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Having a fair credit score can seem like a big barrier to qualifying for a personal loan, but it's not an insurmountable one. Lenders often require borrowers to have good credit scores to qualify, and even if you get approved with fair credit, your interest rates will likely be high. 

If your credit score isn't quite up to par, there are certain lenders that do offer loans for fair-credit borrowers. But you'll need to look harder to find them. The extra effort could be worth it, as personal loans offer benefits like fixed rates and fast funding, often as soon as the same day.

Here’s what to know if you're a fair-credit borrower. We’ve also rounded up some of the best personal loan lenders for fair credit loans to help simplify your search.    

What is Considered Fair Credit?

Your FICO® Score is the one that’s most often considered in lending decisions, though other credit scoring models also exist. In the FICO scoring model, a fair credit score is any number in the 580-669 range.

Here are the different FICO credit score ranges:

  • Poor: below 580
  • Fair: 580-669
  • Good: 670-739
  • Very good: 740-799
  • Excellent: 800 and above

How to Choose Fair Credit Personal Loans

If your credit score is fair and you need a loan, here are some things to consider when choosing a loan.

  • Compare Rates: When choosing a fair credit personal loan, know that your loan rates will likely be on the higher end of a lender's APR range than if you had good or excellent credit. Additionally, not all personal loan lenders will be willing to work with you. 
  • Consider a Co-Signer or Co-Borrower: Though favorable loans might be harder to find, that doesn’t mean they don’t exist for fair-credit borrowers. As you shop around, look for lenders that permit co-signers or co-borrowers.
    • A co-signer is typically a trusted family member with better credit that signs off on your loan and promises to repay it if you default. Those who co-sign don’t get loan proceeds.
    • A co-borrower, sometimes called a co-applicant or joint applicant, is similar to a co-signer, but they receive loan proceeds and are equally responsible for monthly payments.
  • Check the Fees: Research loan fees, such as origination fees or prepayment penalties, which could increase your overall costs.
  • Prequalify: Don’t forget to determine if the lender offers a pre-qualification option. Generally, you can pre-qualify for a loan with a soft credit check, which won’t impact your score. Doing so can offer insight into both the amount and rate you might get approved for. 

While many payday and car title lenders advertise no-credit-check loans for borrowers with fair or bad credit, it’s best to avoid these companies. Generally, payday and car title loans are designed to trap borrowers in a debt cycle. They typically have exorbitant interest rates and fees, making them difficult to repay.

6 Best Personal Loans for Fair Credit

Loan results will vary based on creditworthiness, loan purpose, loan amount, and other factors.

Best for Thin Credit Profiles: Upstart

Those with a limited credit history might consider a personal loan from Upstart, as its minimum credit score requirement is just 300. This is much lower than what many lenders require.


  • Loan Amounts$1,000 – $50,000
  • Loan Terms36 or 60 months
  • APR Range7.8% - 35.99%
  • Minimum
    Credit Score
    300 or above More Info

    A credit score is used to indicate the creditworthiness of an applicant, but it is only one of several factors considered for approval. These credit scores alone are not guarantees for approval and should only be used as guidelines.

Using artificial intelligence to help evaluate borrowers, Upstart is a unique lending platform that looks beyond your credit score for personal loan approval.


Upstart is a first-of-its-kind online lending platform that uses artificial intelligence to help make smarter lending decisions. This means the company considers factors beyond a borrower’s credit score to help determine creditworthiness. Upstart indicates its model has resulted in 43% lower rates for borrowers than traditional credit score models.

Beyond your credit score, Upstart will also look at your employment history, income and level of education when deciding whether to approve you for a loan. The company states that borrowers with credit scores as low as 300 might be able to get approved for a personal loan, though that loan may come with a relatively high APR.

Upstart’s rates are fairly competitive and loan funds are disbursed as soon as one business day after approval. This lender charges origination fees, so it’s important to read the fine print before applying.

