
NEXT

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

By Dori Zinn

As of Monday, July 13, 2020

Why trust Bankrate?

At Bankrate, our mission is to empower you to make smarter financial decisions. We’ve been comparing and surveying financial institutions for more than 40 years to help you find the right products for your situation. Our award-winning editorial team follows strict guidelines to ensure the content is not influenced by advertisers. Additionally, our content is thoroughly reported and vigorously edited to ensure accuracy.

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.

Best personal loans for fair credit in 2020

Lender
Estimated APR
Minimum loan amount
Maximum loan amount
Avant
9.95%-35.99%
$2,000
$35,000
Best Egg
5.99%-29.99%
$2,000
$35,000
Upgrade
7.99%-35.97%
$1,000
$50,000
Payoff
5.99%-24.99%
$5,000
$35,000
Upstart
6.18% - 35.99%
$5,000
$30,000
LendingClub
10.68% - 35.89%
$1,000
$40,000
Prosper
6.95% - 35.99%
$2,000
$40,000
FreedomPlus
6.99% - 29.99%
$7,500
$40,000
Discover
6.99% to 24.99%
$2,500
$35,000
PenFed
6.49% - 17.99%
$600
$25,000
LendingPoint
9.99% - 35.99%
$2,000
$25,000
LightStream
3.49% - 17.29% (with autopay)
$5,000
$100,000

Summary: personal loans for fair credit in 2020

What does it mean to have fair credit?

Fair credit means you have some sort of credit history to your name, but with a moderately low credit score. People with fair credit have typically have a credit score that ranges from 580 to 669.

Fair credit means you might have missed a few payments or you carry a high balance on your credit cards from month-to-month. You may qualify for a loan, but with a select group of lenders. And if you do qualify, you might not score the lowest interest rate available. Those are reserved for people who have excellent credit.

Along with that, lenders that offer personal loans for fair credit might charge more or higher fees than lenders that target borrowers with good or excellent credit. This means that in addition to repaying your principal balance and interest, you might be on the hook for more money over the life of your loan.

FICO credit score ranges

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%

How to qualify for a personal loan with fair credit

Since some lenders don’t offer loans to borrowers with fair credit, you’ll want to look for the ones that do.

Explore lenders that advertise fair credit scores before you apply. Additionally, visit lenders that offer prequalification. Prequalification lets you share some information with the lender but doesn’t cause a hard credit check, which would temporarily cause your credit score to dip. It also lets you see if you’re eligible for a loan from a particular lender.

How to choose 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. To find the best lender for you, keep an eye on the factors below.

Watch out for high interest rates

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

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

Compare fair-credit lenders

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. 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 co-signer. 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.

Details: personal loan rates for fair credit in 2020

Avant: Best for very low credit

Overview: Avant targets bad and fair credit borrowers. While Avant doesn't advertise its eligibility requirements, it does say that most of its borrowers have a credit score between 600 and 700.

Perks: With Avant, you can get access to your funds within a day of approval and repayment terms are as long as five years.

What to watch out for: The lowest APR available is 9.95 percent, which is much higher than those of competitors. Avant also charges an administration fee and late fees.

Lender Avant
Bankrate Rating 4.0 / 5.0
Min. Credit Score Not disclosed, but most borrowers have a credit score between 600 and 700
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

Best Egg: Best for home repairs

Overview: Best Egg offers personal loans to borrowers with credit scores ranging from fair to excellent. 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.

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

Lender Best Egg
Bankrate Rating 4.7 / 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, returned payment fee

Read Bankrate's expert Best Egg Review

Upgrade: Best for fast funding

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

Perks: You can take advantage of the 7.99 percent APR if you qualify. And while Upgrade doesn't disclose its minimum credit score, sources report that borrowers can qualify with credit scores in the mid- to low 600s.

What to watch out for: Upgrade’s origination fee can go as high as 8 percent and if you don’t pay your loan on time every month, you could face a $15 late payment fee.

Lender Upgrade
Bankrate Rating 4.8 / 5.0
Min. Credit Score Not specified
Est. APR 7.99%-35.97%
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

Payoff: Best for credit card debt

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: Payoff keeps fees to a minimum; there are no fees for late payment, paying off your loan early or paying by check.

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. Payoff loans can also only be used for credit card debt consolidation, so it's not a good choice if you're looking to use a personal loan for emergency expenses or home improvements.

