If you are looking for a loan and your credit is in the “fair” zone, then you might be wondering if you qualify for a loan or not; the answer is: Yes. So how can you get a loan with fair credit, and what are some of the best loans for fair credit? Read this article to find out.
Personal loans can be utilized to pay a variety of expenses, such as weddings, trips, home renovations, and even emergencies. While credit cards can certainly cover these expenses, personal loans are generally a more cost-effective solution due to their lower interest rate (though the rate you receive will depend on your credit score).
Your credit score is a crucial factor in assessing your eligibility for a personal loan. Applicants with good credit ratings — typically 630 to 689 — may have a more difficult time obtaining a loan than those with excellent or strong credit. But don’t be discouraged. Lenders are willing to lend to you even if your credit score is between 580 and 669.
If you’re thinking about getting a personal loan and your credit is in the “fair” zone, keep reading for tips on assessing your situation and learn how you can get a loan with fair credit, find the best loans for fair credit, and potentially even increase your score.
What is fair credit?
What is a reasonable credit score? If you have fair credit, you may be thinking if this is a good thing. The good news is that having fair credit is far superior to having terrible credit in terms of financial potential. If you focus on improving your credit score until you have good or excellent credit, you will be able to obtain better credit cards, lower interest rates, and other benefits.
There are numerous credit scores available. The most popular models range from 300 to 850. But what are “fair” credit scores? And where do fair credit ratings fit into that picture? Like many other aspects of credit ratings, the answers might differ for different lenders. Continue reading to find out how you can find out if you have a fair credit score, why do you need to know your credit score, and what steps you can take to improve your fair credit.
Fair credit starts around 630 on generally used credit score scales. Most FICO ratings, as well as VantageScore, employ a 300-850 point range. While it’s tempting to believe that a specific figure will tell you if you’ll qualify for a loan or credit card, the reality is that lenders and card issuers set their own requirements for credit scores. Understanding your credit score range can give you a fair sense of what credit products you’re likely to qualify for and having better credit will earn you better terms.
Why do you need to know your credit score?
You should be aware of your credit scores because lenders and banks frequently use them to determine whether or not to grant you credit, such as a credit card, mortgage, or auto loan. A fair credit score might affect the parameters of a loan offer, such as the mortgage interest rate or the amount of the required down payment.
How can you find out if you have a fair credit score?
Once you have your FICO Score, you may use the table below to discover where it sits in the range. A FICO Score of 580 to 669 falls in the fair credit score range, which is held by around 17% of Americans. A credit score of less than 580 is regarded as very low.
|Credit score||Rating||Percentage of people||Impact|
|300-579||Very poor||16%||Credit applicants may be forced to pay a charge or deposit, and applicants with this rating may not be authorized for credit at all.|
|580-669||Fair||17%||Applicants with scores in this range are classified as subprime borrowers, which means their credit history is less than ideal.|
|670-739||Good||21%||In this score range, just 8% of applicants are expected to become seriously delinquent in the future.|
|740-799||Very good||25%||Applicants with these scores are more likely to earn better-than-average interest rates from lenders.|
|800-850||Exceptional||21%||Applicants with scores in this range are at the top of the lender’s list for the best rates.|
How is your FICO score calculated?
Different lenders use different factors to construct FICO ratings, but it’s a good idea to understand how it works. Once you understand how the FICO score is calculated, you’ll have a greater chance of leveraging it to your benefit. The following are the five factors that are taken into account:
- Payment history: 35%.
- Amount owed: 30%.
- Length of credit history: 15%.
- New credit: 10%.
- Credit mix: 10%.
It is important to note that payment history and amounts due account for 65% of your FICO score. It is critical to pay close attention to these two elements in particular. Now that you understand what factors contribute to your credit score, you’re ready to improve your fair credit score.
Note: lenders decide what different scores mean.
While the tables above provide a basic guideline of how lenders interpret credit scores, each lender has its own criteria for determining distinct credit score ranges, which may or may not match what you see here. For example, one lender may consider a score of 675 to be good, while another considers it to be fair.
And keep in mind that while credit scores are key factors in loan choices, they are not the only ones. Lenders may also consider your ability to repay, debt-to-income ratio, and other variables when considering whether to approve a credit application.
