The Best Personal Loans for Fair Credit of August 2022

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Personal loans are good choices for borrowers who need quick cash for expenses like home improvement projects, moving costs, or vacation. You’ll pay off a personal loan in monthly installments, and your interest rate will be the same for the life of the loan.

There are many options for borrowers with fair credit, which is defined by FICO as a score between 580 to 669. We’ve put together a list of lenders that accept borrowers with credit histories in this range. 

Compare Personal Loan Rates

 

Best personal loans for fair credit

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Editor’s rating

3.5/5

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5.94% to 35.97%

Editor’s rating

3.75/5

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Regular APR

9.95% to 35.99%

Editor’s rating

3/5

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5.99% to 35.99%

Editor’s rating

2.75/5

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Regular APR

6.34% to 35.89%

Editor’s rating

3.75/5

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Regular APR

7.49% to 18.00%

Editor’s rating

3.25/5

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Regular APR

3.09% to 35.99%

Editor’s rating

4.5/5

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Regular APR

6.74% to 17.99%

Editor’s rating

3.5/5

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Regular APR

5.99% – 24.99% APR

Upgrade


Fees


Origination fee between 2.90% and 8% and a late fee of up to $10


Regular APR


5.94% to 35.97%


Fees


Origination fee between 2.90% and 8% and a late fee of up to $10


Regular APR


5.94% to 35.97%

More Information

  • Loan amounts range from $1,000 to $50,000
  • Loan term lengths range between 2 to 7 years
  • You can get your money within one business day after your loan is reviewed and approved
  • Loans made by Upgrade’s lending partners

What stands out: Low minimum loan amount. Upgrade’s minimum of $1,000 is toward the lower end of the personal loan providers on the list. Other than Upgrade, credit unions are probably your only other option for such a small amount. If you just need a bit of cash to tide you over, Upgrade is a good choice.

What to watch out for: The lender isn’t available in all 50 states. If you live in Iowa or West Virginia, you won’t be able to take out a loan with the company. 

Avant


Fees


Administration fee up to 4.75%, undisclosed late fee and returned payment fee


Regular APR


9.95% to 35.99%


Fees


Administration fee up to 4.75%, undisclosed late fee and returned payment fee


Regular APR


9.95% to 35.99%

More Information

  • Loan amounts range from $2,000 to $35,000
  • Loan term lengths range between 2 to 5 years
  • Administration fee of up to 4.75%, which will be deducted from your loan proceeds when the loan is funded, and late fee that varies by state
  • Loans made by WebBank, member FDIC

What stands out: Quick access to funds. If your loan is approved by Avant by 4:30 p.m. CT Monday through Friday, funds are generally deposited by the next business day, per the company’s website. 

What to look out for: High fees. You’ll pay an administration fee of up to 4.75%, which will be deducted from your loan proceeds when the loan is funded. If you miss a scheduled payment, you may incur a late fee, which will vary by state.

Best Egg


Fees


Origination fee between 0.99% and 5.99%, late fee of $15


Regular APR


5.99% to 35.99%


Fees


Origination fee between 0.99% and 5.99%, late fee of $15


Regular APR


5.99% to 35.99%

More Information

  • Loan amounts range from $2,000 to $35,000
  • Loan term lengths range between 3 to 5 years
  • You may get your money by the next business day after your loan is reviewed and approved
  • Loans made by Best Egg’s lending partners

What stands out: High customer satisfaction. Best Egg has a 95% customer satisfaction rate, which is supported by its stellar A+ Better Business Bureau trustworthiness score. 

What to watch out for: Origination fees. You’ll face an origination fee between 0.99% and 5.99%, which is baked into your APR. On a loan term of four years or longer, the origination fee will be at least 4.99%.

