A personal loan is a versatile loan option, and many lenders that offer personal loans don’t have a set minimum credit score requirement. Lenders are often willing to approve fair credit borrowers. Don’t limit yourself by assuming loan approval isn’t possible with a fair credit score because 1 out of 5 individuals have very poor credit.1
Keep reading to learn why credit scores are important, what loans are available to fair credit borrowers, and what rates you can expect.
Reasons for a Personal Loan
There are many reasons why one might apply for a personal loan. Personal loans can be used for almost anything as they don’t have a prespecified purpose like auto loans or home loans. Some borrowers obtain a personal loan to remodel their bathroom or cover expenses until their next paycheck.
The possibilities are endless with personal loans, but here are a few examples of common reasons why individuals seek out personal loan funds:
It can be easy to be bogged down by debt payment obligations, especially when you have multiple lenders, accounts, and monthly payments to keep track of. Debt consolidation is a helpful solution to credit card debt for many. A debt consolidation loan allows you to combine high-interest debt into one monthly payment.
Debt consolidation loans simplify your repayment terms and can make it significantly easier to pay off your debt quickly. Debt consolidation loans are a popular personal loan option for borrowers with unmanageable credit card debt.
A Large Purchase
Personal loans can act as a catch-all for large purchases that aren’t a car or a house. You can get an auto loan when purchasing a vehicle, but what about a brand-new appliance? Expensive home or car repairs? A replacement for your broken window AC unit? It is common to use a personal loan for these large purchases.
Building Credit Score
Some personal loans exist for the express purpose of credit building. Credit-builder loans are designed to help individuals with little to no credit usage history by giving them an opportunity to develop the minimum credit history needed to access a wider variety of financial products.
Why Your Credit Score Matters for a Personal Loan
Credit scores are vital to the proper functioning of the economy as they help potential lenders know the creditworthiness of borrowers before approving a loan or credit card application.
Suppose a borrower needs $2,000 but poses an exceptionally high credit risk. In that case, the lender can either deny the loan application or offer a $2000 bad credit loan with a high annual percentage rate (APR) to compensate for the risk.
How Your Credit Score Is Calculated
Credit scores are calculated using the information included in your credit report. The three major credit bureaus compile your credit report with the information provided to them by financial institutions. This information includes identification details, credit accounts, credit inquiries, public records, and collections.
Credit scores are calculated using these five categories:
- Payment History — Your payment history significantly impacts your credit score, accounting for 35% of the calculation. Completing your monthly payments on time is crucial to a good credit score.
- Amount Owed — The amount you owe in total and your credit utilization ratio is worth 30% of your credit score calculation. Too much debt combined with little available credit is a recipe for a bad credit score. But you can build good credit when you manage a credit card wisely.
- Length of Credit History — The age of your credit history is 15% of your credit score. Your credit history accounts for the age of your oldest credit account, the age of your newest credit account, and the average age of all of your accounts. Having an older and more established credit history is favorable.
- Credit Mix — Credit mix accounts for 10% of your credit score. You are meant to have a healthy variety of types of debt. Instead of ten credit cards and no loans, your credit usage appears far more responsible to lenders if you have two credit cards, an auto loan, and a personal loan.
- New Credit — New credit accounts and hard inquiries in your credit history are 10% of your credit score. Opening too many credit cards or taking out too many personal loans within a short period can result in a poor credit score. The same goes for applications that create hard inquiries.
Minimum Credit Score Requirements for Personal Loans
The minimum credit score requirement for personal loans depends on the type of personal loan you are applying for. Minimum credit score requirements are not the same for online personal loan lenders across the board. It varies greatly by loan type, loan amount, and other qualifying factors.
Here is a basic overview of how your FICO score would be classified and what kinds of personal loans it might meet the minimum credit score requirement for:
|Credit Score Range
|740 and Above
|Access to the best loan terms and lowest interest rates. Demonstrates responsible credit usage.
|670 to 739
|Qualifies for most loans with reasonable interest rates and terms.
|580 to 669
|May qualify for loans but likely at higher interest rates. Some lenders specialize in this range.
|579 and Below
|Difficult to qualify for traditional loans. High-interest rates if approved.
|No Credit Score
|Lack of sufficient credit history. May need to use alternative methods to prove creditworthiness.
740 and Above – Excellent Credit Score
A score of 740 and above is considered an excellent credit score. Credit scores this pristine allow borrowers access to all the best personal loans with incredibly competitive interest rates. An excellent credit score shows responsible credit usage, which means you will qualify for the best personal loan for you, no questions asked.
