How to Get Personal Loans for Bad Credit With a Cosigner or Co-Applicant

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One of the most common obstacles to getting a personal loan is credit requirements. If you have a weak credit score, you may struggle to get approved. Fortunately, there’s a workaround — you might be able to get personal loans for bad credit with the help of a cosigner or co-applicant.

Before you enlist a cosigner’s help, make sure to answer these important questions:

1. Does the personal loan accept a cosigner or co-applicant?
2. Can your cosigner or co-applicant qualify for this personal loan?
3. Is your cosigner or co-applicant fully aware of their responsibilities?
4. Does this personal loan’s features fit your needs?
Plus: Personal loans that offer a co-borrower option

4 questions to ask before getting personal loans with a cosigner or co-applicant

Is it easier to get a loan with a cosigner or co-applicant?

In short, yes. When you apply for personal loans with a cosigner or co-applicant, you have a second person helping you meet the loan criteria and credit requirements. Here’s what you need to consider if you plan to apply with another borrower.

1. Does the personal loan accept a cosigner or co-applicant?

If you’re looking to use another borrower as your ticket to personal loans for bad credit, you’ll need to find lenders that allow cosigners or co-applicants.

The option to add a cosigner or co-applicant isn’t as common for personal loans as it is for other products, such as private student loans. So make sure to check the lender’s policy online or via customer service before applying.

2. Can your cosigner or co-applicant qualify for this personal loan?

You’ll need to make sure you’re getting a cosigner or co-applicant who can qualify for a personal loan.

After confirming the lender does offer personal loans with a co-applicant or cosigner, you’ll want to check out its credit requirements. Some lenders list personal loan requirements, such as a minimum credit score or minimum annual income, on their site. Usually, a good credit score to get personal loans will be at least in the mid-600s.

Your cosigner or co-applicant also can try to get a rate quote with a soft credit check, which won’t ding their credit. The lender will tell your co-borrower whether they can qualify for the personal loan and what personal loan rates the lender is likely to extend.

3. Is your cosigner or co-applicant fully aware of their responsibilities?

A personal loan cosigner or co-applicant is as legally responsible for this debt as you are. That means:

  • It affects both your credit scores. The loan will show up on your credit report as well as your cosigner’s or co-applicant’s. So any missed payments or delinquencies will damage both your credit scores.
  • Your co-borrower must repay the debt if you don’t. If you’re unable to repay this debt for any reason, your cosigner or co-applicant would be responsible for paying back the funds. Talk through these possibilities to make sure you both understand what sharing this debt will look like.

4. Does this personal loan’s features fit your needs?

Lastly, check the terms of the personal loan to make sure it will fit your needs. Some key features to look for include:

  • Personal loans in the amount you need to borrow, whether that’s $1,000 or $100,000.
  • Personal loan terms that match your goals, whether that’s getting the most affordable monthly payments or paying off the debt as fast as possible. Use our personal loan calculator to see how different loan amounts, rates and lengths affect your repayment.
  • Low personal loan fees and interest rates. Some personal lenders charge origination fees, and they’ll offer different rates. Compare advertised costs as well as your customized rate quotes to find the right deal for you.

Personal loans that offer a co-borrower option

To get your search started, look for lenders that allow you to apply with a cosigner.

Finding personal loans at LendingTree

We recommend starting your search with LendingTree, a loan marketplace that allows you to compare multiple offers at once. With dozens of lenders on its platform, LendingTree may be able to connect you with a lender that allows cosigners.

What’s more, the process typically only involves a soft inquiry on your credit, meaning your score won’t be impacted by checking for personal loan offers. Shopping around is an important part of the borrowing process, since it lets you find the lowest rates and most flexible terms.

Note that Student Loan Hero is a subsidiary of LendingTree.

Seeking personal loans at LendingClub

With flexible underwriting criteria and features, LendingClub is another smart place to find personal loans for bad credit.

LendingClub is a peer-to-peer lending platform that facilitates loans funded by real people.

“LendingClub offers certain applicants the option to apply for a loan together,” said Alia Dudum, director of communications for LendingClub. The option to apply jointly for a LendingClub personal loan makes this product even more accessible for borrowers.

“To qualify for a joint application loan, a number of factors of either or both applicants are considered, including but not limited to information provided on the joint application, information provided by credit bureaus, credit score(s), income, debt-to-income (DTI) ratio, credit history length and recent credit history,” said Dudum.

A qualified co-applicant can strengthen your LendingClub personal loan application and increase your chances of getting your loan approved.

Here are some additional details on LendingClub personal loans:

  • Fixed APRs 8.05% – 35.89%
  • Origination fee of 3.00% - 6.00%, charged upon disbursement
  • No prepayment penalties or application fees
  • Personal loan amounts of $1,000 to $40,000
  • LendingClub personal loan terms of 36 or 60years
  • Rate quotes with a soft-credit check

If you need personal loans for bad credit, it might be because you mishandled debt repayment in the past. So while it’s easier to get a loan with a cosigner, that doesn’t automatically mean it’s a good idea.

Make sure you limit your personal loan amount to what you need and can afford to borrow. Lastly, discuss a plan to responsibly repay the personal loan with your cosigner or co-applicant to avoid any mishaps.

Rebecca Safier contributed to this report.