LendingClub


Fees


Origination fee between 1% and 6%, late fee of 5% of the minimum payment amount or $15, whichever is greater


Regular APR


6.34% to 35.89%


Fees


Origination fee between 1% and 6%, late fee of 5% of the minimum payment amount or $15, whichever is greater


Regular APR


6.34% to 35.89%

More Information

  • Origination fee between 1% to 6%
  • You’ll get access to your funds within two to four business days
  • Loan amount range between $1,000 to $40,000
  • Loan terms are either 36 months or 60 months
  • Loans made through either WebBank, Member FDIC or LendingClub Bank, N.A., Member FDIC

What stands out: Add a co-borrower to your application. If you have poorer credit and are worried your loan might not be approved as a result of your standing, you can choose to add a co-borrower and may qualify for a better rate.

What to watch out for: Slower access to funds. You’ll get access to your funds within two to four business days, and while that is relatively fast, you can get funds deposited more quickly from other personal loan companies.


Regular APR


7.49% to 18.00%


Regular APR


7.49% to 18.00%

Pros

  • Wide range of loan amounts
  • No origination fees
  • No prepayment penalties
  • Co-borrower allowed
  • 24/7 customer service

Cons

  • Membership required to get a loan
  • Late fee

More Information

  • Loan amounts range from $250 to $50,000
  • Term lengths between six months to five years
  • Loans originated by Navy Federal Credit Union

What stands out: No origination fees or prepayment penalties. This could save you money on the overall cost of your loan, and other lenders on our list charge these fees.

What to watch out for: Lofty membership requirements. It’s relatively hard to qualify for Navy Federal membership. You’re only eligible if you are active military member, veteran, employee or retiree of the Department of Defense, or family member of someone in one of those groups.

Upstart


Fees


Origination fee up to 8%, late fee of 5% or $15, whichever is greater


Regular APR


3.09% to 35.99%


Fees


Origination fee up to 8%, late fee of 5% or $15, whichever is greater


Regular APR


3.09% to 35.99%

More Information

  • Loan amounts range from $1,000 to $50,000
  • Loan term lengths are either 3 or 5 years
  • Can have origination fees up to 8%
  • Considers employment and education history when making loan approval decisions
  • Loans are made through one of several Upstart-powered bank partners

What stands out: Approval isn’t dependent solely on credit scores. For people who have struggled with credit in the past, Upstart will factor in a few other pieces of information for a better shot at approval, including employment history and education history.

What to watch out for: Limited repayment terms. While other lenders offer several options on how long you’ll have to repay, Upstart only offers three-year and five-year terms. This choice could be impractical for borrowers on either extreme of the borrowing scale. However, there is no prepayment penalty, so you can pay your loan off at any time without a fee. 

PenFed


Regular APR


6.74% to 17.99%


Regular APR


6.74% to 17.99%

Pros

  • Wide range of loan amounts
  • Low minimum APR
  • No origination fees or prepayment penalties
  • Coborrowers allowed

Cons

  • Need to be a member to get a loan
  • Late fee

More Information

  • Loan amounts range from $600 to $50,000
  • Term lengths between one to five years
  • Loans originated by Pentagon Federal Credit Union

What stands out: Add a co-borrower to your application. If you don’t have the best credit and are concerned your lender might not approve your loan as a result, you can choose to enlist a co-borrower and may qualify for a better rate.

What to watch out for: Membership requirements. You need to join the credit union to take out a loan. Members of the military and employees of qualifying organizations will be eligible, but if you don’t qualify, you can join by opening a savings account with a $5 minimum deposit.

Happy Money


Fees


Origination fee between 0% and 5%


Regular APR


5.99% – 24.99% APR


Fees


Origination fee between 0% and 5%


Regular APR


5.99% – 24.99% APR

Pros

  • Competitive interest rates
  • No prepayment or late fees
  • Low minimum credit score requirement

Cons

  • Origination fees
  • Slow access to funds
  • Limited loan purpose
  • Not available in all states

More Information

  • Loan amounts range from $5,000 to $40,000
  • Loan term lengths range between 2 to 5 years
  • Origination fee anywhere between 0% and 5%
  • Won’t be able to get a loan from Happy Money if you live in Maine, Massachusetts, Nebraska, or Nevada
  • Can only use for credit card debt consolidation
  • Loans made by one of Payoff’s lending partners

What stands out: Solid minimum APR. Happy Money’s lowest APR of 5.99% is one of the better rates on our list, though you’ll only qualify for that rate with a great credit score. 

