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Best personal loans for fair credit in January 2023

Jan 4, 2022
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Seventeen percent of Americans have a fair credit score, or a FICO score between 580 and 669, according to Experian. 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. We’ve named the best fair credit loans below.
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4.7

Bankrate Score
APR from

7.96- 35.97%

with AutoPay
Loan Amount

$1k- $50k

Term: 2-7 yr
Min. Credit

560

Check rate with Bankrate

4.7

Bankrate Score
APR from

8.99- 35.99%

Loan Amount

$2k- $50k

Term: 3-5 yr
Min. Credit

600

Check rate with Bankrate

4.6

Bankrate Score
APR from

8.99- 29.99%

Loan Amount

$5k- $40k

Term: 2-5 yr
Min. Credit

640

Check rate with Bankrate

4.1

Bankrate Score
APR from

8.05- 36.00%

Loan Amount

$1k- $40k

Term: 3-6 yr
Min. Credit

Not disclosed

Check rate with Bankrate

4.5

Bankrate Score
APR from

9.95- 35.95%

Loan Amount

$2k- $35k

Term: 1-5 yr
Min. Credit

Not disclosed

Check rate with Bankrate
Check rate with Bankrate
Check rate with Bankrate
Check rate with Bankrate

4.6

Bankrate Score
APR from

7.99- 29.99%

Loan Amount

$5k- $50k

Term: 2-5 yr
Min. Credit

620

Check rate with Bankrate

The Bankrate guide to choosing the best personal loan for fair credit

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; unsecured loans for fair credit tend to carry higher APRs than loans for good or excellent credit, so shopping around is critical. Also, before deciding 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 publication date. Check the lenders’ websites for more current information. The lenders listed below were selected based on factors such as credit requirements, APR, loan amounts and fees. To learn more, read our methodology section.

Best personal loans for fair credit in 2023

LENDER ESTIMATED APR MINIMUM LOAN AMOUNT MAXIMUM LOAN AMOUNT
Avant 9.95%-35.95% $2,000 $35,000
Best Egg 8.99%-35.99% $2,000 $50,000
Upgrade 7.96%-35.97% (with autopay) $1,000 $50,000
Happy Money 8.99%-29.99% $5,000 $40,000
Upstart 6.50%-35.99% $1,000 $50,000
LendingClub 8.05%-36.00% $1,000 $40,000
Prosper 6.99%-35.99% $2,000 $50,000
Achieve 7.99%-29.99% $5,000 $50,000
Discover 6.99%-24.99% $2,500 $35,000
PenFed 7.74%-17.99% $600 $50,000
LendingPoint 7.99%-35.99% $2,000 $36,500
LightStream 7.99%-23.99% (with autopay) $5,000 $100,000
[National Debt Relief] (https://www.bankrate.com/loans/debt-consolidation/national-debt-relief/) 6.25%-35.99% $10,000 $100,00
Pacific Debt Inc Not disclosed $10,000 $100,000

Best for very low credit

Min. credit score:
Not disclosed
Fixed APR From:
9.95% –35.95%
Loan amount:
$2,000– $35,000
Term lengths:
1 to 5 years
Min. annual income:
$14,400
Overview: Avant targets bad- and fair-credit borrowers. Most of its borrowers have credit scores between 600 and 700, which covers much of the range for fair credit.
Why Avant is best for very low credit: Avant doesn't advertise all of its eligibility requirements on its website. However, the company does state that most of its borrowers have credit scores between 600 and 700, making it ideal for everyone in the fair credit score range.

Best for home improvements

Min. credit score:
600
Fixed APR From:
8.99% –35.99%
Loan amount:
$2,000– $50,000
Term lengths:
3 to 5 years
Min. annual income:
Not disclosed
Overview: Best Egg offers personal loans to borrowers with credit scores ranging from fair to excellent. Terms are three, four, or five years.
Why Best Egg is best for home improvements: Best Egg offers personal loans to borrowers with credit scores ranging from fair to excellent. Loan amounts range from $2,000 to $50,000, making them ideal for multiple home improvement projects: from emergency repairs to full remodels.

Best for fast funding

Min. credit score:
560
Fixed APR From:
7.96% –35.97%
Loan amount:
$1,000– $50,000
Term lengths:
2 to 7 years
Min. annual income:
$30,000
Overview: Upgrade offers loans ranging from $1,000 to $50,000 for a variety of purposes, like an emergency or debt consolidation.
Why Upgrade is best for fast funding: Upgrade offers loans ranging from $1,000 to $50,000 for a variety of purposes, like an emergency or debt consolidation. Once you’re approved for a loan and your information is verified, you could receive your funds within one business day.

