How to Get a Personal Loan With a Credit Score Under 550

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There’s poor credit – and then there are credit scores that make it close, if not impossible, to borrow at all.

If you need a personal loan, a credit score that’s 550 or less makes it difficult to qualify. But it’s still possible to get low credit score personal loans.

What is a bad credit score for personal loans?

If you’re looking for a personal loan with a credit score of 550, you likely have a good idea of what your credit score is. Unfortunately, you probably also know that you have bad credit.

A FICO credit score under 580 is considered to be poor credit. If your score is below that, it’ll be hard to qualify for a personal loan – and for a good reason. Over 60 percent of consumers with poor credit scores become delinquent on an account, according to MyFICO.com. To lenders, your credit score is an indicator of whether you’ll repay your loan.

Most personal lenders won’t even consider an applicant with a credit score under 600. But other types of personal loans or lenders might still be an option, even with a 550 credit score.

Start Here

Looking for a low-interest personal loan? Do you have less-than-perfect credit and are struggling to find a lender? That’s where LendingTree’s personal loan shopping tool can help. LendingTree, our parent company, works with dozens of personal loan lenders to offer loans. Just enter your information once, and you can get multiple offers from different lenders within just a few minutes — all without damaging your credit score in the process. Depending on your credit score and income, you could even qualify for a loan with an interest rate under 6%.

Tips to get a personal loan with a credit score of 550 or less

When you’re shopping for low-credit-score personal loans, you probably won’t have an abundance of options. And you should expect to make some tradeoffs, like paying high interest rates or even offering collateral.

But there are some strategies you can try to get a personal loan with poor credit.

1. Start rebuilding your credit

If you have a credit score of 550, you’re just 30 points from a “fair” credit score. It might be worth it to take some time improving your credit. It will still be below average, and you’re likely to pay higher interest rates. But your chances for approval will also be much higher, and you’ll get access to a much wider range of lenders.

If you want to rebuild credit, start today. You’ll want to understand how your credit score is calculated. A secured credit card is an accessible form of credit you can use to raise your credit score.

Check your credit reports for errors that could be hurting your score. And make sure you’re making every payment on time.

2. Get quotes from bad credit lenders

If you can’t wait to improve your credit, you can try reaching out to lenders that offer finance for bad credit. For these personal loans, a credit score of 550 or under might not be an obstacle to qualifying. You can apply for a pre-approval to find out if you qualify without having to fill out an application or undergo a hard credit check.

A trusted lender we recommend is OppLoans. Customers with a FICO score under 600 still have a shot at approval for an OppLoans personal loan depending on the loan amount requested and minimum income requirements. The lender offers loan amounts ranging from $500 to $4,000 and loan terms up to 24 months.

You must get your paychecks through direct deposit and live in a state where OppLoans operates. This includes Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming.

3. Enlist a cosigner

If you can’t rely on your own credit score to get a personal loan, try borrowing someone else’s good credit with a cosigner. A cosigner is a third party (usually a close family member or friend) who has agreed to repay your loan if you should default on it.

Choose a lender that accepts cosigners for personal loans, like Earnest or Citizens Bank. You’ll need to ask someone with good credit to act as your personal loan co-applicant. Their positive history will help offset your poor credit score, increasing your chances of approval.

If a lender does not accept cosigners for whatever reason and you’re having a hard time meeting minimum income requirements, see if the lender will consider spousal income. OppLoans is a lender that allows applicants to report spousal income on their personal loan applications for approval.

4. Ask friends or family members for a loan

Getting a personal loan from an individual usually doesn’t include a credit check. So for these personal loans, credit scores of 550 or under aren’t a big deal. You can ask a family member or friend who has the cash to lend it to you.

Before you borrow this way, fully outline and agree on the terms ahead of time. And keep up on payments to ensure the loan doesn’t hurt the relationship.

5. Get a secured loan

An unsecured personal loan might be a long shot with a credit score under 580. But you might be able to borrow against an asset to get a secured loan, including:

  • Home equity with a HELOC
  • A car with a car equity loan
  • Savings or CDs with a savings-secured personal loan
  • Retirement account with a 401k or IRA loan

Check with your bank for these types of loans. Credit unions also commonly offer savings- or CD-secured loans to help members rebuild credit.