Read the review


  • Considers factors beyond your credit score in lending decisions
  • Loans up to $50,000
  • Fast funding time
  • Check rate without affecting credit score
  • Low minimum credit score requirement


  • No physical locations
  • Limited repayment terms
  • Has origination fees
  • High maximum APR
  • Not available in Iowa or West Virginia

Best for Co-Signers: Mariner Finance

Mariner Finance is one of the few lenders that permits co-signers for personal loans. If you’re thinking of using a co-signer, consider putting Mariner on your shortlist. 

Mariner Finance

  • Loan Amounts$1,000 – $25,000
  • Loan Terms12 – 60 months
  • APR Range18.99-35.99%
  • Minimum
    Credit Score
    580 or above More Info

    A credit score is used to indicate the creditworthiness of an applicant, but it is only one of several factors considered for approval. These credit scores alone are not guarantees for approval and should only be used as guidelines.

Those with bad credit may find personal loans from Mariner Finance accessible, but APRs can be high compared to other lenders.


Mariner Finance has physical branches in 28 states, and borrowers can choose to apply for a personal loan in person, online, or over the phone. It’s also one of the few lenders that offers co-signed personal loans. While Mariner doesn’t disclose its minimum credit score requirements, a representative indicated that they consider factors like your credit history and income in lending decisions. So you may not necessarily need great credit to get approved.


  • Has physical branches
  • Secured and unsecured loan options
  • Accessible for bad credit borrowers
  • Low minimum loan amount
  • Joint and co-signed loans


  • Maximum loan amount is only $25,000
  • Loans over $15,000 are only available through physical branches
  • High minimum APRs
  • Not available in all states

Best for No Fees: LightStream

If you want to save on borrowing costs, LightStream's unsecured loans come with no origination fees and no prepayment penalties.


  • Loan Amounts$5,000 – $100,000
  • Loan Terms24 – 144 months
  • APR Range7.49% – 25.49% (with autopay)
  • Minimum
    Credit Score
    660 or above More Info

    A credit score is used to indicate the creditworthiness of an applicant, but it is only one of several factors considered for approval. These credit scores alone are not guarantees for approval and should only be used as guidelines.

LightStream is a solid online lender offering no fees, high loan maximums and low-rate personal loans for several purposes.


LightStream offers personal loans for several purposes, including debt consolidation, medical expenses, home improvement, weddings, car purchases and more, making this worth considering for those seeking flexibility. The lender offers relatively low rates compared to competitors, including autopay discounts. Its personal loans also have no origination fees or late fees, which can help keep borrowing costs low. However, borrowers will likely need to have good-to-excellent credit in order to be approved for a LightStream personal loan. Overall, it’s a good lender to add to your shortlist if you’re looking for flexible funding, no fees and a low APR. Lightstream may also disburse loans as soon as the same day you’re approved, making this lender a worthy choice if you need fast funding.

Read the review


  • Low minimum APR
  • No origination fees, no late fees
  • High loan maximum of $100,000
  • Autopay discount
  • Joint applications allowed


  • Rates and terms vary by loan purpose
  • No soft pull prequalification
  • Must have good-to-excellent credit
  • No physical branches

Best for Debt Consolidation: Happy Money

Happy Money makes it simple to consolidate credit card debt by offering direct payment to creditors. 

Happy Money

  • Loan Amounts$5,000 – $40,000
  • Loan Terms24 – 60 months
  • APR Range11.72% – 17.99%
  • Minimum
    Credit Score
    640 or above More Info

    A credit score is used to indicate the creditworthiness of an applicant, but it is only one of several factors considered for approval. These credit scores alone are not guarantees for approval and should only be used as guidelines.

Happy Money can help pay off and consolidate credit card debt into one fixed monthly payment.


Happy Money, formerly known as Payoff, offers loans for credit card debt payoffs. Eligibility is clearly stated online, so borrowers will appreciate the transparent criteria. Borrowers have the option to have Happy Money deposit funds directly to their credit cards to help streamline the payoff process. Funding can take between three to six business days, which is longer than other lenders, but still considered a decent turnaround time.

Personal loans are accessible to borrowers with fair credit, and there are no options for co-signers or joint applicants. Unfortunately, the loans are not available in Massachusetts or Nevada, so borrowers will need to look elsewhere for lending options.

