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Personal Loans

Can You Use a Personal Loan for Treatment Centers and Rehab?

Health care should be affordable for all, but rehab is pricey. You can expect to pay anywhere from $1,750 for a seven-day detox program to $54,600 or more for a four-month inpatient stay to get help with substance abuse or other mental health issues.  

Many options exist to pay for rehab—more than you may be aware of. One of your last options should be personal loans for rehab, but if you need one, it’s better than not getting treatment. 

Here’s what you need to know if you’re exploring this route. 

In this guide:

How to use a personal loan for a treatment center or rehab

Personal loans are general-purpose loans you can use for almost anything, including medical costs for rehab and treatment centers. You can apply for them online before you need to pay the rehab bill. If approved, you’ll often get the money as a check or ACH deposit within a few days, depending on the lender. You’ll then begin making loan payments. 

If you need to borrow money for rehab, personal loans are one of the better choices because they often come with lower rates than credit cards, another standard payment option. As of February 2023, the average credit card APR was 20.09%, but average personal loan rates were half that, at 11.48%. Using a personal loan, you can pay off your loan with steady payments over several years. 

You can get an estimate of your rehab treatment costs from the facility if you know which one you want to use. You can also look it up on FindTreatment.gov. The National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics also has nationwide cost estimates for different treatment types. Depending on the treatment center’s policies, you may be expected to pay upfront or when you leave.

Here is an example of what your monthly payments might look like for a personal loan for two treatment options compared with credit cards:

Rehab costFinancing methodAPRMonthly paymentPayoff timelineTotal interest paid
$1,750 
(average cost for 7-day detox)
Personal loan11.48%$583 years$327
$1,750 
(average cost for 7-day detox)
Credit card20.09%$475 years$1,022
$54,600
(average cost for 4-month inpatient stay)
Personal loan11.48%$1,8003 years$10,199
$54,600
(average cost for 4-month inpatient stay)
Credit card20.09%$1,4605 years$31,902

Pros and cons of using personal loans for rehab

You can use personal loans to pay for rehab costs, but you must consider unique factors because your income may be affected more than people who use personal loans for other purposes. Here’s what to be aware of.

Pros

  • Quick funding times.

  • Lower rates than alternatives such as credit cards.

  • Steady, even payments are easy to budget for.

  • Can help you build credit if you make all your payments on time.

Cons

  • Financial stress of making payments could trigger a relapse.

  • Requires good credit and income to get approved for the best rates.

  • Repayment starts immediately, which may be a problem if you can’t work for several months.

  • Lower approval odds, higher loan costs, and higher monthly payments if you have bad credit.

  • Can damage your credit and your life if you make late payments or default on the loan.

Should you use a personal loan to pay for a treatment center?

A personal loan should never be your first option to pay for rehab. It’ll take longer when you’re stressed, but it will help support your recovery later if you can put a plan together now.

First, consider your other financing options (more on this below). If you can’t find another way to pay for rehab, or if your insurance won’t cover the total cost, you may need to consider borrowing money. 

Next, decide whether you or a loved one will be responsible for repaying the debt. If you’re repaying the loan, you’ll need to check with the treatment center to see when the bill is due and how long you’ll be there. You won’t be able to use a personal loan if the bill is due upfront and you’ll be there for a long time because you’ll have no way to make your loan payments. 

If the bill isn’t due until you leave or you can otherwise afford the payments while in treatment, a personal loan may work for you. Once you get out, take care to keep up with your loan payments because financial stress can be a trigger for relapse. If you pay off your loan as scheduled, you may be able to grow stronger credit.  

Personal loans for rehab or treatment centers

If personal loans are your best option to pay for rehab, it’s wise to check your credit report first if you have time. Dispute any reporting errors you find to ensure your credit is in the best shape possible. Then check your credit score, too, so you know which lenders you can work with and what rates you might pay.

FICO credit score rangeCredit score category
800 – 850Excellent
740 – 799Very good
670 – 739Good
580 – 669Fair
300 – 579Poor

We’ve researched the best personal loan lenders that may be able to help pay for rehab costs.

Best for excellent credit: LightStream

Editorial rating: 4.8 out of 5

  • Doesn’t charge any loan fees.
  • Offers to beat any competing loan offer by 0.10%.
  • Can send funds via wire transfer the same day you’re approved.

LightStream is one of the best personal loan lenders due to its total lack of fees—even late fees. (That’s not a free pass not to pay; it can still damage your credit.) It’s also a solid choice if you’re under a severe time crunch. If approved, you could get the money in your bank account the same day you apply. 

It’s important to note that, unlike most other lenders, LightStream does not offer prequalification for its loans. When you check your rate, you submit a complete application with a hard credit check. If you limit your loan shopping to two weeks or less, however, this won’t have an additional impact on your credit score. 

