Personal Finance

Where to get a personal loan with a 550 credit score

Our goal here at Credible Operations, Inc., NMLS Number 1681276, referred to as “Credible” below, is to give you the tools and confidence you need to improve your finances. Although we do promote products from our partner lenders who compensate us for our services, all opinions are our own.

You can get a personal loan with a credit score of 550. Learn more about your options. (iStock)

Before approving a borrower for a personal loan, most lenders will look for a good to excellent credit score, stable income and employment history and a low debt-to-income ratio. While it’s possible to get a loan with a 550 credit score, there are drawbacks. You may have to settle for a higher interest rate or expensive fees — all of which add to the lifetime cost of a personal loan.

Credible makes it easy to compare rates from personal loan lenders willing to work with borrowers who have poor or fair credit.

Can I get a personal loan with a 550 credit score?

You may be able to secure a personal loan with a 550 credit score. But keep in mind that you’ll have to shop around, as not all lenders will extend an offer to someone with a low credit score. 

Lenders that do give loans to borrowers with lower credit scores may charge higher interest rates and fees. They might also require you to put up collateral or an asset you own.

What’s considered bad, good and excellent credit scores?

Most credit scores range from 300 to 850. Here’s how they break down:

  • Below 580 — Poor
  • 580-669 — Fair
  • 670-739 — Good
  • 740-850 — Excellent

How credit scores affect personal loan rates

Lenders look to credit scores for an idea of how well you’ve managed credit in the past, and how you’re likely to manage a new loan. A higher credit score can signal to lenders that you’re more likely to repay a loan on time and as agreed. You may have a better chance of getting approved for a loan with a low interest rate. 

Conversely, a lower credit score may raise a flag to lenders that you’ve had trouble managing credit in the past — and could have trouble repaying a new loan. Because the lender perceives you as a riskier borrower, it’s likely you’ll be offered higher interest rates. 

Best lenders for personal loans with poor credit

These eight Credible partner lenders offer bad credit loan options. 

Avant

Avant is an online lending platform that’s been around since 2013 and has offered loans to more than 600,000 borrowers.

Best Egg

Best Egg is an online lending platform that has served more than 500,000 people with more than $8 billion in funding.

  • Loan amounts: $5,000 to $50,000
  • Loan terms: 2 to 5 years
  • Minimum credit score: 600
  • May be good for: Borrowers who would like to pay off their loan early

LendingClub

LendingClub is a peer-to-peer lending platform that matches borrowers to investors who would like to lend them money.

  • Loan amounts: $1,000 to $40,000
  • Loan terms: 3 or 5 years
  • Minimum credit score: 600
  • May be good for: Borrowers who want to consolidate credit card debt

LendingPoint

LendingPoint is a direct personal lender that offers loans of up to $36,500 as soon as the next business day.

  • Loan amounts: $2,000 to $36,500
  • Loan terms: 2 to 4 years
  • Minimum credit score: 580
  • May be good for: Borrowers who need a smaller personal loan fast

OneMain Financial 

OneMain is a large lender that offers secured and unsecured personal loans of up to $20,000.

  • Loan amounts: $1,500 to $20,000
  • Loan terms: 2 to 5 years
  • Minimum credit score: None
  • May be good for: Borrowers who want to borrow a small amount of money

Universal Credit

Powered by Upgrade, a loan broker in San Francisco, Universal Credit is a lending platform that provides and services personal loans funded through partner banks.

  • Loan amounts: $1,000 to $50,000
  • Loan terms: 3 to 5 years
  • Minimum credit score: 560
  • May be good for: Borrowers who want fast funding

Upgrade

Upgrade is an online lender that provides fast approval of fixed-rate personal loans of up to $50,000.

  • Loan amounts: $1,000 to $50,000
  • Loan terms: 2 to 7 years
  • Minimum credit score: 560
  • May be good for: Borrowers who want to build credit history

Upstart

Upstart is an online lending platform that offers personal loans from $1,000 to $50,000 from several lending partners.

  • Loan amounts: $1,000 to $50,000
  • Loan terms: 3 to 5 years
  • Minimum credit score: 580
  • May be good for: Borrowers with a strong education and job history

You can see prequalified personal loan rates in minutes, without affecting your credit, when you use Credible.

