Best Personal Loans for Fair Credit

Some lenders consider factors beyond credit score for those with fair credit

Disclosure: We are committed to recommending the best products for our readers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to products, but this never affects our reviews or recommendations .

A personal loan can help you take control of high-interest debts or fund a major purchase. Most of them have fixed monthly payments, which can make it easier to budget for your payments. And there’s no need to pledge collateral to get approved, as there is with some other types of loans. If you have fair credit, a variety of lenders can help you get a personal loan with reasonable terms.

For the list below, we've chosen lenders likely to provide the funding you need at a reasonable price and with fixed interest rates. What’s more, these lenders should be easy to work with because your time is valuable. The process doesn’t need to be painful.

Best Personal Loans for Fair Credit

  • Prosper: Best for a Long Track Record Online
  • Upstart: Best for High Earners
  • LendingClub: Best for Improving Credit Scores
  • SoFi: Best for Higher Credit Scores
  • Marcus by Goldman Sachs: Best Newcomer
  • Local Banks and Credit Unions: Best for Personal Attention

Best for a Long Track Record Online: Prosper.com

Prosper Logo

Prosper.com was a pioneer in online lending and claims its place as the first peer-to-peer (P2P) lender in the U.S. Prosper keeps it simple with a three-year repayment term or a five-year option, and you can pay off your loan early at no additional charge. Rates range from 5.32% to 35.97% APR. However, with fair credit, expect rates near the middle of that range—the lowest rates are only available to borrowers with excellent credit.

What We Like
  • Fixed rates make it easy to budget while you pay off debt

  • Three- and five-year terms keep payments manageable without piling up interest costs

  • No prepayment penalty

  • Easy to check your rate before borrowing

What We Don't Like
  • Depending on creditworthiness, high rates can make borrowing expensive

  • Origination fees require borrowers to take out extra to fund major purchases

Prosper Personal Loan Details

  • Loan amounts: $2,000 to $35,000
  • Fixed APR range: 5.32% to 35.97%
  • Variable APR range: Does not offer variable interest rates
  • Loan terms: 36 or 60 months
  • Origination fee: Between 0.50% and 4.95%
  • Late fee: $15 or 5% 
  • Time to receive funds: As little as 1 to 5 business days
  • Recommended credit score: 640 or better

Best for High Earners: Upstart

upstart logo

Upstart, launched in 2014 by former Google executives, takes a unique approach to evaluating personal loan applications. In addition to reviewing your credit history and income, Upstart takes your education and work history into account when approving loans. APRs range from 6.53% to 35.99%, and Upstart reports that the average borrower pays 20% APR. Upstart may charge a one-time origination fee, as well.

What We Like
  • Your degree or work history can help you get approved with fair credit

  • Three- and five-year repayment terms

  • Next-day funding available

  • Fixed interest rates

What We Don't Like
  • Origination fees as high as 8%

  • Potential for high rates, depending on your application

Upstart Personal Loan Details

  • Loan amounts: $5,000 to $30,000
  • Fixed APR range: 6.53% to 35.99%
  • Variable APR range: Does not offer variable interest rates
  • Loan terms: 36 or 60 months
  • Origination fee: Between 0% and 8%
  • Late fee: $15 or 5%
  • Time to receive funds: As little as 1 business day
  • Recommended credit score: 620 or better

Best for Improving Credit Scores: LendingClub

LendingClub

LendingClub is a marketplace lender offering P2P loans as well as funding from institutional investors. According to a LendingClub representative, you can qualify with a credit score as low as 600. Other factors, like your income and debt payments, affect whether or not you’ll get approved. Rates range from 6.95%-35.89% APR, and you pay an origination fee of 1% to 6% when you receive funds.

What We Like
  • Personalized rate quotes are quick and easy to get

  • Fixed interest rates keep loan payments stable

  • Loan amounts as little as $1,000 available

  • No prepayment fees, so you can repay early

What We Don't Like
  • Potentially expensive borrowing source if you pay the highest rates

  • It can take seven days to receive funds after you apply

  • Origination fee

LendingClub Personal Loan Details

  • Loan amounts: $1,000 to $40,000
  • Fixed APR range: 6.95% to 35.89%
  • Variable APR range: Does not offer variable interest rates
  • Loan terms: 36 or 60 months
  • Origination fee: Between 1% and 6%
  • Late fee: $15 or 5%
  • Time to receive funds: As little as 4 business days
  • Recommended credit score: Fair or better

Best for Higher Credit Scores: SoFi

SoFI

SoFi has relatively low rates and no origination fee. But it requires a credit score of at least 680, making it harder for those with fair credit to obtain a personal loan. That said, if your credit score is high enough, factors like your work history and your income can help you secure those lower rates. Fixed APRs range from 5.99% to 18.82% (with AutoPay), though variable APRs are available, too.

What We Like
  • No late payment fees, though late payments can damage your credit

  • Signing up for automatic payments reduces your rate by 0.25 percentage points

  • Fixed and variable rates available

  • No origination fee

What We Don't Like
  • Minimum loan amount of $5,000 ($10,000 in CA) might be more than you need

  • You might not qualify with fair credit

SoFi Personal Loan Details

  • Loan amounts: $5,000 to $100,000
  • Fixed APR range: 5.99% to 18.82% with autopay
  • Variable APR range: 6.24% to 14.70% with autopay
  • Loan terms: 24 to 84 months
  • Origination fee: Does not charge an origination fee
  • Late fee: Does not charge a late fee
  • Time to receive funds: Typically within a week
  • Recommended credit score: Good or better

Best Newcomer: Marcus by Goldman Sachs

Marcus

Marcus by Goldman Sachs is a relative newcomer to personal loans, but Goldman Sachs is a well-established financial services company. Marcus evaluates your credit history alongside other financial details like your income and housing expenses to determine your creditworthiness. According to a Marcus representative, you can qualify with a FICO Score as low as 660. Rates range from 6.99% to 28.99% APR, and there are no fees to borrow with Marcus.

