Some online lenders may accept credit scores as low as 600 or even 550, but you likely won’t qualify for the largest loan amount or best interest rates with these lenders.
Your credit score is one of the most important factors in a personal loan application, so many traditional lenders often won’t consider you if you don’t meet their minimum credit requirement. However, it’s not the only feature they consider.
Minimum credit score requirement for top lenders
Here are the minimum credit score requirements for popular personal loan providers.
What credit score do I need to get a competitive deal?
You need excellent credit to get the lowest rates and largest loan amounts a lender offers. However, you can 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: 670 to 739
- Excellent credit: 740 and up
Compare personal loans for all credit types
Select your credit score range and state of residence to see the top providers in your area. Then, explore your options by APR, minimum credit score or loan amount. Choose the Go to site button for more information about a particular provider.
How to check your personal loan credit score
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to how to check your credit score, but reviewing your FICO Score 8 or FICO Score 9, as well as VantageScore 4.0, is a good starting point. Here are a few ways to check:
- Online services. Review credit reports for free from Experian, Equifax and TransUnion through AnnualCreditReport.com.
- 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.
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 and contact creditors to correct any mistakes.
- Pay down your revolving credit balances, such as your credit card and loans.
- Take out a credit-building account, like a small-dollar credit builder loan or a credit-building card designed to help you improve your credit.
Can I get a personal loan with no credit score?
There are no-credit personal loans available to people without an established credit score. Some lenders may even look at your employment history, bank transactions, debt-to-income ratio or annual income. However, these types of loans come with higher interest rates and less competitive terms.
Consider strategies to build your credit before applying for a personal loan to get the best rates and terms.
Alternatives to personal loans
If you’re worried about taking out a personal loan, consider the following:
- A peer-to-peer loan (P2P). A loan funded by investors rather than a financial institution with easier eligibility requirements and quick funding.
- Life insurance policy loan. If you have a permanent life insurance policy, consider taking out some of the cash you’ve accumulated.
- Family loans. Consider asking a loved one you trust if you can borrow money and pay them back. Depending on your relationship, you can customize the loan terms.
- Home equity loan. If you have enough equity in your home, consider a home equity loan or home equity line of credit. Just be aware that non-payment can mean losing your home.
What other factors do lenders consider?
When determining your eligibility, lenders also take a look at your:
- Income. Many lenders have minimum income requirements — often around $25,000 a year. You generally need an even higher income to qualify for larger loan amounts.
- Employment. Personal loan providers often require borrowers to have a full-time job. You might have trouble finding a loan when 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 three 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 a personal loan improve my credit score?
A personal loan can improve your credit score, as long as you make on-time payments. By meeting the monthly payments on time, you have a chance of boosting your score, as payment history makes up 35% of your FICO credit score.
Plus, a personal loan can increase the diversity of your credit accounts, as credit mix makes up 10% of your FICO credit score.
Can a personal loan hurt my credit score?
Most lenders conduct a hard credit check before they offer you a personal loan. Hard credit inquiries can cause temporary dips in your credit score. New credit inquiries are responsible for 10% of your credit score, and the impact of each hard pull tends to last for up to 12 months.
More importantly, if you don’t meet your payments on time after taking out the loan, your score will take a major negative hit.
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 improving your credit rating to get an even more favorable deal.
Want to know more about how it all works? Check out our guide to personal loans.
Frequently asked questions
Is getting a personal loan to pay off debt worth it?
Consolidating your debt with a personal loan could improve your credit score if you need help managing your repayments. It could also give you more competitive rates and terms, especially if you have credit card debt.
But it’s not always the right choice for everyone. Learn more about your options with our guide to debt consolidation.
What’s the best reason to give when applying for a personal loan?
The best reason is the truth. If a lender finds out you’re lying on your application, you’ll likely be denied. Some providers might restrict how you can use your funds. For example, many don’t allow you to take out a personal loan to pay for school or use personal financing to fund your business. In those cases, look for a lender with fewer restrictions on how you use your personal loan.