  • Credit score category: Good to excellent
  • Soft credit pull to check rates? No
  • Deposit time: Same day
  • Origination fee: None
  • Late fee: None
  • Interest rates (APR): 8.49%24.49%
  • Repayment terms: 2 – 12 years

Best for good credit: SoFi

Editorial rating: 5 out of 5

  • Low rates.
  • No fees required.
  • Offers an unemployment protection program, career coaching, and free access to financial advisors.

SoFi is another top-level lender due to its low rates and generous benefits program for borrowers. If you lose your job through no fault of your own, SoFi may pause your payments and even help you find new employment—an excellent benefit if you’re recovering from trauma. 

SoFi also offers free access to live career advisors and financial advisors, which can be a great help to get back on track after you get out of rehab. You’ll get more specialized job support and someone to help you get your finances in order, which can take pressure off you as you focus on recovering. 

  • Credit score category: Good to excellent
  • Soft credit pull to check rates? Yes
  • Deposit time: Same day
  • Origination fee: 0% to 6%
  • Late fee: None
  • Interest rates (APR): 8.99% – 23.43%
  • Repayment terms: 2 – 7 years

Best for fair credit: Upgrade

  • Allows you to apply for a loan with a co-borrower.
  • Complaints against the company have increased lately.
  • Offers a $200 signup bonus if you open and use an Upgrade checking account. 

In addition to personal loans, Upgrade offers a comprehensive suite of techy personal finance tools, including online savings and checking accounts and credit cards. If you open a checking account and use the debit card that comes with it for at least three purchases, you’ll get a $200 bonus. 

Upgrade is a solid choice if someone with better credit will help you get and repay the loan because it allows for joint applications. Your first payment is due the month after your loan is disbursed, but Upgrade provides flexibility in scheduling your payment for a different due date if you like. 

  • Credit score category: Fair to excellent
  • Soft credit pull to check rates? Yes
  • Deposit time: Next business day
  • Origination fee: 1.85% – 9.99%
  • Late fee: $10
  • Interest rates (APR): 8.49%35.99%
  • Repayment terms: 2 – 7 years

Best for thin credit: Upstart

Editorial rating: 4.8 out of 5

  • May charge high fees.
  • Your job and education level factor into your loan decision. 
  • Rated higher than average for overall customer satisfaction by J.D. Power in 2022.

Upstart is one of a few lenders that states it doesn’t have any minimum credit score requirements. However, your credit will be a factor in your loan decision and how much you’ll pay. Upstart also factors your job and education into your loan decision, making it a suitable candidate if you have little to no credit but significant schooling.

You may need that extra boost. Upstart doesn’t allow you to apply with a co-borrower or cosigner. You’ll need to apply on your own, with your first payment due about 20 to 40 days after it sends your funds. 

  • Credit score category: No minimum credit score required
  • Soft credit pull to check rates? Yes
  • Deposit time: Next business day
  • Origination fee: 0% – 12%
  • Late fee: $15 or 5% of the loan amount, whichever is higher
  • Interest rates (APR): 6.12% – 35.99%
  • Repayment terms: 3 or 5 years

How to choose the best personal loan for a treatment center

If personal loans for treatment centers are a part of your plan to pay for the health care you need, here are items to look for:

  • Cosigners and co-borrowers: Look for lenders that allow cosigners and co-borrowers if you need help from a loved one to apply for and even make payments on your loan.  
  • Collateral: Some lenders allow you to use collateral like a car or savings account if you need help getting approved for a secured loan, but be aware they can repossess these items if you default. 
  • When first payment is due: Repayment starts immediately with most lenders, but a few don’t require payment for a few months—handy if you need to pay the bill upfront but focus on your treatment right now. Check that the timelines match up, and have backup plans in case you’re not ready to start repayment. 
  • Annual percentage rate: The loan’s APR measures the total cost of interest and fees, making it handy to compare your different options against each other. 
  • Monthly payment: Use a personal loan calculator to make sure you can afford the loan payments when you finish rehab. Check your budget to be sure. 

Alternatives to a personal loan for rehab

Personal loans are better than other options, such as credit cards and payday loans, but they can cause significant stress after you finish your treatment program. 

We recommend you use them as a last resort. Before considering personal loans for rehab, make sure you’ve gone through these options first:

  • Use health insurance.
  • Check for rehab scholarships and grants.
  • Borrow or ask for funds from family and friends.
  • Set up a payment plan with the treatment center.
  • Check local options in your community by calling or visiting 211.org.
  • Choose a treatment center with fees on an income-based sliding scale.
  • No-APR credit card, if you can pay it off before the zero-interest period ends.
  • Consider lenders that specialize in medical care, such as CareCredit
  • Sign up for Medicare, Medicaid, or a health care plan on the ACA marketplace.
  • Check with state, local, or tribal governments for funding support or free treatment options.
  • Check your options with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration national helpline (1-800-662-4357).