The Best Installment Loans for Bad Credit (2021)
Let’s face it: Money makes the world go round. However, your world might not go round quite the way you imagined, especially if you haven’t nurtured your credit score properly. If your credit is lacking, you either want to work on fixing it by making timely payments, or you’re in a financial bind and need a way out of it. Either way, installment loans for bad credit could be just the thing you need. Let’s dive in!
Bad Credit Installment Loans - Our Top Picks
PersonalLoans.com is another excellent way to get some of the best installment loans on the market without going door-to-door. Founded back in 1998, PersonalLoans.com has been actively helping people pay off a vacation, medical expenses, or anything else. It operates within a wide network of lenders, and many of them will help you out regardless of your credit score. Read Review
- •Convenient online process
- •Diverse lender network
- •Various loan types
Unlike the previous option, CashUSA.com is more of a middleman between you and direct lenders for bad credit installment loans. Since its start in 2015, it has gathered quite an impressive assortment of online lenders under its wing, helping customers like you find loans, all for free. Read Review
- •A wide network of lenders
- •Loans as low as $1,000
- •Convenient process
Founded in 2012, Avant quickly became a trusted lender for those struggling with bad credit, and over a million satisfied customers can testify about its ease of use and reliability. It offers both secured and unsecured installment loans for bad credit, with 24-hour payouts and an app to manage your money entirely online. Read Review
- •Quick Approval
- •Online Loan Management
- •Soft Credit Check
Upstart is the company standing behind the most famous legitimate installment loans for bad credit out there. Founded in 2012, it has successfully helped over half a million happy customers, as witnessed by Upstart’s astonishing 4.9 score on Trustpilot. Upstart also has different requirements than traditional lenders, so you’ll have better chances of getting what you need. Read Review
- •Next-day funding
- •No prepayment fees
- •AI-calculated credit score, based on 1600 data points
Our Installment Loan Evaluation Methodology
Loan approval is often daunting, and getting it for one of the installment loans for bad credit even more so. If you haven’t taken care of your credit score properly, interest rates and APR will skyrocket, with your options going in the opposite direction.
To make the best of a bad credit score, we’ve reviewed the companies claiming to be the best out there for people who have one, and we’ve outlined our criteria below.
Funding Types Offered
Not everyone benefits from the same type of loan, so it’s important to mention all the varieties a particular company offers. Many of them have more to give than the best installment loans for bad credit, and you might find something else that suits you better.
Why Makes It a Good Choice?
It was important to us to discover and note all the advantages of a particular company. Lenders tend to come across the same when you don’t know much about them, so having their assets neatly listed and their features explained could help you decide which one to partner up with.
What Can Be Improved?
Where there are pros, there are cons as well, as even excellent companies often have room to improve. Seeing both sides of the coin before committing to a particular direct lender with installment loans for bad credit would be a smart move.
If you are looking for bad credit loans, this is very likely the crucial aspect of our review for you. Getting turned down for funds you need is awful, so applying only for those you qualify for can save you plenty of nerves.
Generally, the best advice anyone can give is to improve your credit score before applying for another loan. However, if your needs are time-sensitive, making sure you qualify and not wasting time on misdirected loan applications is essential. After all, you don’t want to get overwhelmed when choosing between legit installment loans for bad credit by casting your net too wide.
Best Installment Loans for Bad Credit - Reviews
PersonalLoans.com is another middleman agency, offering an excellent marketplace to visit if you are looking for guaranteed installment loans for bad credit. It can connect you with lenders from 47 states, and it will provide access to funds regardless of the state you live in. PersonalLoans.com has had an admirable track record ever since it started in 1998, with a handsome score on every review site.
Funding Types Offered
PersonalLoans.com offers four different loans: Get matched with lenders offering peer-to-peer loans, personal bank loans, installment, and signature loans. You can loan up to $35,000, and the terms are fixed and non-negotiable.
Why Is Personalloans.com a Good Choice?
Its approval process for installment loans for people with bad credit is exceptionally user-friendly. The requested information and its purpose are explained within the application form, making for a transparent process.
Getting rejected for a loan within PersonalLoans.com’s extensive network of lenders is an extreme rarity, so you’re more likely than not to find a lender willing to help you handle your next significant expense.
What Can Be Improved?
PersonalLoans.com is a mediator that will help you find the loan you need. And just like CashUSA.com, once you select a direct lender for installment loans for bad credit, it steps out of the process, leaving you to fend for yourself should any issues arise.
Even though it saves you from searching for lenders yourself, PersonalLoans.com’s network of loan providers is somewhat limited, so you might not get the best deal out there. Keep your eyes open for better deals elsewhere, too. Last but not least, you may have to make payments twice a month.
Funding requirements vary from lender to lender, but the overall conditions for legit online installment loans for bad credit apply here as well. You must be at least 18 years old, have a valid checking account, and a sufficient regular income. Credit requirements start at 580.
However, most importantly, borrowers should not have accounts that are more than 60 days late or any history of late payments. They will also check whether you have a debt that your current income could not cover. If you match these criteria, you will likely be matched with a lender, regardless of your credit score.