Lender Payoff
Bankrate Rating 4.6 / 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

Upstart: Best for short credit history

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: You can borrow as little as $5,000, and 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 6.18%-35.99%
Loan Amount $5,000-$30,000
Term Lengths 3 to 5 years
Min. Annual Income None
Fees Late fee of 5% or $15, origination fee up to 8%

Read Bankrate's expert Upstart Review

LendingClub: Best for using a co-signer

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 up to 6 percent.

Lender LendingClub
Bankrate Rating 4.5 / 5.0
Min. Credit Score 600
Est. APR 10.68%-35.89%
Loan Amount $1,000-$40,000
Term Lengths 3 to 5 years
Min. Annual Income None
Fees Origination fee of 1% to 6%

Read Bankrate's expert LendingClub Review

Prosper: Best for joint applicants

Overview: Prosper offers loans to borrowers with fair credit that’s 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 co-signers, it does accept joint applications. Prosper also lets you change your monthly due date to ensure on-time payments.

What to watch out for: Prosper charges many fees, including an origination fee 2.41 percent to 5 percent, late fee of 5 percent or $15 (whichever is greater), a $15 insufficient funds fee and a check fee of 5 percent or $5 (whichever is less). 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 4.6 / 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 2.41% to 5%, late fee of 5% or $15 (whichever is greater), $15 insufficient funds fee, check fee of $5 or 5%.

Read Bankrate's expert Prosper Review

FreedomPlus: Best for competitive interest rates

Overview: Even though its minimum loan amount is a bit high, FreedomPlus offers decent interest rates, even in its highest APR tier.

Perks: While FreedomPlus does not disclose its specific eligibility requirements, it is possible for borrowers with credit scores in the low to mid-600 range to be approved.

What to watch out for: The minimum loan amount of $7,500 is a bit high compared with other options on this list. If you need to borrow less, you may want to explore other personal loan options.

Lender FreedomPlus
Bankrate Rating 4.3 / 5.0
Min. Credit Score Not specified
Est. APR 6.99%-29.99%
Loan Amount $7,500-$40,000
Term Lengths 2 to 5 years
Min. Annual Income None
Fees Origination fee of 0% to 4.99%

Read Bankrate's expert FreedomPlus Review

Discover: Best for longer repayment terms

Overview: While Discover accepts borrowers with fair credit, it favors those on the higher end of the fair-credit spectrum — borrowers typically have credit in the mid-600 range to qualify for a personal loan. If you’re on the lower end of fair credit, you may not qualify.

Perks: Discover offers competitive interest rates, fast funding, and no origination fee. Its 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. Additionally, Discover doesn’t have a co-sign option.

Lender Discover
Bankrate Rating 4.0 / 5.0
Min. Credit Score Not specified
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

PenFed: Best for credit union members

Overview: PenFed is a credit union offering unsecured personal loans up to $20,000. While you'll need to become a member in order to receive your loan funds, PenFed claims that anyone can join. Its loan eligibility requirements are undisclosed, but third-party sources claim that credit score requirements hover in the mid-600s.

Perks: The low minimum loan amount of $600 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 Not specified
Est. APR 6.49%-17.99%
Loan Amount $500-$25,000
Term Lengths 1 to 5 years
Min. Annual Income None
Fees None

LendingPoint: Best for very low credit

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

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

What to watch out for: You’ll need to prove income and employment. 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 $35,000
Fees Origination fee of 0% to 6%

Read Bankrate's expert LendingPoint Review

LightStream: Best for longer repayment terms

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

Perks: LightStream doesn't charge any fees, and depending on how you’ll use the loan, you can take up to 12 years to pay off your loan. LightSteam also allows co-signers, which may benefit you if you're having trouble qualifying on your own.

What to watch out for: The minimum credit score threshold is on the higher side of the fair-credit spectrum. You’ll need to prove a few years of credit history, as well.

Lender LightStream
Bankrate rating 4.6 / 5.0
Min. Credit Score 660
Est. APR 3.49% - 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

Alternative loan options for fair credit

If you’re unable to take out a personal loan due to your fair credit, you may want to look at other options, like:

  • Credit unions: While you usually have to join a credit union before taking out a personal loan, they tend to be more forgiving to those with fair credit. If you have the time, talk to your local credit union about what you need to qualify.
  • 0 percent APR credit card balance transfer: If you’re using a personal loan 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 remove extra interest from adding up. Keep in mind that you might not qualify for the full balance to be moved over, so there’s a chance that you’ll end up paying off your new card while still making payments on your old one.
  • Home equity loans or lines of credit: If you have a home, you can use that as collateral and take out a home equity loan or home line of credit (HELOC). Remember that your home is used to secure the loan, which means that if you miss payments, you could get a lien on your home.

Additional personal loan resources: