5 Best Medical Loans for Bad Credit in 2024

Ronita Choudhuri-WadeChanell Alexander
Written by
and
Last updated on October 24, 2023
Edited by
✅ Fact checked and reviewed
Kim Lowe
Edited by
✅ Fact checked and reviewed

Many, or all, of the products featured on this page are from our advertising partners who compensate us when you take certain actions on our website or click to take an action on their website. This does not influence our product evaluations or star ratings.

View Advertiser Disclosure +
  • 35+ personal loans reviewed and rated by our team of experts.
  • 20+ years of combined experience covering personal loans and financial topics.
  • Objective, comprehensive star rating system assessing 20+ categories and 70+ data points.
  • Governed by NerdWallet's strict guidelines for editorial integrity.
NerdWallet's personal loans content, including articles, reviews and recommendations, is produced by a team of writers and editors who specialize in consumer lending. Their work has appeared in The Associated Press, USA Today, The New York Times, MarketWatch and many other national, regional and local publications. They have been cited in publications including The Harvard Kennedy School, and appeared on NerdWallet's "Smart Money" podcast as well as local TV and radio.

Compare the best medical loans for bad credit

NerdWallet reviewed more than 35 financial institutions to find the best medical loans for borrowers with bad credit. These are our top picks.

Best for borrowers with bad credit

Upgrade
5.0
Read full review
Est. APR8.49-35.99%
Est. APR8.49-35.99%
Loan amount$1K-$50K
Loan amount$1K-$50K
Min. credit score560
Min. credit score560
Repayment terms3 to 7 years
Repayment terms3 to 7 years
on NerdWallet
Upgrade
Est. APR8.49-35.99%
Est. APR8.49-35.99%
Loan amount$1K-$50K
Loan amount$1K-$50K
Min. credit score560
Min. credit score560
Repayment terms3 to 7 years
Repayment terms3 to 7 years
on NerdWallet
Pros
  • Secured and joint loans.
  • Multiple rate discounts.
  • Mobile app to manage loan payments.
  • Direct payment to creditors with debt consolidation loans.
  • Long repayment terms on home improvement loans.
Cons
  • Origination fee.
  • No option to choose your payment date.
Upgrade personal loans offer multiple rate discounts, and a low minimum credit score make its perks stand out even more.
  • Borrowers may receive rate discounts for autopay, direct payment to creditors and using multiple Upgrade products.
  • Credit-building features include free credit score monitoring, a credit score simulator and credit history tracking.

Best for borrowers with thin credit

Upstart
4.5
Read full review
Est. APR7.80-35.99%
Est. APR7.80-35.99%
Loan amount$1K-$50K
Loan amount$1K-$50K
Min. credit scoreNone
Min. credit scoreNone
Repayment terms3 to 7 years
Repayment terms3 to 7 years
on NerdWallet
Est. APR7.80-35.99%
Est. APR7.80-35.99%
Loan amount$1K-$50K
Loan amount$1K-$50K
Min. credit scoreNone
Min. credit scoreNone
Repayment terms3 to 7 years
Repayment terms3 to 7 years
on NerdWallet
Pros
  • Accepts borrowers new to credit.
  • Fast funding.
  • Option to change your payment date.
  • Option to pre-qualify with a soft credit check.
  • Seven-day customer service availability.
Cons
  • May charge origination fee.
  • No joint or co-signed loans.
  • No direct payment to creditors on debt consolidation loans.
Upstart personal loans offer fast funding and may be an option for borrowers with low credit scores or thin credit histories.
  • Uses nontraditional underwriting that may approve more applicants.
  • Wide range of available loan amounts.

Best for borrowers with fair credit

Est. APR8.99-35.99%
Est. APR8.99-35.99%
Loan amount$2K-$50K
Loan amount$2K-$50K
Min. credit score560
Min. credit score560
Repayment terms2 to 5 years
Repayment terms2 to 5 years
on NerdWallet
Est. APR8.99-35.99%
Est. APR8.99-35.99%
Loan amount$2K-$50K
Loan amount$2K-$50K
Min. credit score560
Min. credit score560
Repayment terms2 to 5 years
Repayment terms2 to 5 years
on NerdWallet
Pros
  • Instant approval.
  • Joint loan option.
  • Hardship program for borrowers in need.
  • Mobile app to manage loan.
Cons
  • No rate discount.
  • Charges origination and late fees.
  • No direct payment to creditors with debt consolidation loans.
Prosper accepts borrowers across the credit spectrum and offers competitive rates and fees, plus instant approval.
  • Allows two borrowers to apply together as joint applicants who share responsibility for the loan.
  • Offers hardship relief program that may reduce monthly payments or extend the loan term.

