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Best holiday loans for bad credit

Unwrap the joy of stress-free financing from these six lenders.

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Americans planned to spend around $730 on gifts in 2019, according to a Finder survey. Between travel and decorations and other expenses, it could easily cost you much more.

If you need to borrow in order to cover the more costly expenses of the season, a personal loan might be your best bet. These generally come with lower rates with credit cards, and there are even a few options available to people with a credit score below 580 — what lenders consider to be bad credit.

How we picked these lenders

We analyzed over 120 personal loan providers and picked lenders with low minimums, that accept credit scores in the 300 to 580 range and have reasonable customer reviews. Since there is no best loan for everyone, we included options for a wide range of borrowers. This includes those that have access to a cosigner with good credit, no credit or no bank account.

6 best holiday loans for bad credit

  • Monevo: Best for hosting a holiday feast
  • LoanStart: Best for finding a good deal
  • Stilt: Best for your first holiday season in the US

Monevo personal loans logo
Finder Rating: 4.4 / 5

★★★★★

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at Monevo personal loans's secure site

Best for hosting a holiday feast: Monevo personal loans

None
Min. Credit Score
3.49%
Starting APR
$100,000
Loan Amount

Factor in the food, decorations and alcohol, and your celebration could easily set you back several hundred dollars. Throw in outdoor seating for a properly socially distanced event, and you could be in for an even bigger price tag. This award-winning connection service partners with providers that offer a wide range of loans that can cover those costs and more.

  • Loans as low as $500
  • No minimum credit score
  • Partners clearly listed on site
  • Not a direct lender
  • Potentially long turnaround with some partners
Loan Amount $500 – $100,000
APR 3.49% to 35.99%
Interest Rate Type Fixed
Min term 3 months
Max term 144 months
Turnaround Time Varies by lender
LoanStart.com personal loans logo
Finder Rating: 3.8 / 5

★★★★★

Check my rate

at LoanStart.com personal loans's secure site

Best for finding a good deal: LoanStart.com personal loans

Varies by lender
Min. Credit Score
4.84%
Starting APR
$40,000
Loan Amount

This connection service can be another great way to compare multiple offers to find the best deal available to you. There are no hard credit requirements. And some of its partners offer longer-than-average terms, which can lower your monthly cost.

  • Coapplicants available
  • Few hard requirements
  • Terms as long as 7 years
  • No loans under $1,000
  • Lack of information online
  • Also offers high-cost installment loans
Loan Amount $1,000 – $40,000
Interest Rate Type Fixed
Max term 84 months
Turnaround Time Varies
Stilt personal loans logo
Finder Rating: 4 / 5

★★★★★

Check my rate

at Stilt personal loans's secure site

Best for your first holiday season in the US: Stilt personal loans

Not required
Min. Credit Score
7.99%
Starting APR
$25,000
Loan Amount

This lender was designed to help nonresidents access financing and build their US credit score. It looks at your cashflow, past spending habits and savings instead of credit, so you might be able to find a good deal if you need to pay for gifts, travel or any other holiday expense.

  • Accepts applications from nonresidents
  • No credit score required
  • Only available in 16 states
  • No loans under $1,000
Loan Amount $1,000 – $25,000
Interest Rate Type Fixed
Min term 6 months
Max term 36 months
Turnaround Time 2 to 3 business days

Best for gifts: Regional Finance personal loans

550
Min. Credit Score
Varies
Starting APR
$10,000
Loan Amount

Regional Finance offers loans well under the average most Americans plan to spend, starting at $600. It's also one of the few lenders that doesn't require a bank account — you can receive your money in the form of a check. And while it does require collateral, that security can help you qualify for a lower rate.

  • Loans start at $600
  • No bank account required
  • Score a lower rate by using collateral
  • Only available in 11 states
  • Not transparent about costs
  • Must have collateral to qualify
Loan Amount $600 – $10,000
APR Varies
Interest Rate Type Fixed
Min. Credit Score 550
Min term 9 months
Max term 24 months

Best for travel: Uplift travel loans

550
Min. Credit Score
4.01%
Starting APR
$15,000
Loan Amount

This lender partners with travel companies to cover the cost of a vacation package or flight at checkout. This makes the application process a lot smoother. And with loans start at a low $500, you can potentially pay a lower rate than you would have with a credit card.

  • Borrow directly with partners
  • Loans as low as $500
  • Likely cheaper than a credit card
  • Requires 11% down payment on trip
  • Must have 550 credit score
  • Limits your choice of airlines
Loan Amount $500 – $15,000
APR 4.01% to 35.99%
Interest Rate Type Fixed
Min. Credit Score 550
Max term 10.8 months

Best for sharing the cost with a good-credit cosigner: Laurel Road personal loans

680
Min. Credit Score
7.50%
Starting APR
$45,000
Loan Amount

Laurel Road is one of the only personal loan providers that accepts cosigners. This means that you could rely on someone else's good credit to score a low rate, if they're willing to share the responsibility of the loan. While starting rates are higher than average, you could still get a better deal than if you applied on your own.