What to watch out for: Limited loan purpose. Happy Money personal loans are designed to help borrowers eliminate high-interest credit card debt. If you’re looking to get a personal loan for another purpose, you should choose a different lender.

Credit score requirements

Each lender sets its own credit score requirements to qualify for a loan, though you’ll likely get a lower rate with a higher score. For our top picks, we’ve chosen lenders that either list low minimum credit scores or have unspecified minimums but are known to accept borrowers with poor credit.

Credit unions usually don’t publicize their minimum credit score requirements, but we’ve picked them because they’re known to be accessible to borrowers with fair credit.  

You can find your credit report for free on annualcreditreport.com from any of the three major credit bureaus weekly through the end of 2022. While this report won’t give you your credit score, it will show you information about your credit and payment history, which lenders use to decide whether to give you a loan. Reviewing your credit report can help you know what you need to improve. 

You can find your score at no cost on your credit card statement or online account. You can also pay for it from a credit reporting agency. 

Credit scores range from 300 to 850. Here’s how scores break down, according to FICO: 

  • Very poor: 300 to 579
  • Fair: 580 to 669
  • Good: 670 to 739 
  • Very good: 740 to 799 
  • Exceptional: 800 to 850

When you look at your rates with many companies, it won’t affect your credit score because most lenders will generate a soft credit inquiry when displaying personalized rates. However, if you accept a loan, lenders will likely perform a hard credit inquiry, which may negatively impact your credit score. A hard inquiry gives a lender a full look at your credit history.

If you don’t qualify for a loan with the lender you prefer or are being offered a higher APR than you can afford, here are some tips you might think about to improve your credit score: 

  • Request and review a copy of your credit report. Look for any mistakes on your report that may be hurting your score. If so, reach out to the credit bureau to talk about correcting the errors.
  • Maintain low credit card balances. Having a credit utilization ratio — the percentage of your total credit you’re using — of 30% or less will prove to lenders that you can aptly handle your credit.
  • Create a system for paying bills on time. Your payment history makes up a significant percentage of your credit score, and lenders prefer to see consistent and reliable past payments. Design calendar reminders or automatic payments so you don’t fall behind.

Other personal loans we considered

  • Rocket Loans. While Rocket Loans has fast funding and a competitive minimum APR, the lender’s loans also come with multiple types of fees, limited repayment terms, and inaccessibility to borrowers in some states. Additionally, the company’s recommended minimum credit score is 650. 
  • OneMain Financial. This lender has no minimum credit requirement, but comes with extremely high fees and starting interest rates. It may be an option of last resort for borrowers who don’t qualify elsewhere.
  • LendingPoint. LendingPoint has a low credit score minimum of 580, but has a low maximum loan amount and comes with hefty origination fees. 

Which lender is the most trustworthy?

To help you decide on a lender, we’ve compared each institution’s Better Business Bureau score. The BBB measures businesses based on factors like their responsiveness to customer complaints, honesty in advertising, and transparency about business practices. Here is each company’s score:

All of our top picks are rated A- or higher by the BBB, with the exception of Navy Federal. Navy Federal is not rated because the credit union is in the process of responding to formerly closed complaints. Previously, the business had an A+ rating from the BBB. 

There is one recent controversy related to Navy Federal. A Navy Federal employee alleged that the lender pressured mortgage underwriters to approve loans even without proper reason to believe applicants could pay back the loans. She then filed a lawsuit and said Navy Federal retaliated against her whistleblowing by changing her job duties. She dropped the case in late 2020.

If Navy Federal’s history bothers you, you may feel more comfortable with another lender on our list. 

