BEST OF

Best Debt Consolidation Loans for Bad Credit

A debt consolidation loan may be a good option for borrowers with bad credit. Pre-qualify with multiple lenders and choose a loan with a lower interest rate than your existing debts.

Jan 27, 2022

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A debt consolidation loan can help you pay off multiple debts faster by combining them into one monthly payment, ideally at a lower interest rate.

Borrowers with bad credit can qualify for a debt consolidation loan. Consider these loan options when deciding if a debt consolidation loan is the right choice for you.

Best Debt Consolidation Loans for Bad Credit From Our Partners

Our picks for

Debt consolidation loan for bad credit

Upstart
Get rate

on Upstart's website

Upstart

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Upstart

Est. APR

5.40-35.99%

Loan amount

$1,000-$50,000

Min. credit score

None
Get rate

on Upstart's website


Min. credit score

None

Key facts

Though Upstart’s personal loans don’t come with dazzling features, they’re a fast funding option for borrowers with low credit scores and strong earning potential.

Pros

  • Accepts borrowers new to credit.

  • Able to fund loans within one business day.

  • Offers direct payment to creditors with some debt consolidation loans.

  • Allows borrowers to choose and change payment date.

Cons

  • Borrowers can choose from only two repayment term options.

  • Charges origination fee.

  • No mobile app to manage the loan.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: None.

  • Minimum credit history: None, this lending platform accepts borrowers with credit history too limited to produce a FICO score.

  • Minimum gross income: $12,000.

  • Employment: Full-time job, full-time job offer starting in 6 months, a regular part-time job, or another source of regular income.

  • Must have U.S. residential street address where borrower resides (unless military personnel on active duty).

  • Must be at least 18 years old.

  • Valid email account required.

  • Personal bank account with U.S. routing number required.

Available Term Lengths

3 to 5 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: 0% - 8%.

  • Late fee: 5% of past due amount or $15, whichever is greater.

Disclaimer

Your loan amount will be determined based on your credit, income, and certain other information provided in your loan application. Not all applicants will qualify for the full amount. Minimum loan amounts vary by state: GA ($3,100), HI ($2,100), MA ($7,000), NM ($5,100), OH ($6,000).This offer is conditioned on final approval based on our consideration and verification of financial and non-financial information. Rate and loan amount are subject to change based upon information received in your full application. This offer may be accepted only by the person identified in this offer, who is old enough to legally enter into contract for the extension of credit, a US citizen or permanent resident, and a current resident of the US. Duplicate offers are void. Closing your loan is contingent on your meeting our eligibility requirements, our verification of your information, and your agreement to the terms and conditions on the www.upstart.com website.The full range of available rates varies by state. The average 5-year loan offered across all lenders using the Upstart platform will have an APR of 21.4% and 60 monthly payments of $24.62 per $1,000 borrowed. For example, the total cost of a $10,000 loan would be $14,775 including a $582 origination fee. APR is calculated based on 5-year rates offered in the last 1 month. There is no down payment and no prepayment penalty. Your APR will be determined based on your credit, income, and certain other information provided in your loan application. Not all applicants will be approved. If you accept your loan by 5pm EST (not including weekends or holidays), you will receive your funds the next business day. Loans used to fund education related expenses are subject to a 3 business day wait period between loan acceptance and funding in accordance with federal law.

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Upgrade
Get rate

on Upgrade's website

Upgrade

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Upgrade

Est. APR

5.44-35.47%

Loan amount

$1,000-$50,000

Min. credit score

560
Get rate

on Upgrade's website


Min. credit score

560

Key facts

Customizable loan features and discount opportunities make Upgrade a strong option for fair- and bad-credit borrowers.

Pros

  • Allows secured and joint loans.

  • Offers a wide range of repayment terms.

  • Offers 0.5 percentage point rate discount for setting up autopay.

  • Offers significant rate discount for checking account customers.

  • Offers rate discount with direct payment to creditors on debt consolidation loans.

Cons

  • Charges origination fee.

  • No co-signed loan option.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 560; borrower average is 678.

  • Minimum annual income: None; borrower average is $78,000.

  • Minimum number of accounts on credit history: Two accounts.

  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: Less than or equal to 75%, including mortgage and calculating in your new personal loan.

Available Term Lengths

2 to 7 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: 2.9% to 8%.