670 to 739 – Good Credit Score
If your credit score is between 670 and 739, you have a good credit score that will open many financial opportunities for you. You will have access to reasonable interest rates and generous repayment terms. You should be able to qualify for loan approval with a majority of personal loans as long as you can meet other requirements.
580 to 669 – Fair Credit Score
A score from 580 to 669 is classified as a fair credit score. Fair credit will still qualify for the minimum credit score with a decent amount of personal loans. There are a lot of fair credit lenders online that work with subprime borrowers. Fair credit personal loans will likely have higher interest rates.
579 and Below – Bad Credit Score
Any credit score below 580 is considered bad credit. Having a bad credit score can make it significantly more challenging to qualify for personal loans. However, similarly to fair credit loans, there are bad credit loans and online lenders who work specifically with poor credit borrowers who desperately need a loan for bad credit.
Bad credit loans will have high interest rates and costly monthly payments. It is essential to be sure that you can afford bad credit loans before signing the loan agreement. It might be wiser to take some time to improve your score until you have met the minimum credit score for a fair credit personal loan.
Do You Need a Bank Account To Get a Personal Loan?
While most personal loans require you to have an active bank account, some lenders will grant loan approval regardless. However, it should be noted that a personal loan that does not require a bank account will charge higher interest rates.
There are several types of bad credit personal loans that you can obtain without a bank account, but be sure that you do your research before signing the loan agreement so that you don’t become a victim of predatory lending practices.
How To Open a Bank Account
Many people do not have bank accounts, but it’s never been easier to open a checking account at a financial institution! An active bank account keeps your money secure, so you don’t have to worry about finding the best places to hide money in your house.
These are the 10 steps you can expect to go through when you apply for a bank account:
|Research different banks and account types to find one that suits your needs.
|Gather Required Documents
|Collect necessary identification documents like a government-issued ID, Social Security Number, and proof of address.
|Visit Bank or Apply Online
|Go to the bank in person or apply online, depending on the bank’s process.
|Fill out the application form with your personal and financial information.
|Review Terms and Conditions
|Carefully read and understand the terms, including fees, interest rates, and withdrawal limits.
|Submit your completed application along with any required documents.
|Wait for the bank to review your application and run any necessary checks.
|Make Initial Deposit
|Once approved, make the initial deposit if required by the bank.
|Receive Account Information
|You’ll receive your account number, debit card, and other account information.
|Set Up Online/Mobile Banking
|Register for online and/or mobile banking to manage your account more easily.
What Is a Bank Verification Process?
When you apply for online loans, you will likely have to go through the bank verification process. The bank verification process is a necessary part of the ACH (Automated Clearing House) transaction process to ensure the correct person gets the money quickly.
Have your bank account information ready, as you may have to log into your online bank account. But rest assured that your bank details are safe. Legitimate lenders have a secure online process that uses data encryption to protect sensitive personal information. And once you verify your bank account, you can typically expect a fast direct deposit. A pending direct deposit status usually only lasts a few hours, although it can take a couple of business days.
Financial Institutions That Provide Personal Loans
The first place that pops into your head when you need to borrow money is probably a bank. But you don’t necessarily need to go to a bank to get a personal loan. In fact, traditional bank loans can have more stringent credit requirements than other financial institutions, like credit unions or online lenders.
A Credit Union
Your local credit union likely offers a variety of personal loans. You might find more flexibility in approval with fair credit for members of a credit union compared to a more traditional bank loan. Every credit union is different, so we suggest contacting them to see if they offer any fair credit loans.
It is becoming increasingly easier to borrow money online. Using Google, you can find a fair credit lender within minutes. Personal loans can be used for debt consolidation, credit building, or car repairs. Look into the lender, their accreditations, and the reviews they’ve gotten before jumping into anything.
Personal Loans for a 600 Credit Score
While a 600 credit score will not get you access to the best personal loans available, there are plenty of personal loans that you can qualify for with fair credit.
Payday loans are a common type of short-term personal loan that you can qualify for with fair credit or bad credit. Payday loans tend to have very high-interest rates and short repayment terms, as they are only meant to hold you off on expenses until your next paycheck. You can qualify for a payday loan with a 600 credit score and proof of income.
This could be a good personal loan option for borrowers with fair credit. A secured loan uses collateral to reduce the credit risk posed by bad credit scores. A secured loan can be easier to qualify for than unsecured personal loans if the collateral has enough equity value.
Peer-to-Peer Personal Loan
Peer-to-peer lending platforms connect borrowers with investors for personal loans. It’s possible to be approved for a P2P personal loan with fair credit as long as you are prepared to have a higher interest rate to increase profitability for the investor.
Risks of Loans for 600 Credit Score
While multiple lenders offer fair credit personal loans, there are risks you should be aware of. Low-credit borrowers may have difficulty getting loan approval, and predatory lenders may take advantage of your financial emergency.