What We Like
  • No origination fee

  • No late fees, though paying late can increase costs and damage your credit

  • Fixed interest rate for consistent payments

What We Don't Like
  • Minimum loan amount of $3,500 could exceed your needs

Marcus by Goldman Sachs Personal Loan Details

  • Loan amounts: $3,500 to $40,000
  • Fixed APR range: 6.99% to 28.99%
  • Variable APR range: Does not offer variable interest rates
  • Loan terms: 36 to 72 months
  • Origination fee: Does not charge an origination fee
  • Late fee: Does not charge a late fee
  • Time to receive funds: As little as 1 to 4 business days
  • Recommended credit score: 660 or better

Best for Personal Attention: Local Banks and Credit Unions

When you’re applying for a personal loan, it’s wise to include a local financial institution in your search. Particularly with fair credit, you might benefit from having a human rather than an automated system review your finances. 

For example, you might be able to explain temporarily-high credit card balances that were a result of unexpected medical bills. Plus, if a bank employee can see your checking and savings accounts—which shows healthy financial behavior—they may be more likely to make exceptions. 

Credit unions, as community-focused, not-for-profit organizations, might be especially willing to approve your application. 

What We Like
  • Potential same-day funding

  • A loan officer at the financial institution might review your credit history

  • If you have accounts at your local bank, they have visibility into your finances, which could help you get approved

  • Support for organizations in your area

What We Don't Like
  • An in-person visit may be inconvenient

  • The application process may be cumbersome and require substantial manual input

  • May require credit union membership

How Do You Know What Credit Score Range You're In?

The term “fair credit” refers to your FICO score. FICO Score 8 ranges from 300 to 850 points. Here's how the scores are categorized:

  • Excellent credit: 750-850
  • Good credit: 700-749
  • Fair credit: 650 to 699
  • Poor credit: 300-649 

If you have a lower credit score, check out our list of best personal loans for bad credit.

Will Shopping for a Loan Hurt My Credit Score?

You should shop around and compare personal loan terms before you decide on one. But getting quotes can ding your credit score if the lender performs a "hard pull" on your credit record to see if you qualify. That's why you should stick to lenders who do a “soft pull” or “soft inquiry” of your credit report or those who say that checking offers won’t hurt your credit score. 

Also, target loans like those on this list that indicate they may be available to people with fair credit. That way you won't waste your time or a credit pull on a product that isn't suited to you.

How Can I Improve My Chances of Getting a Loan?

There are several steps you can take to improve your chances of getting a loan:

Check your credit report: You can get a free copy of your credit report from each of the three main credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) every year at AnnualCreditReport.com. Look over your credit reports to make sure there aren't any errors that could be hurting your credit score.

Pay down your debt: If you have a high debt-to-income ratio when you apply for a loan, it could hurt your chances of getting approved. DTI compares your monthly gross income to your monthly debt payments. Paying down debt can lower your DTI and improve your chances of getting approved for a new loan at a favorable rate.

Consider getting a co-signer: A co-signer, or co-borrower, is someone who signs the loan agreement with you and is responsible for payments if you default on the loan. If they have a better credit score or more income, a lender may feel more comfortable giving you the loan.

How Should I Choose a Fair Credit Lender?

When looking for a lender, you won't have as many choices as if you had excellent credit. But it's still important to find the best lender you can for your circumstances. Pay attention to these factors:

Interest rates: Lenders generally reserve the lowest interest rates for applicants with high credit scores. But you should still look for the lowest APR available to you.

Fees: Some lenders charge personal loan origination fees when you borrow. Fees may range from 1% to 8% of the amount you borrow, though some lenders charge flat fees and others don't charge any fees. But be careful not to jump at the first no-fee loan you see. Do the math to make sure that the lender isn't making up for those costs with a higher APR.

Repayment terms: Consider how long you want to pay off the loan. A shorter repayment time will cost you less in interest overall, but could stretch your monthly budget. Choose a lender that offers terms that are a good fit for you. Some let you choose which day of the month to make your payments as well, which could help you time your due dates around your paydays.

Article Sources

The Balance requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy .
  1. Prosper. "Personal Loans Rates and Fees," Accessed March 23, 2020.

  2. Upstart. "Personal Loans," Accessed March 23, 2020.

  3. Upstart. "What Fees am I Charged?" Accessed March 23, 2020.

  4. LendingClub. "Personal Loan Rates and Fees," Accessed March 23, 2020.

  5. SoFi. "Compare Rates and Terms," Accessed March 23, 2020.

  6. Marcus by Goldman Sachs. "We're Offering Personal Loans With No Fees. Ever." Accessed March 23, 2020.

  7. FICO. "Updated Infographic: What Does a High Credit Scorer Look Like?" Accessed March 23, 2020.

  8. Upstart. "What fees am I charged?" Accessed March 23, 2020.