What is a fair VantageScore?
VantageScore is a consumer credit rating product introduced in 2006 by the main three credit bureaus, Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian, as an alternative to the FICO score, which was created in 1989 by the Fair Isaac Corporation. The VantageScore, like the FICO score, runs from 300 to 850. The VantageScore credit ranges are as follows:
- Excellent: 781 to 850.
- Good: 661 to 780.
- Fair: 601 to 660.
- Poor: 500 to 600.
- Very poor: 300 to 499.
It should be noted that the fair credit score range for this version is 601 to 660. The reasonable credit score range for the FICO score is 580 to 669. There is considerable overlap, but with VantageScore, a score of 661 is enough to enter the good credit zone. To have decent credit for FICO, you need a FICO score of 670.
The reason for the discrepancy is that these two types of ratings weigh criteria differently, such as credit history. As a result, even though they share the same 300-850 score range, they cannot be directly compared.
‘Fair credit’ vs. ‘Good credit’: Why does it matter?
You want to have the best credit ratings available in order to save money when you need to take out a loan or seek credit. Fair credit ratings indicate that you are considered subprime by lenders, which means you will most likely receive less favorable terms than someone with a better credit score. This can result in higher interest rates or perhaps outright rejection.
Since credit scores are not fixed, there is always room for improvement. Depending on your score, the bad items on your credit report, and the actions you can take, it may take some time for your fair credit to improve to good credit.
Improving your credit score over time, from fair to good and beyond, will increase your chances of qualifying for credit with better terms. In general, having good credit scores can assist you in bettering your financial status. Here are some reasons why you might desire to improve your credit score:
- You can get loans with lower interest rates if your credit score is higher for personal, student, auto, and home loans.
- Lower monthly loan payments can result from having a higher credit score. You’ll probably need to make fewer monthly payments if you get a lower interest rate.
- Better credit card perks and bargains, like larger percentage cash back options, 0% interest rates, and higher credit limits, are available through credit card offers.
- Higher credit scores may make it simpler to be granted permission to rent a house or an apartment.
How can you check your credit score?
Numerous websites, including those run by companies like Experian, allow you to check your credit score. When you’re getting ready to apply for new credit, knowing what your credit scores imply and what influences them might be helpful. You can check your credit scores in a few different ways:
- Check out a free credit scoring website. Free credit scores are available on many websites, but before signing up, be sure to read the rules. Some free websites provide educational rankings that are intended to help you gauge how well you’re doing in terms of your credit. FICO Scores are available from Experian for free.
- Consult your lender or credit card provider. Numerous credit card and auto loan firms provide free credit scores, which you may get by entering into your account online or by receiving them on your monthly statement. In most cases, receiving the number requires your consent.
- Pay a visit to a nonprofit credit counselor. Credit counselors can frequently obtain your scores without charge and discuss the specifics with you. Contact the National Foundation for Credit Counseling for assistance in locating one.
What are the things that can affect your credit score?
Understanding the elements that affect your credit ratings is critical, so you can improve them if necessary. The FICO Score, the credit score version you will receive, is influenced by five criteria. These elements may fluctuate between firms, but on average, they are similar. They are all given distinct weights:
- Payment history: Your FICO Score is based in part on your payment history or how frequently you pay your bills on time. Missed or late payments might severely impact your FICO Score, but the best method to maintain a high score is to consistently make on-time payments.
- Amount of debt: Your credit usage ratio, which measures how much of your available debt you’re utilizing, determines 30% of your score. This is calculated by dividing the total amount of credit you have available by the amount of credit you currently utilize. Your utilization ratio is 30% if you have three credit cards with a total credit limit of $10,000 and a combined balance of $3,000 across all three cards. Most specialists advise maintaining your ratio under 30% and, for the greatest results, under 7%.
- Length of credit history: 15% of your FICO Score is based on how long you’ve had credit, considering both your oldest and newest accounts and the average age of all your open accounts. In general, your scores increase the longer you’ve utilized credit.
- Amount of new credit: 10% of your FICO® Score is determined by the total amount of new credit. How many accounts you’ve opened recently and how many recent hard queries you have on your credit record are taken into account in this. It may be a sign of higher credit risk if there are too many new accounts and queries.