6. Ask the lender to reconsider

If you apply for a personal loan and get rejected, you can always follow-up with the lender and ask them to reconsider, according to Debt.org.

First, you’ll want to make sure you have some good reasons why they should approve your for a loan – despite your bad credit. What other financial factors show you’re a safe bet? What additional information can you give that proves you’re a responsible borrower?

Maybe you have a high income and could easily afford the new debt. Or you have a good explanation for a past delinquency. If your credit file is thin, you could try to provide proof of positive payment history toward other bills, like your rent.

This is a bit of a long shot, but it can be worth trying. Chances of success will be higher the more proof of financial stability and security you can give. It might also help to try a credit union, which might be more flexible in their underwriting.

7. Watch for predatory lending

Last but not least – don’t sign up for a predatory loan just because you really need cash now. This includes payday loans, car title loans or advance-fee loans; they’re among the most expensive ways to borrow.

You’ll get stuck with costs you can’t afford that will only worsen your situation and could even hurt your credit. Protect yourself and watch out for predatory lenders. Take your time, research options and don’t borrow money you can’t afford to.

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Student Loan Hero Advertiser Disclosure

Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality and will make a positive impact in your life. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print understand what you are buying, and consult a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time. Please do your homework and let us know if you have any questions or concerns.

Advertiser Disclosure

Student Loan Hero Advertiser Disclosure

Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality and will make a positive impact in your life. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print understand what you are buying, and consult a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time. Please do your homework and let us know if you have any questions or concerns.

RATES (APR)loan amount
5.72% – 16.99%1 $5,000 to $100,000
7.54% – 35.99% $1,000 to $50,000
7.99% – 35.89%* $1,000 to $50,000
56.00% – 199.00%2 $500 to $4,000
5.99% – 24.99%3 $5,000 to $35,000
5.99% – 29.99%4 $7,500 to $40,000
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Disclaimer: Student Loan Hero is a subsidiary of LendingTree
1 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

  1. Fixed rates from 5.990% APR to 16.990% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 5.72% APR to 14.60% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of February 15, 2019 and are subject to change without notice. Not all rates and amounts available in all states. See Personal Loan eligibility details. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, to qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including evaluation of your credit worthiness, years of professional experience, income and other factors. See APR examples and terms. Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at 14.95%. Lowest variable rate of 5.72% APR assumes current 1-month LIBOR rate of 2.49% plus 4.28% margin minus 0.25% AutoPay discount. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account.
  2. To check the rates and terms you qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull.
    See Consumer Licenses.
  3. Minimum Credit Score: Not all applicants who meet SoFi’s minimum credit score requirements are approved for a personal loan. In addition to meeting SoFi’s minimum eligibility criteria, applicants must also meet other credit and underwriting requirements to qualify.
  4. SoFi Personal Loans are not available to residents of MS. Maximum interest rate on loans for residents of AK and WY is 9.99% APR, for residents of IL with loans over $40,000 is 8.99% APR, for residents of TX is 9.99% APR on terms greater than 5 years, for residents of CO, CT, HI, VA, SC is 11.99% APR, and for residents of ME is 12.24% APR. Personal loans not available to residents of MI who already have a student loan with SoFi. Personal Loans minimum loan amount is $5,000. Residents of AZ, MA, and NH have a minimum loan amount of $10,001. Residents of KY have a minimum loan amount of $15,001. Residents of PA have a minimum loan amount of $25,001. Variable rates not available to residents of AK, TX, VA, WY, or for residents of IL for loans greater than $40,000.
  5. Terms and Conditions Apply: SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet SoFi’s underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. To qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. If approved, your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, years of experience, income and other factors. Rates and Terms are subject to change at anytime without notice and are subject to state restrictions. SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Financing Law License No. 6054612. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp., NMLS # 1121636. (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org)
2 Important Disclosures for Opploans.

Opploans Disclosures

Direct Deposit required for payroll.

