4 No-Credit-Check Loans and Borrowing Alternatives

No-credit-check loans can have triple-digit rates and short repayment terms. Consider alternatives before you borrow.
Last updated on Jan 17, 2023

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A no-credit-check loan can seem like the only way to get cash fast if you have a low credit score or no credit history. But some no-credit-check loans are risky, especially if they have triple-digit interest rates and short repayment terms. 

Emerging financing options like “buy now, pay later” and cash advance apps, which give access to cash without a hard credit inquiry, are alternatives to no-credit loans.

Whatever type of no-credit-check financing you consider, research the lender and rates — and make a plan to repay the loan before you borrow.

What is a no-credit-check loan?

A no-credit-check lender doesn’t review your credit history or credit score when deciding whether to give you a loan. Omitting credit checks is common with payday lenders and other companies that offer high-interest loans.

These loans are often a few thousand dollars or less and can be used to cover an emergency or bridge an income gap. They typically have short repayment terms of a few weeks or months. 

Not knowing your credit history makes the loan risky for the lender, and many no-credit-check installment lenders balance that risk by charging sky-high annual percentage rates. The loans’ short terms can also make them difficult to repay on time and potentially trap borrowers in a cycle of debt.

4 no-credit-check loan options

No-credit-check installment loans

No-credit-check loans are widely available online, and borrowers who choose this option should take time to compare different loans. NerdWallet has reviewed the following no-credit-check lenders, which offer different loan amounts and rates.

🤓Nerdy Tip

Interest rates on no-credit-check installment loans often reach triple digits, and the total interest paid can be more than double the amount initially borrowed. If you can’t make payments, the lender may offer to refinance the loan for a larger amount or longer term, which ultimately makes the loan more expensive. Consider this type of loan a last resort after you’ve exhausted all alternatives to high-interest loans.

OppLoans

OppLoans are short-term loans of $500 to $4,000 with repayment terms from nine to 18 months. Rates are up to 160%, making this an expensive loan that’s best reserved for emergencies.

OppFi, the lender that provides OppLoans, reviews applicants’ bank account transactions to assess their monthly cash flow. Instead of a hard credit pull, the lender reviews an applicant's Clarity Services report, which provides information on consumers with low credit scores.

OppFi reports payments to the three major credit bureaus, which means on-time payments help you build credit, while late payments hurt your credit score.

To get a loan from OppFi, you need: 

  • Minimum monthly gross income of $1,500.

  • A bank account with at least 40 days of history.

  • To receive paychecks through direct deposit.

Possible Finance

Possible Finance is an app that provides loans of $50 to $500 to consumers with bad or no credit. Repayment terms are up to eight weeks, and payments are made in biweekly installments. Possible’s rates can reach 240%, which is extremely high compared to the 36% maximum recommended by most consumer advocates. 

Possible reviews applicants’ bank account transactions to determine whether they qualify and their loan amount, but the lender doesn’t do a hard credit check.

To get a loan from Possible Finance, you need: 

  • A Social Security number.

  • A state-issued ID, such as a driver’s license.

  • A positive bank account balance with recent deposits.

  • At least three months of transaction history.

No-credit-check cash advance apps

Cash advance apps provide up to a few hundred dollars to help consumers bridge income gaps between paychecks. You request an advance in the app and the app provides a repayment date — usually your next payday.

These apps don’t do a hard or soft credit pull; instead, they review your bank account transactions to determine whether to give you an advance and for how much. Earnin is an example that doesn’t require a fee to use. 

Earnin

Earnin is a mobile app that allows borrowers to take up to $750 from their paycheck before payday. The app doesn’t charge mandatory fees, but it has optional tips and fees for same-day funding.

Earnin requires proof of time worked, either via an electronic timesheet or by sharing your location with the app.

To get an advance from Earnin, you need: 

  • To be at least 18 and a U.S. citizen.

  • A valid Social Security number.

  • A regular pay schedule.

  • To receive at least 50% of your paycheck via direct deposit.

  • A fixed work location or an electronic timesheet.

No-credit-check buy now, pay later apps

"Buy now, pay later" is a financing option that splits up the cost of a purchase when shopping online or in store. The most common BNPL loan uses the pay-in-four model: You pay 25% of the purchase at checkout and the remainder in three equal payments every two weeks.