Best for credit-building features

Est. APR11.69-35.99%
Est. APR11.69-35.99%
Loan amount$1K-$50K
Loan amount$1K-$50K
Min. credit score560
Min. credit score560
Repayment terms3 to 5 years
Repayment terms3 to 5 years
on NerdWallet
Est. APR11.69-35.99%
Est. APR11.69-35.99%
Loan amount$1K-$50K
Loan amount$1K-$50K
Min. credit score560
Min. credit score560
Repayment terms3 to 5 years
Repayment terms3 to 5 years
on NerdWallet
Pros
  • Offers direct payment to creditors with debt consolidation loans.
  • Fast funding.
  • Offers multiple rate discounts.
  • Offers free credit score access.
Cons
  • Charges origination fee.
  • Borrowers can choose from only two repayment term options.
A Universal Credit loan is a sound option for bad-credit borrowers looking to build credit, but rates are high compared to similar lenders.
  • Low minimum credit score requirement and no minimum income requirement.
  • Borrowers have access to free customized credit-building recommendations.

Best for borrowers with bad credit

Est. APR9.95-35.99%
Est. APR9.95-35.99%
Loan amount$2K-$35K
Loan amount$2K-$35K
Min. credit score550
Min. credit score550
Repayment terms1 to 5 years
Repayment terms1 to 5 years
on NerdWallet
Est. APR9.95-35.99%
Est. APR9.95-35.99%
Loan amount$2K-$35K
Loan amount$2K-$35K
Min. credit score550
Min. credit score550
Repayment terms1 to 5 years
Repayment terms1 to 5 years
on NerdWallet
Pros
  • Fast funding.
  • Option to pre-qualify with a soft credit check.
  • Mobile app to manage loan.
  • Wide range of repayment term options.
  • Seven-day customer service availability.
Cons
  • May charge an origination fee.
  • No co-signed, joint or secured loans.
  • No direct payment to creditors on debt consolidation loans.
Avant personal loans are an option for fair- and bad-credit borrowers who need fast funding, but it lacks features that help you build credit or consolidate debt.
  • Avant's minimum credit score requirement is one of the lowest among online lenders.
  • Loan applications may be approved within one day and funds deposited the next day.

» MORE: Best bad-credit loan options

What is a medical loan for bad credit?

A medical loan is an unsecured personal loan used for health care expenses. Unsecured personal loans don’t require collateral, and they have fixed interest rates. Personal loans are paid back in monthly installments over the loan term, generally from two to seven years.

Medical loans can be used for out-of-network charges, emergency procedures or high deductibles. Individuals and families without insurance coverage may consider a loan for health care needs.

Specific uses for medical loans include:

If you have multiple medical bills, a loan can also be used to consolidate those expenses into a single monthly payment.

How do bad-credit medical loans work?

Here are key factors to understand about bad-credit medical loans.

Interest rates: Annual percentage rates for personal loans typically range from 6% to 35.99%. While your credit score can significantly influence the APR you receive, some lenders consider additional criteria like education or job history. Still, borrowers with bad credit can expect an APR at the high end of a lender's range.

Fees: Some lenders charge an origination fee to cover the loan processing cost. This fee can range from 1% to 10% of the total loan amount and is typically deducted before disbursement. Other fees may include late payment fees.

Loan amounts: Depending on the lender, personal loan amounts can range from $1,000 to $50,000. Know how much you need for your medical expenses, as borrowers with low credit scores may not qualify for the highest loan amounts.

Loan terms: Loan terms affect your monthly payment amount and total interest costs. A shorter term may mean higher monthly payments, while a longer term can cost more in interest.

For example, here’s how the loan term affects a $5,000 loan with a 21% APR:

2-year loan

5-year loan

Monthly payment

$257

$135

Total interest

$1,166

$3,116

How to get a medical loan with bad credit

  1. Review your credit score. Your credit score can determine your eligibility for a loan and how much you can get. Check your credit report for free and look for any incorrect delinquencies or potential errors. Try to resolve past-due balances on your accounts since missed payments can significantly impact your credit scores.

  2. Figure out how much you need and can budget for. Your medical expenses will often determine how much you need to borrow, but you can also use a personal loan calculator to determine what you can afford. You’ll want a medical loan with payments that fit your budget.

