In a NutshellInstallment loans are available in a variety of amounts and can be used for many different purposes. If your credit history is less than ideal, here are five installment loans for bad credit you can consider.
An installment loan is a type of loan where you borrow a certain amount of money and pay it back in payments, or “installments.” The lender gives you the money upfront and you repay the funds over a specific period of time — in many cases, making monthly payments.
Installment loans are available in a variety of amounts and can be used for many different purposes. Generally, the monthly payments stay the same over the life of the loan, making budgeting easier.
And while personal loans for bad credit are available, they don’t always come with the best terms. If you’re looking for installment loans for bad credit, check out the five loans we’ve picked as some of the best possible options.
- Best overall value: Upgrade
- Best for fast funding: LendingPoint
- Best for fast approval: Upstart
- Best for debt consolidation loans: LendingClub
- Best for multiple repayment options: Avant
- What to watch out for with installment loans for bad credit
- How we picked these loans
Best overall value: Upgrade
Why Upgrade stands out: Upgrade offers installment loans up to $50,000, and the funds can be used for things like a major purchase, debt consolidation or home improvements. And you can check your rate and review your loan options without a hard credit inquiry that could interfere with your efforts to raise your credit scores.
- No prepayment penalties — Upgrade doesn’t charge a fee for paying off your loan early, but it does charge an origination fee.
- Flexible repayment schedule — Once you’ve chosen your loan amount, Upgrade lets you pick from a range of repayment term lengths, from 24 to 84 months. And your interest rate won’t change throughout the life of the loan.
- Fast funding — Once your application is approved, the funds will be sent to your bank account within one business day — though Upgrade says this depends on how quickly your bank can process the transaction.
Check out more reviews for Upgrade personal loans.
Best for fast funding: LendingPoint
Why LendingPoint stands out: LendingPoint offers personal loans between $2,000 and $36,500, and you can apply without it negatively impacting your credit scores. LendingPoint says it will review this initial application and decide on preliminary approval in seconds. Then, once you submit more info, if you’re approved you should receive the funds within the next business day.
- Available in most states — LendingPoint is licensed to operate in 42 states and the District of Columbia.
- Considers factors besides credit scores — LendingPoint says it looks beyond your credit scores to determine approval and terms, though it doesn’t specify the factors it considers.
- Comes with origination fees — LendingPoint charges an origination fee, which varies depending on the state you live in.
Learn more from reviews of LendingPoint personal loans.
Best for fast approval: Upstart
Why Upstart stands out: When you apply for a personal loan with Upstart, you can check your rate in just minutes. If Upstart approves your application, they say you can receive the funds as soon as one business day.
- Approval is based on more than credit — When reviewing your loan application, Upstart considers more than just your credit scores, also looking at things like your education and employment history — though the lender notes that lower credit scores can mean higher rates.
- Flexible loan amounts — Upstart offers personal loans between $1,000 and $50,000. And the funds can be used for any purpose you choose.
- Choose your loan terms — An Upstart installment loan comes with a wide range of interest rates, depending on your credit scores. You can choose a three- or five-year repayment term.
Find out more from reviews of Upstart personal loans.
Best for debt consolidation loans: LendingClub
Why LendingClub stands out: LendingClub offers personal loans up to $40,000 with fixed interest rates. The loans can be used for any purpose, but LendingClub is a good option for borrowers who want to consolidate their debt with multiple lenders, because they offer the option of paying your creditors directly for you.
- Receive the funds quickly — Applying with LendingClub is straightforward — you can choose from a range of loan amounts and repayment terms. Once your application is approved, LendingClub will transfer the money to your bank account.
- Automatic payment withdrawals — LendingClub lets you set up automatic payment withdrawals, so you don’t have to worry about making late payments each month.
- Pay third-party lenders directly — If you choose to use the funds to consolidate your debt, LendingClub can pay your creditors directly.
Take a look at LendingClub personal loan reviews to learn more.
Best for multiple repayment options: Avant
Why Avant stands out: Avant offers installment loans from $2,000 to $35,000 with a wide range of interest rates. Plus Avant offers a variety of repayment terms, ranging from 12 to 60 months, which is more flexible than what some other lenders offer.
- Good for borrowers with fair to moderate credit — According to Avant, most of its borrowers have credit scores between 600 and 700, so it might be a better fit for those who are further along in their credit-building journey.
- Fast decisions — Once you’ve submitted your initial application for an installment loan, Avant will decide within minutes whether to give you preliminary approval. If you proceed with your application, Avant will do a hard credit check and decide on final approval.
- Next-day deposit — If your application is approved, Avant says they can deposit the funds as soon as the next business day.
Find out more from these Avant personal loan reviews.
What to watch out for with installment loans for bad credit
Loans for bad credit can seem like life savers, but they can also pose financial hazards. Before you take out an installment loan for bad credit, make sure you’re aware of the total cost of the loan. The terms and costs of some loans for bad credit, especially payday loans and title loans, could trap you in cycle of deep debt — so you’ll want to be extra careful and know exactly what you’re getting into.
You can also look into credit-builder loans, which are specifically designed to help establish or rebuild credit. Just be aware that the terms for such loans vary. Some give you partial or no access to loan funds right away, some work like locked savings accounts that you make payments on before getting the money, and some charge interest and fees — so be sure to check all options carefully.
In some cases, looking into a credit-building credit card for poor credit might be another option to consider, but note that interest rates can be on the high end.
How we picked these loans
We reviewed more than a dozen installment loans, comparing features that might be useful to people with less-than-perfect credit. Here are some of the main criteria we reviewed.
- Prequalification — We looked for lenders that offer the ability to get preapproved without further damaging your credit scores.
- Approval criteria — We looked for lenders that consider factors beyond your credit scores, like employment and education history.
- Fees — We also looked at the types of fees each lender charges — many of the lenders we chose don’t impose any prepayment penalties.
- Interest rates — We also consider the APR range for each lender.
- Fast funding — And finally, we looked at how quickly the lender can fund the loan after the application is approved. And we looked for lenders that will pay third-party creditors directly if the loan is used to consolidate debt.