Installment loans are a type of short-term loan available to borrowers of all credit types. While they come with fewer eligibility requirements than your traditional personal loan, this comes at a price — rates can sometimes top 800% APR. Comparing different lenders you qualify with can help you find the best installment loan for your needs.
How we picked these providers
Our editorial team reviewed over 100 short-term loan providers to choose these top installment loans. We considered eligibility requirements, APRs and repayment flexibility, as well as customer reviews on sites like the Better Business Bureau and Trustpilot. We also looked at factors that might be important for different types of borrowers, such as the ability to consolidate high-interest debt.
6 best installment loans
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59% to 199%
Direct deposit, meet minimum income requirements, live in eligible state
Eligibility requirements: Direct deposit, meet minimum income requirements, live in eligible state
OppLoans offers terms on the longer side for a traditional installment loan, making it easier to afford monthly repayments. You also have the option to change your repayment date if it doesn’t work with your schedule, helping you avoid default. It reports on-time repayments to the major credit bureaus unless you live in Texas or Ohio, meaning the loan could help build your credit score.
But it’s not the cheapest option on this list, with APRs starting at 59%. This can make your loan particularly expensive if you go for the longest term.
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Best for backing your loan for a better rate: OneMain Financial
APRs: 18% to 35.99%
Loan amounts: $1,500 to $1,500
Terms: 24, 36, 48 or 60 months
Eligibility requirements: Established credit history, US citizen or permanent resident, age of majority in your state
OneMain financial specializes in personal loans open to most credit types with the option to provide collateral to qualify for a better rate. Though the rates are high for a personal loan, they’re competitive compared to other options available to fair- and poor-credit borrowers.
While you can apply online, this is one of the few lenders that requires a visit to your local branch to finalize the loan.
Best for building credit: NetCredit
APRs: 34% to 155% (Varies by state)
Loan amounts: $1,000 to $10,000
Terms: 6 to 60 months
Eligibility requirements: Must be 18+ years old, a legal resident of the US and have a Social Security number. Minimum credit score of 550.
NetCredit’s personal loans are designed for borrowers with less-than-perfect credit who also want to improve their personal finances. It reports payment activity to TransUnion and Experian, helping you improve your credit score with every on-time repayment. It also offers resources you can use to build your financial knowledge and health.
But like most loans geared toward poor-credit borrowers, NetCredit’s rates can get high. It’s also not available in all states.
Best for borrowing larger amounts with bad credit: HonestLoans
APRs: 200% to 2,290%
Loan amounts: $800 to $50,000
Eligibility requirements: Must be employed and receive regular income, earn at least $800 a month, have a checking account and be an 18+ years old legal US citizen.
This connection service might be a good resource if you’re looking to borrow more than $20,000 with bad credit — many installment loan providers don’t offer funding over this amount. It also has a relatively low income requirement, though you likely need to earn more to qualify for larger loan amounts.
Like any connection service, HonestLoans allows you to compare offers from multiple lenders at once. However, you might want to research the lenders you’re connected with to make sure they’re legit before you go through with the application.
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Best for consolidating debt: CashUSA
APRs: 5.99% to 35.99%
Loan amounts: $1,000 to $10,000
Terms: 90 days to 72 months
Eligibility requirements: Regular source of income, bank account, US citizen or permanent resident, age of majority in your state
This connection service allows you to search for options specifically for debt consolidation, regardless of your credit score. While rates are high compared to personal loan providers, it could help you save on higher-interest installment loans or even some credit card debt, depending on the rate you qualify for. The long loan terms its partners offer can also help make your monthly repayments more affordable.
Like with HonestLoans, research any lender you get connected with before you go through with the application to make sure it’s legit.
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Best for repayments that line up with your pay schedule: Blue Trust Loans
APRs: 471.78% to 841.45%
Loan amounts: $100 to $2,500
Terms: Up to 9 months
Eligibility requirements: Must be at least 18 years old and have a verifiable source of income with direct deposit into your checking account.
This tribal lender offers small-dollar loans with repayments based on your pay schedule. It also offers some of the lowest loan amounts out there for an installment loan, though returning customers can qualify for higher amounts and longer terms.
However, it comes with the highest APRs of any other lender on this list — ranging from 472% to over 840%. And since Blue Trust is run by the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, it follows tribal regulations rather than state laws.
5 questions to help you find the best installment loan
There’s no one “best” installment loan. What’s right for you depends on your personal financial situation and what you need the money for. Ask yourself the following questions to find a lender that best meets your needs:
Installment loan providers can offer very different ranges of loan amounts. Knowing how much you need to borrow can help you weed out installment loan providers that start too high or end too low.
Look at your income, bills and other regular expenses to calculate how much you can afford to pay each month. Aim for a loan with a rate and term that gives you a monthly repayment around this amount while still leaving you wiggle room in case an unexpected expense crops up.
If you have a specific purpose in mind like debt consolidation, look for lenders that specialize in that type of financing. Lenders sometimes have restrictions on how you use your funds — some might not allow you to cover education or business expenses, for example.
For many people, cost is the most important factor when it comes to borrowing money. But would you rather pay less each month or over the total life of your loan? Also consider factors like convenience and how the funds are disbursed. If you’d prefer to visit a branch in person or receive your money on a prepaid debit card, that can alter your options.
While installment loans are generally available to most credit types, state lending restrictions mean many lenders aren’t available in all states. You might also find minimum income and credit requirements — even if they’re low. Read the eligibility requirements before you decide to work with a lender to make sure you qualify.
3 red flags to watch out for with installment loan providers
Not all installment loan providers are legit lenders, and even some that are can have predatory lending practices. Look out for these red flags when comparing installment loan providers:
Guarantees. Legit lenders won’t guarantee approval or certain rates before looking at your application.
Pushiness. Stay away from lenders that pressure you into borrowing more than you need.
Add-on insurance. Some lenders might encourage you to take out unnecessary insurance, such as a life insurance policy that names them as a beneficiary. This is a common tactic to make your loan more expensive while avoiding state APR regulations.
Available to borrowers of all credit types, installment loans offer more affordable repayments than shorter term payday loans. But many still come with triple-digit APRs, which can add up fast if you get a long loan term. Check out our guide to installment loans to learn more about how this type of financing works.
Frequently asked questions
It might be possible to find a lender that offers installment loans in cash if you don’t have a checking or savings account. But these are often only available in a limited few states and might require collateral. Read our guide to no-bank-account loans to compare your options.
Maybe — many installment loan providers consider pensions, government benefits and child support as income. But you likely won’t qualify with a legit lender if you don’t have regular money coming in each month, since you can’t show that you can afford to repay the loan.
Anna Serio is a trusted lending expert and certified Commercial Loan Officer who's published more than 950 articles on Finder to help Americans strengthen their financial literacy. A former editor of a newspaper in Beirut, Anna writes about personal, student, business and car loans. Today, digital publications like Business Insider, CNBC and the Simple Dollar feature her professional commentary, and she earned an Expert Contributor in Finance badge from review site Best Company in 2020.
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