  3. Get pre-qualified. Pre-qualifying allows you to see potential loan terms, APRs, amounts and payments so you can compare offers and choose the best one for your budget. Most online lenders allow you to pre-qualify for a loan using a soft credit check, which doesn’t affect your credit score.

  4. Add a co-borrower or collateral: Co-signed, joint or secured loans are less risky for lenders and can increase your likelihood of approval. You may even get a lower rate. With co-signed loans, the co-signer is responsible for repaying the loan if you miss payments. A secured loan requires collateral that you can lose if you default on the loan.

  5. Apply. You can formally apply once you choose a loan that best fits your needs. Online lenders let you complete the application through their website, and the funds will be deposited into your bank account if your application is approved. 

How to compare medical loans for bad credit

Affordable APRs and payments: APR is the total cost of a loan, including interest and fees. It allows you to make an apples-to-apples comparison between loan costs. Look for lenders with rates below 36%, which is the maximum that financial experts agree is affordable.

Credit reporting: Making consistent on-time payments toward your loan can help improve your credit. Choose a lender that reports your payments to at least one major credit bureau — preferably all three (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion).

Funding time: Consider the amount of time it will take to receive the money. Is the medical expense an emergency now or a procedure planned for the future? Some online lenders approve and disburse loan funds the same day after approval, while others take up to a week.

Customer support: Some lenders provide support through multiple customer contact channels, including an app, while others may offer assistance by phone or email only. Consider how you would like to manage your account and the level of customer support you might need.

Other features: Depending on the situation, some lenders provide features like hardship plans or flexible payment options that may help if you hit a financial speed bump. They may also offer ways to monitor your credit score and help plan for financial goals.

Other ways to pay medical bills

It's best to consider a medical loan only after you’ve tried low- or no-cost options. Here are other funding options to help you cover medical costs.

Payment plan: Medical providers may offer payment plans that allow you to pay a medical bill in monthly installments, typically with no interest. The amounts and terms depend on the agreement you negotiate with the provider.

Family loan: A family loan can be a low-interest option to fund medical expenses. A successful arrangement includes a formal written agreement outlining interest and terms between family members. Also, consider IRS guidelines and a family loan's impact on the relationship.

Credit union loan: Credit unions are not-for-profit organizations that may offer loans with lower interest rates and more flexible terms than online lenders. During the application process, they’re also more likely to consider your overall financial picture. However, credit unions require membership and may not offer an option to pre-qualify.

CareCredit: CareCredit is a specialty credit card for financing health care expenses. The card can be used at more than 260,000 health and wellness providers, and applicants are subject to credit approval. CareCredit has a standard APR of 29.99%, but there are promotional financing options like zero-interest terms, which require you to pay the balance in full by a set time to avoid retroactive interest charges.

Nonprofit or charity: The Patient Advocate Foundation and the National Organization for Rare Disorders are nonprofit organizations offering payment assistance for medical expenses like copays, medications and treatment. PAF works with patients with chronic illnesses, while NORD supports patients with rare diseases.

Last updated on October 24, 2023

Methodology

NerdWallet’s review process evaluates and rates personal loan products from more than 35 technology companies and financial institutions. We collect over 50 data points from each lender and cross-check company websites, earnings reports and other public documents to confirm product details. We may also go through a lender’s pre-qualification flow and follow up with company representatives. 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. Our ratings award fewer points to lenders with practices that may make a loan difficult to repay on time, such as charging high annual percentage rates (above 36%), underwriting that does not adequately assess consumers’ ability to repay and lack of credit-building help. 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.

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 Medical Loans for Bad Credit in 2024

  • Upgrade: Best for Medical loans for bad credit
  • Upstart: Best for Medical loans for bad credit
  • Prosper: Best for Medical loans for bad credit
  • Universal Credit: Best for Medical loans for bad credit
  • Avant: Best for Medical loans for bad credit

Frequently asked questions

  • Some lenders that offer medical loans accept borrowers with bad credit, but you may receive a higher interest rate or lower loan amount. Avoid loans with interest rates over 36%, and compare multiple lenders to receive the best rate. Learn how to get a personal loan with bad credit.

  • To qualify for a medical loan, compare multiple lenders to understand their eligibility requirements for credit scores, income and debt. Then, pre-qualify with multiple online lenders to see the interest rates, loan terms and loan amounts you may receive.

NerdWallet Pixel