Opploans currently operates in these states:

  1. To qualify, a borrower must (i) be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident; (ii) reside in a state where OppLoans operates; (iii) have direct deposit; (iv) meet income requirements; (v) be 18 years of age (19 in Alabama); and, (vi) meet verification standards.
  2. This information is current as of October 10, 2017 and is subject to change. Opportunity Financial, LLC lends or arranges loans in the following states: Alabama, California, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin. We do not lend or arrange loans in all states. Opportunity Financial offers line of credit products in: Kansas, Tennessee and Virginia. Please note: This is an expensive form of credit. This service is not intended to provide a solution for longer-term credit or other financial needs. Loans made or arranged by Opportunity Financial are designed to help you meet your short-term borrowing needs. Loan amounts may vary and are dependent upon qualification criteria and state law. Refer to Loan Cost & Terms at www.opploans.com for additional details. Complete disclosures of APR, fees and payment terms are provided within the transaction documents, such as the Loan Agreement. First-time Opportunity Financial customers typically qualify for an installment loan of $1,000 to $5,000 with an APR from 59% to 199%. For example, a $1,000 loan made or arranged by Opportunity Financial with 12 bi-weekly payments of $130 has a 199% APR. After the 12th successful payment, the loan would be paid in full.
  3. Applications processed and approved before 7:30 p.m. ET Monday-Friday are typically funded the next business day. In some cases, we may not be able to verify your application information and may ask you to provide certain documents. Some customers applying for a loan may be required to submit additional documentation due to state law and qualification criteria.
  4. Lower APRs and longer terms when compared to a typical payday lending product. According to the Consumer Federation of America, a non-profit consumer advocacy group, payday loans range in size from $100 to $1,000, depending on state legal maximums and carry an average APR of 400% and an average loan term of two weeks. The maximum APR for a loan offered by OppLoans is 199% and loan sizes range from $1,000-$5,000 with a typical term of six months dependent on the state law.
  5. As of October 17, 2017. Ratings on third-party websites may periodically change; please check the third-party websites for up-to-date reviews and ratings. Google+ Rating: 4.8 out of 5 based on 1,824 reviews. Facebook Rating: 4.7 out of 5 based on 270 reviews.
3 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for Payoff.

Payoff Disclosures

  1. All loans are subject to credit review and approval. Your actual rate depends upon credit score, loan amount, loan term, credit usage and history. Currently loans are not offered in: MA, MS, NE, NV, OH, and WV.
4 Important Disclosures for FreedomPlus.

FreedomPlus Disclosures

  1. All loans available through FreedomPlus.com are made by Cross River Bank, a New Jersey State Chartered Commercial Bank, Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender. All loan and rate terms are subject to eligibility restrictions, application review, credit score, loan amount, loan term, lender approval, and credit usage and history. Eligibility for a loan is not guaranteed. Loans are not available to residents of all states – please call a FreedomPlus representative for further details. The following limitations, in addition to others, shall apply: FreedomPlus does not arrange loans in: (i) Arizona under $10,500; (ii) Massachusetts under $6,500, (iii) Ohio under $5,500, and (iv) Georgia under $3,500. Repayment periods range from 24 to 60 months. The range of APRs on loans made available through FreedomPlus is 5.99% to a maximum of 29.99%. APR. The APR calculation includes all applicable fees, including the loan origination fee. For Example, a four year $20,000 loan with an interest rate of 15.49% and corresponding APR of 18.34% would have an estimated monthly payment of $561.60 and a total cost payable of $7,948.13. To qualify for a 5.99% APR loan, a borrower will need excellent credit on a loan for an amount less than $12,000.00, and with a term equal to 24 months. Adding a co-borrower with sufficient income; using at least eighty-five percent (85%) of the loan proceeds to directly pay off qualifying existing debt; or showing proof of sufficient retirement savings, could help you also qualify for the lowest rate available.
* Important Disclosures for Upgrade Bank.

Upgrade Bank Disclosures

* Your loan terms are not guaranteed and are subject to our verification and review process. You may be asked to provide additional documents to enable us to verify your income and your identity. This rate includes an Autopay APR reduction of 0.5%. By enrolling in Autopay your payments will be automatically deducted from you bank account. Selecting Autopay is optional. Annual Percentage Rate is inclusive of a loan origination fee, which is deducted from the loan proceeds. Late payments or subsequent charges and fees may increase the cost of your fixed rate loan. All loans made by WebBank, member FDIC. Please refer to Upgrade’s Terms of Use and Borrower Agreement for all terms, conditions and requirements.

** Accept your loan offer and your funds will be sent to your bank via ACH within one (1) business day of clearing necessary verifications. Availability of the funds is dependent on how quickly your bank processes this transaction. From the time of approval, funds should be available within four (4) business days.