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Personal Loans

Joint Personal Loans for Married Couples

If you’re married and want to improve your chances of qualifying for a personal loan and securing a lower rate, adding your spouse as a co-borrower on a loan application could be the solution—if you apply with a lender that offers joint personal loans.

However, it’s important to know the potential benefits and risks before moving forward. Also, consider when applying for a joint personal loan does and doesn’t make sense. If you determine a joint personal loan is the right choice, you’ll need to examine your options further.

We researched the best joint personal loans for married couples and other options to help with your search. And we cover the pros and cons of these loans to help you assess whether they’re a good fit for you and your partner.

Lenders that offer joint personal loans

Not all lenders offer joint personal loans. If you’re interested in applying for one, find an accommodating lender with loan terms that meet your needs.

Lenders have different criteria for who qualifies for joint personal loans. As with other loans, the higher your credit score, the lower the interest rate the lender will offer.


Tip

You don’t need to wait until you apply for a loan to know your credit score. For instance, credit bureau Experian gives you free access to your FICO® Score 8, and Equifax lets you check your VantageScore® 3.0 (both scores updated monthly). Several credit card issuers, including Chase and Discover, also offer free weekly credit scores, and you don’t need to be a customer.


Below are our top picks from partner lenders offering unsecured joint personal loans. Unsecured loans don’t require you to put up collateral (such as your home, investment property, or bank account) to back the loan.

Click the lender’s name in the table for more about its joint personal loans—or keep reading for details about all four.

LenderBest forRates (APR)
LightStreamExcellent credit7.49%25.49%
UpgradeFair credit8.49%35.99%
SoFiGood credit8.99% – 29.99%
AchieveChoosing payment date7.99%35.99%

Best for excellent credit – LightStream

LendEDU rating: 4.8 out of 5

  • Rate Beat program: Will beat a competitor’s offer by 0.10% APR if approved for a lower rate elsewhere
  • Unique satisfaction guarantee: Borrowers who are not satisfied with their loan experience can get a $100 refund
  • Loan amounts: $5,000 – $100,000

LightStream ranks as our best overall personal loan lender offering joint loans. With low rates and no fees, as well as its Rate Beat program, LightStream is a terrific option for those with excellent or good credit.

When you fill out a LightStream application, you can select “joint application” for the application type to apply with your spouse.


Best for fair credit – Upgrade

LendEDU rating: 4.9 out of 5

  • Credit health tool to monitor your credit score and get personalized recommendations
  • Loan amounts: $1,000 – $50,000
  • 15-day grace period before late fee is assessed

Upgrade is a solid joint loan option for borrowers with bad or fair credit and those who need smaller loans. You can check rates without affecting your credit score, and eligibility is based more on free cash flow than other lenders.

You can add your spouse as a co-applicant while filling out a prequalification application.


Best for good credit – SoFi

LendEDU rating: 5.0 out of 5

  • Unemployment protection allows pausing loan payments in case of job loss
  • Fast, easy application: Get a decision in minutes
  • Loan amounts: $5,000 – $100,000

SoFi might be a fit for applicants with good to excellent credit who need to take out a large loan. SoFi provides loans up to $100,000, offers competitive rates, and doesn’t charge fees. 

Plus, if you make on-time payments for at least nine months and lose your job through no fault of your own, you may qualify for its unemployment protection program.

You can add your spouse as a co-borrower while completing the application process, according to a SoFi representative. 


Best for choosing payment date – Achieve

LendEDU rating: 4.8 out of 5

  • Get help from a dedicated loan consultant by phone or online
  • Loan amounts: $5,000 – $50,000
  • Same-day decision, with funds sent in 24 – 72 hours

With a minimum credit score requirement as low as 620, Achieve is an accessible option for borrowers with fair credit. Repayment terms range from two to five years, and it offers a competitive starting APR.

Achieve allows you to add your spouse as a co-applicant while filling out its prequalification form.


How are joint loans unique for married couples?