- Credit mix: 10% of your FICO Score is based on the different credit products you are currently using. You’ll have a better credit rating if you have multiple forms of credit, such as installment loans and credit cards, instead of just one sort of credit, like retail cards.
How can you get a loan with fair credit?
The process of applying for a personal loan is simple. Evaluate your credit position as a first step. Visit a free credit scoring website to access your credit reports for free. To check your credit score at any moment, you can also speak with your lender or credit card company.
Examine the details of your scores and your credit report for any errors and potential score-lowering variables. Here are a few actions you can take to improve your chances of getting approved for a personal loan if you have fair credit and are thinking about applying.
- Monitor your credit
- Shop around for the right fit
- Check to see if you’re pre-qualified, or pre-approved
- Consider getting a cosigner
- Compare lender requirements.
- Submit an application.
Monitor your credit
The best thing you can do is make sure your credit is as good as it can be before applying. Since the information from credit reports is what is used to calculate credit scores, the first step in doing that is to review credit reports to ensure that everything is correct and in order.
You may get a sense of whether you might be approved for a personal loan. You can order copies of your credit reports from the three main credit agencies at AnnualCreditReport.com to determine where you stand.
Shop around for the right fit
You should shop around and get the best loan offers you can because the lending business is quite competitive. Loans come in a variety of forms, some of which may be more readily available to applicants with fair credit scores. Among the choices is
- Secured loan: These loans have collateral as backing. This indicates that your personal assets, such as your house or automobile, protect them. Given that you are providing collateral. A secured loan will have better terms available to you.
- Bad credit loan: Bad credit loans are available for consumers with credit ratings at or below 600. In comparison to other loans, these loans often have higher interest rates. These loans may also have substantially shorter periods. But since you have fair credit, you won’t need this type of loan.
- Title loan: Good credit is not necessary for a title loan. Your car is instead used as security for the loan. These loans may be quite dangerous. Borrowers must give the lender the title to their car in order to get a loan, and not only are the interest rates much higher than those of most other types of credit. A title loan’s repayment period is frequently relatively brief—as little as 15 to 30 days.
- Payday loan: Payday loans are frequently regarded as predatory, much like title loans. The repayment period is quite condensed, and the interest rates are very high. Payday loans have astronomical interest rates. More than 400% if computed using the APR. Additionally, some businesses that provide these loans prey on people in need, so you definitely won’t be working with the most moral business companies.
An additional note: If you are left with no other options besides going for payday lenders or title loan lenders, beware. Borrowers might quickly become trapped in a cycle of debt due to sky-high interest rates and challenging payment arrangements, which will have a negative financial impact in the long run.
Check to see if you’re pre-qualified or pre-approved
Your credit reports may undergo a hard inquiry if you apply for a personal loan. Your credit scores may suffer as a result of hard queries. Additionally, making too many hard inquiries quickly will hurt your credit even more.
You can get a sense of how likely you are to be approved for a personal loan by finding out if you are pre-qualified or pre-approved for one. And you might be able to prevent damaging your credit ratings if you don’t apply for loans you won’t likely be approved for.
Consider getting a cosigner
Ask how you may increase your chances if you are having trouble having your loan application accepted. One option is obtaining a cosigner for your loan, which has good credit among your friends or family members.
They are risking their credit as a cosigner to support you, which may enable you to get accepted for higher loans. This is not a decision to be made lightly because they are also ascribing liability for the loan if you cannot pay it back. Ensure that the person is aware of the potential impact on their credit before asking them or to cosign a loan for you. You should also agree on what to do if you cannot make your payments.
Compare lender requirements
The lenders we’ll mention later in this article accept applicants with fair credit; however, some prefer clients with a lower debt-to-income ratio. Others may take into account a variety of characteristics, such as where you went to college or where you live. To learn what each lender asks on a loan application, compare qualification criteria.
Submit an application
It’s time to apply when you’ve identified a lender. Many large lenders have online applications that take only a few minutes to complete, while smaller banks and credit unions may require an in-person visit. A quick tip: Before you apply, gather all necessary documentation, such as W-2s, pay stubs, and government-issued ID cards.
What are some best loans for fair credit?
