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

Updated: December 28, 2023

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Best Low-Income Loan Lenders in Illinois

Most residents in Illinois will easily meet the majority of lenders’ credit score requirements — the average credit score in the state is 719. However, a low income may preclude them from obtaining a loan. Luckily, there are several lenders in the state that provide financing to low-income borrowers. To find the best low-income loan lenders in Illinois, MoneyGeek reviewed over 30 lenders for key features, like APR ranges, repayment terms, eligibility requirements and more.

Upgrade earned the top spot on MoneyGeek’s ranking of the best low-income loan lenders in Illinois. Borrowers with bad credit will get the best low-income loan from Upstart, while those with good credit should consider Prosper.

Best Overall Low-Income Loan in Illinois: 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

    Low-income borrowers in Illinois in need of financing should consider Upgrade. This neobank was established in 2017 by a group of fintech pioneers to provide Americans with a better alternative to traditional banking.

    Those with a credit score of at least 560 can qualify for a loan. Given that the average credit score in Illinois is 719, most residents will have little trouble securing a loan from this lender. Although those with poor credit scores can qualify for a loan with Upgrade, it’s important to note that they may be subject to high interest rates in excess of 35%.

    The lender’s loan products range in amount from $1,000 to $50,000, making it a good option for those that need a small-to-moderate amount of funds. Its loan products also feature variable repayment terms and adjustable payment due dates that allow borrowers to choose a repayment schedule that best fits their needs. However, the tradeoff is that Upgrade charges origination fees and late fees, which can add to the overall cost of your loan amount.

    Pros

    • Fast funding
    • Borrowers can choose their payment due date
    • Flexible repayment terms
    • No prepayment penalty
    • Autopay discount

    Cons

    • Charges origination fees
    • Fees for late or missed payments
    • Restrictions on fund usage
    • 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 Illinois: 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

    LendingClub offers the second-best low-income loans in Illinois. Since the company was started in 2007, it has provided over $70 billion in loans to more than four million customers.

    Borrowers can obtain a loan from $1,000 to $40,000 with repayment terms between 36 and 60 months. LendingClub typically disburses funds within 24 hours of approving your application, making it a good option for those that need financing quickly. The lender also offers direct payment to third-party creditors, so you can easily consolidate your high-interest debt.

    While there are many advantages to a LendingClub loan, those with poor to fair credit should be aware of potentially receiving a high interest rate up to 36%. Furthermore, the lender charges fees for loan origination, which can substantially increase the cost of your loan.

    Pros

    • Joint applications allowed
    • No application fee
    • Convenient loan management through a mobile app
    • Direct payment to third-party creditors
    • No penalties for prepayment

    Cons

    • Low maximum loan cap of $40,000
    • Origination fees
    • Potentially high APRs for borrowers with less-than-stellar credit
    • 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: Within 24 hours
    LendingClub

Best Low-Income Loan for Bad Credit in Illinois: 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

    MoneyGeek recommends Upstart, an artificial intelligence (AI) lending platform, for borrowers with bad credit who are looking for the best low-income loans in Illinois. This online company was founded by former Google employees in 2012 with the aim of providing Americans with greater access to affordable credit alongside an alternative and fully digital loan experience.

    Upstart’s low credit score requirement of 300 means that even those with bad or no credit can qualify for a loan and a much-needed chance at building a credit history. Compared to other lenders that only consider a borrower’s credit profile, Upstart takes into account other factors, such as education and employment history, when evaluating a borrower’s loan eligibility.

    While those with a low credit score can qualify for a loan, they may be subject to a high interest rate in excess of 35%. Furthermore, Upstart only offers loan amounts between $1,000 and $50,000, so borrowers that need a large loan should choose a different lender. The lender also charges origination fees, which will increase the cost of your loan.

    Pros

    • Low credit score requirement of 300
    • No prepayment fees
    • Fast funding
    • No educational attainment requirement

    Cons

    • Charges origination fees
    • Limited repayment terms
    • No autopay discount
    • 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 day
    Upstart

Best Low-Income Loan for Good Credit in Illinois: 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

    MoneyGeek recommends Prosper’s low-income loans in Illinois for borrowers with good credit. Established in 2005 as the first peer-to-peer lender in the country, it has since helped more than 1.3 million borrowers across the country in securing a total of more than $1.2 billion in loans.

    Prosper’s low-income personal loans are unsecured, which is a plus if you don’t have many assets and don’t want to risk the little that you may have. Be forewarned that this lender may charge high interest rates and multiple fees on your loan. Also, there are no discounts for enrolling in automatic payments.

