Cosigned loans and joint loans are terms you may see being used interchangeably. Both involve having someone else on the loan, but they’re very different in how they actually work.
A cosigner acts as a backup payer if the primary borrower can’t repay the loan. A cosigner can increase your approval odds if your credit score isn’t up to par. With joint loans, both applicants (or coborrowers) are equally responsible for the loan and the lender considers their combined incomes, helping them qualify for a larger loan amount. But both need to meet credit score requirements.
Lenders that accept cosigners on personal loans are few and far between, but joint personal loans are common. Here are the top lenders that accept multiple applicants on personal loans.
Best 7 personal loans that accept cosigners or joint applicants
LightStream offers competitive interest rates and long loan terms. If you don't qualify alone, it does accept joint applicants to boost your application — but like most popular lenders, Lightstream doesn't accept cosigners.
Its Rate Beat Program can also help you score a low APR by offering to beat competitor rates if you meet its requirements. The main drawback is that there's no preapproval process. When you apply, LightStream does a hard pull of your credit and the credit of your coborrower, which can temporarily lower your scores. If you want to compare rates, make LightStream the last application you fill out.
Laurel Road accepts cosigners and coapplicants, and comes in relatively competitive rates. Laurel Road rates cap out at a competitive 24.5% APR, which is much lower than many other lenders that stop at 36%. If you don't quite meet its eligibility criteria, a cosigner can help push you over the edge or help you get a lower rate.
As a bonus, if you're a doctor or dentist, you may be eligible for an APR as low as 5.5% and loan amounts up to $80,000. Otherwise, loans top out at $45,000 for all other borrowers.
SoFi offers highly competitive personal loan rates and accepts coapplicants. Applying with a joint applicant to help you qualify for its high maximum loan amount of $100,000. But like many other lenders, SoFi doesn't accept cosigners. You're also limited to using members of your household as a coborrower.
What really sets it apart is that it offers a slew of benefits to borrowing, including career coaching, networking events and interest rate discounts. This is makes it great for young professionals who are starting out on their career and want to build wealth. You can also bank and invest with SoFi. But even with a coborrower, you may need excellent credit to score more competitive rates and terms.
You only need a credit score of 620 to qualify for a loan from Upgrade, making it a good option when one or more borrowers have less-than-perfect credit. Like most lenders, it accepts coapplicants but not cosigners. Rates can get high, ranging from 8.24% to 35.97%, but having a coapplicant may yield more favorable terms.
Borrowing with Upgrade also comes with free credit monitoring, which can help you monitor your score and any errors on your report. However, you must have at least $1,000 left over after monthly expenses, and self-employed borrowers may face stricter requirements than traditional employees.
Not available in: Colorado, Iowa, Maryland, Vermont, West Virginia
Personal loans made through Upgrade feature APRs of 5.94%-35.97%. All personal loans have a 2.9% to 8% origination fee, which is deducted from the loan proceeds. Lowest rates require Autopay and paying off a portion of existing debt directly. Loans feature repayment terms of 24 to 84 months. For example, if you receive a $10,000 loan with a 36-month term and a 17.98% APR (which includes a 14.32% yearly interest rate and a 5% one-time origination fee), you would receive $9,500 in your account and would have a required monthly payment of $343.33. Over the life of the loan, your payments would total $12,359.97. The APR on your loan may be higher or lower and your loan offers may not have multiple term lengths available. Actual rate depends on credit score, credit usage history, loan term, and other factors. Late payments or subsequent charges and fees may increase the cost of your fixed rate loan. There is no fee or penalty for repaying a loan early. Personal loans issued by Upgrade's lending partners. Information on Upgrade's lending partners can be found at https://www.upgrade.com/lending-partners/.
OneMain Financial is one of the few personal loan providers that accepts joint applicants and bad credit. While its interest rates are on the higher side compared to others on this list, it tends to have lower credit score requirements, which vary by state. OneMain Financial also boasts a fast turnaround time, and you may get your funds the same day you apply.
For joint personal loans, OneMain Financial requires that if the main applicant relies on another person's income, that person must be listed as a coborrower and assume responsibility for loan repayments along with the main applicant.
Not available in: Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont
* OneMain Disclosures: Example Loan: A $6,000 loan with a 24.99% APR that is repayable in 60 monthly installments would have monthly payments of $176.07.
