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5 Best Dental Loans: Compare Financing Options for Dental Costs in 2021

Find lenders that offer dental loans, and compare other options to help pay for dental work.

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Dental loans are unsecured personal loans that you can use to pay for expensive dental procedures. They can fund dental emergencies, planned cosmetic work or other procedures.

If you’re considering a procedure that your insurance won’t fully cover, a dental loan is a flexible but sometimes pricey option, depending on the interest rate. Explore alternatives before taking out a personal loan to cover dental work, especially if you have a low credit score or a lot of existing debt.

Here are some lenders that offer dental loans, as well as other ways to fund your next dentist visit.

Summary of Best Dental Loans: Compare Financing Options for Dental Costs in 2021

Our picks for

Dental loans

Lightstream
Check rate

on LightStream's website

LightStream

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Lightstream

Est. APR

4.49 - 20.49%

Loan Amount

$5,000 - $100,000

Min. Credit Score

660
Check rate

on LightStream's website


Min. Credit Score

660

Key facts

LightStream targets strong-credit borrowers with no fees and low rates that vary based on loan purpose. Rates for dental loans start at 5.74% with autopay.

Pros

  • No fees.

  • Competitive rates among online lenders.

  • Offers .5% rate discount for setting up 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.

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

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 660.

  • Several years of credit history.

  • 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, including APR, may differ based on loan purpose, amount, term length, and your credit profile. AutoPay discount of .50% points is only available when selected prior to loan funding. Rates without AutoPay will be .50% points higher. To obtain a loan, you must complete an application on LightStream.com which may affect your credit score. Subject to credit approval. Conditions and limitations apply. Advertised rates and terms are subject to change without notice. Payment example: Monthly payments for a $10,000 loan at 6.14% APR with a term of 3 years would result in 36 monthly payments of $304.85. Truist Bank is an Equal Housing Lender. ©2021 Truist Financial Corporation. SunTrust, Truist, LightStream, the LightStream logo, and the SunTrust logo are service marks of Truist Financial Corporation. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Lending services provided by Truist Bank.

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Upstart
Check rate

on Upstart's website

Upstart

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Upstart

Est. APR

5.38 - 35.99%

Loan Amount

$1,000 - $50,000

Min. Credit Score

None
Check rate

on Upstart's website


Min. Credit Score

None

Key facts

A good option for those who have short credit histories and promising financial futures.

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

The full range of available rates varies by state. The average 3-year loan offered across all lenders using the Upstart platform will have an APR of 21.97% and 36 monthly payments of $35 per $1,000 borrowed. For example, the total cost of a $10,000 loan would be $12,646 including a $626 origination fee. APR is calculated based on 3-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.

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Upgrade
Check rate

on Upgrade's website

Upgrade

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Upgrade

Est. APR

5.94 - 35.47%

Loan Amount

$1,000 - $50,000

Min. Credit Score

560
Check rate

on Upgrade's website


Min. Credit Score

560

Key facts

Upgrade targets bad-credit borrowers with joint and secured loans. Loan amounts for dental financing range from $1,000 to $50,000.

Pros

  • Allows secured and joint loans.

  • Offers a wide range of repayment terms.

  • Offers a 0.5% 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 5.94%-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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OneMain
Check 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
Check rate

on OneMain Financial's website


Min. Credit Score

None

Key facts

OneMain is an option for bad-credit borrowers, but it comes with high starting rates and an origination fee.

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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Lending Club
Check rate

on LendingClub's website

LendingClub

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
Lending Club

Est. APR

7.04 - 35.89%

Loan Amount

$1,000 - $40,000

Min. Credit Score

600
Check rate

on LendingClub's website


Min. Credit Score

600

Key facts

The pioneer of peer-to-peer lending, LendingClub is a strong option for good-credit borrowers.

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 fair-credit 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

A representative example of loan payment terms is as follows: you receive a loan of $13,411 for a term of 36 months, with an interest rate of 12.16% and a 5.30% origination fee of $711, for an APR of 15.99%. In this example, you will receive $12,700 and will make 36 monthly payments of $446.46. Loan amounts range from $1,000 to $40,000 and loan term lengths are 36 months or 60 months. Some amounts and term lengths may be unavailable in certain states. APR ranges from 7.04% to 35.89% and is determined at the time of application. Origination fee ranges from 3% to 6% of the loan amount. Lowest APR is available to borrowers with excellent credit. Advertised rates and fees are valid as of 7/1/21 and are subject to change without notice. Loans are made by LendingClub Bank, N.A., Member FDIC (“LendingClub Bank”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of LendingClub Corporation, NMLS ID 167439. Loans are subject to credit approval and sufficient investor commitment before they can be funded or issued. Certain information that we subsequently obtain as part of the application process (including but not limited to information in your consumer report, your income, the loan amount that your request, the purpose of your loan, and qualifying debt) will be considered and could affect your ability to obtain a loan from us. Loan closing is contingent on accepting all required agreements and disclosures at Lendingclub.com. “LendingClub” is a trademark of LendingClub Bank.

