5 Best Medical Loans in 2024

Medical loans can be used to pay for emergency or planned procedures. Here’s where to find medical loans, plus other ways to finance medical expenses.

Ronita Choudhuri-WadeChanell Alexander
Written by
and
Last updated on December 15, 2023
Edited by
✅ Fact checked and reviewed
Kim Lowe
Edited by
✅ Fact checked and reviewed

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SoFi Personal Loan
SoFi Personal Loan
SoFi Personal Loan
5.0
NerdWallet rating

SoFi offers online personal loans with consumer-friendly features for good- and excellent-credit borrowers.

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5 Best Medical Loans in 2024

🏆 Top 3 most visited
SoFi
SoFi Personal Loan
🏆 Top 3 most visited
Best for Medical loans for large amounts
5.0
Rate discount
Est. APR
8.99-29.99%
Loan amount
$5K-$100K
Min. credit score
None
Visit Lender
on SoFi's website
on SoFi's website
Check Rate
on NerdWallet
on NerdWallet
View details
🏆 Top 3 most visited
Lightstream
LightStream
🏆 Top 3 most visited
Best for Overall medical loans
4.5
Rate discount
Est. APR
6.99-25.49%
Loan amount
$5K-$100K
Min. credit score
660
🏆 Top 3 most visited
Upgrade
Upgrade
🏆 Top 3 most visited
Best for Medical loans for bad credit
Rate discount
Est. APR
8.49-35.99%
Loan amount
$1K-$50K
Min. credit score
560
Upstart
Upstart
Best for Medical loans for thin credit
Fast funding
Flexible payments
Est. APR
7.80-35.99%
Loan amount
$1K-$50K
Min. credit score
None
Lending Club
LendingClub
Best for Medical loans for co-applicants
Flexible payments
Est. APR
8.98-35.99%
Loan amount
$1K-$40K
Min. credit score
600
Check Rate
on NerdWallet
on NerdWallet
BestEgg
Best Egg
Best for Medical loans with fast funding
Secured loans
Wide range of loan amounts
Est. APR
8.99-35.99%
Loan amount
$2K-$50K
Min. credit score
600
Prosper
Prosper
Best for Medical loans for flexible terms
Est. APR
8.99-35.99%
Loan amount
$2K-$50K
Min. credit score
560
SoFi
🏆 Top 3 most visited
SoFi Personal Loan
Visit Lender
on SoFi's website
on SoFi's website
Check Rate
on NerdWallet
on NerdWallet
Best for Medical loans for large amounts
🏆 Top 3 most visited
Est. APR
8.99-29.99%
Loan amount
$5K-$100K
Min. credit score
None
Best for Medical loans for large amounts
Rate discount
Lightstream
🏆 Top 3 most visited
LightStream
Best for Overall medical loans
🏆 Top 3 most visited
Est. APR
6.99-25.49%
Loan amount
$5K-$100K
Min. credit score
660
Best for Overall medical loans
Rate discount
Upgrade
🏆 Top 3 most visited
Upgrade
Best for Medical loans for bad credit
🏆 Top 3 most visited
Est. APR
8.49-35.99%
Loan amount
$1K-$50K
Min. credit score
560
Best for Medical loans for bad credit
Rate discount
Upstart
Best for Medical loans for thin credit
Est. APR
7.80-35.99%
Loan amount
$1K-$50K
Min. credit score
None
Best for Medical loans for thin credit
Fast funding
Flexible payments
LendingClub
Check Rate
on NerdWallet
on NerdWallet
Best for Medical loans for co-applicants
Est. APR
8.98-35.99%
Loan amount
$1K-$40K
Min. credit score
600
Best for Medical loans for co-applicants
Flexible payments
Best Egg
Best for Medical loans with fast funding
Est. APR
8.99-35.99%
Loan amount
$2K-$50K
Min. credit score
600
Best for Medical loans with fast funding
Secured loans
Wide range of loan amounts
Prosper
Best for Medical loans for flexible terms
Est. APR
8.99-35.99%
Loan amount
$2K-$50K
Min. credit score
560
Best for Medical loans for flexible terms

