In a NutshellA personal loan may help you consolidate debt or finance a major purchase. But if your credit isn’t strong, your choices may be more limited — or you may face higher rates if approved. All of our picks for best personal loans for fair credit allow you to check your potential terms without a hard credit check that can affect your credit scores.
If you’re looking for a personal loan with fair credit, you may have options to explore — but you’ll want to keep a close eye on loan terms such as fees, interest rates and repayment terms.
What’s fair credit? FICO considers a credit score range of 580 to 669 (on an 850-point scale) to be fair, and it says that your score is below average but “many lenders will approve loans with this score.” Meanwhile, the VantageScore 3.0 and 4.0 models rate scores of 601 to 660 as “fair.”
Each one of the loans we’ve listed here allows you to apply for prequalification so you can shop and compare potential terms without any impact on your credit scores — and none will charge a prepayment penalty if you pay off your loan early.
Keep in mind that these lenders may not operate in every state, so make sure to check if they’re available where you live.
- Best for multiple repayment terms: Avant
- Best for a secured loan: OneMain Financial
- Best for small loans: Upstart
- Best for fast funding: LendingPoint
- What you should know about personal loans with fair credit
Best for multiple repayment terms: Avant
Why Avant stands out: Avant’s loan repayment terms range from 12 to 60 months, which could give you more choice in how long you have to pay back your loan. Just keep in mind that with a longer repayment term, your monthly payments may be smaller, but you’ll likely pay much more in interest over that longer period.
- Fees — Avant may charge you an administration fee (also known as an origination fee) of up to 4.75%, which will be deducted from your loan funds. Avant also may charge late-payment and dishonored-payment fees.
- Loan amounts — Avant offers unsecured personal loans ranging from $2,000 to $35,000, but loan amounts vary by state requirements.
- Good to know — Avant says most of its borrowers have credit scores between 600 and 700 — from the middle to high side of the fair credit range.
Best for secured loan option: OneMain Financial
Why OneMain Financial stands out: OneMain has a range of potential term lengths of 24 to 60 months, too. Plus, it offers a secured personal loan option that may help you qualify for the funds you need. Secured loans require collateral such as a vehicle. So if you default on a secured loan, OneMain may be able to take your property.
- Fees — OneMain charges an origination fee, and the amount varies based on where you live. In some states, it’ll be a flat fee (ranging from $25 to $500). In other states, the origination fee ranges from 1% to 10%. OneMain also charges late-payment fees and nonsufficient funds fees.
- Loan amounts — OneMain’s personal loan amounts range from $1,500 to $20,000, depending on your state’s laws.
- Good to know — OneMain also may let you apply with a co-applicant, which can help you get approved or get better loan terms.
Best for small loans: Upstart
Why Upstart stands out: If you only want to borrow a small amount, Upstart offers personal loans starting at just $1,000 in most states. This can help you out if you don’t want to borrow more than you need.
- Fees — If you’re approved, Upstart may charge an origination fee. The fee is deducted upfront from your loan funds. The company also charges a late-payment fee and returned-payment fee.
- Loan amounts — Along with offering smaller loans, Upstart also offers the largest loan amounts of all our picks — up to $50,000 for those who qualify.
- Good to know — The lender says it weighs factors such as occupation and education — in addition to credit reports and income — when reviewing your application. And Upstart offers just two choices for loan-term length: 36 or 60 months.
Best for fast funding: LendingPoint
Why LendingPoint stands out: LendingPoint says that once all loan application forms and documentation have been received, it can complete the loan approval process “in just seconds.” This may be LendingPoint’s most notable feature — but it’s good to know that all of our picks for best fair credit loans claim to provide “next business day” funding, with certain conditions.
- Fees — LendingPoint may charge you an origination fee of 0% to 8% if you’re approved. You can choose to finance the origination fee or have it deducted from your loan funds. While the lender’s website says it doesn’t charge a prepayment penalty, it gives no other upfront info for other possible fees like late or dishonored payments.
- Loan amounts — LendingPoint offers personal loans ranging from $2,000 to $36,500.
- Good to know — LendingPoint requires a minimum income of $35,000. The lender says it looks at things like job history and credit behavior when considering your application. Loan terms range from 24 months to 72 months.
What you should know about personal loans with fair credit
Personal loans can help you finance things like credit card debt consolidation, emergency expenses and home improvements. You can also use loans for major expenses such as a dream vacation or a wedding.
But keep in mind that even the best personal loans for fair credit may have high interest rates compared to personal loans for people with strong credit. If you have time to wait before borrowing, it may help to build your credit before applying to try to receive better loan terms.
If you really need the funds now, adding a co-signer or co-applicant to your loan may help you qualify for a loan or get a better interest rate. In addition to OneMain, here are some other other lenders that allow co-signers or co-applicants.
Shopping around and comparing loan terms before you make a decision can empower you to make the best choice possible for your situation. Applying for prequalification will give you a sense of the loan terms that you might receive, so take advantage of that opportunity. Again, all of the lenders on our list offer a prequalification process that won’t hurt your credit scores. Just keep in mind that the formal application process may include a hard credit check, which can lower your scores by a few points.
Remember that your final loan approval or terms may differ, so read the fine print of any offers you get carefully.
Lastly, make sure the monthly payments of a personal loan offer will fit into your budget.
How we picked these loans
When reviewing the best personal loans for fair credit we considered factors such as ease of the loan application process, interest rates, loan amounts, fees and whether the lender offers flexible loan terms.