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How to compare personal loans for dental work

Annual percentage rate. A loan’s APR can be higher than its interest rate because it encompasses the entire cost of a loan, including the interest rate and any fees. APRs on personal loans generally range from 6% to 36%. Compare rates from different lenders to find the least expensive loan.

Fees. Find out any additional fees the lender charges before taking out a loan. For example, some lenders charge late-payment fees or origination fees. An origination fee is typically 1% to 10% of the loan amount and is reflected in a loan’s APR.

Borrower requirements. Some lenders have a minimum income or credit score requirement. Or there may be a limit to the amount of debt you can have, expressed as a debt-to-income ratio.

Time to fund. While some lenders offer same-day funding, others can take up to seven days to fund. You can speed up the application process by gathering all the required documents before applying and by promptly responding to lender questions.

Repayment term. A longer loan term can lead to smaller monthly payments, but it can also result in more interest over the life of the loan.

For example, a $2,500 loan with a five-year term and 8% APR will require a $50 monthly payment and cost $541 in total interest. The same loan with a seven-year term would put the monthly payment at $39, but cost $773 in interest.

A personal loan calculator can help you decide what repayment term fits best with your budget.

Dental loans for bad credit 

If you have fair or bad credit (a FICO score of 689 or below), you can still get a loan for dental work; however, you’ll likely get a rate that’s on the high end of a lender’s APR range. If you have bad credit and decide to pursue a dental loan, consider a secured or co-signed loan to potentially receive a lower rate.

Avoid loans with APRs above 36%, which is the maximum rate deemed affordable by financial experts and consumer advocates. A three-year, $3,000 loan with a 36% APR costs almost $2,000 in interest.

Pre-qualify for a dental loan

Pre-qualifying for a loan lets you see a loan’s terms, interest rate and monthly payments before you commit to the loan. You can pre-qualify with NerdWallet to see your potential loan offers and decide whether it’s the best way to pay for dental work.

Alternative dental financing options

Personal loans are low on the list of inexpensive ways to finance dental work, says Eric Simonson, a Minneapolis-based financial planner and owner of Abundo Wealth. He recommends weighing other options before going with a personal loan.

Here are some other ways to fund dental work:

Finance through your dentist. Some dentists offer an in-house payment plan that you can sign up for when faced with a big bill. Unlike regular dental insurance, you can take advantage of these plans when you learn you need expensive work done, Simonson says. They can be a good option if you don’t have insurance or would rather make monthly payments toward the procedure.

Negotiate. The price for a dental procedure isn’t always final. If you feel the rate quoted is too high, see what the prices are in your area using a site like fairhealthconsumer.org. Depending on the dentist, you may be able to negotiate for a lower price.

Visit a dental school. Dental schools offer procedures at reduced prices so students can get experience under the supervision of skilled dentists. You can check the American Dental Association’s list of dental programs to see whether there’s a school near you.

A medical credit card. Some offices offer financing through a medical credit card, like CareCredit. The standard APR for CareCredit financing is 26.99%, but some dental providers may offer 0% interest on purchases of $200 or more if you pay the full balance by the end of the term. CareCredit offers terms of six, 12, 18 and 24 months. Be sure to ask your dental care provider if 0% financing is available as some locations may not participate in the promotion.

0% credit card. If you have good or excellent credit (a FICO score of 690 or above), you might qualify for a 0% APR credit card. These cards have an introductory period — usually 12 to 18 months — when you won’t accrue interest on purchases. If you can pay off your balance within the specified time, you’ll pay for the procedure interest-free.

Dental savings plan. A dental savings plan could be an affordable option to cover dental costs, as they allow you to pay an annual fee to receive discounts from dentists in the plan’s network. You can get a dental savings plan through some insurance companies.

Last updated on June 14, 2021

Methodology

NerdWallet’s review process evaluates and rates personal loan products from more than 30 lenders. 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 our editorial guidelines.

To recap our selections...

NerdWallet's Best Dental Loans: Compare Financing Options for Dental Costs in 2021

Frequently asked questions