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5 Best Medical Loans in 2022

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.

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A medical loan is an unsecured personal loan that covers health care costs. It can be used to consolidate existing medical debt, cover emergency or planned medical procedures like dental work or plastic surgery, or pay for high deductibles and out-of-network charges.

Medical loans are likely the most expensive way to cover your medical costs and are best considered only after you’ve exhausted other options, including payment plans and medical credit cards.

Here's a list of the best lenders offering medical loans:

  • SoFi: Best for medical loans for low rates.

  • LightStream: Best for overall medical loans.

  • Upstart: Best for medical loans for thin credit.

  • LendingClub: Best for medical loans for co-signers.

  • Universal Credit: Best for medical loans for bad credit.

5 Best Medical Loans in 2022 From Our Partners

Our pick for

Medical loans for low rates

SoFi
Get rate

on SoFi's website

SoFi

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
SoFi

Est. APR

7.99-23.43%

Loan amount

$5,000-$100,000

Min. credit score

None
Get rate

on SoFi's website


Min. credit score

None

Key facts

SoFi is a strong option for good-credit consumers, offering high borrowing amounts, low rates, no fees, and flexible payments.

Pros

  • No fees.

  • Joint loan option.

  • Rate discount for autopay.

  • Hardship program for borrowers in need.

  • Mobile app to manage loan.

Cons

  • No option to choose initial payment date.

  • High minimum loan amount.

Qualifications

  • Must legally be an adult in your state.

  • Must be a U.S. 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 7.99% APR to 23.43% APR reflect the 0.25% autopay discount and a 0.25% direct deposit discount. SoFi rate ranges are current as of 8/22/22 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. Lowest rates reserved for the most creditworthy borrowers. 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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Our pick for

Medical loans for joint loans

Lending Club
Get rate

on LendingClub's website

LendingClub

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Lending Club

Est. APR

8.30-36.00%

Loan amount

$1,000-$40,000

Min. credit score

600
Get rate

on LendingClub's website


Min. credit score

600

Key facts

LendingClub is a pioneer of peer-to-peer lending and an option for fair- to good-credit borrowers.

Pros

  • Joint loan option.

  • Direct payment to creditors with debt consolidation loans.

  • Option to pre-qualify with a soft credit check.

  • Option to change your payment date.

Cons

  • Origination fee.

  • Late fee.

  • No mobile app to manage loan.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 600.

  • Maximum DTI: 60%; 40% for joint applicants.

  • Minimum credit history: 37 months and 2 accounts.

Available Term Lengths

3 to 5 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: 3% to 6%.

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

Disclaimer

Between April 2022 and June 2022, Personal Loans issued by LendingClub Bank were funded within 44 hours after loan approval, on average. The time it takes for a loan to be funded is not guaranteed and individual results vary based on multiple factors, including but not limited to investor demand. A representative example of payment terms for a Personal Loan is as follows: a borrower receives a loan of $16,980 for a term of 36 months, with an interest rate of 13.49% and a 6.00% origination fee of $1,019, for an APR of 17.89%. In this example, the borrower will receive $15,961 and will make 36 monthly payments of $576. Loan amounts range from $1,000 to $40,000 and loan term lengths range from 24 months to 60 months. Some amounts, rates, and term lengths may be unavailable in certain states. For Personal Loans, APR ranges from 8.30% to 36.00% and origination fee ranges from 3.00% to 6.00% of the loan amount. APRs and origination fees are determined at the time of application. Lowest APR is available to borrowers with excellent credit. Advertised rates and fees are valid as of July 11, 2022 and are subject to change without notice. Loans are made by LendingClub Bank, N.A., Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender (“LendingClub Bank”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of LendingClub Corporation, NMLS ID 167439. LendingClub Bank is not an affiliate of NerdWallet Compare, Inc. which is an unrelated third party (“third party”). LendingClub Bank is not responsible for any products and services provided by this third party and may receive compensation if you visit the third party’s websites or use any of its products or services. Credit eligibility is not guaranteed. Loans are subject to credit approval and may be subject to sufficient investor commitment before they can be funded or issued. Certain information that LendingClub Bank subsequently obtains 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. 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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Our pick for

Overall medical loans

Lightstream
Get rate

on LightStream's website

LightStream

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Lightstream

Est. APR

6.99-22.49%

Loan amount

$5,000-$100,000

Min. credit score

660
Get 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. It offers high borrowing amounts for financing costly medical procedures or consolidating medical debts.

