Best Personal Loans for Fair Credit

Matt is a Certified Financial Planner® and investment advisor based in Columbia, South Carolina. He writes personal finance and investment advice, and in 2017 he received the SABEW Best in Business Award.

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Just because you don’t have perfect credit doesn’t mean you can’t qualify for a personal loan. While some lenders prefer to focus on borrowers with good credit histories, there are others that offer personal loans to borrowers with a fair, or even poor, FICO® Score. You can get a personal loan with a 600 credit score or lower.

Although you’ll likely pay a higher interest rate than a borrower with flawless credit, with a fair credit score, you could find a personal loan with a better interest rate than you’d get with a credit card. With that in mind, here are three of the best personal loans for borrowers with fair credit scores.

Lending Partner Best For Min. Credit Score Loan Amounts APR Range Next Steps

Upstart

Best For:

Reducing high interest debt

Min. Credit Score:

620

Loan Amounts:

$1k - $50k

APR Range:

6.53 - 35.99%

Check Rate

On Secure Website.

Avant

Best For:

Borrowers with poor credit scores

Min. Credit Score:

580

Loan Amounts:

$2k - $35k

APR Range:

9.95 - 35.99%

Check Rate

On Secure Website.

LendingPoint

Best For:

Borrowers with poor credit scores

Min. Credit Score:

585

Loan Amounts:

$2k - $25k

APR Range:

9.99 - 35.99%

Check Rate

On Secure Website.

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What is a “fair” credit score?

FICO® Scores, the most commonly used credit scores, are on a scale of 300 to 850, with higher scores being better. There’s no official cutoff point that determines what is considered "excellent" credit, "fair credit," and so on, but FICO does offer some guidelines:

If your FICO® credit score is in this range… ...then your score is generally considered…
800-850 Exceptional
740-799 Very Good
670-739 Good
580-669 Fair
579 or lower Poor

Data source: www.myFICO.com

So let's use FICO’s definition and say you have fair credit if your FICO® Score is in the 580-669 range. If your credit score is well under 600, then you may want to consider some of the best personal loans for bad credit instead.

If you aren’t sure what your credit score is, there are several websites where you can check it, or you may be able to access a free FICO® Score through certain credit card issuers if you’re a cardholder. My personal favorite (although it isn’t free) is myFICO, which is run by the Fair Issac Corporation -- the creator of the FICO® Score. I’ve been a customer for well over a decade and love the comprehensive score reports and tools I have access to.

How to choose the best personal loan for you

The No. 1 rule for finding the best personal loan is to shop around. This doesn’t just mean investigating which lenders are available, but actually going through the pre-qualification process to find out the loan terms you would be offered by each lender.

Most personal lenders (including the three mentioned here) allow prospective borrowers to check their personal loan offers and rates with only a soft credit check, which does not hurt their credit score. So there’s no reason not to check with all three lenders above -- or even more. This isn’t meant an exhaustive list, so there are other companies that offer personal loans to fair-credit borrowers.

You might be surprised at the variation in loan terms that are offered to the exact same borrower. It isn’t uncommon for the difference between the best and worst interest rates to be 10 percentage points or more. This is especially true for borrowers with fair or poor credit scores.

Here are the best personal loan lenders for fair credit

Lending Partner Best For Min. Credit Score Loan Amounts APR Range Next Steps

Upstart

Best For:

Reducing high interest debt

Min. Credit Score:

620

Loan Amounts:

$1k - $50k

APR Range:

6.53 - 35.99%

Check Rate

On Secure Website.

Avant

Best For:

Borrowers with poor credit scores

Min. Credit Score:

580

Loan Amounts:

$2k - $35k

APR Range:

9.95 - 35.99%

Check Rate

On Secure Website.

LendingPoint

Best For:

Borrowers with poor credit scores

Min. Credit Score:

585

Loan Amounts:

$2k - $25k

APR Range:

9.99 - 35.99%

Check Rate

On Secure Website.

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