Need quick access to over $1,000? Installment loans give you just that, plus longer repayment terms.
Sometimes referred to as the more respectable cousin of payday loans, installment loans are designed for one-time expenses that need a quick fix.
Check out our guide below to learn more about how online installment loans work to see if they’re right for you.
A selection of online installment loans
Here are some providers that offer online installment loans. Keep in mind that that the maximum loan amount is based on the lender’s maximum amount. The amount will vary based on your state of residence.
A selection of lender-connection services
These lender matching services are not lenders, loan brokers or agents for any lender or loan broker. They also do not make credit decisions. They focus on trying to match you with a lender that might be able to provide you with the funds you’re looking for. Keep in mind that the maximum loan amount is based on the matching services maximum amount, but it will vary based on your state of residence. If you decide to go with one of these services, confirm that the lender is reputable by checking with your local government.
What’s an installment loan?
Installment loans are a type of short-term loan that get their name from the way you pay them off — in installments over a period of time. They’re typically available in larger amounts than payday loans — sometimes up to $5,000 — and have longer terms. They’re also not as heavily regulated.
Like payday loans, some installment loans are designed to attract borrowers with bad credit — but watch out: Those can come with incredibly high interest rates.
Installment loans work by giving you all of your funds at once, which you then have to pay back plus interest in fixed amounts. Payments are usually due on your payday and last between six months and five years.
What are the benefits of getting an installment loan?
Online installment loans come with various features. Here’s what you should know if you’re considering applying for one:
- Convenient application process. You can apply conveniently online and some lenders even have smartphone apps. You can learn your application status in minutes with most lenders, and if approved, you can accept the loan contract. Once you do this you can expect the money in your bank account as early as the next business day.
- Flexible eligibility criteria. Getting online installment loans with bad credit is possible, primarily because lending norms are slightly more relaxed. “No credit check” online installment loans generally don’t make hard inquiries on your credit score, but you’ll need to demonstrate how you’ll be able to repay the loan.
- Variable fees. The state you live in along with the amount of money you borrow has an effect on how much you pay in fees. Not all lenders charge the same fees, so keep this in mind when comparing your options.
- Loan amount and terms. Both these aspects depend on state laws. In some states you can borrow up to $10,000 and the repayment period can extend up to five years.
Watch out for predatory lenders
Installment loans are not just for people with bad credit, but you might not know that after a quick Google search. Some subprime lenders repackage what they would have previously called a payday loan as an “installment loan” in an attempt to appear less risky.
Like payday loans, these loans tend to come with extremely high interest rates and have similar features that can act as debt traps. You might be able to avoid them if you know what to look out for.
- Loan renewal options. Does your lender allow you to renew or “rollover” your loan if you can’t pay it off in time? You might want to look somewhere else — this is where most borrowers fall into a cycle of debt.
- Guarantees. Lenders that guarantee you can get a loan through them before you apply are not looking after your best interest. Most reputable lenders want to make sure you can pay off your loan first before telling you you’re accepted.
- Upfront fees or payments. Reputable lenders that charge application or origination fees don’t ask for payment until after your loan is disbursed. Anything else could be a scam.
- Pressure to borrow more than you need. Taking out more than you need means you’ll be on the hook for more interest. A lender that pressures you to take out more doesn’t have your interests in mind.
- Insurance add-ons. Some lenders push insurance options that sound like they protect you, but really protect them in the event that something happens to you that affects your loan repayment (like death). Lenders typically don’t include this in their APR — even though it’s technically a fee — and use it as a way to get around state regulations.
Just some of the top installment loan providers we compare
Who qualifies for installment loans?
People who qualify for installment loans typically have:
- Verifiable income. This doesn’t mean you need to be employed. Some lenders accept alimony and pension as income.
- An active checking account. If you don’t have a checking account, you can sometimes get a cash installment loan from a brick-and-mortar storefront.
- Government-issued identification. Lenders might ask to see your driver’s license to verify that you meet the age requirements.
Applicants with good to excellent credit scores are more likely to get a good deal on online installment loans. That’s because many lenders use underwriting software that rely heavily on your credit history when determining your eligibility.
