Best Personal Loans for Fair Credit for 2024

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Reviewed byAlvin Yam, CFP
Contributions by6 experts
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Reviewed byAlvin Yam, CFP
Edited byCasie McCoskey
Contributions by6 experts
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Updated: April 23, 2024

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Happy Money offers the best personal loans for borrowers with fair credit, earning a MoneyGeek score of 93 out of 100 for its transparency in loan terms, quick application process and quality service. Avant is the runner-up, with a MoneyGeek score of 93 out of 100, for its flexible loan terms and straightforward application.

According to Experian, the average credit score in the United States in 2023 is 715. If you have a fair credit score ranging from 580 to 669, getting a personal loan is still possible. MoneyGeek scored lenders based on factors like interest rates, loan terms, customer service, application process and transparency to find the best options for your particular needs and credit profile.

MoneyGeek’s personal loan scoring system provided a comprehensive overview of how each lender performed in key areas that matter to borrowers. Scores were allocated based on the inclusion or exclusion of certain desirable features in various critical categories.

For this analysis, we only considered lenders that disclosed minimum credit score requirements of between 580 and 640 to find the best personal loans for fair credit.

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We completed our analysis in April 2024 and considered financial companies that partner with federally insured institutions to offer personal loans for fair credit.

34Lenders Analyzed

    Best Overall Fair Credit Loan Lender

  • Happy Money

    • 93MG Score
    • 11.72% to 17.99%APR Range
    • 640Minimum Credit Score
    • $5,000 to $40,000Loan Amount Range
    • 24 to 60 monthsRepayment Terms

    Happy Money, with a MoneyGeek score of 93 out of 100, stands out as the best option for personal loans for borrowers with fair credit. As a fintech company working with lending partners federally insured by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), Happy Money requires a minimum credit score of 640. It offers personal loans for debt consolidation ranging from $5,000 to $40,000, with repayment terms spanning 24 to 60 months. While it does charge origination fees, it doesn’t impose late, early repayment, bounced check or failed ACH fees. However, Happy Money doesn’t allow co-signers or co-borrowers, and its services are not available in Massachusetts or Nevada.

    Pros

    • No late or prepayment fees
    • Offers to pay creditors directly
    • Conducts soft credit pulls
    • Lower maximum APR than competitors

    Cons

    • Only offers loans for debt consolidation
    • Charges an origination fee
    • Loan amount caps at $40,000
    Happy Money

    Fair Credit Loan Lender Runner-Up

  • Avant

    • 93MG Score
    • 9.95% to 35.99%APR Range
    • 580Minimum Credit Score
    • $2,000 to $35,000Loan Amount Range
    • 12 to 60 monthsRepayment Terms

    Avant earned a MoneyGeek score of 93 out of 100 as the runner-up for the best personal loan for borrowers with fair credit. Avant placed second in our analysis due to its higher interest rate range and fees. Avant sets a minimum credit score requirement of 580 and works with WebBank, a state-chartered FDIC-insured bank, to originate personal loans. Its loan offerings range between $2,000 and $35,000, with repayment terms spanning 12 to 60 months. While Avant does not impose a prepayment penalty, it charges an administration fee of up to 9.99% in addition to late and dishonored payment fees.

    Pros

    • No prepayment penalty
    • Performs soft credit checks
    • Has a mobile app

    Cons

    • Charges an administration fee up to 9.99%
    • Low borrowing limit
    • No co-signers or joint applications
    Avant

    Other Fair Credit Loan Lender Options

  • Achieve

    • 92MG Score
    • 8.99 to 35.99%APR Range
    • 620Minimum Credit Score
    • $5,000 to $50,000Loan Amount Range
    • 24 to 60 monthsRepayment Terms

    With a MoneyGeek score of 92 out of 100, Achieve is a notable alternative for personal loans for fair credit borrowers, requiring a minimum credit score of 620. Its personal loans are originated by Cross River Bank, a New Jersey State Chartered Commercial Bank, or Pathward, an FDIC member. It offers loan amounts ranging from $5,000 to $50,000 and repayment terms spanning 24 to 60 months. It provides co-borrower, retirement asset and direct pay discounts, and it charges no prepayment penalties. However, Achieve charges an origination fee ranging between 1.99% and 6.99% and is not widely accessible across all U.S. states.

