California personal loans can include forms of funding like installment loans, cash advances, bad credit loans, and more. Residents of California have a good amount of options when they need some emergency money. 

With all these loan choices, it may get a little complicated to find the right loan for your specific financial situation. However, once you familiarize yourself with the different loan options out there, picking one for yourself will get easier! 

One option available is a personal loan in California. Personal loans in California may be flexible for a variety of budgets and expenses, making them very versatile. According to the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation, personal loans can come with a maximum loan amount of $100,000 or more.¹ Loan amounts can vary depending on income, credit score, and the lender. Because of this flexibility, personal loans in California are usually the first choice for many people facing an emergency. 

Although personal loans for bad credit in California may be convenient, they certainly are not the only loan option available for residents! Continue reading to learn about other accessible loans in the Golden State. 

Quick Loan Comparison 

Loan Type

Average Interest Rate 

Typical Loan Terms

Common Uses

Credit Requirement

Collateral Required 

Personal Loan

5% – 35%.

1 – 7 years.

Debt consolidation, home repairs. 

Good to excellent. 

No. 

Installment Loan

6% – 36%.

2 – 5 years. 

Large purchases, home improvements. 

Varies. 

Sometimes.

No Credit Check Loan

18% – 300%+.

2 weeks – 1 year. 

Emergency expenses. 

Not required. 

No. 

Cash Advance Loan

24% – 400%+.

Up to 1 month. 

Short-term cash needs. 

Not required. 

No. 

Bad Credit Loan

15% – 36%.

1 – 5 years. 

Various personal expenses. 

Poor to fair. 

No. 

Disclaimer: Please note that the information provided in the chart above is for general informational purposes only and may vary depending on individual circumstances and lender policies. All loan options (personal loan, unsecured loan, secured loans, etc.) are subject to credit approval and terms may differ based on the borrower’s creditworthiness and other factors.

Installment Loans

An installment loan can be considered any loan that has steady monthly payments. If you’ve ever considered a loan option, you have likely come across an installment loan before—as they are incredibly common. California personal loans are one example of installment loans. Under California’s general usury law, lenders are prohibited from offering loans that are made primarily for personal, family, or household purposes that have an interest rate that is more than 10% a year.² 

With an installment loan, most of the time, you’ll get the funds upfront in a lump sum (usually as a check or transferred to a bank account) and can use them right away. You will then repay the loan in equal installments until the balance is paid off. 

For those on a tight budget, an installment loan can be easy to fit into most financial situations since it should stay the same throughout repayment. Of course, there may be additional fees if you make a late payment, miss multiple payments, etc. 

When it comes to the application process with installment loans, it will depend specifically on the loan type you are applying for. Some applications are much more complex and time-consuming than others. For example, the mortgage application process can take a few weeks, and you will need several documents. While a personal loan usually only requires some basic personal information and proof of income. 

A few other examples can include:

Home Equity Loans

Home equity loans allow homeowners to borrow using the value in their homes. According to USA Today, homeowners in the United States are currently sitting on about $20 trillion worth of home equity.³ You may not need to have good credit or a completely clean credit report for a home equity loan. Funds from home equity loans can be used for several purposes, but most people use them for home renovations/repairs. 

Auto Loans

Auto loans are used to finance the purchase of a vehicle. Generally, these loans last between three to five years. Once repaid in full, you can sell or trade-in your car. 

Mortgage Loans

Mortgage loans can help finance the purchase of a home. You can find these loans generally ranging from 15 to 30 years. They come with all kinds of variables, but luckily, a mortgage officer will be able to help you throughout the process. 

Student Loans 

Student loans offer funding for student borrowers to use for any school-related expense. That includes tuition, room and board, books, transportation, etc. There are also federally funded loans and private student loans you can look into. 

