BEST OF

Best Personal Loans for Fair Credit of January 2022

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

Jan 3, 2022

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There’s no way to sugarcoat it: It’s harder for borrowers with fair credit to qualify for a personal loan than it is for borrowers with good or excellent credit.

But it’s still possible. Lenders pay attention to credit scores, but some consider additional factors when determining your creditworthiness. Here are the best personal loans for fair credit, plus information about how to qualify and build your credit.

  • Upstart: Best overall fair-credit personal loans.

  • LendingClub: Best debt consolidation loans for fair credit.

  • Upgrade: Best fair-credit personal loans with credit-building tools.

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

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

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

  • First Tech: Best fair-credit personal loans for existing credit union members.

Best Personal Loans for Fair Credit

Our pick for

Overall fair-credit personal loans

Upstart
Get rate

on Upstart's website

Upstart

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Upstart

Est. APR

3.22-35.99%

Loan Amount

$1,000-$50,000

Min. Credit Score

None
Get rate

on Upstart's website


Min. Credit Score

None

Key facts

Upstart is 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

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. The minimum loan amount in MA is $7,000. The minimum loan amount in Ohio is $6,000. The minimum loan amount in NM is $5,100. The minimum loan amount in GA is $3,100. 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 www.upstart.com website.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.If you accept your loan by 5pm EST (not including weekends or holidays), you will receive your funds the next business day. Loans used to fund education related expenses are subject to a 3 business day wait period between loan acceptance and funding in accordance with federal law.

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Our pick for

Debt consolidation loans for fair credit

Lending Club
Get 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
Get rate

on LendingClub's website


Min. Credit Score

600

Key facts

LendingClub is a pioneer of peer-to-peer lending and a good option if you want to consolidate your debt.

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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Our pick for

Fair-credit personal loans with credit-building tools

Upgrade
Get 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
Get rate

on Upgrade's website


Min. Credit Score

560

Key facts

Upgrade offers personal loans plus credit-building tools; you'll need strong cash flow to qualify.

Pros

  • Allows secured and joint loans.

  • Offers a wide range of repayment terms.

  • Offers 0.5 percentage point 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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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

4.99-35.99%

Loan Amount

$2,000-$50,000

Min. Credit Score

600
Get rate

on Best Egg's website


Min. Credit Score

600

Key facts

Best Egg offers personal loans for borrowers who want to consolidate debt and need cash fast.

Pros

  • Offers wide range of loan amounts.

  • Provides secured loan option for homeowners.

  • Offers direct payment to creditors with debt consolidation loans.

Cons

  • Charges origination fee.

  • No rate discount for autopay.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 600; borrower average is 700.

  • Minimum credit history: 3 years and 3 accounts.

  • Minimum income requirement is $3,500; borrower average is $80,000. Borrower must have enough cash flow to cover current financial obligations.

  • Minimum debt-to-income ratio: 40% or 65% including a mortgage; borrower average is 40%.

  • Employment: Must provide proof of income; part-time employees are eligible.

  • Must provide valid U.S. address and Social Security number.

Available Term Lengths

2 to 5 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: 0.99% - 5.99%.

  • Return fee: $15 if payments are not processed.

Disclaimer

*Trustpilot TrustScore as of June 2020. Best Egg personal loans, including the Best Egg Secured Loan, are made by Cross River Bank, a New Jersey State Chartered Commercial Bank, Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender or Blue Ridge Bank, a Nationally Chartered Bank, Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender. “Best Egg” is a trademark of Marlette Holdings, Inc., a Delaware corporation. All uses of “Best Egg” refer to “the Best Egg personal loan”, “the Best Egg Secured Loan”, and/or “Best Egg on behalf of Cross River Bank or Blue Ridge Bank, as originator of the Best Egg personal loan,” as applicable. The term, amount, and APR of any loan we offer to you will depend on your credit score, income, debt payment obligations, loan amount, credit history and other factors. Your loan agreement will contain specific terms and conditions. About half of our customers get their money the next day. After successful verification, your money can be deposited in your bank account within 1-3 business days. The timing of available funds upon loan approval may vary depending upon your bank’s policies. Loan amounts range from $2,000– $50,000. Residents of Massachusetts have a minimum loan amount of $6,500 ; New Mexico and Ohio, $5,000; and Georgia, $3,000. For a second Best Egg loan, your total existing Best Egg loan balances cannot exceed $50,000. Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) range from 4.99%–35.99%. The APR is the cost of credit as a yearly rate and reflects both your interest rate and an origination fee of 0.99%–5.99% of your loan amount, which will be deducted from any loan proceeds you receive. The origination fee on a loan term 4-years or longer will be at least 4.99%. Your loan term will impact your APR, which may be higher than our lowest advertised rate.  You need a minimum 700 FICO® score and a minimum individual annual income of $100,000 to qualify for our lowest APR. To help the government fight the funding of terrorism and money laundering activities, Federal law requires all financial institutions to obtain, verify, and record information that identifies each person who opens an account. What this means for you: When you open an account, we will ask for your name, address, date of birth, and other information that will allow us to identify you. We may also ask to see your driver’s license or other identifying documents.

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Our pick for

Fair-credit personal loans with fast approval

RocketLoans
See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website

Rocket Loans

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
RocketLoans

Est. APR

5.97-29.69%

Loan Amount

$2,000-$45,000

Min. Credit Score

640
See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website


Min. Credit Score

640

Key facts

Rocket Loans offers online personal loans to borrowers with fair credit and over two years of credit history.

Pros

  • Soft credit check with pre-qualification.

  • Competitive rates among fair-credit lenders.

  • Offers a 0.3% rate discount for setting up autopay.