BNPL companies typically do only a soft credit pull. Afterpay is one BNPL app that’s widely available and good for first-time users. 

Afterpay

Afterpay splits purchases from $200 to $2,000 into smaller payments. It doesn’t charge interest, but late fees are $8.

Afterpay only does a soft credit check when you apply. The app splits your shopping bill into four equal payments — one due today and the other three due in biweekly installments. 

To use Afterpay at checkout, you need: 

  • To be 18 years old and a U.S. resident.

  • A verifiable email address.

  • To be authorized to use the credit card, debit card or checking account making the purchase.

Summary of no-credit-check lenders

Lender

Loan type

Loan amount

Est. APR

Fees

High-interest installment loan.

$500 - $4,000.

59.00% - 160.00%.

None.

High-interest installment loan.

$50 - $500.

54.51% - 240.52%.

May charge a 2% origination fee.

Cash advance app.

$100 - $750.

None.

  • Optional fast funding fee: $0.99 - $3.99.

  • Optional tip.

Buy now, pay later app.

$200 - $2,000.

None.

Late fee: $8.

How to shop for no-credit-check loans

If a no-credit-check installment loan is your best option, here are a few tips to avoid a predatory lender.

  • Look for the APR. An APR helps you evaluate the loan’s affordability and compare it with other loans. Lenders are required by law to disclose the loan’s APR.

  • Find a lender that assesses your ability to repay. Reviewing your bank account information, doing a soft credit pull, checking alternative credit bureaus and requiring proof of income are all signs that a lender wants you to repay the loan. A lender that doesn’t check your ability to repay may be counting on you having to borrow again to pay off the first loan, which is how a debt cycle begins.

  • Understand the repayment terms. Whether you agree to repay the money in two weeks or a few months, know your payment date and how the lender will collect the money. If the lender debits your bank account, review your budget to make sure the money will be there and you won’t overdraw.

  • Review the amortization schedule. If the loan requires multiple payments, ask to see the amortization schedule, which is a table that shows how much of each payment goes toward principal and how much to interest. Ideally, at least part of each payment will pay down the principal.

  • Look for the lender’s license. The Federal Trade Commission requires lenders to register in all states where they do business. Many list their licenses on their websites. 

  • Beware of scammers. A reputable lender won’t ask you to pay them before you get a loan. If the lender asks for a gift card or cash before they lend money, it’s likely a scam.

No-credit-check loan alternatives

Family loans

Ask someone you trust to help you pay a bill, cover rent or spot you cash for groceries. It may be difficult to ask, but it will preserve your credit and keep you from entering into a contract with a high-interest or payday lender. You and your family member can draw up a contract detailing the loan amount, repayment term and how you’ll repay them.

Payment plans

If reducing a credit card bill, rent, utility bill or mortgage payment for a month or two would provide enough relief, inquire about a payment plan. Some creditors and utility companies have hardship forms you can use to request an extension, but you may have to reach out to your landlord or lender.

Credit union loans

Many credit unions offer small personal loans starting around $500. To qualify you, they may consider information other than your credit score, like your history as a member. Federal credit union cap rates for personal loans at 18%. Some credit unions also offer payday alternative loans, or PALs, which are small-dollar loans with maximum 28% APRs.

Capital Good Fund

Capital Good Fund accepts borrowers with thin or no credit history for emergency loans up to $1,500. The lender doesn’t require credit but will review any credit history you have. Capital Good Fund also provides loans for immigration expenses and home weatherization in some states. With rates between 5% and 16%, Capital Good Fund loans are a good option for consumers who live in states the lender serves.

Online lenders

Some online lenders consider borrowers with poor credit — even those with FICO scores below 600. To help you qualify, they consider additional data, like employment status and outstanding debts. Bad-credit loans have higher rates, but typically not above 36%.

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No-credit-check loan example

A one-year, $2,000 loan with a 36% APR will have monthly payments of $201. That same loan through a no-credit-check lender with an APR of 200% would run you $396 a month — nearly double the cost.

Here are examples of that same loan repaid at different APRs.

Credit score

Example APR

Monthly payments

Total payments

Excellent (720 or higher)

11%

$177

$2,121

Poor (629 or lower)

36%

$201

$2,411

No-credit-check

200%

$396

$4,747

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