What Is a Joint Loan?

A joint loan gives co-borrowers equal access to the loan and shared responsibility for paying it back.
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Written by Chanell Alexander
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A joint loan allows you to get a loan with another person, known as a co-borrower, who shares ownership of the loan and responsibility for repayment.

Mortgages and auto loans are commonly joint loans, but you can also get a joint personal loan. Joint personal loans are good options for borrowers whose credit scores or incomes are too low to qualify. Adding a co-borrower with better credit or income may also get you better terms, such as a lower annual percentage rate or higher loan amount.

Joint vs. co-signed loan: What’s the difference?

Joint loans are similar to co-signed loans, which also involve two people on one application. It can be easy to confuse them; here’s the difference:



Their name is on the loan agreement or title.

They lend their good credit.

They share access to the loan money.

They have no right to the loan money.

They’re equally responsible for loan repayment.

They must repay the loan if you can't.

Both joint and co-signed loans can increase your chances of qualifying for a personal loan, but co-borrowers have more investment in and ownership of the loan than co-signers.

For example, if you and a co-borrower are approved for a $50,000 joint personal loan, you both have access to the funds and are responsible for the monthly payment. On the other hand, a co-signer would pick up monthly payments for this loan only if you fail to repay.

How to get a joint loan

You can get a joint personal loan from some online lenders, banks or credit unions if both parties are members. Here are the steps to obtain a joint loan:

  1. Check eligibility requirements. Pay close attention to the lender’s credit score and debt-to-income ratio requirements. For example, LendingClub requires each borrower to have at least a 600 credit score and a DTI below 40%. Like regular unsecured personal loans, lenders consider the income and credit histories of you and your co-borrower.

  2. Pre-qualify with multiple lenders. You and your co-borrower can pre-qualify — check your estimated rate before committing to a loan — with online lenders, banks and credit unions. Pre-qualifying does not affect your credit score.

  3. Compare lenders. Assess the APRs, repayment terms and potential fees, including origination and late fees, associated with each joint loan offer.

  4. Apply for the loan. Once you select the best offer, you and your co-borrower will fill out and submit the loan application. Lenders may ask for contact, personal and financial documentation when you apply for a loan.

Once you submit an application, the lender will do a hard credit check, which will temporarily lower your credit scores. Upon approval, you both have to sign the loan agreement.

Here are a few lenders who offer joint loans:


Minimum credit score


Loan amount


NerdWallet rating 


8.98% - 35.99%.

$1,000 - $40,000.


NerdWallet rating 


7.49% - 30.49%.

$1,000 - $35,000.


NerdWallet rating 


18.00% - 35.99%.

$1,500 - $20,000.


NerdWallet rating 


8.99% - 35.99%.

$2,000 - $50,000.


NerdWallet rating 


8.99% - 29.99%.

$5,000 - $100,000.

See if you pre-qualify for a personal loan – without affecting your credit score
Just answer a few questions to get personalized rate estimates from multiple lenders.

on NerdWallet

How do joint loans affect your credit score?

A joint loan will show up on your and your co-borrower’s credit reports, and all loan activity — like on-time or missed payments — can impact your credit scores.

For example, on-time payments can help you build credit if the lender reports to the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). On the other hand, missed payments by you or your co-borrower can hurt each of your credit scores.

Pros and cons of joint loans


  • Increase your chance of qualifying. Borrowers with high debt-to-income ratios or low credit scores may improve their chances of qualifying by applying with a co-borrower with higher income and stronger credit. You may also qualify for a higher loan amount and lower rate.

  • Share the cost of repaying. You don’t have to shoulder the cost of a personal loan alone since the co-borrower is equally responsible for repayment.


  • Can be on the hook for the entire loan. If the co-borrower fails to pay their share, then you’re responsible for the entire loan.

  • Your credit depends on your co-borrower’s diligence. Because you both equally own the loan, if either of you misses a payment, the other person’s credit can take a hit.

  • Could lead to a damaged relationship. If either person fails to pay and negatively impacts the other, it could lead to a strained relationship.

Is a joint loan right for you?

A joint loan may be the right choice if:

  • You cannot qualify for a loan by yourself because your income or credit score is too low to meet lenders’ requirements.

  • Adding a co-borrower allows you to get a lower rate or larger loan.

On the other hand, if you can qualify for a loan with monthly payments that comfortably fit into your budget, you may not need a joint loan.

Frequently asked questions

Joint loans are different from co-signed loans. A co-borrower on a joint loan shares ownership of the loan and responsibility for repayment. A co-signer is liable only if you fail to repay the loan.

A borrower with bad credit or a high debt-to-income ratio can improve their chance of qualifying for a personal loan if their co-borrower has good credit or a lower debt-to-income ratio. However, including a co-borrower on a loan application is not a guarantee that you’ll qualify for a joint loan.

You typically don’t have to be married to someone to get a joint loan with them, however some lenders may ask that co-borrowers be related, married or share the same household. Be sure your co-borrower is someone you trust, because both of you will have access to the loan and be responsible for payments.

See if you pre-qualify for a personal loan – without affecting your credit score
Just answer a few questions to get personalized rate estimates from multiple lenders.

on NerdWallet

Comparing options? See if you pre-qualify for a personal loan - without affecting your credit score
Just answer a few questions to get personalized rate estimates from multiple lenders.

on NerdWallet

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