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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 those with triple-digit interest rates and short repayment terms.
Emerging financing options like “buy now, pay later” and cash advance apps, which provide 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.
Personal loans from our partners
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.
Soft vs. hard credit inquiry
Even a no-credit-check lender may do a soft credit inquiry. This type of credit check can be done without your knowledge, but it doesn’t affect your credit score. Soft checks happen when you pre-qualify for a personal loan or receive a credit card offer in the mail.
A hard credit check requires your consent. It’s triggered when you submit a formal application for credit, like a mortgage or car loan, and it usually causes your credit score to dip by a few points. Hard credit inquiries typically affect your credit score for one year but stay on your report for about two years.
» LEARN MORE: Soft vs. hard credit inquiries
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 alternatives.
4 no-credit-check loan options
Summary of no-credit-check lenders
High-interest installment loan.
$500 to $4,000.
High-interest installment loan.
Up to $500.
91.25% - 248.67%.
May charge an origination fee.
Cash advance app.
Up to $100 per day; up to $750 per pay period.
Buy now, pay later app.
$200 to $2,000.
Late fee: $8.
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.
OppLoans are short-term loans of $500 to $4,000 with repayment terms from nine to 18 months. Loan APRs are 160%, making this an expensive option that’s best reserved for emergencies.
OppFi, the fintech platform that provides OppLoans, reviews applicants’ bank account transactions to assess their monthly cash flow. Instead of a hard credit pull, the lender does a soft pull and reviews bank account transaction data to determine whether borrowers have enough income to repay the loan.
OppFi reports payments to the three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.
To get a loan from OppFi, you need:
Minimum monthly gross income of $1,500.
A bank account and regular source of income.
To receive paychecks through direct deposit.
To live in one of the states where OppLoans are offered.
To be at least 18 years old.
Possible Finance is an app that provides loans of up 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 248% in some states, which is extremely high compared with 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.
A minimum monthly income of at least $750.
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 typically repay the app on your next payday.
» MORE: Compare cash advance apps
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 a mobile app that allows borrowers to take up to $750 from their paycheck before payday in $100 daily increments. The app doesn’t charge mandatory fees, but it has optional tips and fees for same-day funding.
Earnin requires proof of time worked by sharing your timesheet, work email address or location with the app.
» MORE: Read NerdWallet’s Earnin review
To get an advance from Earnin, you need:
To be at least 18 and a U.S. resident.
A regular pay schedule.
A consistent direct deposit schedule.
A fixed work location, work email address or 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 loans use 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 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 at checkout 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.
» MORE: Compare buy now, pay later apps
What to know about no-credit-check loans
Here are a few things to know before applying for a no-credit-check loan.
Other qualification criteria: No-credit-check lenders may not have credit score requirements, but some have requirements around income and U.S. citizenship or residency. Those that do a soft credit check may require that you have some credit history.
Credit reporting: Check if the lender reports payments to the three major credit bureaus. You can usually find this information on the lender’s website or by contacting customer service. When loan payments are reported to the bureaus, on-time payments build your credit score and missed payments hurt it. This is especially important to note with high-interest lenders whose expensive loans may be difficult to repay.
Collections: If you fail to repay a no-credit-check loan, high-interest lenders and some buy now, pay later apps can send you to collections. This usually happens at some point after 120 to 180 days of nonpayment. Debt collectors can contact you via phone, mail, email or text. Most cash advance apps do not send unpaid advances to collections.
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 getting a second loan to pay off the first, 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. At least part of each payment should pay down the loan’s principal.
Look for the lender’s license. Lenders must register in all states where they operate. 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
Some online lenders consider borrowers with poor credit — even those with credit 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%.
» COMPARE: Best installment loans
Co-signed or joint loans
If you have a low credit score, consider adding a co-applicant with a better credit profile. A co-signer is someone who vouches for you but doesn’t have access to the loan funds, while a co-borrower on a joint loan shares the loan funds and repayment responsibility. In either case, your co-applicant is responsible for loan payments if you fail to make them.
Secured loans usually have softer credit requirements than unsecured loans, so those with fair or bad credit scores may get a larger loan or lower rate. Most online lenders accept a vehicle as collateral, while banks and credit unions prefer a savings or investment account. Weigh the benefit of adding collateral against the risk of losing it if you miss too many payments.
» MORE: Compare secured personal 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.
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 is a nonprofit lender that accepts borrowers with thin or no credit history for emergency loans up to $1,500. The lender doesn’t have a minimum credit score requirement 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.
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 12-month loan repaid at different APRs.
Excellent (720 or higher)
Poor (629 or lower)