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What credit score is needed for a personal loan?

You need a credit score of at least 670 to get the best deal, but there are options for bad or no credit.

Most personal loan providers require good or excellent credit to qualify for a loan — that is, a FICO Score over 670. 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 low rates with these lenders.

Because your credit score is one of the most important factors in a personal loan application, 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.

LenderMinimum credit scoreAPR
Upstart3005.20% to 35.99%
LightStream6707.99% to 25.49%
Upgrade6208.49% to 35.99%
OneMain Financial30018% to 35.99%
Achieve (formerly FreedomPlus)6207.99% to 29.99%
Prosper6006.99% to 35.99%
LendingClub6008.05% to 36%
FionaPoor5.99% to 35.99%
Monevo3005.40% to 35.99%
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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: 670 to 739
  • Excellent credit: 740 and up

What’s considered a good credit score?

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.

1 - 6 of 6
Name Product Filter Values APR Min. credit score Loan amount
Best Egg personal loans
Finder Rating: 3.8 / 5: ★★★★★
Best Egg personal loans
8.99% to 35.99%
$2,000 to $50,000
Fast and easy personal loan application process. See options first without affecting your credit score.
Upstart personal loans
Finder Rating: 4.15 / 5: ★★★★★
Upstart personal loans
5.20% to 35.99%
$1,000 to $50,000
This service looks beyond your credit score to get you a competitive-rate personal loan.
SoFi personal loans
Finder Rating: 4.45 / 5: ★★★★★
SoFi personal loans
8.99% to 25.81%
$5,000 to $100,000
A highly-rated lender with competitive rates, high loan amounts and no required fees.
First Premier Lending
Not rated yet
First Premier Lending
5.99% to 35.99%
All credit types
$100 to $20,000
Short-Term Loans to Fit Your Needs
Smart Advances
Finder Rating: 3 / 5: ★★★★★
Smart Advances
5.99% to 35.99%
All credit types
$100 to $20,000
Smart Advances was designed to help you request the loan you need, for any reason.
Credible personal loans
Finder Rating: 4.3 / 5: ★★★★★
Credible personal loans
4.60% to 35.99%
Fair to excellent credit
$600 to $100,000
Get personalized prequalified rates in minutes and then choose an offer from a selection of top online lenders.

How do I check my credit score?

Routinely check your credit score to stay on top of your creditworthiness. Typically, the score you receive is based on a soft credit inquiry, which doesn’t affect your credit rating but is less accurate than a hard credit pull. Some lenders warn that soft credit inquiries give higher scores than hard credit checks.

Use one of the following services or methods to check your credit score.

  • Online services. Sites like Credit Sesame allow anyone to check their credit score by filling out a quick online form with basic personal information like your name and birth date, as well as your Social Security number.
  • 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.
  • Major credit bureaus. Check your credit score with Equifax, Experian or TransUnion.

How can I improve my credit rating?

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 three 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?

It’s possible to get a personal loan with no credit score. However, your options are extremely limited. Most personal loan providers don’t accept cosigners, meaning that you need to meet the lender’s credit requirements even if you apply with a joint application.

Some lenders specialize in financing nonresidents or college students that recently turned 18. But there are only a few options and they tend to be more expensive than your typical personal loan. Or consider borrowing from friends and family.

Try to steer clear of no credit check loans. These tend to assume you have bad credit and charge astronomical rates and fees — sometimes as high as 700% APR. Cash advance apps can be a great alternative if you need a few hundred dollars to get you to the end of the month. Or, consider personal loan alternatives like lending circles to cover a larger expense.

How to build or improve your credit score

You’ll have a leg up for approval on a competitive loan if you have a credit rating. If you don’t need the funds right away, consider positioning yourself for stronger offers by building your credit score first.

  • Get a credit-builder loan. Most credit unions and Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) offer credit accounts designed to help you build your credit. Instead of giving you the amount up front, the lender puts the funds into a savings account. You pay off your loan each month and the lender reports each repayment to the credit bureaus. After you’ve paid off your loan, you get access to your money.
  • Consider a secured credit card. Secured credit cards require a deposit of around $200 to $500 as collateral, which typically determines your credit line. Each time you make a payment, the credit card company reports it to credit bureaus. After you’ve built up sufficient credit, you can upgrade to an unsecured card or apply for a personal loan.
  • Use a credit-building service. Many cash advance apps also offer credit-building services based on monthly bills, rather than personal debt.
  • Pay off your student loans. If you’re still in school and have student loans, get a head start on building your credit score with interest-only repayments. By the time you’re out of school, you’ll have built up a stronger credit history than if you’d deferred your loan until the end of your grace period.

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 to have 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 I qualify for a personal loan?

Compare loan options for different credit score ranges

How can a personal loan affect my credit score?

A personal loan can both improve and hurt your credit score, depending on whether you make repayments on time.

How it can improve your credit

Taking out a personal loan can improve your credit in three ways:

  • Adds to your positive credit history. Paying back a personal loan on time lengthens your history of making on-time repayments. This accounts for 35% of your credit score.
  • Lengthens credit history. If you aren’t currently paying off any debts, having a personal loan can add time to your credit history. Length counts for 15% of your credit score.
  • Diversifies your credit accounts. A personal loan can improve your score if you have no installment loans on your credit report. Credit diversity accounts for 10% of your credit score.

How it can hurt your credit

A personal loan can also have a negative effect on your credit score in two ways:

  • Establishes a negative credit history. The flip side of that credit history portion of your credit score is if you’re late on a repayment or if you default, your score will take a hit.
  • Counts as a credit inquiry. Most lenders conduct a hard credit check when you apply for a loan, which can cause your credit score to dip. New credit inquiries account for 10% of your credit score.

Bottom line

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.

Frequently asked questions

Is it worth it to get a personal loan to pay off debt?

It could be. In fact, 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 that has fewer restrictions on how you use your personal loan.

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