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Co-Signed or Joint Personal Loans: Compare and Apply

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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.

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

Upgrade

Min. Credit Score

580

Est. APR

7.99 - 35.97%

Loan Amount

$1,000 - $35,000

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 co-signed and joint loans.

  • Offers hardship program.

  • Offers direct payment to creditors with debt consolidation loans.

Cons

  • Charges origination fee.

  • Charges late fee.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 600.

  • Minimum annual income: None, but most applicants earn more than $30,000.

  • Minimum monthly free cash flow: $800.

  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: 60%.

  • Unavailable to borrowers in: Iowa, Vermont and West Virginia.

Available Term Lengths

3 to 5 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: 2.9% to 8%.

Disclaimer

Personal loans made through Upgrade feature APRs of 7.99%-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

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

  • Offers co-signed and joint loans.

  • Offers direct payment to creditors with debt consolidation loans.

  • No prepayment fee.

Cons

  • May charge origination fee.

  • High minimum loan amount.

  • Charges late fee of $15 or 5%, whichever is greater.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score of 620. Borrowers' average is 690. The company uses the FICO 8 credit scoring model.

  • At least $40,000 in annual income. Borrowers’ average is $80,800. Joint applicants’ average is $107,200 combined.

  • Debt-to-income ratio: Less than 40%, not including mortgage. Average borrowers have a DTI of 20%.

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
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on NerdWallet's secure website

PenFed Credit Union Personal Loan

PenFed Credit Union Personal Loan

Min. Credit Score

600

Est. APR

6.49 - 17.99%

Loan Amount

$500 - $20,000

See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website


Min. Credit Score

600

Key facts

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

Pros

  • Option to defer a payment.

  • Offers small loans of $500.

  • Option to include a co-signer.

Cons

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

  • No option to pre-qualify.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 600.

  • Some credit history required.

  • Membership required.

Available Term Lengths

1 to 5 years

Fees

  • $20-$25 late fee after five-day grace period.

  • $30 returned payment fee.

  • $5 membership fee.

Disclaimer

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PNC Bank Personal Loan
See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website

PNC Bank Personal Loan

PNC Bank Personal Loan

Min. Credit Score

None

Est. APR

9.24 - 29.49%

Loan Amount

$1,000 - $20,000

See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website


Min. Credit Score

None

Key facts

PNC is a good option if you have an existing PNC account or want to bring along a co-signer.

Pros

  • Low rates.

  • Fast funding.

  • Co-sign option.

Cons

  • Hard credit pull at application.

  • Late fee.

  • Available in limited number of states.

Qualifications

  • No minimum credit score, income or debt-to-income ratio requirements disclosed.

  • Live in one of the states that PNC serves.

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.

Disclaimer

Read Full Review

Our picks for

Lenders that offer joint loans

OneMain

on OneMain Financial's website

OneMain Financial

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

  • May fund a loan the same day.

  • Offers joint and secured loan options.

  • Free credit score access.

Cons

  • Charges origination fee.

  • Rates are high compared to other lenders that serve similar borrowers.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: None, average is 626

  • Minimum credit history: Not provided.

  • Minimum annual income: None, average is $49,000.

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

Lightstream

Min. Credit Score

660

Est. APR

5.49 - 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.

  • Rate discount for autopay.

  • Low starting rates.

Cons

  • Does not offer pre-qualification on its website.

  • Requires several years of credit history.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score of 660.

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

  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio varies depending on existing assets and the reason for the 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). Rate quote includes AutoPay discount. 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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SoFi

on SoFi's website

SoFi

Min. Credit Score

680

Est. APR

5.99 - 18.53%

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

  • Soft credit check with pre-qualify.

  • Flexible payment options.

  • Offers member perks.

Cons

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

  • Does not offer refinance options.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 680, but typically 700 or higher.

  • Minimum annual income: None; borrowers' average is over $100,000.

Available Term Lengths

2 to 7 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: None.

  • Late fee: None.

Disclaimer

Fixed rates from 5.99% APR to 18.53% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of September 18, 2020 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

Prosper

Min. Credit Score

630

Est. APR

7.95 - 35.99%

Loan Amount

$2,000 - $40,000

on Prosper's website


Min. Credit Score

630

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

  • No prepayment fee.

  • Option to change your payment date.

  • Offers joint loan option.

Cons

  • Charges origination fee.

  • Charges late fee of $15 or 5% of the unpaid loan amount.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 640, but average is 717.

  • Minimum credit history: Two years, but average is 11.

  • Minimum annual income: None, but average is $89,000.

  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: 50% (excluding mortgage).

  • No bankruptcies filed within the last year.

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

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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Lending Club
See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website

LendingClub

Lending Club

Min. Credit Score

600

Est. APR

10.68 - 35.89%

Loan Amount

$1,000 - $40,000

See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure 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 direct payment to creditors with debt consolidation loans.

  • Joint loan option.

  • Soft credit check with pre-qualification.

Cons

  • Charges origination fee and late fees.

  • Does not offer mobile app to manage your loan.

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: 2% 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%. The origination fee ranges from 1% to 6% of the original principal balance and is deducted from your loan proceeds. For example, you could receive a loan of $6,000 with an interest rate of 7.99% and a 5.00% origination fee of $300 for an APR of 11.51%. In this example, you will receive $5,700 and will make 36 monthly payments of $187.99. The total amount repayable will be $6,767.64. Your APR will be determined based on your credit at the time of application. The average origination fee is 5.49% as of Q1 2017. In Georgia, the minimum loan amount is $3,025. In Massachusetts, the minimum loan amount is $6,025 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. Borrower must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or be in the United States on a valid long-term visa and at least 18 years old. Valid bank account and Social Security number are required. Equal Housing Lender. All loans are subject to credit approval. LendingClub’s physical address is: 595 Market St suite 200 San Francisco Ca 94105. **Based on approximately 60% of borrowers who received offers through LendingClub’s marketing partners between Jan. 1, 2018, and July 20, 2018. The time it will take to fund your loan may vary.
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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