Our pick for

Medical loans for large amounts

SoFi
Visit Lender
on SoFi's website
on SoFi's website
SoFi

SoFi Personal Loan

Est. APR

8.99-29.99%

Loan amount

$5,000-$100,000

Min. credit score

None

Our pick for

Overall medical loans

Lightstream

LightStream

Est. APR

6.99-25.49%

Loan amount

$5,000-$100,000

Min. credit score

660

Our pick for

Medical loans for bad credit

Upgrade

Upgrade

Est. APR

8.49-35.99%

Loan amount

$1,000-$50,000

Min. credit score

560

Our pick for

Medical loans for thin credit

Upstart

Upstart

Est. APR

7.80-35.99%

Loan amount

$1,000-$50,000

Min. credit score

None

Our pick for

Medical loans for co-applicants

Lending Club

LendingClub

Est. APR

8.98-35.99%

Loan amount

$1,000-$40,000

Min. credit score

600

Our pick for

Medical loans with fast funding

BestEgg

Best Egg

Est. APR

8.99-35.99%

Loan amount

$2,000-$50,000

Min. credit score

600

Our pick for

Medical loans for flexible terms

Prosper

Prosper

Est. APR

8.99-35.99%

Loan amount

$2,000-$50,000

Min. credit score

560

What is a medical loan?

A medical loan is a type of unsecured personal loan. Personal loans are fixed-rate loans you pay back over a set term, typically two to seven years. Unsecured means the loans do not require collateral. Banks, online lenders and credit unions all offer personal loans, but interest rates and features can differ among lenders.

Medical loans can be used for expenses like:

If you have outstanding medical debt already, a medical loan with a low rate can help consolidate debt into one monthly payment for the loan term, which can help you pay it off faster.

Pros and cons of medical loans

Pros

  • A medical loan can cover expected and unexpected medical costs.

  • Some online lenders have fast approval and funding.

  • A low-interest loan can be a good way to consolidate existing medical debt.

Cons

  • Lowest rates are only for good- or excellent-credit borrowers.

  • Some lenders have origination fees.

  • They may have higher interest rates than other options.

How to get a medical loan

The process to get a medical loan is generally the same as for any personal loan:

  1. Know your credit score: Your credit score is a key factor in determining whether you qualify for a loan and how much you can borrow. You can check your credit score for free on NerdWallet.

  2. Figure out how much you can afford: Use a personal loan calculator to estimate monthly payments and determine whether they fit comfortably within your budget.

  3. Pre-qualify and compare loans: Pre-qualifying lets you see potential loan terms, including the loan’s interest rate, loan amount and payments, without impacting your credit score. Compare offers from multiple lenders and identify the best loan for your needs and budget.

  4. Complete the application: Once you’ve decided on a lender, you can formally apply. Lenders typically send the loan proceeds directly to your bank account, with funding available within a few days after approval.

How to choose a medical loan

Below are factors to consider when selecting the best medical loan.

Annual percentage rate. A loan’s APR represents the true cost of borrowing, including interest and fees, and ranges from about 6% to 35.99% on personal loans. APRs can help you compare apples-to-apples between different loans and lenders — the loan with the lowest APR is generally the cheapest. To get the lowest rates, you'll need excellent credit.

Origination fee. Some lenders charge one-time origination fees to cover the cost of processing a loan. The fee typically ranges from 1% to 10% of the loan amount, and most lenders subtract the origination fee from the loan proceeds. For example, a $5,000 loan with an origination fee of 3% would cost $150, leaving you with $4,850.

Loan term. The length of the repayment period affects your monthly payments. A longer repayment term results in lower monthly payments but higher total interest paid over the life of the loan. Aim for a loan term with payments that fit within your budget.

Speed. If you need fast funding to cover health care costs, consider a lender with a quick approval and funding process. Some online lenders can provide loan funds as quickly as the same day.

