Despite having bad credit, you still have the potential to get an unsecured personal loan when the need arises. Emergencies happen to everyone, regardless of credit score, so you need to know where to go if you don’t have the money on hand to get through these situations. In order to avoid putting yourself in an even more financially precarious situation, it’s best to find an unsecured loan.
When you choose an unsecured loan, you don’t have to use any of your personal property as collateral as you would with a secured loan. Yes, you’re still personally liable for repaying the loan. But you don’t have to hand over the title to your vehicle or anything else you own and risk losing it if you get behind on your loan payments.
With online unsecured personal loans you’ll also be able to get access to your funds quickly in most cases. The application review process is typically automated so you can receive a funding decision fast. Once you find a loan you like, you can sign a loan agreement and get the money deposited into your account in just a few business days or even less.
Here are our top picks for both categories.
Best Online Installment Loans for Bad Credit
An installment loan is repaid over a longer period of time, and consequently may allow you to borrow a larger amount of money than you could with a short-term loan. While your credit score will be considered, these lenders also rely heavily on your monthly income to make sure you’re financially able to make your payments. In most cases, you’ll see a requirement for a certain amount each month after taxes are taken out.
You’ll notice a range of loan amounts and repayment periods with these lenders. In most cases, the lower amount of money corresponds to the shorter repayment period. The larger amounts are usually spread over a longer period of time. The downside to that, of course, is that you’ll end up paying more in interest compared to a loan with a shorter term.
But if you have poor credit, this type of unsecured loan can get you access to the funds you need, especially if it’s more than a couple hundred dollars. Another benefit associated with installment loans is that in many cases, the lender will report the loan balance and subsequent payments to at least one credit bureau. This can help you rebuild your credit scores in addition to getting a personal loan.
Consider these three installment lenders and loan marketplaces to help you find helpful options made specifically for people with bad credit.
Features & Benefits
- Flexible borrower requirements
- Loan request can be approved within minutes
- Money deposited as early as 1 business day
- All credit types accepted
CashUSA connects borrowers with lenders. Each application is sent to the lender most likely to lend to the borrower. Because it works with a variety of credit profiles, it is not only a poor credit loan broker.
Interest rates vary depending on the lender, so make sure you read through the terms for each emergency loan before you choose. Applying online only takes a few minutes, and funds are often available the next day.
Loan Amount$1,000 – $35,000
Loan Term3 to 72 months
Features & Benefits
- Multiple loan types available
- Fast loan decision
- Funds deposited as soon as you accept an offer
- Nationwide availability
You can get a loan through PersonalLoans.com with credit scores as low as 600. Each lender in their network offers its own unique interest rates.
The quick and easy online application only takes minutes. You’ll have a decision within a business day of submission.
Finding the right unsecured installment loan can help you bridge your financial gap when unexpected expenses come up. Just be sure you have a solid repayment plan so that you don’t end up paying more for your loan than you originally intended. Late payments can result in hefty fees and an even worse credit score.
Before you choose a lender, check to see that their repayment methods align with your preferences. For example, if you’re tech-savvy, you may prefer a lender that allows you to pay online or through a mobile app. If you prefer to pay with a check, make sure they don’t charge any check-cashing fees.
Finally, if you’re a cash person, you may find a lender that takes payment at popular retail chains. Just see if there are any fees associated with that additional service so you can weigh the pros and cons. The easier it is for you to pay your bill with your preferred payment method, the more likely you are to get it done on time.
Remember to shop around for lenders to find the best all-around option. While you definitely want to make sure the loan covers your needs and meets your budget, these other features and services can help sweeten the deal.
Best Online Short-Term Loans for Bad Credit
When you only need to borrow between a few hundred and a few thousand dollars, a short-term loan could be the way to go. While some lenders may require payment in just a few weeks, others give you a few months or even up to a year to repay.
Payday loans and title loans fall into the “short-term” category, but they’re not unsecured; you have to put up either your next paycheck or your vehicle as collateral. Instead of focusing your search on these types of loans, consider an online unsecured short-term loan to meet your needs.
You can choose to work either with a direct lender or a loan marketplace. Oftentimes, a marketplace can help you cut back on the time it takes to apply with multiple lenders. Rather than facing multiple rejections, you have a greater chance of getting one or more loan offers this way.
Here are two loan marketplaces that offer short-term personal loans and are designed to work with people who have bad credit.
Loan AmountUp to $5,000
Features & Benefits
- Application takes less than 5 minutes
- Get a decision on your loan within minutes
- Funds are available within 24 hours
- Trusted by more than 2,000,000 borrowers
MoneyMutual is an online marketplace of lenders. They make it quick and easy to find a short term cash advance loan in as little as 24 hours.
One application can potentially get you multiple loan offers. MoneyMutual has been trusted by more than two million customers. They serve borrowers with bad credit from all 50 states except New York and Connecticut.
Loan Amount$500 – $10,000
Loan Term3 – 60 months
APR5.99% – 35.99%
Features & Benefits
- No cost to check loan approval
- High approval rate despite credit history
- Funds available as soon as next business day
- Assisting people with bad credit since 1998
Bad Credit Loans is an online lender marketplace that allows you to connect with multiple lenders by filling out a single application. The service is 100% free.
Once you’re approved, your lender will provide you with the APR, loan fees, and other terms.
Read through the terms, compare all the offers you’ve received, and only accept the loan you’re most comfortable with. You are not obligated to accept the personal loan from any lenders that you are matched with.
Before you pick a lender, check on the exact repayment process. Personal loans that come with an extremely short repayment period may require you to make a single lump sum payment. If the loan is a bit longer, you may have installment payments spread over a specific period of time.
Knowing these details upfront are key in ensuring you successfully repay your loan without accumulating extra fees. As long as you have a clear path to paying your loan on time, you can get the financing you need, and fast.
Borrow Responsibly to Improve Your Credit
Properly managing your loan, whether over the short-term or long-term, can be an effective way to improve your credit. Even if you begin the loan term with poor credit, you could very well see an increase as time goes by. Follow these tips to maximize the credit repair process so that you not only get the money you need, but an improved credit score as an added bonus.
#1: Make Sure Your Payments are Reported
First, make sure your chosen lender reports your loan account to the credit bureaus. The three major bureaus are Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Some lenders may not report your loan at all, especially if it’s short-term. Others only report to one or two.
Either way, make the reporting process part of your loan comparison. If costs are comparable, but one lender reports your loan payments to more credit bureaus, then that’s probably the better choice for you.
#2: Pay On Time, Every Time
Once you know that your loan is being reported, you need to manage your payments responsibly. Both the good and the bad will make it on your report. As long as you make each payment within 30 days of the due date, you won’t get any negative records for late payments.
Of course, you may acquire late fees from your lender. Anything beyond 30 days late will be listed as a negative entry and hurt your credit. But keep paying on time and month after month as you rebuild a positive payment history, you’ll start to see your credit score climb.
#3: Consolidate Credit Card Debt
If you have credit cards charging you extremely high interest rates on your balances, you may consider using an installment loan for debt consolidation. The benefits are twofold. On the one hand, you can potentially save money on interest if you find a loan with a lower interest rate. On the other hand, changing those credit card balances from revolving debt to an installment loan can improve your credit mix and, consequently, your credit score.
Getting an unsecured personal loan comes with many benefits, as long as you use the funds wisely and pick a loan that works financially for you.