Read the review


  • No late fees
  • Direct payment to creditors
  • Prequalification with no hard credit check
  • All loans come with a hardship payment protection plan


  • Most loans can only be used to pay off credit card debt
  • Has origination fees
  • High loan minimum
  • No joint or co-signed loans
  • Not available in all states
  • Funding slower than other lenders

Best for Fast Funding: LendingClub

For those who need quick funding, LendingClub can fund personal loans in as little as 24 hours after approval for qualified borrowers.


  • Loan Amounts$1,000 – $40,000
  • Loan Terms24 – 60 months
  • APR Range9.57% – 35.99%
  • Minimum
    Credit Score
    600 or above More Info

    A credit score is used to indicate the creditworthiness of an applicant, but it is only one of several factors considered for approval. These credit scores alone are not guarantees for approval and should only be used as guidelines.

Borrowers in the fair credit range who need a small loan can appreciate LendingClub's quick funding and option for direct payments to creditors with debt consolidation loans.


LendingClub can be a good fit for those looking to consolidate high-interest debt, as they offer the ability to pay your creditors directly from your loan. You can also use LendingClub loans for almost any purpose, from home improvements to medical bills. Eligible borrowers who need some assistance qualifying can apply for a joint loan, and borrowers can expect to receive funding as soon as 24 hours after approval. However, APRs do start at relatively higher rates than some competitors.

Read the review


  • Low minimum loan amount
  • Fast funding for personal loans (receive funds as little as 24 hours after approval)
  • Joint loans allowed
  • Direct payment to creditors
  • Check rates without a hard credit inquiry


  • Has origination fees
  • No physical branches
  • Lower maximum loan amount than some lenders

Best for Long Repayment Terms: Upgrade

Offering repayment terms as long as seven years, Upgrade is worth considering if you’d prefer to take your time repaying your personal loan. 


  • Loan Amounts$1,000 – $50,000
  • Loan Terms24 – 84 months
  • APR Range8.49% - 35.99%
  • Minimum
    Credit Score
    560 or above More Info

    A credit score is used to indicate the creditworthiness of an applicant, but it is only one of several factors considered for approval. These credit scores alone are not guarantees for approval and should only be used as guidelines.

Borrowers with less-than-stellar credit profiles may find Upgrade personal loans accessible, and its quick funding and flexible payment due dates convenient.


Upgrade offers personal loans that are accessible to those with not-so-ideal credit scores. The low loan minimum of $1,000 also makes it an easy choice for those with small financing needs. However, borrowers in certain states will be subject to higher minimum loan amounts. With this lender, you can expect to pay an origination fee. Borrowers can view their rate before applying without impacting their credit score. Overall, Upgrade is worth considering if you’re looking for a lender that is willing to work with lower credit scores and offers loans with competitive rates and flexible terms.

Read the review


  • Accessible to borrowers with bad credit
  • Flexible loan terms
  • Joint applications allowed
  • Secured loan options
  • Direct payment to creditors


  • Has origination fees
  • No physical branches
  • Higher APRs than some competitors

How to Improve Your Chances of Qualifying for a Personal Loan 

woman doing online research


As a fair-credit borrower, you can take certain steps to increase your likelihood of qualifying for a personal loan, including: 

  • Apply with a co-signer or co-borrower: Some lenders will consider a co-signer or co-borrower’s credit score in addition to your own when making lending decisions. This can increase your chances of approval and may even improve your borrowing terms.
  • Consider a secured loan: Certain lenders offer secured personal loans, which are backed by collateral—generally a savings or checking account. 
  • Contact local credit unions: Your local credit union may offer more loan options and better loan terms if you have fair credit than a larger lender. Contact them to discuss their loan products and qualification requirements. 
  • Reduce your debt-to-income ratio: Lenders will look at the amount of debt you have relative to your income, so lowering your debt-to-income ratio will likely benefit you. 
  • Work on your credit: If you don’t need the loan right away, take the time to build your credit score before you apply. The rates you’ll receive as a good-credit borrower will likely be much lower than if you got a loan with a fair credit score. 
woman working on computer Related Article

How to Prequalify for a Personal Loan, and Why It Can Be a Good Idea

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Ways You Can Boost Your Credit Score

Boosting your credit score can take some hard work, but doing so can pay dividends. Not only will better credit help you get better loan rates and terms, but it may also help you access lower rates on car insurance, credit cards, and more.

