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When couples marry, their financial lives become intertwined. Even with two incomes, sometimes couples need extra money for expenses.
Vehicle repairs, home improvements, medical expenses, credit card debt, and moving expenses can quickly add up. For many couples, applying for a personal loan is the ideal solution, but they must determine whether to do it jointly or individually.
By applying for a joint personal loan, a married couple may qualify for larger loan amounts and better rates than an individual applicant would because two people are responsible for payments instead of just one. This is especially likely if the primary applicant has an average or poor credit score.
On this page:
- Lenders offering joint personal loans
- How are joint loans unique for married couples?
- Should you apply for a joint personal loan?
- Joint personal loans vs. using a cosigner
Lenders offering joint personal loans
Compare Personal Loans for Married Couples
It’s important to remember that not all lenders offer joint personal loans. If you’re interested in applying for one, find an accommodating lender whose loan terms meet your needs.
More specifically, different lenders have different criteria for who qualifies for joint personal loans. Like with other loans, the higher your credit score, the lower the interest rate you will receive.
Here are some of our top picks from partner lenders offering joint loans:
LightStream ranks as our best overall personal loan lender offering joint loans. With low rates, no fees, and a Rate Beat program in which they will beat any rate a competitor offers by 0.10 percentage points, LightStream is a great option for those with excellent or good credit.**
- Credit score category: Excellent, good
- Soft credit pull to check rates: Not available
- Deposit time: As soon as the same day
- Origination fee: 0%
- Late fee: None
- Discounts: 0.50% interest rate reduction for enrolling in autopay
- Repayment terms: 24 – 144 months depending on your loan purpose***
7.99% – 35.97%
$1,000 – $35,000
Upgrade is a great joint loan option for borrowers with bad or fair credit, as well as those that need smaller loans. You can check rates without affecting your credit score and eligibility is based more on free cash flow as compared to other lenders.
- Credit score category: Fair, bad
- Soft credit pull to check rates: Yes
- Deposit time: As soon as the next day
- Origination fee: 2.9% – 8%
- Late fee: $10
- Repayment terms: 36 or 60 months
How are joint loans unique for married couples?
When applying for a joint personal loan, much of the actual application process remains the same. The difference is that credit score, income, and other pertinent financial information (debt-to-income ratio, etc.) for both parties is utilized by the lender.
A joint personal loan will appear in full on both credit reports. This means the debt is shared, not divided. The shared debt is legally binding regardless of what happens to the marriage. For example, if you and your co-borrower file for divorce, the debt will remain in both names.
A lack of monthly payments will impact the credit reports of both parties. This is true even if one partner no longer has access to funds or the goods purchased with them. Similarly, if one partner files bankruptcy or dies, the other partner remains fully responsible for the debt.
Should you apply for a joint personal loan?
Whether or not you should apply for a joint personal loan depends on a variety of factors. Many experts cite the nature and purpose of the loan as a major consideration when evaluating a joint loan application.
However, for items that will be used solely by one party, an individual loan or a loan with a cosigner may be a better idea.
The latter option will avoid spreading liability further than necessary. This is particularly true for personal loans for a property that is typically considered to be “owned” by one individual, like a car.
- Potential for lower interest rates than if you applied on your own.
- By using a joint personal loan, both individuals can plan and budget for the repayment of the loan rather than one spouse being left out.
- Some lenders may set lower minimum requirements for eligibility with a joint personal loan.
- Defaulting on monthly payments can impact the credit history of both individuals.
- Both borrowers still need to meet the lender’s requirements.
- If one partner dies, the other is responsible for the debt.
Joint personal loans vs. using a cosigner
The process of applying for a joint personal loan is similar to the one that is required when applying for a personal loan with a cosigner or a co-applicant. However, with a personal loan for married couples, long-term rights and responsibilities are immediately shared.
A cosigner only assumes responsibility for the debt if the original applicant fails to pay it. They do not have any rights to the funds or property.
This table illustrates the differences and similarities between the two types of loans:
|Joint||With a Cosigner|
|Who Can Access the Money||Both applicants||Primary borrower|
|Whose Credit Information Affects Eligibility||Both applicants||Both applicants|
|Who Carries the Debt||Both applicants||Primary borrower, though the cosigner assumes the debt if the borrower defaults|
Lenders are more likely to offer you lower rates with joint personal loans because they are less risky as two people are responsible for repayment.
Several lenders allow married couples to submit joint applications online, making the process all the more convenient.
For additional options, compare the best personal loans to find an option that best fits your needs.
Ready to apply for a joint loan? Check out our top-rated partner lender, Lightstream.
*Your loan terms, including APR, may differ based on loan purpose, amount, term length, and your credit profile. Excellent credit is required to qualify for lowest rates. Rate is quoted with AutoPay discount. AutoPay discount is only available prior to loan funding. Rates without AutoPay are 0.50% points higher. Subject to credit approval. Conditions and limitations apply. Advertised rates and terms are subject to change without notice.
**LightStream will offer a rate .10 percentage points lower than the rate offered by a competing lender subject to satisfactory evidence being provided that the applicant was actually approved for a lower rate with another lender for the same loan terms offered by LightStream by no later than 2 p.m. Eastern time one business day prior to loan funding. The Rate Beat Program excludes secured or collateralized loan offers from any lender and the competitive offer must be generally available to any customer with a similar credit profile. Terms are subject to change at any time.
***Payment example: Monthly payments for a $10,000 loan at 5.95% APR with a term of three years would result in 36 monthly payments of $303.99.