No-Credit-Check Loans: Borrowing Options and Alternatives

No-credit-check loans are expensive and can trap you in a cycle of debt. Consider other loan options and resources.

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No matter how dire your need for fast cash, think twice before getting a no-credit-check loan. Why? Because they’re potentially as predatory as payday loans or car-title loans and can trap you in a cycle of debt for years.

These loans — also known as no-credit-check installment loans — come with rates upward of 400% in some cases, far above rates you'll find at credit unions or with online lenders.

Before you borrow, consider other options and learn how these loans could put your finances at risk.

Nerdy tip: An installment loan may be a more affordable way to borrow money. These loans let you borrow the money all at once, then repay it in fixed monthly payments over a period of months or years, instead of weeks. You won’t need to put up collateral, and loan amounts tend to be higher, while interest rates are usually lower. Lenders typically require a credit check to apply, but you can find installment loans for bad credit.

No-credit-check loan alternatives

If you need fast cash, you may be able to find alternatives to no-credit-check loans by talking to credit counselors, religious organizations and community nonprofits.

But a low credit score may not stand in your way if you want to borrow from a lender with affordable rates and responsible underwriting practices.

Here are other loan options for borrowers with bad credit (629 or lower FICO).

Credit union loans

Most credit unions offer small personal loans of $500 and above, and they can consider information other than your credit score, like your history as a member, to qualify you for a loan. Many also have starter credit cards or loans to help you build a credit history. The interest rate charged by federal credit unions is capped at 18%.

Payday alternative loans

Known as PALs, these credit union-issued loans help small-dollar borrowers avoid the debt trap created by traditional payday loans. APRs on these loans are capped at 28%.

Online lenders

Some online lenders consider borrowers with poor credit, even with scores below 600. Bad-credit loans have higher rates, but lenders review other data, like employment status and outstanding debts, to help you qualify.

Lender

Min. credit score

Loan amount

Typical APR range

Upgrade
NerdWallet rating 

on Upgrade's website

560

$1,000 - $50,000

5.94% - 35.47%

Upstart
NerdWallet rating 

on Upstart's website

300

$1,000 - $50,000

3.22% - 35.99%

Universal Credit
NerdWallet rating 

on Universal Credit's website

560

$1,000 - $50,000

8.93% - 35.43%

OneMain
NerdWallet rating 

on OneMain Financial's website

520

$1,500 - $20,000

18.00% - 35.99%

Oportun
NerdWallet rating 

on Oportun's website

600

$300 - $10,000

27.74% - 35.95%

Capital Good Fund
See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website

600

$300 - $50,000

5.00% - 15.99%

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How to spot a no-credit-check loan

Unlike lenders that review your credit report to see how you've handled debt in the past, a no-credit-check lender offers you money without ensuring your ability to repay it.

No-credit-check loans can come from online or storefront lenders that promise an easy application process and fast delivery of funds. Loan amounts range from $100 to several thousand dollars and are usually repaid in equal, fixed payments over months or years, sometimes with add-ons like credit insurance or fees that raise the cost of the loan.

Some of these lenders require access to customers’ bank accounts and automatically withdraw the money on the due date.

No-credit-check loan example

If a lender charges a 200% APR on a one-year, $2,000 loan, you'll pay $396 each month. That same loan would have  monthly payments of $201 with a 36% APR — the highest rate an affordable loan can have, according to most consumer advocates.

FICO 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

$4,746

Are there safe no-credit-check loans?

A no-credit-check lender that reviews some of your financial information is a safer choice than one that lends money with no questions asked.

There are some online lenders, for example, that review an applicant’s bank account to assess their spending habits, deposits and withdrawals. An account that shows multiple overdrafts may disqualify an applicant.

Other lenders review reports from alternative credit bureaus that collect information on consumers with low credit scores. These reports can show things like whether you’ve gotten a payday or title loan.

These lenders charge high interest rates because it’s riskier to lend without checking credit, but the effort to determine your ability to repay a loan helps you avoid falling into a debt trap.

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