Not all applicants will qualify for larger loan amounts or most favorable loan terms. Loan approval and actual loan terms depend on your ability to meet our credit standards (including a responsible credit history, sufficient income after monthly expenses, and availability of collateral). Larger loan amounts require a first lien on a motor vehicle no more than ten years old, that meets our value requirements, titled in your name with valid insurance. Maximum annual percentage rate (APR) is 35.99%, subject to state restrictions. APRs are generally higher on loans not secured by a vehicle. Depending on the state where you open your loan, the origination fee may be either a flat amount or a percentage of your loan amount. Flat fee amounts vary by state, ranging from $25 to $400. Percentage-based fees vary by state ranging from 1% to 10% of your loan amount subject to certain state limits on the fee amount. Active duty military, their spouse or dependents covered under the Military Lending Act may not pledge any vehicle as collateral for a loan. OneMain loan proceeds cannot be used for postsecondary educational expenses as defined by the CFPB’s Regulation Z, such as college, university or vocational expenses; for any business or commercial purpose; to purchase securities; or for gambling or illegal purposes.
Borrowers in these states are subject to these minimum loan sizes: Alabama: $2,100. California: $3,000. Georgia: Unless you are a present customer, $3,100 minimum loan amount. Ohio: $2,000. Virginia: $2,600.
Borrowers (other than present customers) in these states are subject to these maximum unsecured loan sizes: Iowa: $8,500. Maine: $7,000. Mississippi: $7,500. North Carolina: $7,500. New York: $20,000. West Virginia: $14,000. An unsecured loan is a loan which does not require you to provide collateral (such as a motor vehicle) to the lender.
One of the largest credit unions in the US, PenFed offers joint personal loans for coappliants. But like most lenders, it also doesn't accept cosigners. While PenFed is a credit union, you don't have to be a member of the credit union to apply for a loan and check your rate. If you do choose to take on the loan, you'll have to become a member. PenFed is available in all 50 states, with branches in 13 states.
PenFed only requires a 650 minimum credit score. There are also no prepayment penalties and no origination fee. But there are late fees — 20% of the amount due, with a minimum of $20 and a maximum of $25.
If you're already a Wells Fargo customer, and you and your joint applicant have excellent credit, you may be able to secure a low APR of just 7.49% APR, which includes a 0.25% relationship discount for existing customers with a qualifying account. Wells Fargo allows your joint applicant to be a spouse, partner, relative, or friend. But it doesn't allow cosigners, just joint applicants.
Wells Fargo doesn't charge an origination fee, and there are several interest rate discounts available for qualifying account holders. If you don't currently bank with Wells Fargo, you need to visit a branch to apply in person — the online application is for current customers only. But be aware that Wells Fargo doesn't carry the best reputation and customer reviews are overwhelmingly poor.
Methodology: How we picked the best personal lenders
Finder’s editorial experts compare dozens of lenders that accept cosigners and coapplicants for personal loans. Providers that accept cosigners for personal loans are rare, so the first thing we look for is this capability. We then include lenders that offer joint loans.
We consider the following factors when narrowing down our selection:
Joint and cosigner loan options
Customer reviews and reputation
How joint personal loans work
How a joint personal loan works depends on whether you have a cosigner or coapplicant.
A cosigner is someone who lets the primary borrower use their good credit score to help them qualify for a loan. The cosigner agrees to cover the loan balance if the primary borrower can’t, giving the loan more security and increasing approval chances. It could also mean a lower interest rate than if the primary borrower applied alone. But the cosigner doesn’t help with monthly payments — they only start paying if the primary borrower starts missing payments or defaults.
With a joint applicant or coborrower, both borrowers apply for the loan and share equal responsibility for making payments. Most often, joint applicants are spouses or life partners. Having two borrowers with two incomes factored in can mean a higher loan amount or more favorable terms overall.
Pros and cons of using a cosigner
May qualify for more favorable rates
Can help you meet credit score requirements
Increases approval odds overall
Cosigner doesn’t help with monthly payments
Not many lenders allow cosigners on personal loans
Pros and cons of a joint applicant
May qualify for larger loan amount than if you applied alone
Both applicants responsible for payments
Lenders more likely to accept coapplicants over cosigners
Lowest credit score may be used to determine rates
You may be solely responsible for payments if coapplicant can’t pay
How to apply for a joint personal loan in 4 steps
Getting a joint personal loan is a lot like getting a personal loan on your own — you’ll just have to plan on submitting more documents. In most cases, both of you will have to complete applications and submit the same things. Follow these steps to apply for a personal loan with a joint application:
1. Find your joint applicant or cosigner.
If you’re doing a joint application with two borrowers sharing equal responsibility for the loan, your other applicant is likely someone you already share expenses with, like a spouse or life partner.
If you’re using a cosigner, you’ll have to find someone willing to help and who has a good credit score. Many borrowers ask a parent, guardian or family member to cosign — but it often can be anyone. Just remember that not many lenders accept cosigners, and if they do, may have stipulations on who can be your cosigner.