Keep these risks in mind when looking for an unsecured personal loan with a lower credit score:
- High-Interest Rates — With a bad or fair credit score, you’re likely to face higher interest rates compared to those with good or excellent credit. Over time, this can significantly increase the cost of the loan.
- Shorter Repayment Terms — Many personal loan lenders may offer shorter repayment terms for those with lower credit scores, making the monthly payment amounts higher and potentially more difficult to manage.
- Risk of Scams — Borrowers with bad or fair credit are often targeted by predatory lenders offering “guaranteed approval” or “no-credit-check loans,” which can have hidden fees and extremely high-interest rates.
- Additional Fees — Some lenders may charge higher origination fees, late fees, or prepayment penalties for borrowers with lower credit scores.
- Collateral Risk — If you opt for secured loans to get better terms, you risk losing the asset you’ve used as collateral (like your car or home) if you default on the loan.
- Credit Score Impact — Failing to make timely payments on your loan can further damage your credit score, making future borrowing even more difficult and expensive.
- Debt Spiral Risk — If you’re taking out a personal loan for debt consolidation but continue to accrue more debt, you risk entering a debt spiral that can be difficult to escape.
- Co-Signer Risks —If you use a co-signer to qualify for the loan, any missed payments or defaults will also affect their credit score, potentially straining your relationship with them.
How To Improve Your Credit Score
Want to boost your poor credit or fair credit to good or excellent? Consumers can access better interest rates, more affordable monthly payments, and the best personal loans with better credit scores.
If your credit score could use some improvement, these are some ways you can clean up your credit history and start practicing credit usage:
Review Your Credit Report
Check your credit report regularly and often to ensure there are no errors or inaccuracies that could be affecting your credit scores. Reviewing your credit report periodically will also help you better understand what you can do differently to improve your credit score.
Pay Down Credit Cards
Minimizing your debt and decreasing your credit utilization ratio is one of the most effective ways to repair a bad credit score. We suggest looking into the debt snowball method or debt avalanche method for paying off your credit cards. It is not only your credit score that will benefit from paying off debt but also your overall financial health.
As your payment history has the most significant impact on your credit score, you must make your monthly payments on time according to your loan or credit card repayment terms. Consistent, timely payments on your credit history will cause your credit score to rise with a bit of patience.
Put a Pause on New Credit
Stop applying for new credit cards and loans. Every application authorizes the lender to check your credit, creating a hard inquiry on your report. Too many hard inquiries in a short period of time will harm your credit score. Taking a break from opening new accounts and applying for credit cards could give your credit score the time it needs to recover from any damage caused to it in recent years.
The change won’t happen overnight. But you can get that 600 credit score to 700 and beyond with hard work and patience. Once you have achieved the credit score you’ve been working towards, you can finally explore the wealth of financial opportunities that will open up for you.
FAQs on Loans for Bad and Fair Credit Scores
It’s possible! Many lenders specialize in offering loans to individuals with less-than-perfect credit. However, you may face higher interest rates compared to those with good or excellent credit.
Interest rates can vary widely, but if you have fair credit, you can expect rates to be higher than those for good or excellent credit—sometimes ranging from 10% to as high as 30%.
Debt consolidation can be a smart move if you’re juggling multiple debts with high-interest rates. A debt consolidation loan can simplify your monthly payment and potentially lower your overall interest rate. However, make sure to read the terms carefully.
Your monthly payment will depend on the loan amount, interest rate, and loan term. While many personal loan lenders offer flexible terms, bad or fair credit might limit these options. Always make sure the monthly payment fits within your budget.
Yes, you can! Lenders often look at more than just your credit score. Stable employment, a low debt-to-income ratio, and a co-signer can all improve your chances.
It’s a good idea to review your credit reports from the three major credit bureaus before applying for any loan, including a personal loan or debt consolidation loan. This will give you a clearer picture of your credit standing and allow you to correct any errors that might affect your application.
While both can be used to pay off credit card debt, they are not the same. Credit card refinancing typically involves transferring your balance to a new card with a lower interest rate, while a debt consolidation loan involves taking out a new loan to pay off multiple debts.
CreditNinja Loans for Lower Credit Scores
A low credit score is not the end of the world, but it can mean tens of thousands of dollars more in interest costs over the life of a loan.2 If you are looking for fair credit personal loans, it’s critical to inquire with multiple lenders in order to get the best loan offer possible.
CreditNinja offers a personal loan specifically designed for unexpected expenses. We understand that convenience is essential, so we strive to offer competitive rates and flexible repayment plans. Apply online today to see how much you could qualify to get!