Medical loans for bad credit

If you have fair or bad credit (689 credit score or lower), you may receive a high APR on your medical loan, which means you’ll pay more in interest over the loan term.

Here is what that can mean for your costs: a five-year, $5,000 loan with a 21.99% interest rate would cost $3,284 in interest payments. The same loan at 35.99% APR leads to a total interest cost of $5,838, which is more than the original loan amount. Financial experts generally advise that APRs should not exceed 36%.

There are ways for borrowers with low credit scores to improve their credit. Here are a few steps you can take:

  • Review your credit report: Check your credit report to ensure there are no errors, wrong accounts or incorrect credit limits that may negatively impact your credit score.

  • Add a co-signer: A co-signer can help your loan application. Your chances of getting approved may increase, or you may get a lower APR on the loan. But keep in mind that your co-signer will be held responsible for any missed loan payments.

  • Pre-qualify: Getting pre-qualified with a soft credit check can help you identify lenders and terms that fit you best, without impacting your credit score. Taking this additional step may help you avoid being rejected on a formal loan application, which requires a hard credit check and can drop your credit score a couple of points. 

Alternatives to medical loans

Here are other ways to pay for medical procedures or pay off medical debt that may be better for your wallet than a medical loan.

Payment plans. Payment plans provided by your medical provider may be a cheaper way to pay for health care expenses. Plans can be interest-free and generally require monthly payments for a set term. Some health care providers require a deposit followed by monthly payments, while others accept just monthly payments until the debt is repaid in full.

Ask your medical provider about any fees or charges associated with the payment plan so you know the total cost of this option.

Credit card for medical expenses. CareCredit is one example of a specialty credit card for medical expenses that offers short-term financing. The card, issued through Synchrony Bank, is accepted by over 260,000 health care providers. CareCredit can cover medical events related to LASIK surgery, dentistry, cosmetic surgery and general health care.

Approved borrowers may receive 0% interest for a promotional period of six, 12, 18 or 24 months for expenses above $200. However, if the balance is not paid off by the end of the term, CareCredit will charge interest retroactively from the purchase date. The standard APR for CareCredit financing is 29.99%, which may be higher than rates on other credit cards.

0% credit card. A 0% interest credit card is another option that can include perks like a sign-up bonus and rewards. You’ll need strong credit to qualify, and you must pay off the debt in full before the promotional period expires or you'll pay high-interest charges.

It’s best to dedicate one credit card for medical expenses to make keeping records for tax deductions or a health savings account easier.

Qualify for assistance. If you're experiencing economic hardship, you may qualify for a hardship plan from your health care provider or financial assistance from a charity organization or government program. Look to these options first before taking out a loan.

Other options. If you’re facing hospital bills, a medical bill advocate can help spot potential errors and negotiate on your behalf to reduce your total bill. You can also work with services like CoPatient, which can locate mistakes on your medical bills and negotiate lower rates.

Last updated on December 15, 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 5 Best Medical Loans in 2024

  • SoFi Personal Loan: Best for Medical loans for large amounts
  • LightStream: Best for Overall medical loans
  • Upgrade: Best for Medical loans for bad credit
  • Upstart: Best for Medical loans for thin credit
  • LendingClub: Best for Medical loans for co-applicants
  • Best Egg: Best for Medical loans with fast funding
  • Prosper: Best for Medical loans for flexible terms

Frequently asked questions

  • A medical loan is an unsecured personal loan that can be used to cover health care costs.

  • Medical loans can be used to pay for medical expenses like emergency room visits, checkups or dental work. Loans also cover medical procedures like plastic surgery, LASIK surgery, IVF or gender-affirming surgery.

  • Credit score requirements vary by lender. Check the lender’s website to find out the minimum credit score they will accept.

  • You can get a medical loan with bad credit, but you may pay more interest. Avoid getting a loan with an interest rate above 36% or taking on monthly payments you cannot afford.

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