- Convenient online process
- A wide variety of lenders available
- Various types of loans
If you’re not sure where to start, heading to a place with multiple online installment loans for bad credit lenders to get a sense of the market is a good idea. CashUSA.com serves that purpose, playing the middleman between you and potential loan providers through its streamlined online form.
Once you fill that out, the company’s lender network will return with custom offers, so you can pick whichever one seems the most tailored to your needs.
Funding Types Offered
The lenders in CashUSA.com’s network offer only one type of loan - personal ones. Thankfully, installment loans for bad credit fall under this category, and we are confident those looking for one will be able to find what they need here.
Why Is CashUSA.com a Good Choice?
CashUSA.com is a fantastic one-stop-shop for personal loans and can significantly simplify the search and application process, especially if you have bad credit. All you have to do is fill out a simple form on its website, which CashUSA.com will forward to its network, and return with offers for installment loans found online for bad credit. You can expect the proposals to arrive fairly quickly.
What Can Be Improved?
CashUSA.com’s online reviews often mention a lack of efficiency and reliability. These mixed feelings the company has caused in its users resulted in a varying overall score, so tread carefully if you choose to work with them.
It’s essential to remember that CashUSA.com is not a lender per se, but a middleman between those who need money and lenders willing to take them on. Once you are matched with a direct lender for installment loans for bad credit, your relationship with CashUSA.com ends. If you have any complaints, you’ll have to direct them to the lender.
Ultimately, CashUSA.com’s relationship with its clients offers the most room for improvement and should be steered in a more mediative direction.
CashUSA.com’s qualification criteria are very specific: You have to be at least 18 years old, employed for at least three months with a minimum monthly income of $1,000, and the primary account holder of a valid checking account. You provide all this information when applying for installment loans for very bad credit.
- Wide lender network
- Loans as low as $1,000
- Convenient process
Since starting its operations in 2012, Avant has earned a reputation as one of the best direct lenders for installment loans with bad credit. Loan amounts go up to $35,000, and Avant is becoming one of the first stops for people without ideal credit scores looking to get funding.
Funding Types Offered
Avant currently offers both secured and unsecured loans. Each of these can be an excellent solution, depending on whether you have collateral you can afford to let them use or not.
Why Is Avant a Good Choice?
Plenty of Avant’s features make it an excellent choice for those in need of quick installment loans for bad credit.
First - let’s talk rates. While your options will vary based on multiple factors - for example, the state where you’re looking to get a loan - rest assured that your funds will arrive within 24 hours. There’s a relatively low 4.75% administration fee waiting for you; for reference, competitors often ask for as much as 10% in administrative fees per loan.
Avant also includes late fee forgiveness, so if you’re ever late with one monthly installment but make all subsequent payments of your installment loan for bad credit on time, those $25 will be returned to you.
Avant’s customer service is staffed by a “properly caffeinated team,” all of whom are polite, knowledgeable, and willing to help you on your way to a loan.
You can also take advantage of Avant’s excellent loan-management app, available for Android and iOS, with a 3.9 and 4.5 rating on their respective stores.
What Can Be Improved?
If you need help with consolidating credit card debt, for example, and intend to use Avant’s installment loans for bad credit for that purpose, you might expect the lender to make direct payments to your creditors. However, Avant will always deposit the funds to your account and let you handle the rest. This is a shame - direct payment is something many of their clients would have found useful.
You also shouldn’t rely on Avant if you need a cosigner or any sort of joint loan option. Unfortunately, this limits access for many people with bad credit, as not everyone has enough collateral to submit in return for loan approval.
To qualify for Avant’s easy-approval installment loans for bad credit, you need to be at least 18 years old, a US resident with a valid Social Security number, and have a credit score of 575 and over.
- Quick Approval
- Online Loan Management
- Soft Credit Check
Upstart’s goal - as the name would suggest - is to shake things up and bring a new approach to the lending business. It has been growing its base of loyal customers for almost a decade, often focusing its services on personal installment loans for bad credit.
Thanks to its simplicity and swiftness in providing people with the funds they need, as well as a versatile offer, Upstart has gotten many borrowers out of a pinch, as you can tell from elated customer reviews.
Funding Types Offered
With Upstart, you can get all kinds of quality personal loans, like wedding loans, loans to cover your medical expenses, home remodeling loans, credit card and debt consolidation loans, and many others. Just like it promises on its website, Upstart helps you find easy online installment loans for bad credit for any occasion.
Why Is Upstart a Good Choice?
Upstart is well known for its streamlined application process - complete within minutes - and impressive loan amount range, which ensures you can borrow practically as little or as much as you need. This is all backed with transparency and a trustworthy team.
What Can Be Improved?
Strict approval criteria and fees staking up to astronomical heights are the two main gripes customers have. Unfortunately, if your credit score is not sparkling in the first place, these conditions and fees are pretty standard for bad-credit installment loans.
However, the complaints don’t stop there. Customer support is a major downside to Upstart’s service, if the bad reviews touching on the subject are to be believed. Plenty of users had a bad experience communicating with the Upstart support team. The company would do well to improve this aspect since it’s the only thing tarnishing its otherwise perfect review score.