Pros

  • No fees.

  • Rate discount for autopay.

  • Long repayment terms on home improvement loans.

  • Rate Beat program and Experience Guarantee.

Cons

  • No option to pre-qualify on its website.

  • Requires several years of credit history.

  • No 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

Rates quoted are with AutoPay. 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. Rates without AutoPay are 0.50% points higher. 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 $25,000 loan at 4.98% APR with a term of 20 years would result in 240 monthly payments of $164.71. Some additional conditions and limitations apply. Advertised rates and terms are subject to change without notice. Truist Bank is an Equal Housing Lender. © 2022 Truist Financial Corporation. Truist, LightStream, and the LightStream 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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Our pick for

Medical loans for thin credit

Upstart
Get rate

on Upstart's website

Upstart

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Upstart

Est. APR

5.42-35.99%

Loan amount

$1,000-$50,000

Min. credit score

None
Get rate

on Upstart's website


Min. credit score

None

Key facts

Upstart may be a good fit for borrowers who are new to credit, since the lender considers other factors, including education and employment, in the application process.

Pros

  • Accepts borrowers new to credit.

  • Fast funding.

  • Option to change your payment date.

  • Option to pre-qualify with a soft credit check.

  • Offers free financial education

Cons

  • May charge origination fee.

  • No joint, co-signed or secured loans.

  • No mobile app to manage loan.

  • Only two repayment term options.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: None.

  • Minimum annual income: $12,000; this lender accepts income from employment, alimony, retirement, child support, Social Security, rentals, trusts, pensions, disability and scholarships.

  • Must have a full-time job or be starting a full-time job in six months.

Available Term Lengths

3 to 5 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: 0% - 10%

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

  • Returned check fee: $15.

Disclaimer

Your loan amount will be determined based on your credit, income, and certain other information provided in your loan application. Not all applicants will qualify for the full amount. Minimum loan amounts vary by state: GA ($3,100), HI ($2,100), MA ($7,000), NM ($5,100), OH ($6,000). The full range of available rates varies by state. The average 5-year loan offered across all lenders using the Upstart platform will have an APR of 25.05% and 60 monthly payments of $25.80 per $1,000 borrowed. For example, the total cost of a $10,000 loan would be $15,478 including a $804 origination fee. APR is calculated based on 5-year rates offered in June 2022. 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. This offer is conditioned on final approval based on our consideration and verification of financial and non-financial information. Rate and loan amount are subject to change based upon information received in your full application. This offer may be accepted only by the person identified in this offer, who is old enough to legally enter into contract for the extension of credit, a US citizen or permanent resident, and a current resident of the US. Duplicate offers are void. Closing your loan is contingent on your meeting our eligibility requirements, our verification of your information, and your agreement to the terms and conditions on the Upstart.com website.

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Our pick for

Medical loans for bad credit

Universal Credit
Get rate

on Universal Credit's website

Universal Credit

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Universal Credit

Est. APR

11.69-35.93%

Loan amount

$1,000-$50,000

Min. credit score

560
Get rate

on Universal Credit's website


Min. credit score

560

Key facts

Universal credit is a potential option for bad-credit borrowers, offering rate discounts for automatic payments. However, loans come with limited repayment options and fees.

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.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 560.

  • Minimum number of accounts on credit history: 1 account.

  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: 75%, including mortgage and the loan you’re applying for.

  • Minimum length of credit history: 2 years.

  • Minimum income requirement: None. Lender accepts income from alimony, retirement, child support, Social Security and other sources.

Available Term Lengths

3 to 5 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: 5.25% to 8.99%.

  • Late fee: Up to $10.