Secured Loans vs. Unsecured Loans 

And so, an installment loan can be an unsecured loan or a secured loan. Secured loans use collateral, while unsecured loans do not. Usually, the higher the value of the collateral, the higher the loan amount the borrower may be eligible for. Since there is collateral available to secure the loan funding, borrowers with less-than-perfect credit often turn to secured loans when they need emergency cash. But, keep in mind that if you miss a certain amount of payments or default on your loan you risk losing whatever property you used as collateral. 

Personal Loans vs. Business Loans 

What’s the difference between a business loan vs. personal loan? As discussed, a personal loan is a type of installment loan borrowers can use for a variety of purposes. Business loans, on the other hand, work similarly as most personal loans in California but are designed specifically for individuals who own a business. Business owners can use business loans to pay for expenses such as: 

  • Inventory for their business 
  • Payroll for their employees 
  • Property costs related to their business 
  • Any other expenses required explicitly for business needs 

What Is a Credit Union?

A credit union is a member-owned financial cooperative, where each member of the credit union has a say in its operation. Unlike traditional banks, a credit union focuses on serving its members, often offering a lower rate of interest or less fees. Members of a credit union pool their resources to provide loans and other financial services to each other. Joining a credit union means becoming part of a community-focused institution, where the profits of the credit union are returned to members in the form of better services and products. It’s still important to do research before applying, however, as a credit union may have specific membership requirements such as having a certain credit score, working in a specific field, or living in a certain area. 

No Credit Check Loans

No credit check loans are exactly what they sound like, they don’t have credit checks as a part of their application process. Although this may sound convenient, especially if you don’t have the best credit score, there are a few drawbacks to them. No credit check loans usually have small loan amounts and may be around a few hundred dollars at most. And along with that, you may find a high APR and short repayment period with a no credit check loan

Cash Advance Loans

A cash advance usually makes a small amount of funds available to borrowers. There may be a few different reasons why someone may want cash, usually because the expense or purchase they have may only be paid that way. Cash advances are available in several different forms. Here are some examples of cash advance loans:

  • Employer Cash Advances — Employer cash advances may not be available at every workplace, but some places do offer these. With an employer cash advance, you essentially get your paycheck, or a portion of your paycheck, early. The convenient thing is that there may not be any interest rate to worry about. However, there are definitely a few things to consider. The most important being your budget. Before you ask for a cash advance from your employer, review your finances and make sure you will be able to handle a shorter paycheck for a few weeks.
  • Credit Card Cash Advances — Credit card cash advances allow credit card holders to withdraw cash from their existing credit limit. Credit card cash advances can be withdrawn from banks, credit unions, or ATMs. One thing to keep in mind is that credit card cash withdrawals tend to have higher APRs than regular purchases using your line of credit.   
  • Payday Cash Advance — Payday cash advances make a small amount of cash available to borrowers, which typically needs to be repaid in a few weeks. Although they may seem convenient, payday cash advances can be expensive and may not provide borrowers a lot of time to repay the loan. Because of this, many people may find payday cash advances difficult to repay on time, which can be detrimental to their finances. 

Online Bad Credit Loans

Online bad credit loans are meant to help borrowers with subprime scores get funding. When searching for funding with bad credit online, you will likely come across these loans. There are many loan options that fall into this category, including online payday loans. With poor credit, it may seem that your only options are bad credit loans, but that is not always the case. Adding a cosigner or co-borrower to a standard loan option could make it possible to get funding even without the best credit score. Or, if you have some time to wait for a loan, you can try and improve your credit score. Good credit could mean the best rates and loan options to choose from in the sunny state of California. Not sure where to start when trying to improve your credit? Here are some tips:

  • Make your monthly payments on time.
  • Pay off debt. 
  • Refrain from new hard credit inquiries.
  • Diversify your credit.
  • Keep your old accounts open (especially your revolving credit accounts). 

Payday Loans Alternative

Payday loans typically offer a short amount of funds that need to be repaid in a few weeks. According to the California Office of the General Attorney, payday loans are legal in California, but lenders are only able to offer loan amounts maxing at $300, and are only able to charge a maximum of $45 in fees.4 Many borrowers who have bad credit history usually seek these loans. However, as mentioned above, payday loans may be challenging to repay. 