Upstart tends to be a bit sterner when it comes to funding requirements than other similar services on this list, or even direct lenders for bad credit installment loans. The minimum credit score is 580, so getting approved might be off-limits to many borrowers.
However, it does use an AI-powered approval system to check whether you are eligible for a loan even if you have no credit history, using 1600 data points to calculate its own version of your credit score.
The average Upstart borrower has a debt-to-income ratio of about 18% and a weighted average income of $81,000. Unfortunately, this represents stringent starting criteria when applying for installment loans for bad credit, so not everyone will find what they need here.
- Next-day funding
- No prepayment fees
- AI-calculated credit score, based on 1600 data points
Fortunly’s Guide to the Best Installment Loans for Bad Credit
An installment loan is any loan you repay with regularly scheduled payments. It can be a personal loan, a mortgage, or even a student loan.
The usual reasons people decide to take out an installment loan are the flexible and competitive terms and interest rates. Yes, there are credit cards that you could max out and other options out there, but these are certainly the easiest to pay off.
When Would I Need An Installment Loan?
You would typically need long-term installment loans for bad credit to fund major purchases, such as buying a house, a car, or if you need funds for a wedding or a home remodel. On the less positive side, it’s not uncommon for people to take out loans to cover unexpected medical bills or other expenses following emergencies.
Considering that some low-credit loans start as low as $500, some people use this type of loan to cover everyday expenses that their salaries can’t accommodate.
If you’re not sure whether you need a loan or not, it’s always advisable not to take one out. However, installment loans for bad credit can help your credit score if used correctly.
How To Choose an Installment Loan?
If you decide on an installment loan, the first step is to shop around. Make sure you do enough research before you put your signature down.
A good rule of thumb is to do the math beforehand, considering the amount you want to borrow, the APR, and the interest. You want to divide the sum by the number of payments or months, depending on the length of the long-term installment loans for bad credit you’re looking into.
Wherever your credit is like, but particularly if it’s bad, opt for the shortest loan-repayment time frame possible. Since the monthly amount stays the same, you can budget for it with certainty. Don’t overstretch yourself, as you could be facing late payment fees if you borrow more than you can pay back. Set realistic goals about the loan you are going to take out.
Ultimately, it’s always better to try and improve your credit score before you take out another loan, as this means better terms than you would get with installment loans for bad credit.
How Do Installment Loans Work?
Let’s try to demonstrate how installment loans work with some pretty easy numbers. Say you start by borrowing $100, with a 10% interest rate over a year.
If you were to pay it off at the end of the year, you would have to pay $110. While this hypothetical sum is easy enough to calculate and be done with, things become a lot more real when, for example, your car breaks down. Suddenly, the principal and the interest are much bigger, which is why choosing low-interest installment loans for bad credit is always a good idea.
But let’s get back to our payments. If you were to make them each month, as you typically do with an installment loan, it would run you the same amount every month. Even though the interest is technically accruing as time goes on, the lender has already accounted for it beforehand, added it to your balance, and divided the total you would owe at the end of your term into equal shares to pay off each month.
That’s why installment loan payments stay the same.
How Do Installment Loans Impact My Credit Score?
Provided that the lender reports your payments, an installment loan for bad credit can positively influence your credit score.
As long as you pay on time and stay within the agreed-upon loan terms, becoming a borrower will be a good thing. The behaviors mentioned above will attest to your ability to use loans responsibly, which will, in turn, show on your credit score.
Another way an installment loan could influence your credit score positively is through diversifying your loan portfolio. Someone who previously only used credit cards could benefit from an installment loan appearing on their credit score.
Are Installment Loans for Bad Credit a Good Idea?
The best course of action is always to improve your credit score and then attempt to get loans. However, life rarely waits for your credit score, so you might have to make do with the one you have.
If you really need the money and need it fast, installment loans with reasonable rates are probably the best option out of all other loan types. Take as much time as you can to find the best installment loan possible, and if you keep up with your payments and follow the agreement you made, you’ll see your credit score improve.
Yes, there are multiple ways to get an installment loan, even with bad credit. However, it’s always better to improve your credit score beforehand if time allows.
Getting a secured loan with a lender that accepts collateral is the easiest route. Since most installment loans are unsecured, you might have to do some digging, but it’s still the best option in the long run.
To get guaranteed installment loans for bad credit, check out some of the options listed above - one of these companies is bound to have an offer for you and your credit score. The more lenders there are in a company’s network, the better your odds of finding a suitable one.
A 500 credit score is still a fair score in the lenders’ eyes, so you’ll probably still have plenty of opportunities. Your interest rates might be higher than those for better scores, but you will find one of the safe installment loans for bad credit.
Some companies are willing to provide loans without asking for a credit check. However, caution is strongly advised with this option, as you may fall victim to a scam.
Even if such an offer isn’t fraudulent, it’s doubtful that your interest rate will be reasonable. In these situations, the interest rate can be as high as 400%, so it’s best to steer clear of such options. They might affect your credit score to the point where you will have a much harder time getting any installment loans for bad credit.