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Best Bad-Credit Loan Lenders in California

Personal loans can help consumers pay for home renovations, cover medical expenses and consolidate debt. In California alone, residents have an average personal loan debt of $16,790.

Though it may be common to take out a personal loan in the state, finding the best lender for you may be more difficult. MoneyGeek reviewed over 30 providers for key data features like loan amounts, repayment terms, annual percentage rates (APRs), fees and more to find the best bad-credit loan lender in California.

Our research shows that Upstart offers the best bad-credit loan in California for its low minimum credit score requirement. Upgrade is our second choice for its varied repayment terms and relatively low credit score requirement.

Best Overall Bad-Credit Loan in California: Upstart

  • Upstart

    • 3.22% to 35.99%APR Range
    • 300Minimum Credit Score
    • $1,000 to $50,000Loan Amount Range
    • 36 to 60 monthsRepayment Terms
    • Next DayTime to Receive Funds


    on Upstart Website

Runner-Up for Best Bad-Credit Loan in California: Upgrade

  • Upgrade

    • 5.94% to 35.47%APR Range
    • 560Minimum Credit Score
    • $1,000 to $50,000Loan Amount Range
    • 36 to 60 monthsRepayment Terms
    • Same DayTime to Receive Funds


    on Upgrade Website

How to Choose the Best Bad-Credit Loan in California for You

In California, the average personal loan debt is $16,790, indicating that it’s relatively common for residents in the state to use a personal loan for their funding needs. Though use of personal loans is widespread, it may not be the best decision for you, especially if you have poor credit.

MoneyGeek recommends taking the following steps to ensure you make a well-informed decision:


Ask Yourself the Important Questions

Before researching lenders, you can save time and money by asking yourself the following questions in advance:

  • How much money do you need? To avoid paying more interest, only take out the amount of money that you need.
  • What’s your credit score? Your credit score will impact which lenders you’re eligible with, as well as the rates available to you. Consider improving your credit score before applying to receive a lower interest rate.
  • Can you afford the monthly payments? Review your budget to ensure that you can afford your monthly payments.
  • Do you have existing debts? If you have a high debt-to-income (DTI) ratio, you may qualify with fewer lenders for a loan. Consider repaying your existing debt before taking out more.
  • Is your debt manageable through other means? When possible, use zero- or low-interest options, like borrowing from friends and family or taking out a 0% APR credit card.

Do Your Research

If you want to find California’s best bad-credit lenders, you’ll need to shop around and compare offers from several providers. Check each company’s APR range, loan repayment term, fees, processing time and other factors that are relevant for you. Use MoneyGeek’s list of the best bad-credit lenders in California to direct your research.


Read the Fine Print

After you’ve shortlisted lenders based on your specific requirements, it’s important to wait a few days before you apply. During this time, you can consider alternative funding options or more thoroughly research different lenders. Remember, getting a personal loan is a long-term commitment that can take between two and four years to repay. As such, it’s important that you’re confident in your decision.



The fine print of a loan agreement details fees for loan origination, prepayment, late payments and more. It’s important to be aware of these fees before you apply for a loan to avoid being blindsided by unexpected costs. If you have any questions about the terms of your loan, contact the lender for more information.



After you’ve read and understand the fine print of your loan agreement, you can apply. To save time, prepare any needed documents in advance. Most lenders require borrowers to provide proof of identification, address, employment and income. You may need to provide additional documents, depending on your profile. Depending on your preferences and your chosen lender, you may be able to apply online, in person or over the phone. Online-only lenders may still answer applicants’ questions over the phone.

What to Do if You Can’t Get a Bad-Credit Loan in California

If your application for a bad-credit loan in California is rejected, don’t be discouraged. Applications are commonly rejected due to issues with borrowers’ credit scores, DTI ratios and application details.

Following a rejection, we suggest that you contact the lender and ask why your application was denied. Sometimes, you can modify the terms of your loan, like the repayment term or loan amount, to have it approved.

If your application was rejected due to a low credit score, this may not be a quick fix. Those in need of funding quickly may apply with a different lender that has more lenient requirements. However, we recommend improving your credit score first to avoid negatively impacting it further from lenders’ hard credit checks.

MoneyGeek also warns against taking out a payday loan. Payday loans feature high interest rates and short repayment terms, which can cost borrowers more money in the long term.

Calculate Your Monthly Payment

Your personal loan will be repaid in monthly installments plus interest. Before submitting an application, it’s important to calculate your approximate monthly payment. That way, you can plan your budget accordingly. Use MoneyGeek’s personal loan calculator to estimate your loan payments.



+ $114.98


+ $8.33

Origination Fee Percentage


Origination Fee Fixed amount


Total monthly payment


FAQs About Bad-Credit Loans in California

There are multiple factors to consider when getting a personal loan. MoneyGeek answered some commonly asked questions about bad-credit loans in California to help you learn more.


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MoneyGeek reviewed more than 30 personal loan providers for over 35 data points across six categories: accessibility, affordability, consumer friendliness, customer service, flexibility and lender transparency.

Of these data points, we highlighted a few that we believe most impact a borrower’s choice of lender, including loan amounts, APRs, minimum credit and income requirements, fund disbursement times and application fees.

At MoneyGeek, we value you, the consumer, so we also evaluated lenders for their customer service ratings, as well as the availability of convenience features, like mobile apps, prequalification and payment options.

Our recommendations were made with your best interests in mind. We strive to provide you with the knowledge, insight and insider tips to make smarter and better-informed financial decisions.


The content on this page is accurate as of the posting/last updated date; however, some of the rates mentioned may have changed. We recommend visiting the lender's website for the most up-to-date information available.

Editorial Disclosure: Opinions, reviews, analyses and recommendations are the author’s alone and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any bank, lender or other entity. Learn more about our editorial policies and expert editorial team.