    Pros

    • Has interest rate discounts for co-borrowers, retirement assets and direct pay
    • Doesn’t charge prepayment penalties
    • Offers same-day funding

    Cons

    • Charges an origination fee between 1.99% and 6.99%
    • Maximum loan amount is $50,000
    • Not available in all states
    Achieve

  • Prosper

    • 91MG Score
    • 8.99% to 35.99%APR Range
    • 600Minimum Credit Score
    • $2,000 to $50,000Loan Amount Range
    • 24 to 60 monthsRepayment Terms

    Prosper is another viable option for personal loans for fair credit, boasting a MoneyGeek score of 91 out of 100. WebBank, an FDIC-insured industrial bank, originates its personal loans. Requiring a minimum credit score of 600, Prosper offers loans from $2,000 to $50,000, with repayment terms between 24 to 60 months. It doesn’t impose prepayment penalties and allows joint applications. However, it does charge an origination fee ranging between 1% and 7.99%, along with additional fees for check payments, late payments and insufficient funds.

    Pros

    • No prepayment penalties
    • Allows joint applications
    • Conducts soft credit inquiries

    Cons

    • Has an origination fee between 1% and 7.99%
    • Charges check payment, late and insufficient funds fees
    • Caps maximum loan amount at $50,000
    Prosper

What Is a Fair Credit Score?

Fair credit scores typically range from 580 to 669. Borrowers in this range may qualify for loans and credit cards but might encounter higher interest rates and less favorable terms than consumers with higher credit scores.

A credit score reflects your creditworthiness and is based on various factors such as payment history, credit utilization, length of credit history, types of credit in use and recent credit inquiries. Lenders often use credit scores to assess the risk of lending money and determine loan terms, including interest rates and loan amounts.

PROACTIVELY IMPROVE YOUR CREDIT SCORE

"You can proactively improve your credit score by ensuring timely payment of existing debts, maintaining low credit utilization ratios and avoiding multiple credit applications. These tips can positively impact your credit score and potentially enhance your eligibility for more favorable loan terms." — Alvin Yam, CFP®

Pros and Cons of Personal Loans for Fair Credit

While personal loans offer opportunities for individuals with fair credit to access funds for various needs, they also come with potential drawbacks to consider.

Pros
Cons

Access to funds: Personal loans for borrowers with fair credit provide access to funds for various needs, such as debt consolidation or unexpected expenses.

Higher rates: Due to the increased risk associated with fair credit, borrowers may face higher interest rates on personal loans, resulting in higher overall costs.

Potential for credit improvement: Timely repayment of personal loans can help individuals with fair credit improve their credit scores over time.

Limited loan amounts: Individuals with fair credit may be approved for smaller loan amounts compared to those with higher credit scores, limiting their borrowing capacity.

Availability of options: Numerous lenders offer personal loans for fair credit, providing borrowers with a range of options.

Risk of loan denial: Some borrowers with fair credit may face challenges in obtaining approval for personal loans, as lenders may perceive them as higher risk.

NEGOTIATING LOAN TERMS

"Loan terms are the detailed rules you agree to when you borrow money, such as the length of time you have to pay it back and the applicable interest rates, fees and any extra conditions.

To effectively negotiate loan terms, thoroughly research and compare offers from multiple lenders to see who best fits your financial profile. Leverage recent improvements in your credit score and financial stability to negotiate more favorable terms." — Alvin Yam, CFP®

How to Choose the Best Personal Loan for Fair Credit

Finding the best fair credit loan for your needs and circumstances can be complex. To simplify the process, consider following these steps:

1
Check eligibility requirements

Lenders set different eligibility criteria for personal loans, with some focusing on credit scores while others consider other factors. Reviewing these requirements can save time and avoid potential damage to your credit score from multiple applications.

2
Compare interest rates

Personal loan interest rates vary based on your creditworthiness, so always compare rates from different lenders. This ensures you secure the most competitive option available to you.

3
Examine loan terms

Lenders offer a range of loan terms, including short and long repayment periods. Assess these terms carefully to choose the option that best fits your particular financial situation and goals.

