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Co-Signed or Joint Personal Loans: Compare and Apply

With a joint or co-signed personal loan, you add a second borrower to your loan application. You're both responsible for paying back the loan.

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Joint and co-signed personal loans are options for people who don't qualify on their own. Adding another person’s credit history and income to a loan application can increase your chances of qualifying and get you a lower rate or higher loan amount.

A joint loan is best for money you plan to use and repay together, while a co-signed loan can help you qualify for a loan you’ll pay back yourself.

Here are lenders that offer co-signed and joint loans, plus information about the differences and risks associated with adding someone else to your loan application.

Summary of Co-Signed or Joint Personal Loans: Compare and Apply

Our picks for

Lenders that allow co-signers

Adding a co-signer to a personal loan application can boost your chances of qualifying for a loan with a low annual percentage rate.

Upgrade

on Upgrade's website

Upgrade

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Upgrade

Min. Credit Score

580

Est. APR

6.94 - 35.97%

Loan Amount

$1,000 - $50,000

on Upgrade's website


Min. Credit Score

580

Key facts

Upgrade allows co-signers to help borrowers get approved. The joint applicant must meet its credit requirements. Joint income is also considered.

Pros

  • Allows secured, co-signed and joint loans.

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

  • Rate discount for autopay.

Cons

  • Charges origination fee.

  • Charges late fee.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 580.

  • Minimum annual income: None; average borrower income is $87,000.

  • Minimum credit history: 3 years.

  • Minimum number of accounts on credit history: 2.

  • Minimum monthly free cash flow: $800.

  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: Varies between 55% and 65% including the loan you’re applying for and mortgage payments. To see your post-loan DTI, calculate your monthly payments on a personal loan, and then add them to your debt-to-income calculation.

  • Average loan amount is $10,000.

  • Average repayment term is 40 months.

Available Term Lengths

3 to 5 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: 2.9% to 8%.

Disclaimer

Personal loans made through Upgrade feature APRs of 6.94%-35.97%. 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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FreedomPlus

on FreedomPlus's website

FreedomPlus

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
FreedomPlus

Min. Credit Score

620

Est. APR

7.99 - 29.99%

Loan Amount

$7,500 - $40,000

on FreedomPlus's website


Min. Credit Score

620

Key facts

FreedomPlus gives you a lower interest rate if you add a co-signer with good credit. For example, if you initially qualify for a loan at 15.99% APR, adding a co-signer might discount that rate to 10.99%.

Pros

  • Able to fund loans within two business days.

  • Option to change your payment date.

  • Offers direct payment to creditors with debt consolidation loans.

Cons

  • Charges origination fee.

  • High minimum loan amount.

  • No option to include co-signer.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 620; borrower average is 700. The company uses the FICO 8 credit scoring model.

  • Minimum debt-to-income ratio: 45%, excluding mortgage.

  • Minimum credit history: 3 years.

  • Minimum number of accounts on credit history: 2.

  • No bankruptcy in the last 24 months.

Available Term Lengths

2 to 5 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: 1.99% - 4.99%.

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

  • Unsuccessful payment fee: $15.

Disclaimer

The loan terms presented are not guaranteed and APRs presented are estimates only. To obtain a loan you must submit additional information and documentation and all loans are subject to credit review and our approval process. The range of APRs is 7.99% to 29.99% and your actual APR will depend upon factors including your credit score, usage and history, the requested loan amount, the stated loan purpose, and the term of the requested loan. To qualify for a 7.99% APR loan, a borrower will need excellent credit on a loan for an amount less than $12,000.00, and with a term equal to 24 months. Adding a co-borrower with sufficient income; using at least eighty-five percent (85%) of the loan proceeds to directly pay off qualifying existing debt; or showing proof of sufficient retirement savings, could help you also qualify for the lowest rate available. All loans are made by Cross River Bank and MetaBank®, N.A., Members FDIC.
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PenFed Credit Union Personal Loan
See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website

PenFed Credit Union Personal Loan

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
PenFed Credit Union Personal Loan

Min. Credit Score

700

Est. APR

6.49 - 17.99%

Loan Amount

$500 - $20,000

See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website


Min. Credit Score

700

Key facts

PenFed caps personal loan APRs at 17.99% and allows borrowers to add a co-signer to a loan application.

Pros

  • Soft credit check with pre-qualification.

  • Joint loan option.

  • Offers mobile app to manage your loan.

  • Offers small loans of $500.