Here are some tips for improving your credit score:

  • Make your monthly payments: Late and missed credit card payments can significantly impact your credit score—and not in a good way. Prioritize making those monthly payments on time, and ideally, in full. 
  • Reduce your credit utilization: If possible, pay down your balances as much as you can. This will help reduce the total credit you’re using relative to the total credit you have. Generally, a credit utilization ratio results in a better credit score.
  • Ask for credit line increases: Those who’ve been using credit cards responsibly might also consider asking credit card companies for credit line increases. Doing so could help decrease your credit utilization as well. 
  • Become an authorized user: If you have a family member you trust with great credit, you may want to ask to be an authorized user of their credit card. As an authorized user, you benefit from the responsible payment history of the primary account holder. 
  • Review your credit reports: Take the time to look over your credit reports. You can request them for free at Ensure that the information on your reports is correct, and dispute any inaccurate information. Doing so could result in a boost to your score.

Alternatives to Personal Loans for Fair-Credit Borrowers

If you’re concerned about your ability to qualify for a personal loan with fair credit, you could explore some alternatives:

  • Credit-builder loan: Credit unions may offer credit-builder loans for borrowers with limited or bad credit. These loans are typically small, and funds are held in a secured account, toward which you make monthly payments. Once the full loan amount is repaid, that money is disbursed to you. 
  • Secured personal loan: Many lenders offer unsecured personal loans, but some offer secured options as well. Opting for a secured option could increase your chances of approval because the loan will use either a savings or checking account, certificate of deposit account, or something else as collateral. Similar to unsecured personal loans, secured options typically offer fixed rates.
  • Balance transfer credit card: While many balance transfer credit cards require good to excellent credit, these cards often come with no annual fee and a 0% introductory APR for the promotional period. You'll pay no interest on purchases during that time, but the variable APR will kick in after that promotional period ends. If you’ve been improving your credit score and you’re interested in debt consolidation, this could be a good alternative to a personal loan.
  • HELOC or home equity loan: Those with significant home equity might consider a home equity loan or HELOC. However, both use your home as collateral, so this is generally only a good option in certain cases. 
Pay No Interest for a Limited Time

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Getting a loan can be more difficult if you have fair credit, but it’s not impossible. While some lenders require that borrowers have good credit to get approved for a loan, certain ones may have lower credit score requirements. Others may offer the option to include a co-signer or co-borrower on your loan to get a better rate or improve your chances of qualifying with less-than-perfect credit. The best way to find favorable fair credit loans is to shop around.

  • How much you can borrow with fair credit will vary from lender to lender. Some lenders may offer large fair credit loans, while others may only approve you for a smaller loan amount. There’s no set number you can borrow with less-than-stellar credit, though pre-qualifying could give you some insight into possible loan terms and amounts. Lenders often let you get pre-qualified with a soft credit check, which won’t affect your score.

  • Different lenders have different minimum credit score requirements, and it’s possible to get approved for a loan with a credit score of 600. If you’re borrowing on your own, you’ll likely get a higher interest rate than someone with good or excellent credit. You might improve your chances of qualifying for a loan with a low interest rate by using a co-signer or co-borrower.

  • You may need a co-signer or co-borrower to get approved for a loan if you have fair credit, but it depends on the lender you choose. As you consider different lenders, ask about their minimum credit score requirements. Consider pre-qualifying for a loan as well. Using a co-signer or co-borrower could make sense if you can get more favorable loan terms.


Jessica Ullrich

Jess is a freelance personal finance writer. She's been creating financial and business content for over a decade. Before venturing into freelance writing, Jess was on the editorial teams at Investopedia, The Balance, and FinanceBuzz. She's created content across several verticals, including budgeting, credit, debt, insurance, investing, loans, and side hustles. In her spare time, you can find Jess reading about money, working in her garden, or spending time with family.