Looking for the best loans for fair credit can be quite a hectic and nerve-wracking process. In general, the best personal loan is the one with an APR that’s low enough to keep your monthly payments acceptable without costing too much interest. Look for a lender who reports payments to all three credit agencies so that you can improve your credit score by making on-time payments. We’ve narrowed down the best loans for fair credit so you can go through the pros and cons when choosing the best option.
- Best for small and flexible loans: Upstart
- Best for fast funding and having multiple repayment terms: Avant
- Best for low credit scores and fast funding: LendingPoint
- Best for smaller loans and secured loan option: OneMain Financial
Best for small and flexible loans: Upstart
Upstart provides borrowers with a wide range of loan levels to select from, ranging from $1,000 to $50,000, depending on whether they want a large or small loan. In addition, Upstart provides borrowers with a short turnaround time, with approved borrowers getting funds within one business day.
Upstart imposes an origination fee ranging from 0.00% to 10.00%, which is more than some other lenders. Personal loans from Upstart are not available in all 50 states; therefore, borrowers must determine whether they live in an area served by Upstart.
- Fees: If your application is approved, Upstart may assess an origination fee. The cost is collected from the loan cash upfront. In addition, the company charges a late payment and a returned payment fee.
- Loan quantities: In addition to smaller loans, Upstart has the highest loan amounts of all of our recommendations, with up to $50,000 available to individuals who qualify.
- Good to know: When examining your application, the lender says it considers criteria such as occupation and education in addition to credit reports and income. In addition, Upstart only provides two financing terms: 36 or 60 months.
|They offer a low minimum credit score of 600.||They charge an origination fee of 0.00% – 10.00%.|
|They offer a wide variety of loan amounts.||They have limited repayment options of 36 or 60 months.|
|They have flexible APRs.||Their services are not offered in Iowa or West Virginia.|
Best for fast funding and having multiple repayment terms: Avant
Borrowers who use online lender Avant can receive their funds as soon as one business day after being accepted. While Avant’s minimum APR is slightly higher than that of other lenders, it offers flexible repayment options ranging from 12 to 60 months.
Unfortunately, Avant is ambiguous about its other eligibility standards, aside from having a minimum credit score of 600. It also charges an origination cost of up to 4.75%, which is lower than that of other lenders like OneMain Financial or Upgrade. If your credit score isn’t quite up to Avant’s standards, you may have difficulty qualifying for a loan because this lender does not accept cosigners.
- Fees: Avant may charge you an administration fee (also known as an origination fee) of up to 4.75% of the loan funds. Avant may also levy late and dishonored payment fees.
- Loan amounts: Avant provides unsecured personal loans ranging from $2,000 to $35,000; however, loan amounts vary depending on state regulations.
- Good to know: that the majority of Avant’s borrowers have credit scores ranging from 600 to 700 or from the middle to upper end of the fair credit category.
|You can receive funds as soon as the next business day.||They don’t allow you to apply with a cosigner.|
|They have flexible loan terms.||They have a very high orientation charge of up to 4.75%.|
|They don’t have any repayment penalties.||Their eligibility requirements are unclear.|
Best for low credit scores and fast funding: LendingPoint
LendingPoint has one of the lowest requirements for applicants to meet in order to be accepted for a loan, with a minimum credit score of 580. It does, however, have a minimum income criterion of $25,000 and is not offered in Nevada or West Virginia.
Borrowers looking for repayment flexibility may find it with this lender because LendingPoint does provide a wide range of loan periods, from 24 to 72 months. Suppose borrowers want to obtain a personal loan through LendingPoint. In that case, they might additionally be required to pay an origination fee, which will be subtracted from the overall loan amount, ranging from 0.00% to 8.00%, depending on where they live.
Fees: If you are approved, LendingPoint may charge you an origination fee ranging from 0% to 8%. You can finance the origination charge or have it deducted from the loan proceeds. While the lender’s website states that there is no prepayment penalty, it provides no information on other possible costs, such as late or dishonored payments.
Loan amount: LendingPoint provides personal loans ranging from $2,000 to $36,500.
