BEST OF

Best Personal Loans for Fair Credit of February 2023

Compare rates and terms among lenders offering personal loans for fair credit.

By Annie Millerbernd 

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Your credit score is a key factor that determines whether you qualify for a personal loan. Applicants with fair credit scores — generally from 630 to 689 — may have a harder time qualifying for a loan than those with good or excellent credit.

But it’s still possible. Many lenders consider additional factors on an application, such as education, whether you rent or own your home, income and outstanding debts.

Here are the best personal loans for fair credit, plus information about how to qualify and build your credit.

  • Upstart: Best fair-credit personal loans for thin credit histories.

  • LendingClub: Best fair-credit personal loans with budgeting help.

  • Best Egg: Best fair-credit personal loans with low rates.

  • Happy Money: Best fair-credit personal loans for debt consolidation.

  • Achieve: Best joint fair-credit personal loans.

  • Rocket Loans: Best fair-credit personal loans with fast approval.

  • First Tech: Best fair-credit personal loans from a credit union.

  • Prosper: Best flexible fair-credit personal loans.

Best Personal Loans for Fair Credit

Our pick for

Fair-credit personal loans for thin credit histories

Upstart
Get rate

on Upstart's website

Upstart

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Upstart

Est. APR

6.50-35.99%

Loan amount

$1,000-$50,000

Min. credit score

None
Get rate

on Upstart's website

Our pick for

Fair-credit personal loans with budgeting help

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

Our pick for

Fair-credit personal loans with low rates

BestEgg
Get rate

on Best Egg's website

Best Egg

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
BestEgg

Est. APR

8.99-35.99%

Loan amount

$2,000-$50,000

Min. credit score

600
Get rate

on Best Egg's website

Our pick for

Fair-credit personal loans for debt consolidation

Happy Money
Get rate

on Happy Money's website

Happy Money

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Happy Money

Est. APR

7.99-29.99%

Loan amount

$5,000-$40,000

Min. credit score

640
Get rate

on Happy Money's website

Our pick for

Joint fair-credit personal loans

Achieve
Get rate

on Achieve's website

Achieve Personal Loans

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Achieve

Est. APR

7.99-29.99%

Loan amount

$5,000-$50,000

Min. credit score

620
Get rate

on Achieve's website

Our pick for

Fair-credit personal loans with fast approval

RocketLoans
Get rate

on Rocket Loans' website

Rocket Loans

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
RocketLoans

Est. APR

7.73-29.99%

Loan amount

$2,000-$45,000

Min. credit score

640
Get rate

on Rocket Loans' website

Our pick for

Fair-credit personal loans from a credit union

First Tech Credit Union Personal Loan
See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website

First Tech Credit Union Personal Loan

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
First Tech Credit Union Personal Loan

Est. APR

6.70-18.00%

Loan amount

$500-$50,000

Min. credit score

660
See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website

Our pick for

Flexible fair-credit personal loans

Prosper
See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website

Prosper

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Prosper

Est. APR

6.99-35.99%

Loan amount

$2,000-$50,000

Min. credit score

560
See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website

How we chose the best personal loans for fair credit

We compared more than a dozen lenders that require a minimum credit score between 560 and 660 to choose the best personal loans for fair credit. We reviewed factors such as income and other borrowing requirements, APR ranges, loan amounts, funding time and the ability to add a co-applicant or collateral.

What is fair credit?

A fair credit score is generally from 630 to 689. Lenders may use different definitions of fair credit based on different credit scoring companies. Most lenders use either FICO, which defines fair credit as 580 to 669, or VantageScore, which puts fair credit or “near prime” scores, between 601 and 660.

If you have a fair credit score, do what you can to move it into the good credit range because consumers in that range often have access to a wider range of personal loan options and often get lower rates.

Can you get a personal loan with fair credit?

You can get a personal loan with a fair credit score, but your options may be limited. Many banks and some online lenders look for borrowers with good or excellent credit.

A lower credit score usually means your personal loan will have a higher annual percentage rate. Use a personal loan calculator to estimate monthly payments based on your credit score.

Here are average personal loan rates by credit score:

How's your credit?

Score range

Estimated APR

Excellent

720-850.

11.3%.

Good

690-719.

15.6%

Fair

630-689.

22.3%.

Bad

300-629.

25.2%.

