Best Personal Loan for Fair Credit
NerdWallet reviewed and rated personal loan products offered by the 15 largest traditional banks and by digital lenders that met these criteria: They cap interest rates at 36%, the maximum rate allowed by some states and considered affordable by consumer advocacy groups; they serve consumers in more than one state; and they have significant online search volume. Some of the lenders we reviewed are NerdWallet partners, some are not.
How we picked the companies to evaluate:
NerdWallet scored all lenders against six categories and 20 subcategories. We weighted five of the categories in this way:
How we chose the winner:
- 25% - Features that do not negatively impact consumers’ credit scores, including performing soft credit checks to pre-qualify and reporting payments to all three credit bureaus.
- 25% - Features that do not impose added costs for consumers, including no origination fees and lower rates for autopayments.
- 20% - Features that cater to consumers’ needs, including flexible payment structures and refinancing options.
- 20% - Available and convenient customer points of contact and support.
- 10% - Transparency of lender rates, terms, fees and common questions.
The sixth category is unweighted and discretionary. A lender’s rating may be lowered one-half star (on a scale of one to five stars) if it has faced governmental regulatory action in the past five years, been accused by a reputable source of predatory practices or has a poor online reputation based on consumer complaints.
To determine the award winner, we grouped lenders that cater to consumers with fair credit scores (roughly coinciding with a FICO score between 630 and 689). Within that group, the lender with the highest score was the winner.
NerdWallet writers sent a comprehensive list of 40-plus questions to all loan companies we reviewed. We interviewed lenders to better understand their products and confirm details. NerdWallet writers and editors also cross-checked fees, rates and other features on each company's website. At least three people verified the scores and ratings we gave to lenders.