Good to know: It’s worth noting that LendingPoint requires a minimum income of $35,000. When reviewing your application, the lender claims to evaluate factors such as job history and credit conduct. The loan periods range from 24 to 72 months.
|They have flexible loan terms of 24 to 72 months.||They May charge an origination fee of 0.00% – 8.00%.|
|You can receive funds as soon as the next business day.||There is no option for joint or cosigned loans.|
|There are no prepayment fees.||They are not available in all 50 states.|
Best for smaller loans and secured loan options: OneMain Financial
OneMain Financial, a lender with an online application and 1,400 physical facilities, provides loans for fair credit applicants for a range of purposes. If you need money for an auto repair or even a vacation, you can apply for a loan with OneMain Financial online to see if you qualify.
OneMain Financial provides higher starting APRs than many other lenders, but it’s still worth examining your rate. Because you have fair credit, you may find that the rates are comparable to what other lenders are providing. You can prequalify online without affecting your credit score. You may be given a secured or unsecured loan depending on your creditworthiness.
OneMain Financial also makes it simple to obtain fast cash. The online application takes only 10 minutes to complete, and once you sign the agreement at your local branch, you can get the money as soon as the next working day.
Fees: OneMain charges an origination fee, which varies depending on where you live. It will be a flat price (varying from $25 to $500) in some states. The origination charge in other states ranges from 1% to 10%. OneMain also charges late fees and fines for insufficient cash.
Loan amounts: depending on your state’s laws, OneMain’s personal loan levels range from $1,500 to $20,000.
Good to know: OneMain may also allow you to apply with a co-applicant, which can assist you in getting accepted or getting better loan conditions.
|Loans can be used for almost any purpose||Has a very High origination fee of 1.00% – 10.00%|
|Offers secured loan option||Higher starting APRs|
|Get your funds very quickly||It lacks transparency around eligibility|
We analyzed aspects such as the convenience of the loan application procedure, interest rates, loan amounts, fees, and if the lender offers flexible loan terms while analyzing the best loans for fair credit.
How can I compare the features of fair-credit loans?
When shopping for the best loans for fair credit, you want to look at all aspects that suit your needs and can be highly beneficial for you. We have compiled a list of things you might want to look out for when shopping for the best loans for fair credit.
- Annual percentage rate
- Monthly payments
- Repayment term
- Compare these additional benefits if you’re deciding between two reasonable offers
Annual percentage rate
The interest rate of a personal loan is added to any fees levied by the lender to determine the APR. Use this figure to evaluate the costs of various loans as well as other forms of financing, such as credit cards.
Before you sign a loan agreement, a lender must disclose the monthly installments; often, this happens during pre-qualification or after approval. Due to personal loans’ fixed rates, the monthly payment won’t fluctuate over the loan’s term.
Fair-credit loans often have durations of two to seven years for repayment. Your monthly payments will be less over a longer term, but the overall cost of interest will be more. Select a payback period that keeps payments manageable and enables you to pay off the loan on time or perhaps earlier.
Personal loans don’t frequently have prepayment fees, but certain fair-credit lenders do. A lender often collects this fee before transferring the loan proceeds into your bank account, and it typically ranges from 1% to 10% of the loan amount.
Compare these additional benefits if you’re deciding between two reasonable offers
- Time to fund: Most lenders can fund a loan the business day after you apply for a personal loan, usually funded in less than a week. If you require the money right away, take into account lenders who provide speedy lending.
- Credit building tools: As a result of this loan, ideally, your credit will be better than it was before. Prior to signing the loan agreement, confirm with your lender that they would record payments to all three main credit bureaus so you can get credited for timely payments. When you repay the loan, you may track the changes in your credit score thanks to some lenders.
- Payment flexibility: Some lenders demand that you maintain your first payment date for the duration of the loan. Choose a lender that allows you to adjust the payment date if you anticipate needing additional flexibility.
- Prequalification: Some lenders demand that you stick to your first payment date for the duration of the loan. Find a lender that allows you to adjust the payment date if you anticipate needing additional flexibility.
- Term: The term specifies how long you’ll have to pay back the loan. Although choosing a shorter term may result in cheaper overall costs, longer durations mean lower monthly payments.
- Prepayment penalty: Some lenders will charge you a penalty if you pay off your loan early. If you have enough money to pay off your loan earlier than expected, this will limit the amount you can save on interest.
- Other fees: While most lenders levy late payments and overdraft costs, some waive these fees. If you’re concerned about paying your monthly payments on time, you might look into a lender that doesn’t impose late fees.
