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How to Get a Personal Loan with Bad Credit

December 5, 2019 by Daniel Azzoli

computer keyboard, coffee mug, and wallet on wooden table

Whether you’ve had a spell of bad luck or made some questionable choices when it comes to credit, poor financial decisions can sometimes leave you with bad credit. And if you have less than stellar credit, how can you expect to ever be approved for a loan? Well, it may be tricky in some cases, but it’s not impossible.

There are places that offer short-term personal loans to those with bad credit, you just need to know where to look. If you find yourself in need of a loan, make sure to research your options and explore what’s best for your particular situation before making any decisions. From your research, you may be able to find a short-term personal loan even if you have bad credit. These types of loans are typically intended to help you handle an unexpected emergency expense when you don’t have the savings to cover it. This could include things like an unplanned trip to the emergency room or an unexpected but essential car repair.

What is Considered Bad Credit?

Generally, if a credit score is below 630, it’s considered bad credit. This is for both major credit scoring models, FICO 8 and Vantage 3.0, which operate on a scale from 300 to 850.

Vector image of four phones with ranging credit scores

You can end up with bad credit in a number of different ways. You may be making late payments on your credit accounts. You might not even know that a particular account of yours is being reported to a credit bureau and subsequently mismanage that account. Or maybe you keep a high credit utilization rate, which may have a big effect on your score considering it can impact a score by up to 30 percent.

While this will vary from lender to lender, you may be able to get a short-term personal loan with a credit score of 630 or higher. This might be a good benchmark for you to aim for if you’re looking to improve your credit. But remember, the higher your score, the better rates and options you may have at your disposal.

How to Get a Personal Loan with Bad Credit

When you’re applying for a personal loan with bad credit, your chances of success will likely depend on the place you apply and what your score is. For example, some online lenders who provide short-term personal loans may not weigh your credit score as heavily as a traditional lender. This is why you might want to shop around to look for these types of lenders.

You may also want to find ways to start improving your credit score, which we’ll discuss in the next section.  

Explore Different Loan Options

As we’ve already mentioned, there are lending options out there for people with bad credit. You could look into payday loans online if you run into an emergency medical bill or auto repair you couldn’t anticipate. With these loans, you’ll be given a lump sum and are required to pay it back in full with interest and/or fees, typically on your next payday. You may also want to consider installment loans online, which will still provide you with a lump sum that you’ll pay back in installments over the course of a pre-determined amount of time.

Rebuild Your Credit Score

While you may be able to find a personal loan with bad credit, it doesn’t come without caveats, like high interest rates. If your credit is poor, look for ways to start improving it. With a better score, you may have more borrowing options available, more products at your disposal, and with better rates.

While your credit score is a dynamic number made up of a lot of different factors, doing things like paying your bills on time, disputing errors on your credit report, and keeping a low balance on credit cards may have a positive effect on your score. However, if you have a poor score and find yourself in an emergency situation where you need an influx of cash, there may still be options out there for you.

Person filling out personal loan application

How to Prepare to Apply for a Personal Loan with Bad Credit

If you’re going to be applying for a personal loan with bad credit, you’re going to need to know what requirements you’ll need to have in order. While this will vary from lender to lender, there may be a few qualifications you’ll want to look out for. For example, if you’re applying for online loans with MoneyKey, you must:

  • Be of legal age to contract in your state
  • Be a US citizen or permanent resident
  • Be a resident in the state where our product is offered
  • Have an active bank account
  • Have a regular source of income
  • Have a valid contact number and an active email address

Sticky notes, pencils, and phone on a table

If you meet these requirements, you may be eligible for a loan. Make sure to always check what the lender’s requirements are before you apply for a loan. 

Look for Other Borrowing Alternatives

If the two options above don’t suit your situation, there may be other paths out there for you. If you have someone in your life who has good credit, they may be willing to cosign a loan for you. This means that if you can’t pay off your debt, they would be liable to step in and pay it off for you. This could help you get approved for a loan that you normally wouldn’t be eligible for. However, there are risks involved for the cosigner, as they’ll be liable to make payments and their credit could suffer if the primary borrower misses payments.

A Personal Loan for Bad Credit May Be Out There for You

If you have poor credit, the prospect of finding a loan may start to feel impossible. But it’s not! Even with bad credit, you may be able to find a loan that can help you handle an unexpected emergency expense that comes your way. While your options may be limited and you might face some challenges like higher interest rates, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve hit a dead end.

If you’re in need of a personal loan for an emergency you weren’t able to anticipate but don’t feel like your credit score is good enough to get one from a bank, check out the services MoneyKey offers to see if there’s an option that’s right for you.


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Not all applications are approved; duration of approval process may vary. Credit limits/loan amounts are subject to further verification criteria. If you are a returning customer, loan amounts may vary.

*If approved, any requested funds may typically be deposited into your bank account the same business day; timing of funding may vary by product and state. The date and time funds are made available to you by your bank are subject to your bank's policies. For specific funding cut-off times, click here.

**You may request a draw from your Line of Credit at any time, so long as you have available credit and your account is in good standing. In the State of South Carolina, you can withdraw the total credit available to you all at once, or in smaller amounts over time as you need it, with a required minimum draw of $610.

Applications submitted on this website may be originated by one of several lenders, including: CC Flow, a division of Capital Community Bank, a Utah Chartered bank, located in Provo, Utah, Member FDIC. CC Flow will be responsible for underwriting, approving and funding the CC Flow Line of Credit. The CC Flow Line of Credit is available through MoneyKey.

Product availability varies by state. To see loan products offered in your state of residence, please visit our Rates and Terms page.

MoneyKey – TX, Inc. is licensed as a Credit Access Business (CAB), License No. 16641-62815, by the Office of the Consumer Credit Commissioner and registered as a Credit Services Organization (CSO), Registration No. 20110150, by the State of Texas. All loans for which MoneyKey acts as a CSO/CAB are funded by an unaffiliated third-party lender and serviced by MoneyKey. In the State of California, MoneyKey – CA, Inc. is licensed by the Department of Business Oversight pursuant to California Deferred Deposit Transaction Law License No.1004516.

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