Other lenders to consider

The following three lenders are not Credible partners, so you won’t be able to easily compare your rates with them on the Credible platform. They don’t disclose their minimum credit score requirements, but they may also be worth considering if you’re looking for a personal loan with a poor credit score. 

Citizens Bank

  • Loan amounts: $5,000 to $50,000
  • Loan terms: 3 to 7 years

HSBC Bank

  • Loan amounts: $3,000 to $50,000
  • Loan terms: 2 to 5 years

Rocket Loans

  • Loan amounts: $2,000 to $45,000
  • Loan terms: 3 or 5 years

Methodology

Credible evaluated the best personal loan lenders for poor credit based on factors such as customer experience, minimum fixed rate, maximum loan amount, funding time, loan terms and fees. Credible’s team of experts gathered information from each lender’s website, customer service department and via email support. Each data point was verified to make sure it was up-to-date.

How much does a 550 credit score loan cost?

A number of factors can influence the cost of a personal loan, including your interest rate, APR, fees, loan term and credit score. Here’s an example of how some of those factors can affect the cost of a personal loan.

Imagine you take out a $5,000 personal loan with a three-year term. You have good credit and lock in a low interest rate of 11%. Your monthly payment would be $164 and your total interest costs would be $893. Now let’s look at the same loan amount and repayment term with a 550 credit score that qualifies you for an interest rate of 35%. Your monthly payment rockets to $226 and your total interest costs soar to $3,142. 

In this example, a better credit score would save you $2,249 in interest costs over the life of the loan.

What are the pros and cons of 550 credit score loans?

Before you move forward with a personal loan with poor credit, be sure to consider the benefits and drawbacks. 

Pros

  • Easy application — Usually, you can apply for a personal loan online within minutes from the comfort of your own home. You won’t need to drive to a bank and go through a lengthy application process.
  • Flexible — You can use a personal loan to cover just about any expense. Whether you need cash to pay for a car repair, medical bill or home improvement project, it may be a great option.
  • Fast funding — Many personal loan lenders offer fast funding so you don’t have to wait weeks or even months to collect the money you need. This is great news if you have an emergency expense that can’t wait.
  • Chance to improve credit — As long as you make your payments on time, a personal loan can improve your credit. A history of timely payments will slowly but surely build it and increase your score.

Cons

  • High interest rates — You may be stuck with a high interest rate, which can cost you thousands of extra dollars over the life of your loan.
  • Expensive fees — Some lenders that offer 550 credit score loans charge a variety of costly fees. These may include origination fees, application fees, late fees and insufficient funds fees.
  • May need collateral — Depending on the lender you choose, you might have to secure your loan to collateral like a savings account or other asset. If you fail to make your payments, the lender can seize the collateral.
  • More debt — If you’re already struggling with debt, a personal loan may add to the problem. This is particularly true if you borrow more than you can comfortably afford to pay back.

If you decide a personal loan is right for your needs, you can easily compare rates from personal loan lenders with Credible. 

Alternatives to personal loans with bad credit

If you have bad credit, a personal loan isn’t your only option. Here are some alternatives that can help you meet your financial goals.

  • Work on building your credit. Unless you need a personal loan immediately, it may make sense to build your credit before you apply for one. To do so, pay all your bills on time and in full. Try to pay down existing debts to help improve your credit utilization ratio. You may also consider becoming an authorized user on a credit card.
  • Consider a secured loan. While secured loans like title loans and payday loans are available, they’re almost never a good idea. They usually come with sky-high interest rates and exorbitant fees. Plus, you have to secure them to an asset like your car or paycheck. But a secured personal loan may be an option if you have an asset that you could use as collateral.
  • Apply with a cosigner. If you have a friend or family member with good credit, you can ask them to act as a cosigner. Their good credit could help you qualify for a loan at a lower interest rate. Just keep in mind that as a cosigner, they’ll be responsible for repaying the loan if you don’t.
  • Borrow from friends and family. You might be able to take out a loan from a parent, sibling or anyone else you know or trust at a low interest rate. If you go this route, however, make sure you outline the terms in writing so that everyone is on the same page.
  • Work with a credit counselor. A credit counselor may be a good fit if you’d like professional advice on how to improve your finances. They can help you develop a budget and create a debt management plan.

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