Disclaimer

Personal loans made through Universal Credit feature Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) of 11.69%-35.93%. All personal loans have a 5.25% to 8.99% origination fee, which is deducted from the loan proceeds. Lowest rates require Autopay and paying off a portion of existing debt directly. Loans feature repayment terms of 36 to 60 months. For example, if you receive a $10,000 loan with a 36-month term and a 28.47% APR (which includes a 22.99% yearly interest rate and a 7% one-time origination fee), you would receive $9,300 in your account and would have a required monthly payment of $387.05. Over the life of the loan, your payments would total $13,933.62. 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.

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What is a medical loan?

A medical loan is a type of unsecured personal loan. Personal loans are fixed-rate loans that 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 convenience in applying can differ among lenders.

Medical loans can be used for expenses like emergency room visits, plastic surgery, LASIK surgery, IVF or gender-affirming surgery. Medical loans can also be used to consolidate medical debt or pay for high deductibles and out-of-network charges.

How to get a medical loan

The process of getting 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 need: Use a personal loan calculator to estimate monthly payments based on your credit score and determine whether they fit comfortably within your budget.

  3. Pre-qualify and compare loans: Pre-qualifying for a medical loan lets you see potential loan terms, including the loan’s interest rate, loan amount and payments without impacting your credit score. Pre-qualify with multiple lenders to compare offers and find the loan that gives you an amount you need and a payment you can afford.

  4. Complete the application: Once you’ve pre-qualified and chosen a loan, you can formally apply for the loan. Lenders will typically send the loan directly to your bank account, with funding available within a day or two after approval.

How to choose a medical loan

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

Annual percentage rate. A loan’s APR represents the true annual cost of borrowing, including interest and fees. Comparing APRs can help you make an apples-to-apples cost comparison between different loans and lenders. APRs on personal loans range from about 6% to 36%. 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 the loan. The fee typically ranges from 1% to 10% of the loan amount and is included in the APR calculation.

Most lenders subtract the origination fee from the loan proceeds. 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 application to funding process. Some online lenders can provide funding within a day or two, while others can provide funding within a week.

Pros and cons of medical loans

Pros

  • A medical loan can be used for expected and unexpected medical costs.

  • Some online lenders can make applying and funding fast.

  • Can be a good option if you’re consolidating existing medical debt at a lower rate.

Cons

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

  • There can be additional fees like origination fees.

  • High interest rates can mean you pay back more than the amount you borrow.

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 interest over the loan term. That can leave you paying for more than the loan amount itself. Let’s look at an example.

A five-year, $5,000 loan with a 35.99% interest rate would cost $5,838 in interest. This rate leads to a total cost of $10,838, which is over twice the 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 boost your 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 also be held responsible for loan payments if you miss any.

  • Get pre-qualified: Getting pre-qualified can help you get an idea of your loan amount and term options, payments and the APR you can expect. It will only do a soft pull on your credit, so there will not be a negative impact on your credit score.

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. Your best option may be to establish a payment plan with the medical provider and avoid paying interest on the debt if it’s repaid within the term, says Kari Jean Glosser, a financial advisor at Abacus Wealth Partners in Santa Monica, California.

Some health care providers require a deposit followed by monthly payments; others may accept just monthly payments until the debt is repaid in full, says Glosser, who used a payment plan for her dental surgery.

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

Medical credit cards. These are lines of credit available through many medical providers.

CareCredit is a specialty credit card that offers a short-term financing option. The card, issued through Synchrony bank, is accepted by over 250,000 health care providers and retail locations. CareCredit can be used to cover medical events related to LASIK surgery, dentistry, cosmetic surgery and general health care.

CareCredit’s approval and terms are based on your credit score. Interest accrues during the term (6, 12, 18 or 24 months), and if you pay the principal balance in full by the end of the promotional period, you'll owe 0% in interest. But CareCredit defers interest, so if you don’t pay your balance within the promo period, you could be looking at paying all your interest retroactively from the date of purchase.

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 a regular credit card only for medical expenses. Mixing medical debt with other purchases makes it harder to keep records for tax deductions or a health savings account, Glosser says.

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

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

Last updated on July 28, 2022

Methodology

NerdWallet’s review process evaluates and rates personal loan products from more than 35 financial institutions. 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 more about our ratings methodologies for personal loans and our editorial guidelines.

To recap our selections...

NerdWallet's 5 Best Medical Loans in 2022

Frequently asked questions