Keep in mind that a high BBB score does not guarantee a positive relationship with a lender, and that you should continue to do research and talk to others who have used the company to get the most comprehensive information possible.

How did we pick the best fair credit personal loans? 

Personal Finance Insider’s mission is to help smart people make the best decisions they can with their money. With that in mind, we looked at several personal loan lenders closely. We evaluated multiple factors to determine the best personal loan lenders for people with fair credit, including:

  • Annual percentage rates: The lower the interest rate on your loan, the better. So we centered our choices on lenders that still offer low maximum rates for those with fair credit history.
  • Loan term length: We prioritized personal loans with a variety of repayment lengths. 
  • Loan amount range: We looked for lenders with small personal loan minimums, if possible. While you may need more money, it could be a better choice to take out less and save on the high APR that may come with a lower credit score. 
  • Minimum credit score: Depending on your credit score, you may be eligible to take out a loan from some lenders and might not qualify with others. We picked lenders with low minimum credit scores so you have the best chance of qualifying.
  • Trustworthiness: Borrowing from an honest lender is often a chief concern for many people. With the exception of Navy Federal, we chose lenders with an A- or above grade from the Better Business Bureau to provide the most transparent lenders possible. However, Navy Federal is not rated because the credit union is in the process of responding to previously closed complaints.

How do I choose the best fair credit personal loan for me?

To get the best fair credit personal loan, think about what means the most to you. Many borrowers focus on the lowest interest rate, but also think about any fees, the minimum credit score needed, and the accessibility of the lender’s customer service. You’ll also want to make sure you’re able to select a term length that works for you and that the lender you pick allows your reason for your loan. 

You’ll want to understand if you qualify for a loan or if you may need to add a cosigner to boost your chances of being eligible. Guides like this one will help you weigh multiple lenders to compare their pros and cons. Make sure to also read individual reviews of any lenders you’re considering. 

Frequently asked questions

Can I get a personal loan with a fair credit score?

Yes, many lenders offer personal loans for borrowers with fair credit scores. All of the lenders on our list have options for borrowers with credit scores on the lower end of the spectrum. Improving your credit score will likely get you more favorable loan terms. 

What are alternatives to personal loans?

There might be cheaper avenues available if you aren’t comfortable taking out a personal loan:

  • Ask friends or family. While it’s not easy to ask friends or family for a loan, you may be able to come to an agreement with better terms than through an official lender. 
  • Get a paycheck advance. Some banks will let you to get your paycheck a few days early, and you’re can use apps that let you get some of the money you’ve already earned in a pay period. You can also request a paycheck advance from your employer. However, taking a paycheck advance isn’t free — you’ll often be charged fees that come out of your earnings when you receive them.  
  • Apply for a credit card. You may also think about a credit card instead of a personal loan. This might be especially helpful if your credit isn’t in the best shape and you are eligible for a lower APR with a credit card than a personal loan lender. However, be careful with credit cards. They can often make it easier to rack up more and more debt, so use them responsibly. 
  • Look for aid from a local nonprofit or charity. Many local organizations have programs designed for short-term assistance for those in need. You can find a list of some near you here. 
  • Work part-time in the gig economy. You can make money on your own time with gig work like rideshare and food delivery apps. These extra jobs might enable you to earn enough to eliminate the need for a loan. 

What can you use a personal loan for?

You’re able to use a personal loan for many purposes, though the list changes depending on the lender. Some common options include: 

Every reason available isn’t listed here, and you should reach out to your individual lender to ask about what choices it offers. 

How much will a personal loan cost?

This depends on how much you want to borrow, what APR you get from your lender, and how long you take to pay off the loan.

The higher the loan amount and APR, the more expensive a loan will be. With a longer term length, you will split up your payments over an extended period so you’ll make smaller monthly payments, but it will cost you more total interest. 

How quickly can you get your money? 

Depending on the lender, you may be able to get your money as soon as the same day you apply. Often a lender will send the money relatively quickly after the application is approved, but there is usually no guarantee on the speed of the approval process.

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