Best Low-Income Loans in California: Top Lenders and Rates for 2024

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Edited byAshley Jacobs
Edited byAshley Jacobs

Updated: December 28, 2023

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Best Low-Income Loan Lenders in California

When evaluating the best low-income loan lenders in California, MoneyGeek analyzed over 30 distinct data points to compare different lenders in California. Some of these factors included interest rates, loan amounts, repayment periods and disbursement periods, in addition to the borrower’s credit information and eligibility.

According to our research, Upgrade and LendingClub are the best lenders in California for having flexible loan amounts, competitive interest rates, manageable repayment periods and fast disbursement. Upstart might be a good option for those with poor credit, whereas Prosper is the best option for those with excellent credit.

Best Overall Low-Income 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

    Upgrade is a financial technology company headquartered in San Francisco that offers various financial solutions that help fund different financial needs. The company has made over $19 billion of credit available to consumers within the last five years.

    Personal loans from Upgrade are unsecured. However, it also offers secured loans with more flexible requirements, making it an ideal personal loan of choice for low-income borrowers in California. You can borrow up to $50,000 and can repay the funds in 36 to 60 months. Funds are disbursed as early as the same day, and borrowers can access an autopay discount.

    Pros

    • A+ BBB rating
    • Soft credit inquiry
    • No prepayment penalties
    • Autopay discount

    Cons

    • Origination fees
    • Late fees
    • No co-signers
    • APR range: 5.94% to 35.47%
    • Minimum/maximum loan amount: $1,000 to $50,000
    • Minimum credit requirements: 560
    • Repayment terms: 36 to 60 months
    • Time to receive funds: Same day
    Upgrade

Runner-Up for Best Low-Income Loan in California: LendingClub


  • LendingClub

    • 7.04% to 35.89%APR Range
    • 600Minimum Credit Score
    • $1,000 to $40,000Loan Amount Range
    • 36 to 60 monthsRepayment Terms
    • Next DayTime to Receive Funds

    Founded in 2007, LendingClub has helped more than four million members reach their financial goals through different financial products, including personal loans for low-income borrowers in California.

    Loan amounts from LendingClub range from $1,000 to $40,000, featuring APRs that range from 7.04% to 35.89%. You can access funds within the next day and repay them at a fixed term on a regular monthly payment schedule.

    Checking your rates with LendingClub does not affect your score as it conducts a soft credit pull during the initial loan application. You can repay your loan without worrying about prepayment penalties. However, keep in mind that LendingClub has certain fund usage restrictions. Additionally, you can have the funds sent to your bank or to multiple creditors directly.

    Pros

    • A+ BBB rating
    • Soft credit pull
    • No prepayment fees
    • Low minimum loan amount

    Cons

    • Fund usage restrictions
    • Origination fees
    • No autopay discount
    • APR range: 7.04% to 35.89%
    • Minimum/maximum loan amount: $1,000 to $40,000
    • Minimum credit requirements: 600
    • Repayment terms: 36 to 60 months
    • Time to receive funds: Next day
    LendingClub

Best Low-Income Loan for Bad Credit 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

    Upstart is a leading artificial intelligence (AI) lending marketplace that is known for its high approval rates. Borrowers in California might be able to qualify for a personal loan even with a low credit score and income.

    Upstart's unsecured personal loans range from $1,000 to $50,000 featuring an APR of 3.22% to 35.99%. Funds can be received within the next business day. In terms of repaying the loan, borrowers can choose between 36 or 60 months. This lender conducts a soft credit pull, letting borrowers check their rates without hurting their credit scores.

    Having only two options for repaying the loan can be a drawback for some borrowers looking for more flexible repayment terms. The origination fee and late payment fees of up to 5% or $15 (whichever is higher) are also factors that borrowers may consider when applying.

    Pros

    • Allows joint loans
    • No prepayment fees
    • Soft credit inquiry
    • A+ BBB rating

    Cons

    • Only two repayment term options
    • Origination fees
    • Late payment fees
    • APR range: 3.22% to 35.99%
    • Minimum/maximum loan amount: $1,000 to $50,000
    • Minimum credit requirements: 300
    • Repayment terms: 36 to 60 months
    • Time to receive funds: Next business day
    Upstart

Best Low-Income Loan for Good Credit in California: Prosper


  • Prosper

    • 7.95% to 35.99%APR Range
    • 640Minimum Credit Score
    • $2,000 to $40,000Loan Amount Range
    • 36 to 60 monthsRepayment Terms
    • Same DayTime to Receive Funds

    Founded in 2005, Prosper is the first-ever peer-to-peer personal loan lending platform in the United States that facilitated over $22 billion in loans. Loans from Prosper range from $2,000 to $40,000. This lender is great for borrowers with good credit and offers repayment terms ranging from 36 to 60 months. It conducts a soft credit pull, checking your rates without affecting your score. You can use the funds for various financial needs, including debt consolidation, home improvement, healthcare financing, household expenses, vehicle purchases and more.

    With peer-to-peer lending, the approval of your loan is dependent on whether enough investors commit funds to your account. Additionally, since Prosper comes with no prepayment fees, you can choose to pay off your loan before the agreed period without paying extra.