Cons

  • Does not offer direct payment to creditors with debt consolidation loans.

  • No co-sign or secured loan option.

  • No option to change your payment date.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 700.

  • Minimum credit history: Three years.

  • Low debt-to-income ratio — many lenders require a DTI of 40% or lower.

  • Minimum income: None.

Available Term Lengths

1 to 5 years

Fees

  • Late fee: $29

  • Returned payment fee: $30

  • Membership fee: $5

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PNC Bank Personal Loan
See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website

PNC Bank Personal Loan

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
PNC Bank Personal Loan

Min. Credit Score

None

Est. APR

7.24 - 25.34%

Loan Amount

$1,000 - $35,000

See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website


Min. Credit Score

None

Key facts

PNC’s unsecured personal loans are available to fair- and good-credit borrowers, but loan offerings vary by ZIP code.

Pros

  • Competitive rates among fair-credit lenders.

  • No origination fee.

  • Offers joint loan option.

  • Wide variety of repayment terms.

Cons

  • Charges late fee.

  • May require an in-person visit.

  • Product varies by location.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: None; average score is 727, according to SEC filings.

  • Must be at least 18 years old.

  • Must provide Social Security number.

  • Must show photo ID.

  • Must be able to show proof of income.

Available Term Lengths

6 months to 5 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: None.

  • Late fee: Greater of $40 or 10% of amount due, after 15-day grace period.

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Our picks for

Lenders that offer joint loans

OneMain

on OneMain Financial's website

OneMain Financial

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
OneMain

Min. Credit Score

None

Est. APR

18.00 - 35.99%

Loan Amount

$1,500 - $20,000

on OneMain Financial's website


Min. Credit Score

None

Key facts

OneMain allows borrowers to apply for a single or joint loan. This lender has no minimum credit score requirement.

Pros

  • Option to choose your payment date.

  • Offers joint and secured loans.

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

  • Offers online educational resources.

Cons

  • Rates are high compared to other online lenders.

  • Charges origination fee.

  • Does not offer direct payment to creditors on debt consolidation loans.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: None.

  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: None.

  • Minimum income: Not disclosed; 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 $400. 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: Florida: $8,000. Iowa: $8,500. Maine: $7,000. Mississippi: $7,500. North Carolina: $7,500. New York: $20,000. Texas: $8,000. West Virginia: $14,000. 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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Lightstream

on LightStream's website

LightStream

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Lightstream

Min. Credit Score

660

Est. APR

4.49 - 20.49%

Loan Amount

$5,000 - $100,000

on LightStream's website


Min. Credit Score

660

Key facts

LightStream lets you borrow money alone or with a co-borrower. Adding a co-borrower could reduce your rate or increase the amount you can borrow.

Pros

  • No fees.

  • Competitive rates among online lenders.

  • Rate discount for autopay.

  • Special features including rate beat program and satisfaction guarantee.

Cons

  • No option to pre-qualify on its website.

  • Requires several years of credit history.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 660.

  • Several years of credit history; excellent-credit borrowers have at least five, according to LightStream.

  • Multiple account types within your credit history, like credit cards, a car loan or other installment loan and a mortgage.

  • Strong payment history with few or no delinquencies.

  • Investments, retirement savings or other evidence of an ability to save money.

  • Enough income to pay existing debts and a new LightStream loan.

Available Term Lengths

2 to 7 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: None.

  • Late fee: None.

Disclaimer

Your loan terms are not guaranteed and may vary based on loan purpose, length of loan, loan amount, credit history and payment method (AutoPay or Invoice). AutoPay discount is only available when selected prior to loan funding. To obtain a loan, you must complete an application on LightStream.com, which may affect your credit score. You may be required to verify income, identity and other stated application information. Payment example: Monthly payments for a $5,000 loan at 12.8% APR with a term of 3 years would result in 36 monthly payments of $168. Some additional conditions and limitations apply. Advertised rates and terms are subject to change without notice. SunTrust now Truist is an Equal Housing Lender. © 2020 Truist Financial Corporation. SunTrust®, Truist, LightStream®, the LightStream logo, and the SunTrust logo are service marks of Truist Financial Corporation. All rights reserved. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Lending services provided by SunTrust now Truist Bank.
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Lending Club

on LendingClub's website

LendingClub

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
Lending Club

Min. Credit Score

600

Est. APR

10.68 - 35.89%

Loan Amount

$1,000 - $40,000

on LendingClub's website


Min. Credit Score

600

Key facts

You can use a joint loan from LendingClub for most expenses, including paying down one person's debt.