  • Accepts cosigners
  • Lower rates for shorter terms
  • No origination fees
  • Loan terms start at three years
  • Requires at least a 680 credit score from at least one borrower
Loan Amount $1,000 – $45,000
APR 7.50% to 24.75%
Interest Rate Type Fixed
Min. Credit Score 680
Min term 36 months
Max term 60 months
Turnaround Time As little as 2 business days

How to prequalify for a bad credit personal loan

Prequalifying for a loan allows you to check the rates, terms and loan amounts you might qualify for before submitting all of your information. It's a great way to compare potential offers, instead of relying on the general ranges advertised.

With online lenders, you can often prequalify by filling out an online form on the lender's website with information about yourself, your income, expenses and how you plan on using the funds. In some cases, you can also get a quote by talking to a loan officer over the phone.

How much will my loan cost me?

Your total and monthly loan cost depends on your loan amount, rate, terms and fees. With bad credit, you'll likely qualify for an interest rate on the higher end. In most states, personal loans are capped at 36%. You also might pay an origination fee of around 5% of the loan amount, which lenders typically add to or deduct from the loan amount.

Use our calculator to see how much different loan offers might cost you each month and in total.

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Are holiday loans a good idea?

Generally, it's not a good idea to take on debt when you have the option to save — especially when it comes to nonessential items like gifts. Bad credit loans are notorious for high rates and less-than-favorable terms. If you can't afford repayments, it'll hurt your credit even more.

But loans are generally less expensive than some other options, like credit cards. Before you borrow explore the alternatives, make sure repayments fit your budget and consider whether it's worth the extra expense.

4 more ways to pay for holiday expenses

A personal loan is only one type of loan that you can use to pay for your holiday expenses. Here are some other options:

  • Credit cards. If you can pay off your expenses within a month or two, this might actually be cheaper and more convenient than paying for a loan.
  • Pay advance apps. Apps like Earnin let you access hourly wages you've already earned, usually for an optional fee, making it an inexpensive way to access your paycheck before it comes through.
  • Layaway plans. For items that you know you'll want but might sell out by the time you can save, this option allows you to put down a deposit and and pay off the rest in installments. You can pick up your merch once you've paid in full.
  • Friend and family loans. If you're struggling to meet expenses, your friends and family might be willing to help lend you the money. Agree on the terms, whether you'll pay interest and what happens if you're late to avoid any misunderstandings ahead of time.

5 tips to save more on the holidays

Cut back on your expenses and you might not have to spend money at all. Here are some ways you can lower your costs during the holiday season:

  1. Take advantage of sales. Holiday sales start earlier than ever this year, which gives you more opportunities to save. Plan ahead and have a strategy so you aren't stuck looking for deals along with everyone else.
  2. Use coupon codes. Before you buy anything online, look for discount codes that you can apply to your purchase. Or, use a browser extension like Honey to do the work for you.
  3. Make DIY gifts. Use what you're good at to give homemade gifts. They don't have to be fancy and they're more personal. When I was growing up, my parents used to give away homemade jam and it was always huge hit.
  4. Host a Zoom dinner. Social distancing has another advantage — you don't have to cook for a large group of guests, saving on host costs and travel expenses. If you don't normally host, considering asking your host if you can attend virtually to save on travel costs.
  5. Throw a holiday potluck. If you traditionally host holiday gatherings, mix things up this year. Ask your guests to bring a dish or drinks to share. You won't spend as much, and you'll have more time to actually enjoy yourself.

See more holiday loans for bad credit

Use the table below to compare more personal loans that you can use for the holiday season.

Data indicated here is updated regularly

Name Product Filter Values APR Min. Credit Score Max. Loan Amount
Credible personal loans
4.99% to 35.99%
Fair to excellent credit
$100,000
Get personalized rates in minutes and then choose an offer from a selection of top online lenders.
Monevo personal loans
3.49% to 35.99%
None
$100,000
Quickly compare multiple online lenders with competitive rates depending on your credit.
NetCredit personal loans
34% to 155%
No minimum
$10,500
Check eligibility in minutes and get a personalized quote without affecting your credit score.
Even Financial personal loans
4.99% to 35.99%
550
$100,000
Get connected to competitive loan offers instantly from top online consumer lenders.
Stilt personal loans
7.99% to 15.99%
Not required
$25,000
No green card? No problem. You could still qualify for a personal loan.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Bottom line

Going into debt during the holiday season isn't always a good idea — especially with bad credit. But if you're going to make purchases on credit, a personal loan might be able to help you save on interest. Read our guide to financing the holidays or compare more options with our guide to personal loans.

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