    Pros

    • No prepayment penalties
    • Allows joint loans
    • Soft credit inquiry
    • A+ BBB rating

    Cons

    • Origination fees
    • Late payment fees
    • Limitations on fund usage
    • APR range: 7.95% to 35.99%
    • Minimum/maximum loan amount: $2,000 to $40,000
    • Minimum credit requirements: 640
    • Repayment terms: 36 to 60 months
    • Time to receive funds: Same day
    Prosper

How to Choose the Best Low-Income Loan in California for You

The average California loan debt is $16,790 with an interest rate of around 10.21%. Borrowers who earn less than a certain income limit may find it more difficult to qualify for a personal loan than those with sufficient income.

Taking into consideration things like funding needs and credit scores, MoneyGeek walks you through the steps that every borrower should take before deciding on a personal loan.

1
Ask Yourself the Important Questions

Before applying for a low-income loan in California, it may be useful to ask yourself the following questions:

  • How much funding do you need? Borrowing more than you can realistically afford can lead to further debt. It’s important to know exactly how much you need for funding.
  • What’s your credit score? To determine a borrower’s eligibility for a loan, lenders require a specific credit score. You can still get a personal loan if you have bad credit or if you are just starting to build your credit. However, take note that borrowers with higher credit scores are more likely to receive the best APR offers.
  • Can you afford the monthly payments? Knowing the monthly payments required on your personal loan gives you an idea of whether you can afford to take out a personal loan.
  • Do you have existing debts? Adding more debt can stretch your monthly budget too thin.
  • Is your debt manageable through other means? Although a personal loan is usually the best solution during a financial emergency, you might consider other means, such as a credit card or a personal line of credit, depending on your needs.
2
Do Your Research

MoneyGeek offers a variety of resources to help you find the best low-income loan in California. While we recommend lenders in the best interests of borrowers, it may not be the best company for you if you have other requirements that are not typical of the average borrower.

Since a personal loan can be a two- to four-year commitment on average, it’s important to evaluate your personal needs and do your own research to determine which lender is ideal for you.

3
Wait

Don't feel obligated to immediately move forward in terms of applying for a loan. After you've done your research and found a low-income lender in California that you believe fits your needs, it's best to wait a day or two before making a decision. This can give you time to see if there are other options that might be a better choice for your funding needs.

4
Read the Fine Print

Aside from monthly payments, personal loans have origination fees, late fees, prepayment penalties and other fees, all of which can be found in the fine print. Before signing any agreement, make sure you understand all of the possible charges on your personal loan. While this may seem like a tedious process, it can save you money in the long run.

5
Apply

After you've given it some thought and reviewed the fine print, you can begin gathering financial documents to present to your lender as you finalize your application. Generally, lenders will need to be able to verify things like your address, income and identification during the application process. While it might be easier to apply for a personal loan online, visiting a lender in person can ensure you complete your application accurately and get any questions you have along the way answered. However, this will not be an option if you apply with an online-only lender.

What to Do if You Can’t Get a Low-Income Loan in California

Personal loan lenders in California may reject applications for a variety of reasons, such as having a low income or poor credit score. If your application is rejected for these reasons, there are a couple of steps that you can take.

If you submit an online loan application and are rejected, you might be able to modify your loan application. This may include borrowing a smaller amount or selecting a longer repayment period to make your application more realistic to your financial profile. You may also try adding a co-borrower (if the lender allows you to do so), which increases the odds of your application getting accepted.

In most cases, your lender may have a credit score requirement that you did not meet, leading to a denial. You could work on improving this score for a couple of months and try again once your score improves. Knowing the reason why your application is denied also improves your chances of approval with other lenders. However, don’t apply with other lenders until you’ve fixed the original reason for your application rejection.

MoneyGeek advises borrowers to avoid payday loans, which can result in higher interest rates and an unreasonable repayment period.

Calculate Your Monthly Payment

Calculating your monthly payments can help you determine if you can afford to repay a personal loan. Before submitting an application, you should obtain an estimated amount for monthly payments. You can use MoneyGeek’s personal loan calculator to estimate your monthly payments.

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FAQs About Low-Income Loans in California

The best low-income loan lender in California is determined by your unique financial needs. We answered some frequently asked questions about personal loans in California to help you understand your options.

What is the best low-income loan lender in California?
Which lender in California has the lowest interest rates for low-income?
What kind of debts can I not use my low-income loan for in California?
How much debt can I consolidate in California?
How long does it take to get a low-income loan in California?
Can I pay off my loan early in California?

Methodology

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METHODOLOGY

Over 30 personal loan lenders were reviewed by MoneyGeek using 35 individual data points in six categories, including loan affordability, accessibility, consumer friendliness, customer service, flexibility and lender transparency.

We took into account the individual factors within every category that we believe are the most important when selecting a personal loan lender. These include APR ranges, available loan amount, minimum credit score, minimum income amount, application fees and disbursement time.

MoneyGeek values you, the reader, so we reviewed each lender's customer support, business ratings and additional features to determine what would enhance your experience and make it more accessible. We also evaluated prequalification, payment alternatives and mobile apps.

Our personal loan suggestions and expert tips are published after extensive deliberation and calculation with your best interests in mind, aiming to assist you in selecting a lender that best suits your needs and enable you to make wise financial decisions.

sources
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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.