  • Able to fund loans the same day.

  • Offers small loans of $2,000.

Cons

  • Charges origination fee.

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

  • No option to choose or change your payment date.

  • Borrowers can choose from only two repayment term options.

  • No co-sign, joint or secured loan option.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 640; borrower average is 710.

  • Minimum credit history: Over two years.

  • Minimum annual income: $24,000; borrower average is $85,000.

  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: 40% or 70% including mortgage; borrower average is 14%.

  • Must be at least 18 years old (19 in Alabama and Nebraska).

  • Must provide Social Security number.

Available Term Lengths

3 to 5 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: 1% to 6%.

  • Late fee: $15 after 10-day grace period.

  • Unsuccessful payment fee: $15.

Disclaimer

All personal loans are made by Cross River Bank, a New Jersey state chartered commercial bank, Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender. All loans are unsecured, fully amortizing personal loans. Eligibility for a loan is not guaranteed. Please refer to our Disclosures and Licenses page for state required disclosures, licenses, and lending restrictions. Borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent U.S. resident alien at least 18 years of age (in Nebraska and Alabama a borrower must be at least 19 years of age). All loan applications are subject to credit review and approval. Offered loan terms depend upon your credit profile, requested amount, requested loan term, credit usage, credit history and other factors. Not all borrowers receive the lowest interest rate. To qualify for the lowest rate, you must have excellent credit, meet certain conditions, and select autopay. Rates and Terms are subject to change at any time without notice. Please refer to RocketLoans.com and our Terms of Use for additional terms and conditions.

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Our pick for

Credit union personal loans for fair credit

PenFed Credit Union Personal Loan
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on NerdWallet's secure website

PenFed Credit Union Personal Loan

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
PenFed Credit Union Personal Loan

Est. APR

4.99-17.99%

Loan Amount

$600-$50,000

Min. Credit Score

None
See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website


Min. Credit Score

None

Key facts

PenFed offers a wide range of personal loan amounts with low rates and minimal fees, and borrowers can pre-qualify.

Pros

  • Soft credit check with pre-qualification.

  • No origination or prepayment fees.

  • Offers joint and secured loan options.

  • Offers mobile app to manage your loan.

Cons

  • No discount for autopay.

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

  • No option to choose or change your payment date.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit history: Two years.

  • Debt-to-income ratio: Below 55%.

Available Term Lengths

1 to 5 years

Fees

  • Late fee: $29

  • Returned payment fee: $30

  • Membership fee: $5

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Our pick for

Fair-credit personal loans for existing credit union members

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


Min. Credit Score

660

Key facts

First Tech’s personal loans are a sound option for members who want a customizable debt consolidation loan with fast funding.

Pros

  • Offers co-sign, joint and secure loan options.

  • Able to fund loans within one business day.

  • Offers direct payment to creditors with debt consolidation loans.

  • Offers wide range of loan amounts and repayment terms.

  • No origination or prepayment fees.

Cons

  • Exclusive to credit union members.

  • Reports payments to only one of the three major credit bureaus.

  • No rate discount for autopay.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 660.

Available Term Lengths

2 to 7 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: None.

  • Prepayment fee: None.

Read Full Review

What is fair credit?

Having fair credit means your FICO score is from 630 to 689. If you have a fair credit score, try to move it into the good credit range (starting at 690) because consumers in that range often have access to a wider range of personal loan options and often get lower rates.

How does fair credit affect your personal loan?

A fair credit score doesn’t mean you won’t qualify for a personal loan, but it limits your options. Many banks and some online lenders look for borrowers with good or excellent credit.

Though your credit score is a major factor on a loan application, your income and other outstanding debts are also considered, and some lenders use non-traditional data in a loan decision.

A lower credit score usually means your personal loan will have a higher annual percentage rate. Personal loan borrowers with fair or average credit can expect to get an APR above 20%. Use our personal loan calculator to estimate monthly payments based on your credit score.

Here's what personal loan rates look like on average:

How's your credit?

Score range

Estimated APR

Excellent.

720-850.

11.2%.

Good.

690-719.

15.5%.

Fair.

630-689.

20.5%.

Bad.

300-629.

25.3% (Lowest scores unlikely to qualify).

Source: Average rates are based on aggregate, anonymized offer data from users who pre-qualified in NerdWallet’s lender marketplace from July 1, 2020, to July 31, 2021. Rates are estimates only and not specific to any lender.

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 better.

  • Keep your credit utilization low. The portion of available credit that you use is called credit utilization. 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.

How to compare fair-credit loans

Compare different lenders and shop around to find the lowest rates and best features. Here are features to compare with fair-credit loans.

  • APR: The annual percentage rate is the interest rate plus any other 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 will also disclose during pre-qualification or approval how much the loan will cost each month. Most personal loans have fixed rates, so this amount won’t change over the life of the loan.

  • Repayment term: Repayment terms for fair-credit loans typically range from one to seven years. A longer repayment term lowers your monthly payments, but increases the total interest costs. 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 many online lenders charge origination fees. This is usually 1% to 10% of the loan amount, and a lender typically takes the fee before depositing the loan into your bank account.

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

  • 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 let you monitor your credit score, so you can see how your payments impact it.

  • 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 move the payment date.

How to qualify for a personal loan with fair credit

  • 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.

  • 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. Lenders use a soft credit check, which doesn't affect your credit score. You can pre-qualify with multiple lenders at once with NerdWallet.

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

How to improve your chances of qualifying with fair credit

Here are a few ways to improve your chances of qualifying for a personal loan or getting a lower rate:

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 it. 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 or co-borrower 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. A co-borrower has access to 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 January 3, 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 January 2022

Frequently asked questions