Pros

  • Offers co-signed and joint loan options.

  • Offers direct payment to creditors with debt consolidation loans.

  • Soft credit check with pre-qualification.

Cons

  • Borrowers can only choose from two repayment term options.

  • Rates are high compared to other online lenders.

  • Charges an origination fee.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score of 600. LendingClub uses FICO 8 credit scoring model.

  • Minimum credit history of three years.

  • Debt-to-income ratio of less than 40% for single applications, 35% combined for joint applicants.

Available Term Lengths

3 to 5 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: 1% to 6%

  • Late fee: Greater of $15 or 5% of payment after 15-day grace period.

Disclaimer

All loans made by WebBank, Member FDIC. Your actual rate depends upon credit score, loan amount, loan term, and credit usage and history. The APR ranges from 10.68% to 35.89%. For example, you could receive a loan of $6,000 with an interest rate of 9.56% and a 5.00% origination fee of $300 for an APR of 13.11%. In this example, you will receive $5,700 and will make 36 monthly payments of $192.37. The total amount repayable will be $6,925.32. Your APR will be determined based on your credit at time of application. The origination fee ranges from 2% to 6% (average is 4.86% as of 7/1/2019 – 9/30/2019). In Georgia, the minimum loan amount is $3,025. In Massachusetts, the minimum loan amount is $6,001 if your APR is greater than 12%. There is no down payment and there is never a prepayment penalty. Closing of your loan is contingent upon your agreement of all the required agreements and disclosures on the www.lendingclub.com website. All loans via LendingClub have a minimum repayment term of 36 months or longer. Loans require sufficient investor commitment before they can be funded or issued.
Read Full Review
SoFi

on SoFi's website

SoFi

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
SoFi

Min. Credit Score

680

Est. APR

5.99 - 20.69%

Loan Amount

$5,000 - $100,000

on SoFi's website


Min. Credit Score

680

Key facts

Adding someone to a SoFi loan application could get you approved for more favorable terms than you could get alone.

Pros

  • No fees.

  • Offers co-sign and joint loan options.

  • Rate discount for autopay.

  • Offers unemployment protection.

  • Provides mobile app to manage your loan.

Cons

  • No secured loan option.

Qualifications

  • Must legally be an adult in your state.

  • Must be a US citizen, permanent resident or visa holder.

  • Must be employed, have sufficient income or have an offer of employment to start within the next 90 days.

Available Term Lengths

2 to 7 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: None.

  • Late fee: None.

Disclaimer

Fixed rates from 5.99% APR to 20.69% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of January 19, 2021 and are subject to change without notice. Not all rates and amounts available in all states. See Personal Loan eligibility details. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, to qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including evaluation of your credit worthiness, income, and other factors. See APR examples and terms. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account.
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Prosper

on Prosper's website

Prosper

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Prosper

Min. Credit Score

640

Est. APR

7.95 - 35.99%

Loan Amount

$2,000 - $40,000

on Prosper's website


Min. Credit Score

640

Key facts

Prosper says getting a joint loan with someone who has strong credit can improve your chances of getting approved for a loan at a lower rate.

Pros

  • Option to change your payment date.

  • Offers joint loan.

  • Offers wide range of loan amounts. 


Cons

  • No rate discount for autopay.

  • Charges origination and late fees.

  • Borrowers can choose from only two repayment term options.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 640; borrower average is 726.

  • Minimum credit history: 2 years.

  • Minimum income: No minimum income requirement; borrower average is $113,000.

  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: 50% (excluding mortgage); borrower average is 18% with housing payment.

  • No bankruptcies filed within the past year.

  • At least three open accounts on credit report.

  • Fewer than five credit bureau inquiries in the last six months.

  • Must be at least 18 years old.

  • Must provide social security number and a U.S. bank account.


Available Term Lengths

3 to 5 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: 2.41 to 5%.

  • Late fee: $15 or 5% of unpaid amount (whichever is greater).

  • Insufficient funds fee: $15.

