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.
$500 - $10,000
6 to 72 months
CashUSA is a lender network that offers quick funding as soon as the next day. The minimum income you’ll need to qualify is $1,000 each month after taxes come out.
One application on the website allows you to get exposure to multiple online lenders. Once you sign your loan agreement, you make payments to the lender, not CashUSA.
Features and Benefits
- Flexible borrower requirements
- Loan request can be approved within minutes
- Money deposited as early as 1 business day
- All credit types accepted
$500 - $35,000
3 to 72 months
Rather than being a direct lender, PersonalLoans.com offers a loan marketplace where you fill out just one application to get several loan offers in return.
To be matched with a peer-to-peer lender, you’ll need a monthly after-tax income of $2,000 as well as a 600 credit score. To be matched with an installment or bank lender, you’ll need a monthly after-tax income of $3,000 and a minimum score of 580.
Features and Benefits
- Multiple loan types available
- Fast loan decision
- Funds deposited as soon as you accept offer
- Nationwide availability
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.
Up to $2,500
MoneyMutual gives you access to a network of short-term lenders. There’s no specific credit score you’ll need, but you need to have at least $800 in income each month. This can be from a job or benefits. You also need a valid checking account in order to qualify.
Features and Benefits
- Fill out online form in less than 5 minutes
- Get a decision on your loan within minutes
- Loan deposited in little as 24 hours
- Trusted by more than 2,000,000 borrowers
$500 - $5,000
3 to 60 months
In order to be eligible for a personal loan with a lender in BadCreditLoan.com’s network, you need steady income for at least the last 90 days.
The income source is flexible and can be either from a job, social security, or disability. Smaller loan amounts from lenders in the BadCreditLoan.com network have shorter repayment terms, while larger amounts will have longer repayment terms.
Features and Benefits
- No obligation or fee 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
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 and foremost, 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 a number of benefits, as long as you use the funds wisely and pick a loan that works financially for you.