    Pros

    • Co-applicants allowed
    • Fixed-rate loans available
    • No penalty fees for loan prepayment
    • No restrictions on fund usage
    • Mobile application available

    Cons

    • Potentially high APRs
    • Charges fees for loan origination
    • Charges fees for check payments, insufficient funds and late payments
    • No autopay discount
    • 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 Illinois for You

A low-income personal loan is a good way to get quick access to extra funds. In Illinois alone, the average consumer has roughly $22,553 in personal loans, earning 9.31% in interest per year.

Before applying for a low-income loan, it’s important to consider several factors, such as if you meet the lender’s eligibility requirements. MoneyGeek suggests taking the following steps to find the best low-income loan in Illinois for you.

1
Ask Yourself the Important Questions

It’s important for you to evaluate your current finances and find out how a low-income loan fits into your financial goals.

  • How much funding do you need? Accurately estimating your financing needs can help you avoid under or overborrowing money.
  • What’s your credit score? Your credit score will impact your loan eligibility and the interest rate that you receive. To receive a lower interest rate on your low-income loan, consider improving your credit score first before you apply.
  • Can you afford the monthly payments? If you miss a monthly payment, your credit score may take a dip. Choose a payment amount that fits your current budget.
  • Do you have existing debts? Those with existing debt may want to consider repaying their current loans before taking on more.
  • Is your debt manageable through other means? When possible, choose interest-free funding options. Borrowing from a friend or using a 0% APR credit card could save you money.
2
Do Your Research

A low-income loan is a financial commitment that shouldn’t be taken lightly, especially since it can take anywhere from two to four years to repay. Because of this, it’s important to shop around, compare rates and study the available options to find the lender with the lowest interest rates for your situation.

You can reference MoneyGeek’s recommendations and use our free online tools to help you get started, but there’s no substitute for your own research.

3
Wait

After you’ve identified the lender that best matches your needs, it’s best to wait a day or two before you submit your application. Keep in mind that this is a long-term commitment that can have a huge impact on your financial and mental wellbeing, so you should be 100% sure that it is the best path forward to help you meet your financial goals. We suggest that you take this time to review your options and consider alternative funding sources.

4
Read the Fine Print

Most people tend to skip this step, but we cannot emphasize enough the importance of carefully reading the fine print. The fine print of a loan agreement outlines all the essential terms and conditions of your loan. Be aware of any potential charges, such as origination fees, prepayment penalties and late fees. These seemingly small amounts can add up over time. If you have any questions about the terms of your loan, you should reach out to your lender for clarification.

5
Apply

After you’ve completed the steps above, it’s time to submit your application. Most lenders will require you to provide documents for proof of identification, address, income and employment, so make sure to have these on hand. With online-only lenders, you can complete the entire process from the comfort of your home. Other lenders also offer the option to complete your loan application in person or over the phone, which might be beneficial if you want a more personalized service or need to discuss a few things directly with a representative.

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

If your low-income loan in Illinois is denied, we encourage you to contact your lender to ask why it was rejected. This information is already included in the adverse action notice that your lender will send you, but discussing this with a representative may shed more light on the matter. Sometimes, you can modify the terms of your loan agreement, like the repayment period or loan amount, to have your application approved.

Borrowers whose applications are rejected due to a low credit score should improve their credit first before reapplying. When you submit a loan application, the lender will complete a hard credit check, which can further hurt your credit score. To avoid negatively impacting your credit, limit the number of applications you submit.

MoneyGeek strongly advises against taking out a payday loan. These predatory loans, while easy to obtain, are difficult to repay in a timely manner. Their high interest rates and short repayment periods often cost borrowers more money in the long run.

Calculate Your Monthly Payment

Don’t run the risk of defaulting on your loan and hurting your credit score by missing payments. Use MoneyGeek’s personal loan calculator to calculate the approximate cost of your monthly payment so you can budget accordingly. This will help you get an idea of how much you need to set aside each month to repay your loan.

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FAQs About Low-Income Loans in Illinois

A low-income loan in Illinois can be a great financial tool if you know how to use it. Review our responses to some of the most commonly asked questions about personal and low-income loans to choose the best lender for your needs.

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

Methodology

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METHODOLOGY

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

We believe that certain data points have more of an impact on a borrower’s lender choice, so we assigned more weight to key factors in our ranking. These key factors include loan amounts, repayment options, APR ranges, disbursement time, fees and eligibility criteria.

Because you, the consumer, are our top priority, we also took into account factors that improve the overall quality of your experience, like access to mobile applications, prequalification availability and payment options.

All these factors were considered to give you the top recommendations for the best low-income loans in Illinois. As always, you can rest assured that MoneyGeek’s expert recommendations and tips are made with your best interest in mind. Our goal is to provide you with the knowledge and information to help you make well-informed financial decisions.

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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.