Disclaimer

Personal loans made through Upgrade feature APRs of 5.44%-35.47%. All personal loans have a 2.9% to 8% origination fee, which is deducted from the loan proceeds. Lowest rates require Autopay and paying off a portion of existing debt directly. For example, if you receive a $10,000 loan with a 36-month term and a 17.98% APR (which includes a 14.32% yearly interest rate and a 5% one-time origination fee), you would receive $9,500 in your account and would have a required monthly payment of $343.33. Over the life of the loan, your payments would total $12,359.97. The APR on your loan may be higher or lower and your loan offers may not have multiple term lengths available. Actual rate depends on credit score, credit usage history, loan term, and other factors. Late payments or subsequent charges and fees may increase the cost of your fixed rate loan. There is no fee or penalty for repaying a loan early. Personal loans issued by Upgrade's lending partners. Information on Upgrade's lending partners can be found at https://www.upgrade.com/lending-partners/. Accept your loan offer and your funds will be sent to your bank or designated account within one (1) business day of clearing necessary verifications. Availability of the funds is dependent on how quickly your bank processes the transaction. From the time of approval, funds should be available within four (4) business days. Funds sent directly to pay off your creditors may take up to 2 weeks to clear, depending on the creditor.

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Universal Credit
Get rate

on Universal Credit's website

Universal Credit

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Universal Credit

Est. APR

8.93-35.43%

Loan amount

$1,000-$50,000

Min. credit score

560
Get rate

on Universal Credit's website


Min. credit score

560

Key facts

Universal Credit offers flexible personal loans ideal for borrowers with low credit scores.

Pros

  • Offers rate discount with direct payment to creditors on debt consolidation loans.

  • Option to change your payment date.

  • Offers free credit score access.

  • Offers a 0.5 percentage point rate discount for setting up autopay.

Cons

  • Charges origination fee.

  • No co-sign, joint or secured loan option.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 560.

  • Minimum number of accounts on credit history: 2 accounts.

  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: 75%, including mortgage and the loan you’re applying for.

Available Term Lengths

3 to 5 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: 4.25% to 8%.

  • Late fee: Up to $10.

Disclaimer

Personal loans made through Universal Credit feature APRs of 8.93%-35.93%. All personal loans have a 4.25% to 8% origination fee, which is deducted from the loan proceeds. Lowest rates require Autopay and paying off a portion of existing debt directly. For example, if you receive a $10,000 loan with a 36-month term and a 27.65% APR (which includes a 22.99% yearly interest rate and a 6% one-time origination fee), you would receive $9,400 in your account and would have a required monthly payment of $387.05. Over the life of the loan, your payments would total $13,933.62. The APR on your loan may be higher or lower and your loan offers may not have multiple term lengths available. Actual rate depends on credit score, credit usage history, loan term, and other factors. Late payments or subsequent charges and fees may increase the cost of your fixed rate loan. There is no fee or penalty for repaying a loan early.

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OneMain
Get rate

on OneMain Financial's website

OneMain Financial

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
OneMain

Est. APR

18.00-35.99%

Loan amount

$1,500-$20,000

Min. credit score

None
Get rate

on OneMain Financial's website


Min. credit score

None

Key facts

OneMain prioritizes a borrower’s ability to repay on a loan application. Rates are high, but this lender accepts low credit scores.

Pros

  • Option to choose your payment date.

  • Offers joint and secured loans.

  • Able to fund a loan the same or next business day.

  • Offers direct payment to creditors on debt consolidation loans.

Cons

  • Rates are high compared to other online lenders.

  • Charges origination fee.

  • No rate discount for autopay.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: None.

  • Minimum income: None; average is $45,000.

Available Term Lengths

2 to 5 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: $25 to $400 or 1 - 10%.

Disclaimer

Not all applicants will qualify for larger loan amounts or most favorable loan terms. Loan approval and actual loan terms depend on your ability to meet our credit standards (including a responsible credit history, sufficient income after monthly expenses, and availability of collateral). Larger loan amounts require a first lien on a motor vehicle no more than ten years old, that meets our value requirements, titled in your name with valid insurance. Maximum annual percentage rate (APR) is 35.99%, subject to state restrictions. APRs are generally higher on loans not secured by a vehicle. Depending on the state where you open your loan, the origination fee may be either a flat amount or a percentage of your loan amount. Flat fee amounts vary by state, ranging from $25 to $300. Percentage-based fees vary by state ranging from 1% to 10% of your loan amount subject to certain state limits on the fee amount. Active duty military, their spouse or dependents covered under the Military Lending Act may not pledge any vehicle as collateral for a loan. OneMain loan proceeds cannot be used for postsecondary educational expenses as defined by the CFPB’s Regulation Z, such as college, university or vocational expenses; for any business or commercial purpose; to purchase securities; or for gambling or illegal purposes. Borrowers in these states are subject to these minimum loan sizes: Alabama: $2,100. California: $3,000. Georgia: Unless you are a present customer, $3,100 minimum loan amount. Ohio: $2,000. Virginia: $2,600. Borrowers (other than present customers) in these states are subject to these maximum unsecured loan sizes: North Carolina: $7,500. New York: $20,000. An unsecured loan is a loan which does not require you to provide collateral (such as a motor vehicle) to the lender.