Source: Average rates are based on aggregate, anonymized offer data from users who pre-qualified in NerdWallet’s lender marketplace from July 1, 2022, to Oct. 31, 2022. Rates are estimates only and not specific to any lender. The lowest credit scores — usually below a 500 credit score — are unlikely to qualify. Information in this table applies only to lenders with APRs below 36%.

How to compare fair-credit personal loans

Here are the most important features to compare on fair-credit loans.

Annual percentage rate

The APR on a personal loan is the loan’s interest rate plus any fees a lender charges. Use this number to compare the cost of one personal loan with another and with other financing options like credit cards.

Monthly payments

A lender should disclose the monthly payments before you sign a loan agreement — usually during pre-qualification or once you’re approved. Personal loans have fixed rates, so the monthly payment won’t change over the life of the loan.

Repayment term

Repayment terms for fair-credit loans typically range from two to seven years. A longer term lowers your monthly payments, but increases the total interest cost. Choose a repayment term that keeps payments affordable and helps you clear the debt within the term or even earlier.

Fees

Prepayment fees aren’t common with personal loans, but some fair-credit lenders charge origination fees. This is usually 1% to 10% of the loan amount, and a lender typically takes the fee before depositing the funds into your bank account.

Other features

If you’re choosing between two affordable offers, compare these other features:

  • Time to fund: Personal loans are often funded in less than a week, but some lenders can fund a loan the business day after you apply. If you need the funds quickly, consider lenders that offer fast funding.

  • Credit building tools: Ideally, you’ll leave this loan with better credit than when you got it. Most lenders report payments to all three major credit bureaus, but be sure yours does before signing the loan agreement to get credit for on-time payments. Some lenders offer credit score monitoring, so you can see it change as you repay the loan.

  • Payment flexibility: Some lenders require you to keep your original payment date for the lifetime of the loan. If you think you’ll need more flexibility, look for a lender that lets you change the payment date.

How to get a personal loan with fair credit

1. Compare lender requirements

The lenders listed above accept borrowers with fair credit, but some look for a lower debt-to-income ratio. Others may consider a wide range of factors, like where you attended college or where you live. Compare qualification criteria to learn what each lender requires on a loan application.

2. Pre-qualify

Pre-qualifying can show how likely you are to be approved for a personal loan and let you preview potential rates and loan amounts. The process involves a soft credit check, which doesn't affect your credit score. You can pre-qualify with NerdWallet and see estimated rates from lenders that partner with us.

3. Submit an application

Once you’ve found a lender, it’s time to apply. Many large lenders have online applications that take only a few minutes to complete, but smaller banks and credit unions may require an in-person visit. A tip to speed things up: Gather documents, including W-2s, pay stubs and government-issued IDs before you apply.

How to improve fair credit

Since having good credit could mean a lower personal loan rate, it might be helpful to build your credit before you apply for a personal loan. Here are a few ways to build your credit quickly:

  • Check your credit report. Your credit report doesn’t contain your score, but it shows what lenders see when they review your credit. If you spot an error, correct it. You can view credit reports from all three major credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion — at AnnualCreditReport.com.

  • Make on-time payments. Your payment history is the biggest factor affecting your credit score. The more consistently you make payments toward your credit cards, mortgage or car loan, the more likely you are to build your score.

  • Keep your credit utilization low. The portion of available credit that you use is called credit utilization and it’s the second-biggest factor determining your credit score. Try to use less than 30% of your credit card’s limit to keep utilization low. You can quickly lower your utilization by asking your credit card company to increase your limit, but the request may trigger a hard credit inquiry.

Tips to boost your chances of qualifying for a fair-credit loan

Consider a credit union: A credit union may weigh your history as a member alongside your credit score, so members in good standing may have a better shot at qualifying for a personal loan.

Secure the loan: Most personal loans are unsecured, but some lenders offer secured personal loans, which require collateral. Giving the bank something to take if you can’t repay makes the loan less risky for the bank. Banks typically let you use a savings or investment account to secure the loan, while online lenders prefer a vehicle.

Add a co-applicant: Adding a co-signer with better credit and a higher income to your loan may help you qualify for a lower rate. A co-signer is someone who agrees to pay the loan if you can’t, but that person doesn’t have access to the money. You may also consider a joint personal loan, which is similar to a co-signed loan except that your co-applicant can access the funds. In both cases, if you fail to repay the loan, your co-applicant is responsible for repayment — and both of your credit scores will take a hit.

Last updated on December 13, 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 Best Personal Loans for Fair Credit of February 2023

Frequently asked questions