4 top factors to consider when comparing installment loans
- Loan amounts. Will you be able to take out exactly how much you need? Try to avoid unnecessarily larger loans — that can lead to extra debt.
- Interest rates. Be skeptical of lenders that won’t give you an interest rate upfront. Try to get an estimate of your APR — your combined interest and fees — as early as you can.
- Fees. Will you have to pay a fee to apply? To get your loan? What are the conditions for late payments?
- Loan terms. Your loan term will determine how long you have to repay it. It’ll also determine how much you pay in interest — a longer-term loan might seem more manageable but it could end up being hugely expensive.
Finding the best installment loan for your specific needs might depend on factors beyond cost. Here’s how the main benefits of some top online lenders compare:
|Lender||Why you might want to borrow from this lender||How much you can borrow|
|MoneyKey||Easy-to-use online application and payment system.||$200–$1,000|
|Blue Trust Loans||Payment schedule is based on your income.||$100–$2,000|
|Slam Dunk||You can qualify even if you have poor credit.||$100–$2,500|
|NetCredit||Can help build your credit history because it reports payment activity to credit agencies.||$1,000–$10,000|
|CashNetUSA||Save 15% using a CashNetUSA promo code.||Varies by state|
|OppLoans||Get a loan term as long as three years — meaning more affordable payments.||$1,000–$4,000|
Is an installment loan right for me?
You may want to consider an installment loan for the following reasons:
- Fast turnaround time. Providers of online installment loans tend to process your application very quickly, sometimes in minutes. If you accept the loan contract, you can get your money as soon as the following business day.
- Bad credit applicants are accepted. Conventional loans normally come with stringent lending criteria, but most employed people can consider applying for online installment loans with bad credit, as long as they can show their ability to repay the loan.
- More manageable repayments structure. Unlike short-term loans or cash advance loans that you have to repay by your next payday, you can take longer to repay your installment loan. Most lenders even give you the ability to choose between making payments once or twice a month.
You may want to consider other options if you’re concerned about:
- Fees. Online installment loans normally charge higher fees especially in comparison with more conventional forms of credit.
- Higher repayments due to higher loan amounts. Installment loans have higher loan amounts than standard payday loans, and while you have lower ongoing repayments because you’re paying it back over time, the APR can still be quite high, resulting in a total overall repayment. Make sure the repayments are manageable on your budget.
What are my other options?
Most online installment loans are unsecured, meaning that they don’t require collateral. It sounds great at first, right? You don’t have to put anything o the line.
However, unsecured installment loans that come with high rates and can actually pose more of a risk to your financial health: You can end up in a cycle of debt if you have trouble paying it off.
Secured loans can be a great option if you have trouble getting approved for traditional loans. That’s because putting up collateral makes you appear like less of a risk. And even if you don’t have trouble getting approved, you can often get better rates with a secured loan.
More about secured and unsecured personal loans
You might also want consider looking at what your local bank or credit union has to offer. Local financial institutions tend to have their community’s specific financial needs in mind, so there’s a pretty good chance you’ll find a loan that’s right for you.
Repaying an installment loan
Getting your funds is relatively easy with an online lender. Turnaround time can be as little as one day. The tricky part is repayment.
Most reputable lenders require monthly or sometimes twice-monthly repayments. Consider setting up autopay if it’s an option to avoid the hassle of remembering to make repayments on each due date. Some lenders also offer discounts to borrowers who use autopay.
Try paying off your loan early if your lender doesn’t offer prepayment penalties, especially if your loan has a high interest rate. Making half-payments twice a pay period or rounding them up to the nearest ten are easy ways to repay your loan early without it having a noticeable impact on your day-to-day finances.
Some questions you might have had
How much time do I need to complete an online application?
If you have all the required information easily accessible, completing your application should take around 5 to 10 minutes. Much the same as a payday loan.
Can anyone apply for an installment loan?
Remember that not all lenders provide installment loans in all states. In states where they do, you have to meet minimum age requirements, you should show you have a regular source of income, and you that you have an operational bank account.
What information do I have to provide to apply?
You’ll have to provide personal details, employment details, and your bank account details.
How long will an installment loan be on my credit file?
The answer to this question lies in how you’ve been making payments, your total credit limit and a whole range of other factors found here.