2. Gather all documents.
Two applicants means twice the documents. Whether you have a cosigner or coborrower, both are likely to need items such as identification, paystubs, proof of address, employer information, bank statements and contact information.
Some online lenders allow you to link to your bank accounts instead of providing documents. In that case, you’ll still need bank account login credentials for both applicants.
3. Compare lenders and apply.
Compare banks, credit unions and online lenders that accept cosigners or joint applicants based on factors like interest rates, fees, loan amounts and loan terms. Or, use a connection service to weed out lenders that only let you apply on your own.
After you’ve found the lender that accepts coapplicants, you can officially apply. In most cases, both of you will have to complete copies of the application and submit the same documents.
4. Receive the funds.
With a cosigned loan, the primary borrower gets the funds. If you receive a joint personal loan, you typically have the option of choosing which account the lender sends the funds to.
How to get the best personal loan with a joint applicant
Having two applicants can increase your approval odds, but here are some other tips to keep in mind.
Check both your credit scores. Before you apply, know each of your credit scores, and take time to improve your credit scores, if able. Knowing your credit scores can help you narrow down lenders that can work with you, and improving your credit scores can increase approval odds.
Find the right lender. This is especially important if you plan on having a cosigner — not many lenders offer cosigner personal loans. Call around, compare top personal lenders and ask about requirements and any stipulations so you don’t waste time applying with lenders that don’t offer what you need.
Prequalify before you apply. Many lenders allow you to submit basic information about yourself and the person you’re applying with to get an estimate of the loan amount, interest rates, origination fee and loan terms you might qualify for. Prequalifying usually involves a soft credit check that doesn’t affect your score.
Check out local lenders. Most community banks and credit unions allow you to apply with a cosigner or joint applicant. And if you’re already a customer, they may be more willing to accommodate you.
Can I hire a cosigner for a personal loan?
Yes, you can hire someone to be a cosigner on your personal loan — but it’s probably not a good idea.
The two cosigner-for-hire services we found — Hire a Cosigner and Cosigner Finder — charge a fee to connect you with a cosigner. And be wary of any company that tries to get you to pay upfront before it provides a service, since it’s often a sign of a scam.
Cosigners take on significant risk when they put their name on your loan. Using a cosigner you know and trust can help ensure neither party is being taken advantage of.
Risks to talk about with your cosigner
If you’re asking someone to cosign on your loan, there are risks they should be aware of — and not too many personal benefits for them.
For starters, a cosigner has no say in what you can do with the funds or the actual terms of the loan, and it can clog up their debt-to-income ratio, affecting their ability to get loans on their own. Your cosigner also agrees to repay the loan if you cannot, adding to their own host of monthly expenses if you fall behind on payments.
And once they become a cosigner, there’s little they can do to get out of that responsibility. Unlike student loans that offer cosigner removal, one of the only ways to remove a cosigner is to refinance.
On the other hand, if you handle the loan well and make your payments on time, both of you may end up with a better credit score. A cosigned loan’s payment history — positive or negative — impacts both the cosigner and the primary borrower.
Alternatives to joint or cosigned personal loans
If your cosigner or coborrower has stellar credit, they may increase the odds of you being accepted for a loan or get you more favorable terms than if you applied alone. But if your tag-along borrower has poor credit score or rocky financial history, they could hinder you instead.
Here are some alternative borrowing methods that you may not need another person to get:
Secured loans. Backing your loan with collateral like a savings account, car or home can help you qualify for a competitive rate even with poor credit. And secured personal loans are typically easier to qualify for because they’re backed with collateral.
Home equity loans. If you have a home with at least 20% equity, you may qualify for a home equity loan or home equity line of credit (HELOC). These borrowing methods tend to come with lower rates than personal loans.
CDFI loans. Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) are local banks and credit unions that typically offer affordable funding to low-income or low-credit borrowers in the area, usually as a chance to build your credit.
Cash advance apps. Many cash advance apps don’t check your credit score and allow for short, small loans, typically under $500, with terms under a month long.
Loans for students. If you’re in school and don’t meet credit requirements on your own, some lenders like Kora will consider your grades and major instead of credit and income when you apply.
Bethany Hickey is a personal finance writer for Finder who specializes in lending. Her background includes writing educational articles on car loans, auto insurance, cryptocurrency and crypto gaming. Bethany has been featured in Nasdaq, CarsDirect, Auto Credit Express and the Car Connection. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Michigan-Flint and is an avid gamer with over 30 consoles and handhelds — and way too many trading cards.
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Where can I matched with a willing loan cosigner?
Thank you for your comment.
A family member, a friend or someone who meets the requirement can be your consigner. Please refer to the eligibility criteria and the steps to apply for the loan with a consigner above.