- Time to funding: How soon do you need the money? Make certain that the lender you select will be able to provide you with the funds on schedule..
- Secured vs. unsecured: Secured loans require you to put up assets as collateral, such as the title to your vehicle. If you do not make payments, the lender may repossess your collateral. If you’re afraid of taking risks, go for an unsecured loan.
- Co-borrowers and cosigners: The joint borrowing and cosigning restrictions vary by lender. Check that the loan you chose fulfills your requirements. When picking a personal loan, keep in mind the loan’s allowed purposes.
- Online vs. in-person: Select an online lender if you want to avoid going to a branch. On the other hand, pick a lender with actual branches if you value in-person assistance.
What steps can you take to improve your fair credit?
While you may be able to secure a loan with fair credit, boosting your score may help you get better conditions. A fair credit score indicates that you do not have bad credit, but you also have a lot of potential for development. Here’s what we recommend if you want to raise your credit score:
- Use credit responsibly. There are various ways to demonstrate to lenders that you’re a responsible borrower. Aim to pay your expenses on time every month to demonstrate to lenders that you are adhering to the conditions of your arrangement. Also, strive to keep your credit card balances low. For example, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) suggests limiting your credit card balances to 30% of your credit card limit across all accounts.
- Avoid payment mistakes. Maxing out your credit card or paying only the minimum amount due might keep your credit utilization high and harm your credit scores. Paying Your invoices late could also lower your credit score. Aside from credit, you can also end up paying extra interest or fees.
- Consider not opening many accounts. A high number of credit accounts opened in a short period of time could lower your rating. Recent inquiries are taken into account in credit scoring systems. Additionally, lenders can have a poor view of your financial situation.
- Monitor your credit. Regularly reviewing your credit reports can assist in ensuring the accuracy of the data used to determine your credit score. Through CreditWise, you can see your TransUnion credit report at any time. Additionally, AnnualCreditReport.com offers free copies of your credit reports from the three main credit bureaus: TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian.
- Beware of quick fixes. Keep in mind that credit-building takes time. There isn’t a quick remedy for bad credit. However, there is never a bad time to begin forming positive habits that will help you build your credit.
- Make all of your credit card payments on time. Your payment history, which accounts for 35% of your credit score, is the main determinant, so try to avoid making late payments whenever you can. Try to make up any payments you unintentionally miss before they are 30 days past due. You won’t incur late fees or penalty APRs, and the three credit bureaus won’t be informed of your late payment.
- Keep your balances as low as possible. In addition, as credit usage accounts for 30% of your score, your credit score is heavily influenced by how much credit you are really utilizing in comparison to how much you have available. Your credit score will rise if you keep your balances low or pay them off completely.
- Increase your available credit. Unbelievable as it may seem, applying for a new credit card or asking for your credit limit to be increased both help your credit score. Your credit usage ratio will decrease, and your credit score should increase if you have access to more credit as long as you can avoid using it to incur further debt.
- Check your credit reports for errors. According to a 2013 Federal Trade Commission survey, 5% of Americans have inaccuracies on at least one of their three credit reports—and incorrect information may be lowering your credit score. Check your credit reports from Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion on a monthly basis and contest any mistakes you uncover.
Your credit score should increase over time if you carry on using credit responsibly, which includes making on-time payments each month and settling your amounts as promptly as possible. In fact, based on where you are in the credit-building process, you might notice a big change in just a few months. You’ll be able to obtain better credit cards and interest rates by improving your credit, and as your credit score rises, so will your credit options.
If you have fair credit and are looking for the best loans for fair credit, you should know that borrowing money can be expensive. That’s because most of these loans are unsecured, so lenders will base their loan decision strongly on your credit and financial information. If accepted, be prepared for a higher interest rate since only customers with exceptional credit are eligible for starting APRs. There will also be an origination fee.
Many customers find personal loans to be an appealing alternative when in need of money. You can utilize your loan for a variety of activities, such as paying for your wedding or new appliances for your house.
However, you shouldn’t opt to take out a personal loan on a whim. A fair credit personal loan should only be obtained if you urgently need to borrow a sizable sum of money. You have to consider the several factors mentioned in this article. It’s best to check in with different lenders if you do require a loan before choosing one.