The good news is that there are several alternatives to a payday loan for residents of California. One option is a personal loan in California. Finding the best personal loans for bad credit in California may require some research on your end. Banks, credit unions, and private lenders offer personal loans, so you can start your search there. When comparing personal loans, make sure to pay attention to the following: 

  • The interest rate and APR.
  • The loan terms (for example, if there is a prepayment penalty).
  • The loan amount.
  • The monthly payment. 
  • Any fees with the loan.
  • The lender themselves. 

Is a California Personal Loan Right For You?

Thinking about a personal loan in California but unsure whether it is the right option for you? Here is a list of qualities you may find with these kinds of loans, which should help you figure out if they are the right option for you: 

  • You want a predictable monthly payment.
  • Having the money in a lump sum is important for you. 
  • You have multiple expenses or purchases you need to take care of. 
  • You want an online application/loan process. 
  • You want a variety of lenders to choose from.

A Word From CreditNinja on Personal Loans 

Before applying for personal loans for bad credit in California, CreditNinja suggests you consider non-loan alternatives such as: 

  • Use funds from your savings account – Instead of taking out a loan, take a look at your savings account to see if you can use a portion of those funds to cover your expenses. When you use money from a savings account instead of applying for a loan you won’t have to deal with applications, hard credit checks, interest rates, or fees! 
  • Become an authorized user on a line of credit – Becoming an authorized user on a line of credit gives you access to a credit limit without being responsible for paying back the balance. As an authorized user, both you and the credit card owner will be able to make purchases using the same credit limit on a line of credit. However, to be respectful to the owner of the line of credit you will want to make sure the overall balance remains low. 
  • Ask a close friend or family member for a small unsecured loan – Another way to get the money you need is to ask a trusted friend or close family member for a small loan. While this option can also help you save money and time on applications, credit checks, and interest rates, it’s still important to prioritize repayment. Before you ask someone for money, plan how you are going to repay them so you don’t accidentally put any of your personal relationships in jeopardy. 
  • Get an additional stream of income – You may also consider getting an additional stream of income. Consider selling your gently used clothing or unwanted appliances, home decor, or other items around your home that you no longer need or use. If you don’t have anything in your home you can spare, you may also consider getting a part-time job or side hustle temporarily. 

CreditNinja personal loans in California can come with great benefits like: 

  • Convenient fixed rate
  • Affordable monthly payment 
  • Automatic payment services 
  • No prepayment penalty (when you don’t have a prepayment penalty you can make your monthly payments at any time before your due date with no extra charge!)
  • Bad credit OK
  • Flexible repayment schedules 

No matter what loan or lender you choose, make sure to do plenty of research to find a solution that’s safe and affordable for your situation. 

FAQs and Common Questions

Generally, we offer unsecured loans up to $2,500. However, the amount you’re offered if approved will vary based on your specific qualifications, as well as the regulations in California, or whichever state you live in.

California law caps interest rates and regulates loan terms, offering some protection against high rates for bad credit loans.

The length of your repayment term will depend on the specific loan you receive, as well as the state where you live. This may range from six to 18 months.

Consider secured loans, credit unions, and online lenders like CreditNinja that specialize in bad credit loans.

Personal loans in California are designed for borrowers with less-than-perfect credit. While we do consider an applicant’s credit history, it’s not the only factor we review. This means that having a low credit score doesn’t necessarily bar you from being approved!

Yes, California offers community-based programs and credit-building loans through local credit unions for those with low credit scores.

CreditNinja personal loans are “unsecured,” meaning we don’t require borrowers to provide collateral in order to qualify. Approval will be based on an applicant’s credit history, income, and ability to repay the loan, among other factors.

Payday loans offer quick cash but often come with high interest rates and short repayment periods, making them a costly option.

CreditNinja offers quick and reliable personal loans for borrowers in need. The entire process is online, from the application to funding, and even repayment. Apply today for a CreditNinja personal loan, get a decision right away, and get the cash you need to get your life back on track.

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