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Your credit score doesn’t have to hold you back.

Your quest to get a personal loan with a bad credit score has led you here. Before going any further, arm yourself with basic knowledge about personal loans and how your low credit score may affect the process.

What is a personal loan?

You can take out a personal loan for any reason and use the money for whatever personal reason, hence the name. Usually, you then have monthly payments until the loan (plus interest) is paid back in full. These monthly installments are written in your loan agreement. The APR on personal loans can range from 6% all the way up to 36%.

Why would I take out a personal loan?

There are many good reasons why you may need to take out a personal loan. Some examples include paying for a wedding, financing an important purchase, and consolidating credit card debt.

Sometimes, you can even use a personal loan to improve your credit. How? Well, there are a few different effects a personal loan can have on your credit report. One, it will improve your credit mix by adding a different type of account to your report. Two, it will improve your credit utilization ratio by showing a larger total credit limit. But be careful – unless you make all of your payments on time, these positives will be canceled out by the negative of making late payments.

If improving your credit is your goal, there’s a simple way that you can make a loan to yourself instead of taking out a personal loan. Self Lender enables you to create a “loan” with your own money, and build your credit scores by paying yourself back in monthly installments. The money you receive is used to open a CD (Certificate of Deposit) for a small investment that earns interest over time. This way, you can build savings and build credit at the same time.

What you need to know before you get a personal loan

If you’re trying to avoid or get out of debt, personal loans are often not your friend. They can have high interest rates and, especially if you already have bad credit, can be very risky if you can’t really afford to repay the debt. Before taking that leap, here are a few things you need to know:

  • Only borrow what you can afford to pay back with your next paycheck. If you take out any more than that, it will become harder and harder to pay it back as interest builds up on the balance that’s left.
  • Predatory lenders are everywhere. Just because someone is lending to you doesn’t mean they are doing so with good intentions. Be wary of payday loans and short-term installment loans.
  • Get multiple quotes. Chances are, you won’t find the best financial institution for you on your first try. Shop around and try to get the best loan offer you can.
  • Look for the lowest interest rate you can find. Interest on personal loans can catch up with you before you realize what happened. It’s difficult to get a good interest rate with a bad credit score, so just try to find the best rate you can.
  • Only get a personal loan if it’s absolutely necessary. It’s often best just to avoid a personal loan altogether if you can afford it.

How will having bad credit affect the personal loan process?

Any kind of loan is difficult to qualify for when you have a poor credit score. Personal loans are no different. If your score is in the 500s or even the low 600s, expect high interest rates if you can qualify for a personal loan at all.

Trying to get a personal loan with a low credit score can feel like an uphill battle. It’s hard to qualify for any kind of loan if your credit score is below 580 because with a credit score that low, lenders don’t trust you to repay the loan. So, what can you do? If you really need that money, there are a few methods you can use to overcome the effects of your poor credit and get the personal loan you need.

First, see if you can qualify for a traditional personal loan. Use Credible to find out if you are eligible.

Get Started

If you can’t find a loan and you are still set on getting a personal loan with a bad credit score, try these methods:

Method 1: Be patient and raise your score

This is the best method. It won’t work if you need money right away.

However, waiting and working toward a good credit score may get you a better interest rate and save you money in the long run. Start by taking a look at your credit report and finding out where you can improve. Even if it takes a while, you’ll be surprised how many more opportunities are open to you when you have a better credit score.

Learn how to raise your credit score faster »

Need help raising your credit score? Let Debt.com match you with an accredited credit repair service for a free evaluation.

Learn More

Method 2: Try a secured loan

Like secured credit cards, a secured loan gives your lender assurance that you will pay back what you owe by requiring you to borrow against an asset.

These assets could include home equity, your retirement account, savings, or even your car. A secured loan is nothing to take lightly. You risk losing an important asset if you can’t pay it back. If you do end up taking this route, be very careful about paying the whole loan amount and making payments on time.

Method 3: Get someone to cosign

Sometimes, a lender will allow you to take out a loan with a bad credit score if someone with a good credit score will cosign the loan.

Basically, when someone cosigns on a loan, they are agreeing to pay off the money you borrow if you can’t repay it. A close friend or family member can cosign with you, or they can help you out with Method #4…

Method 4: Borrow from friends or family instead

It’s normal to be reluctant to ask someone close to you for money, but borrowing from someone you know means you don’t have to deal with the exorbitant interest rates.

Just make sure you make a plan to pay back what they gave you. Map everything out, from when payments are due to how much each payment will be to the length of the loan terms. Not repaying a personal loan can damage your finances, but failing to repay a friend or family member can damage your relationships.

Method 5: Have a talk with the lender

Lenders are human, too.

There’s a chance that if you have a frank conversation with them about the state of your credit and your ability to pay back the personal loan, they might reconsider their initial rejection. Additionally, you may be able to prove your creditworthiness in other ways. Bank statements, W-2’s, a list of your assets or unsecured debts, or even a statement from your savings account or another bank account could help you prove to lenders that they can trust you to pay them back.

Method 6: Find a bad credit lender

Some lenders purposely focus on lending to consumers with poor credit.

If you can’t qualify for a traditional loan, you can work with a different lender that may qualify you. They could get you a custom set of loan offers specifically designed for people with bad credit based on your current financial situation. Don’t forget to check with online lenders, as well. They’re usually more lenient.

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Published by Debt.com, LLC