Best for credit card debt

Min. credit score:
640
Fixed APR From:
8.99% –29.99%
Loan amount:
$5,000– $40,000
Term lengths:
2 to 5 years
Min. annual income:
$30,000
Overview: If you’re facing a mountain of credit card debt, you might be best suited for a Happy Money (formerly Payoff) personal loan for debt consolidation. 
Why Happy Money is best for credit card debt: Happy Money’s loans are exclusively for consolidating credit card debt, and the company provides your FICO score for free each month to help you track your progress. The lender offers flexible loan amounts in addition to low starting rates.

Best for short credit history

Min. credit score:
Not disclosed
Fixed APR From:
6.50% –35.99%
Loan amount:
$1,000– $50,000
Term lengths:
3 to 5 years
Min. annual income:
$12,000
Overview: While Upstart evaluates your credit score to determine your creditworthiness, it’s not the company’s only method. It will 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.
Why Upstart is best for short credit history: While Upstart evaluates your credit score to determine your creditworthiness, it’s not the company’s only method. It will also consider your education and job history, which might be helpful if you’re struggling to qualify for a personal loan due to short credit history or less-than-stellar credit.

Best for availability in most states

Min. credit score:
Not disclosed
Fixed APR From:
8.05% –36.00%
Loan amount:
$1,000– $40,000
Term lengths:
3 to 6 years
Min. annual income:
Not disclosed
Overview: LendingClub offers personal loans of $1,000 to $40,000 for three- or five-year terms.
Why LendingClub is best for availability in most states: While some lenders only operate in a limited number of states, LendingClub accepts applications from borrowers in every part of the United States. LendingClub offers flexible loan amounts ranging from $1,000 to $40,000 to fit different needs.

Best for joint applications

Min. credit score:
600
Fixed APR From:
6.99% –35.99%
Loan amount:
$2,000– $50,000
Term lengths:
3 to 5 years
Min. annual income:
Not disclosed
Overview: Prosper offers loans to borrowers with fair credit that’s on the higher side. The minimum credit score is 600, so if you’re still in the fair range but moving up, you might qualify.
Why Prosper is best for joint applications: Prosper offers loans to borrowers with a fair credit score of 600 and up. However, what we liked the most is that Prosper accepts joint applications, which can improve your chances of being approved for a loan with better terms and lower interest.

Best for competitive interest rates

Min. credit score:
620
Fixed APR From:
7.99% –29.99%
Loan amount:
$5,000– $50,000
Term lengths:
2 to 5 years
Min. annual income:
$40,000
Overview: Achieve (formerly FreedomPlus) offers loans of $5,000 to $50,000, with funding in as few as 48 hours.
Why Achieve is best for competitive interest rates: Achieve (formerly FreedomPlus) offers loans of $5,000 to $50,000, with funding in as few as 24 hours after approval. Whereas its maximum APR is 29.99 percent, some personal loan lenders charge as much as 36 percent.

Best for long repayment terms

Min. credit score:
Not disclosed
Fixed APR From:
6.99% –24.99%
Loan amount:
$2,500– $35,000
Term lengths:
3 to 7 years
Min. annual income:
$25,000
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.
Why Discover is best for long repayment terms: While Discover accepts borrowers with fair credit, it favors those on the higher end of the fair-credit spectrum. That said, Discover’s relatively long repayment terms — up to seven years — could mean lower monthly payments.

Best for credit union members

Min. credit score:
700
Fixed APR From:
7.74% –17.99%
Loan amount:
$500– $50,000
Term lengths:
1 to 5 years
Min. annual income:
Not disclosed
Overview: PenFed is a credit union offering unsecured personal loans of up to $50,000. Its loan eligibility requirements are undisclosed, but third-party sources claim credit score requirements hover in the mid-600s.
Why PenFed is best for credit union members: PenFed offers unsecured personal loans of up to $50,000. Its loan eligibility requirements are undisclosed, but third-party sources claim credit score requirements hover in the mid-600s. The credit union is open to anyone in all states.

Best for subprime borrowers

Min. credit score:
600
Fixed APR From:
7.99% –35.99%
Loan amount:
$2,000– $36,500
Term lengths:
2 to 6 years
Min. annual income:
$30,000
Overview: LendingPoint specializes in loans for subprime borrowers, with loan amounts of $2,000 to $36,500.
Why LendingPoint is best for subprime borrowers: LendingPoint specializes in loans for subprime borrowers, with loan amounts of $2,000 to $36,500. Additionally, the lender offers repayment terms ranging from 24 to 72 months to fit any budget.