Disclaimer

For example, a three-year $10,000 personal loan would have an interest rate of 11.74% and a 5.00% origination fee for an annual percentage rate (APR) of 15.34% APR. You would receive $9,500 and make 36 scheduled monthly payments of $330.90. A five-year $10,000 personal loan would have an interest rate of 11.99% and a 5.00% origination fee with a 14.27% APR. You would receive $9,500 and make 60 scheduled monthly payments of $222.39. Origination fees vary between 2.41%-5%. Personal loan APRs through Prosper range from 7.95% to 35.99%, with the lowest rates for the most creditworthy borrowers. Eligibility for personal loans up to $40,000 depends on the information provided by the applicant in the application form. Eligibility for personal loans is not guaranteed, and requires that a sufficient number of investors commit funds to your account and that you meet credit and other conditions. Refer to Borrower Registration Agreement for details and all terms and conditions. All personal loans made by WebBank, Member FDIC.
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Credit unions and banks that allow co-signed and joint loans

Credit unions are a good first stop for any type of personal loan, because they have low interest rates and often work with borrowers to make a loan affordable, even if the borrower has bad credit (629 or lower FICO score). Most credit unions allow co-signers on unsecured loans (also called signature loans) and accept online applications. The maximum APR that federal credit unions can charge is 18%.

Few major banks still offer personal loans, but PNC does and allows its borrowers to get a co-signed loan. Other banks, like Wells Fargo, offer joint loans.

What’s the difference between a co-signed loan and a joint loan?

Adding a co-signer helps one person qualify for a loan that he or she will use and repay alone. Joint loans are for shared use by two people, whether that’s to pay down one of your debts or do a home renovation.

When applying for a personal loan, adding either type of co-applicant gives the lender more information to consider, says Massachusetts-based certified financial planner Therese Nicklas. Most lenders will consider your debts, income and credit histories, and adding someone with better credit than yours can boost your chances of approval.

Most of the differences between a co-signed and joint loan come after the money is disbursed, Nicklas says. While a co-borrower on a joint loan gets equal access to the money, a co-signer has no rights to the money.

For example, if you get a personal loan for a home renovation, a co-signer can’t use the money, but a co-borrower could.

Co-signers also can’t see information about the loan, like how much you’ve repaid or if you missed any payments, Nicklas says.

In both cases, the two parties are on the hook for the amount of money borrowed, she says. If you co-signed a loan, the lender expects that you’ll be able to repay it if the borrower can’t.

How a co-signer can help

For those with bad credit, the benefits of having a co-signer can be significant. You may qualify for a loan you wouldn’t get on your own, and your rate can be lower.

How much your rate falls depends on factors such as:

  • The co-signer’s credit score.

  • Both your credit histories.

  • Your combined debt-to-income ratio.

  • The lender’s underwriting criteria.

In an example of a real loan provided by FreedomPlus, a borrower with a FICO score of 630 and annual income of $30,000 was approved for a three-year, $10,000 loan with an interest rate of 18.49%. After adding a co-signer with a 720 credit score and annual income of $70,000, the interest rate dropped 10 percentage points.

The borrower saved more than $1,700 over the life of the loan with the addition of a co-signer. (This pricing example doesn't include fees.)

How a co-borrower can help

In a joint loan, a co-borrower can help you get approved for a loan with more favorable terms, but some lenders may require both of you to meet the minimum credit score requirement.

Other lenders set specific standards for joint loans. For example, LendingClub’s minimum credit score for single applicants is 600, but a secondary borrower on a joint loan can have a score as low as 540.

Is a co-applicant the right option?

There are benefits and risks to borrowing money with someone. Whether you’re the borrower or co-signer, understand co-signer responsibilities before you take a personal loan.

You can check your rate without affecting your credit when you pre-qualify, but few pre-qualification processes allow you to add a co-borrower or co-signer.

When you apply, most lenders will perform a hard credit check, which can temporarily lower credit scores by a few points. Lenders also report positive and negative payment information to the credit bureaus, which can impact both parties.

Next steps: Check rates on loans

First, pre-qualify with multiple lenders to see if you're approved for a loan on your own and, if so, at what rate. If you don’t qualify, or if your rate is high, consider a co-applicant.

Last updated on February 25, 2020

Methodology

NerdWallet's ratings for personal loans award points to lenders that offer consumer-friendly features, including soft credit checks, no fees, transparency of loan rates and terms, flexible payment options, accessible customer service, reporting of payments to credit bureaus and financial education. We also consider the number of complaints filed with agencies like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. This methodology applies only to lenders that cap interest rates at 36%, the maximum rate financial experts and consumer advocates agree is the acceptable limit for a loan to be affordable. NerdWallet does not receive compensation of any sort for our reviews.

To recap our selections...

NerdWallet's Co-Signed or Joint Personal Loans: Compare and Apply