4
Look out for additional fees

While some lenders may charge additional fees, such as origination fees or prepayment penalties, others may not. Being aware of these fees can help you understand the total cost of borrowing and avoid unexpected expenses.

5
Research lender reputation and reviews

Reading reviews and customer experiences can help you understand the reputation of potential lenders, ensuring you choose a reputable lender known for providing reliable service and customer satisfaction.

6
Calculate monthly payment amounts

Before committing to a loan, make sure you can comfortably afford the monthly payments. Using tools like MoneyGeek's personal loan calculator can help estimate your monthly payments and budget effectively.

FACTORS TO CONSIDER WHEN LOOKING FOR A PERSONAL LOAN

Consider the following factors when shopping around for a personal loan with fair credit:

  • Credit score: Having a fair credit score may result in different loan offers compared to consumers with higher scores. Knowing where you stand can help manage expectations and guide your search for the right loan.

  • Loan amount: Analyze exactly how much you need before pursuing an application. For example, if you're consolidating $10,000 in credit card debt, you'll want a loan amount that covers this total to pay off your balances.

  • Time to receive funds: Assess how quickly you need the funds. Some lenders may offer faster processing times than others, impacting your decision-making process.

  • Prequalification: Some lenders offer prequalification, allowing you to see potential loan offers without hurting your credit score. This can be valuable for comparing options and determining eligibility before formally applying.

Alternatives to Personal Loans for Fair Credit

Exploring alternatives to personal loans for those with fair credit can help you discover other options that may offer more favorable terms or lower costs. These include:

  • Credit cards: Credit cards may provide immediate access to funds and offer rewards or cash back incentives. However, they often come with higher interest rates than personal loans, making them costly for long-term borrowing.

  • Home equity loans or lines of credit: Leveraging the equity in your home can result in lower interest rates compared to personal loans, making it a cost-effective option for larger expenses. That said, home equity loans or lines of credit may pose a risk to your home if you default on payments.

  • 401(k) loan: Borrowing from your 401(k) retirement account allows you to access funds quickly without a credit check. Any interest you pay is typically returned to your own account, potentially making it a more affordable option.

  • Peer-to-peer lending: Peer-to-peer lending platforms connect borrowers with individual investors, often offering competitive rates and flexible terms compared to traditional lenders.

  • Credit counseling: Seeking guidance from a credit counselor can help you explore debt management strategies, negotiate with creditors and develop a personalized plan to improve your financial situation without taking on additional debt.

Considering all of your options for funding before selecting a personal loan is a financially savvy strategy. One of these alternatives may better suit your specific financial needs and circumstances.

FAQ About Personal Loans for Fair Credit

Navigating personal loans for fair credit can raise many questions, from finding the best options to understanding their impact on credit scores. Below are answers to frequently asked questions to help you make informed decisions when considering personal loans for people with fair credit.

What is the best personal loan for fair credit?
Which personal loan lender offers the lowest interest rate?
Is it hard to get a personal loan for fair credit?
How does repaying a personal loan impact my credit score?
Can I improve the terms of my personal loan if my credit score improves?
Which loan terms should borrowers pay the closest attention to?

Expert Tips About Personal Loans for Fair Credit

  1. What tips would you give someone with fair credit considering taking out a personal loan?
  2. How can potential borrowers with fair credit compare and evaluate different loan offers?
  3. What are some of the risks associated with taking out a personal loan for those with fair credit?
Michael Manahan
Michael ManahanLecturer at California State University Dominguez Hills; Author and Business Consultant
Matthew Fortney, MBA, CFP®
Matthew Fortney, MBA, CFP®Partner at Calderon Fortney Financial Group
Professor David Wilhelm
Professor David WilhelmProfessor at San Diego Miramar College
Catherine Gilstein, MBA, Ph.D.
Catherine Gilstein, MBA, Ph.D.Graduate Program Director and Assistant Professor at Chestnut Hill College
Carma Peters
Carma PetersPresident & CEO of Michigan Legacy Credit Union
Shane Enete, CFA, CAIA
Shane Enete, CFA, CAIAAssociate Professor of Finance at Biola University
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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.