Best for a wide range of repayment terms

Min. credit score:
Not disclosed
Fixed APR From:
7.99% –23.99%
Loan amount:
$5,000– $100,000
Term lengths:
2 to 7 years
Min. annual income:
$50,000
Overview: LightStream has personal loan options to cover all your borrowing needs.
Why LightStream is best for a wide range of repayment terms: LightStream has personal loan options to cover all your borrowing needs, with amounts of up to $100,000. Depending on how much you borrow and your intended purpose, you may qualify for repayment terms of up to 12 years.

Best for debt settlement

National Debt Relief

National Debt Relief

See offers Arrow Right

Check rate with Bankrate

Min. credit score:
Not disclosed
Fixed APR From:
Not disclosed
Loan amount:
$10,000– $100,000
Term lengths:
0 to 0 years
Min. annual income:
Not disclosed
Overview: National Debt Relief is a debt settlement company that negotiates with creditors to decrease your overall debt. Customers with at least $7,500 of unsecured debt qualify for its debt settlement service.
Why National Debt Relief is best for debt settlement: National Debt Relief is a debt settlement company that negotiates with creditors to decrease your overall debt. The company offers many resources to help customers understand their options, and a proven track record of significantly decreasing debt.

Best for debt consolidation

Pacific Debt

Pacific Debt

See offers Arrow Right

Check rate with Bankrate

Min. credit score:
None
Fixed APR From:
Not disclosed
Loan amount:
$10,000– $100,000
Term lengths:
0 to 0 years
Min. annual income:
Not disclosed
Overview: Pacific Debt Inc. offers debt consolidation loans up to $100,000 with APRs starting at 4.99 percent. This debt relief company matches you with lenders when you apply and you get to choose the best offer.
Why Pacific Debt Inc. is best for debt consolidation: Pacific Debt Inc. specializes in credit card debt consolidation. The company’s plans allow borrowers to become debt-free in as little as 24 months, depending on their situation, while making payments more manageable.

What you need to know about fair-credit loans

What does it mean to have fair credit?

Having fair credit means that you have some credit history but a moderately low credit score. People with fair credit typically have credit scores ranging from 580 to 669.

If you have a 600 credit score, for instance, you may have missed a few payments or you might carry a high balance on your credit cards. 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. Those are reserved for people who have excellent credit.

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 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 RANGE PERCENTAGE OF PEOPLE IN THIS CATEGORY
Exceptional 800-850 20%
Very Good 740-799 25%
Good 670-739 21%
Fair 580-669 18%
Poor 300-579 16%
Source: Experian

How to qualify for a loan with fair credit

To improve your chances of obtaining a personal loan with fair credit, try taking the following steps before you apply:

  • Use a co-signer: While a co-signer adopts some responsibility for your loan — and therefore some risk — they may also make it easier for you to qualify. Choosing a co-signer with good credit will improve your overall creditworthiness.
  • Prequalify: If you're unsure if you'll qualify for a loan with a particular lender, see if it offers prequalification. That way, you'll avoid harming your credit score even further before applying.
  • Pay down debt: Many lenders consider your debt-to-income ratio in addition to your credit score. By paying down credit card debt before applying for a loan, you'll look better to potential lenders.
  • Use a local bank or credit union: Your existing bank or a local credit union may be more lenient when it comes to your credit score, especially if you have a history of timely payments on your accounts.

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

Many personal loan lenders advertise low APRs, but those rates are reserved for people with the best credit. With fair credit, you can expect higher APRs. When researching personal loan lenders, look for those that offer the lowest interest rates based on your credit score.

Assess 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.

Find lenders that allow co-signers

If you can’t find a lender because of your fair credit score, search for one that allows co-signers. Also, consider waiting until you can boost your score.

How to improve your fair credit score

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.

Where to get fair credit loans

Fair credit loans are typically offered by the same entities as traditional personal loans. These include the following:

  • Banks
  • Credit unions
  • Online lenders
  • Peer-to-peer lenders

When applying for a loan with fair credit, credit unions and online lenders tend to be the better choice. That is because they tend to have less stringent requirements than banks and lower interest rate caps and fees than peer-to-peer lenders.

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.

  • Credit union: 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. Talk to your local credit union about what you need to qualify.
  • 0 percent APR credit card balance transfer: 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, 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 loan or line of credit: If you have a home, 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.

FAQs about personal loans

Methodology

To select the top personal loan lenders, Bankrate considered factors that help consumers decide whether a lender is a good fit for them, such as credit requirements and minimum APRs. We sought lenders with low fees and a range of loan amounts for borrowers with varying budgets and credit profiles. We also looked for conveniences like online applications and fast funding.

In addition, the lenders featured here were evaluated for notable features like customer discounts and flexible repayment options.