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What is a debt consolidation loan for bad credit?

A debt consolidation loan is a personal loan you use to pay off multiple forms of debt, such as credit cards, medical bills and unsecured loans. You’re then left with one monthly payment — your new consolidation loan — which can help simplify and speed up getting out of debt.

Debt consolidation loans are available to borrowers across the credit spectrum. Though borrowers with good and excellent credit (690 FICO or higher) will likely qualify for lower interest rates, there are still options for borrowers with bad credit (629 FICO or lower).

When is a debt consolidation loan a good idea?

When considering whether to take out a debt consolidation loan if you have bad credit, you’ll want to make sure the annual percentage rate, or APR, is lower on the consolidation loan than the combined interest rate of your existing debts. By choosing a loan with a lower APR, you’ll save money on interest and potentially lower your monthly debt payment.

Rates on debt consolidation loans vary, but borrowers with a credit score of 629 or lower may qualify for APRs in the range of 27% to 32%, according to anonymized data from users who pre-qualified with NerdWallet.

Use our debt consolidation calculator to plug in existing debts and see your combined interest rate.

Where to get a debt consolidation with bad credit

You can get a debt consolidation loan from three types of lenders: credit unions, online lenders and banks.

Credit unions are one of the best places to look for a debt consolidation loan if you have bad credit. That’s because credit unions are willing to lend to borrowers with lower credit scores while still offering affordable rates. You will need to become a member of the credit union before applying.

Online lenders also lend to borrowers with bad credit. Though their rates could be higher than some credit unions, they offer other convenient perks. For example, online lenders will typically fund a loan quickly — sometimes the same day you’re approved — and many send the funds directly to your creditors, saving you the step of paying off the debts yourself.

Banks typically offer consolidation loans with low interest rates, but they’re harder to qualify for and often require borrowers to have good or excellent credit. Plus, many don’t offer the option to pre-qualify, meaning you can’t check your rates without a hit to your credit score. If you have bad credit, it may be best to look elsewhere.

Apply for a debt consolidation loan with bad credit

To apply for a debt consolidation loan with bad credit, you’ll first want to pre-qualify, which you can do with most online lenders.

Even if you ultimately go with a credit union, it’s still smart to see your options. Since pre-qualifying does not include a hard credit check, you can check potential rates, loan amounts and terms with no risk to your credit score.

Once you’ve decided on a lender, you’ll need to fill out an application. Most applications are online and require you to list personal details like name, address and Social Security number; contact information; income and debts; and desired loan amount, loan purpose and repayment term.

After you submit the application, you’ll wait to hear from the lender whether you’re approved or denied. Some decisions are instantaneous, while some may take longer, especially if more documentation, like proof of employment, is required.

If you’re approved, look carefully over your loan agreement before signing. Once you sign the agreement and receive the funds in your account, send them to your creditors. If the lender offers to send the funds themselves, ask for a confirmation or check with your creditors to make sure all debts have been paid.

It’s important to make a plan for tackling your new consolidation loan. Create a budget that takes this monthly payment into account and stick to it until the loan is paid off.

Last updated on January 27, 2022

Methodology

NerdWallet’s review process evaluates and rates personal loan products from more than 35 financial institutions. We collect over 45 data points from each lender, interview company representatives and compare the lender with others that seek the same customer or offer a similar personal loan product. NerdWallet writers and editors conduct a full fact check and update annually, but also make updates throughout the year as necessary.

Our star ratings award points to lenders that offer consumer-friendly features, including: soft credit checks to pre-qualify, competitive interest rates and no fees, transparency of rates and terms, flexible payment options, fast funding times, accessible customer service, reporting of payments to credit bureaus and financial education. We also consider regulatory actions filed by agencies like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. We weigh these factors based on our assessment of which are the most important to consumers and how meaningfully they impact consumers’ experiences.

This methodology applies only to lenders that cap interest rates at 36%, the maximum rate most financial experts and consumer advocates agree is the acceptable limit for a loan to be affordable. NerdWallet does not receive compensation for our star ratings. Read more about our ratings methodologies for personal loans and our editorial guidelines.

To recap our selections...

NerdWallet's Best Debt Consolidation Loans for Bad Credit

  • Upstart: Best for Debt consolidation loan for bad credit
  • Upgrade: Best for Debt consolidation loan for bad credit
  • Universal Credit: Best for Debt consolidation loan for bad credit
  • OneMain Financial : Best for Debt consolidation loan for bad credit