Credit Score Requirements
Having a low credit score may rule out your ability to get a loan from certain lenders, but all the lenders we picked for this list have a minimum FICO credit score requirement in the “fair” credit score range, which is 580 – 669. Many lenders will list the recommended credit score ranges on their site, and some may even let you see if you pre-qualify without a hard credit inquiry. It’s important to keep in mind the credit score requirements and be strategic about applying so that you’re only applying to loans you have a good chance of qualifying for.
Secured or Unsecured Loans
One factor to take into consideration when choosing a lender is if you want to get a secured or unsecured loan. With secured loans, you put down an asset – such as a house or a car – as collateral, which the lender can seize if you don’t make your payments. Since secured loans offer less risk to the lender, you may be able to get better rates or qualify with a lower credit score. However, you should weigh the pros and cons carefully and make a decision based on your individual financial situation.
Transparency and Customer Service
A final thing to watch out for is the transparency of the lender and the quality of customer service. For this list, we at NextAdvisor ruled out lenders who did not make essential information easily accessible. A lender that is transparent about basic information does not guarantee they’ll be transparent about everything. And a lender that hides important information or appears misleading is never a good sign.
Getting a sense of the quality of customer service before you sign with a lender can also be helpful. The lending and repayment process can be long and complicated, and working with a lender that’s helpful when issues arise can save you a lot of headache in the long run. You can check out customer reviews and complaints – as well as how the company responded to them – on consumer review websites like the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
Frequently Asked Questions About Bad-Credit Loans
If you want to increase your credit score to better your chances of getting a loan, here are some ways to do it:
- Pay your bills on time. Payment history accounts for 35% of your FICO credit score, so the best way to increase your credit score is to pay your bills on time and in full every month.
- Check your credit report for errors. You can check your credit report for free from the three major credit reporting agencies – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – every year. Report any errors to the credit bureau responsible so that your credit score isn’t harmed by inaccurate information.
- Don’t close old credit cards, even if you’ve paid them off. The average age of your credit history accounts for 15% of your FICO credit score. Even if you don’t intend on using a card regularly, it’s best to keep it open, especially if the card is your oldest card.
- Avoid opening too many new cards at once. Recent activity accounts for 10% of your credit score, so you’ll get dinged if you open – or even apply for – too many credit cards and loans at once.
What is an unsecured personal loan?
With a secured loan, you put down an asset – such as a house or a car – as collateral, and the lender can seize that asset if you don’t make your payments. An unsecured loan does not require putting down collateral. Unsecured loans are considered riskier for the lender, and because of this, unsecured loans will typically have higher interest rates, lower loan amounts, and stricter credit requirements than secured loans.