What credit score is needed for a personal loan?

How those 3 digits can affect your options.


Fact checked
Man sitting at a table reviewing his credit report

Your credit score is one of the most important factors in a personal loan application. Lenders often won’t consider you if you don’t meet their minimum credit requirement. However, it’s not the only feature they look at.

What credit score do I need to get a personal loan?

Typically, you need a credit score of at least 650 to get a personal loan. However, you usually have more options if you have a credit score of 700 or higher.

Minimum credit score to qualify with top online providers

Generally, lenders that fund loans directly require good credit — especially banks, though credit unions and online lenders might be more relaxed. Peer-to-peer lenders, which connect borrowers with investor funding, also typically require higher credit scores. If your credit score is below 650, you might have an easier time finding lenders if you use a connection service that matches you with lenders whose criteria you fit.

LenderMinimum credit score
Cash Money640
LenderMinimum credit score
Refresh Financial680
Lending MateNone

What credit score do I need to get a competitive deal?

Generally, you need to have excellent credit to get the lowest rates and largest loan amounts that a lender offers. However, you can often get a favorable deal even if your credit score is considered good.

While lenders might have their own criteria for what qualifies as good or excellent credit, it’s usually around this range:

  • Good credit: 650 to 719
  • Very Good credit: 720 to 799
  • Excellent credit: 800 to 900

What is a credit score and why is it important?

Compare personal loans for different credit types

Name Product Interest Rate Max. Loan Amount Loan Term Fees Min. Credit Score
Fairstone Personal Loan (Unsecured)
26.99% - 39.99%
6 months - 5 years
Fairstone offers unsecured personal loans up to $20,000
Cash Money Installment Loan
6 months - 5 years
Vary across provinces/territories
Cash Money offers installment loans up to $10,000 for AB, MB and NB residents.
LendDirect Personal Loan
19.99% - 46.93%
No end dates
Borrow up to $15,000, based on your income and credit history, with a personal line of credit from LendDirect.
LendingMate Personal Loan
43% (British Columbia and Ontario) and 34.90% (Quebec)
1-5 years
LendingMate offers loans to Canadians with poor credit with no credit checks. Guarantor required for application.
Fairstone Personal Loan (Secured)
19.99% - 23.99%
3-10 years
Varies by province
Fairstone offers secured personal loans up to $35,000.

Compare up to 4 providers

How do I check my credit score?

You can use one of the following services or methods to check your credit score. Typically, the score you receive is based on a soft credit inquiry, which doesn’t affect your credit rating but may not be as accurate as a hard credit pull. When lenders evaluate a loan application, they’ll do a hard pull on your credit, which will temporarily decrease your credit score.

  • Online services. Sites like Credit Verify (powered by TransUnion) allow anyone to check their credit score by filling out a quick online form with basic personal information like your name, birth date and address.
  • Budgeting apps. Many apps like Mint regularly check and update your credit score once you sign up.
  • Credit card or bank apps. If you have an app for your bank or credit card, you can often sign up to check your credit score and get alerts when it changes.
  • Account statements. Your credit score might appear on some statements for loans, checking accounts or other financial products.
  • Credit bureaus. You can also go directly to the source and check your credit score with the 2 major credit bureaus used in Canada: TransUnion and Equifax.

How can I improve my credit rating?

There are several steps you can take to improve your credit score before you apply for a personal loan:

  • Check your credit report. You’re entitled to 2 free copies of your credit report each year — one from each bureau. Request a copy and make sure it’s accurate. Reach out to your creditors if you find any mistakes on your credit report.
  • Pay down your balances. Got a lot of credit card debt? Loans? Paying off some of your balances lowers your credit utilization ratio and can improve your credit score.
  • Take out a credit-builder loan. Some local banks, credit unions and other financial institutions offer inexpensive small-dollar loans designed to help you improve your credit and establish a rainy day fund.

Can I get a personal loan with no credit score?

You can, though your options are much more limited. You might be able to qualify if you apply for the loan with a creditworthy cosigner. Or consider borrowing from friends and family.

Lenders for short-term loans like payday and installment loans often don’t take your credit score into account when you apply, though they tend to be much more expensive and come with several risks.

Compare personal loan options when you don’t have a credit score

What other factors do lenders consider?

When determining your eligibility, lenders also take a look at your:

  • Income. Many lenders have minimum income requirements. Generally, the larger the loan you’re applying for, the larger the income you’ll need to qualify.
  • Employment. Personal loan providers often require borrowers to have a full-time job. You might have trouble finding a loan if you’re self-employed or getting financing when you’re unemployed, though there are options.
  • Credit history. In addition to your credit score, many lenders look at the length of your credit history. If it’s still relatively new — say, less than 3 years old — you might have trouble qualifying.
  • Debt-to-income (DTI) ratio. Your DTI ratio compares your monthly bills to your monthly income and gives lenders an idea of how much money you can afford to repay each month.

Can I qualify for a personal loan?

Compare loan options for different credit score ranges

Bottom line

You can get a personal loan with almost any credit score — or even no credit score. But you have more options if you have good to excellent credit. If you aren’t in a rush, consider taking the time to improve your credit rating so you can get an even more favorable deal.

Want to know more about how it all works? Check out our guide to personal loans.

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