When you apply for a joint personal loan for married couples, the process is similar to completing an individual application

The difference is that a lender evaluates your and your spouse’s credit scores, incomes, and debt-to-income ratios. Here’s how a joint loan can affect you and your spouse:

  • Credit report: A joint personal loan will appear on your credit report and your spouse’s. 
  • Responsibility: You’re legally responsible for this shared debt regardless of what happens to the marriage. For example, if you and your co-borrower file for divorce, the debt often remains in both names.
  • Default: If you and your spouse default on a joint personal loan, it could cause significant harm to both of your credit reports. The loan will remain on both of your credit reports even if you or your spouse can no longer access funds or the goods you purchased with them.
  • Repayment: If one partner files for bankruptcy or dies, the other partner still must repay the debt.

As you can see, joint personal loans follow you through thick and thin, just like marriage itself. You both become liable for the debt; any negative impacts will affect you and your partner equally.

How do lenders consider credit scores for joint loans?

When you apply for a joint personal, most lenders weigh your and your spouse’s credit scores equally. According to the lenders we contacted, they don’t average your credit scores together.

How each credit score affects your rate depends on the lender’s proprietary credit scoring model.

Pros and cons of a joint personal loan

Before you and your spouse take out a joint personal loan, weigh the pros against the cons.

Pros

  • Possible lower interest rate

    Applying with your spouse might help you qualify for a lower rate, especially if they have better credit than you.

  • Possible higher loan amount

    If your spouse has a steady income, adding them may help you qualify for a more significant loan amount.

  • Shared responsibility

    By using a joint personal loan, you and your spouse can plan and budget for repayment together.

  • Increased chance of approval

    You may have a higher chance of approval, especially if your partner has better credit than you.

Cons

  • Can harm both of your credit scores

    If you don’t repay the loan on time or you default, it will cause serious harm to your credit and your spouse’s.

  • Both applicants must meet a lender’s eligibility requirements

    When you apply for a joint personal loan, you and your spouse must meet a lender’s requirements to get approved.

  • Full responsibility

    Both partners are fully responsible for the loan. If one partner can’t pay for any reason, the other must continue to make payments.

  • Relationship strain

    If a couple has trouble making payments or can’t agree on how to use the money from the loan, it could strain the relationship.

Joint personal loans vs. using a cosigner

When you apply for a joint personal loan, you take the same steps as you would to apply for a personal loan with a cosigner. However, a crucial difference is that if you take out a joint personal loan for married couples, you and your partner can both access the loan funds.

But if you apply with a cosigner, only the primary borrower can access the loan funds. Below is a table highlighting the main differences between co-borrower and cosigner personal loans.

JointWith a cosigner
Who can access the money?Both 👫Primary borrower 🙍
Whose credit information affects eligibility?Both 👬Both 🧑‍💼🧕
Who carries the debt?Both 👭Primary borrower 🧕
Cosigner is responsible if the primary borrower defaults 🧑‍💼

Should you apply for a joint personal loan?

Whether you should apply for a joint personal loan depends on your and your spouse’s financial situation. Consider the benefits and potential risks we laid out above before applying for a loan.

Here’s when it might and might not be in your best interest.

Consider a joint personal loan if…Reconsider applying for a joint loan if…
✅ You are paying for shared expenses, such as a wedding or home renovation ❌ One partner has a much lower credit score, which could result in a higher interest rate
✅ You want to consolidate high-interest debt with a lower-interest loan❌ The relationship is not on solid financial ground
✅ One partner has poor credit or insufficient income to qualify for a loan on their own❌ You need to build your credit score (These loans may not help you build your score as much as an individual personal loan)

Our expert advises: When to consider a joint personal loan

Erin Kinkade

CFP®

Consider the purpose of the loan. For example, I would recommend that whoever the loan is benefiting take responsibility. If both parties have good credit, it could result in better terms than one borrower due to accounting for both incomes and overall credit reports. However, if one party has bad credit and the other has good credit, I recommend choosing the good-credit borrower to apply for the loan. You can produce a formal or informal written agreement detailing the responsibility of each party to repay the loan regardless of whose name is on it.

If you aren’t sure a joint loan is the best option for you and your partner, consider secured loans or credit cards, individual loans, and credit builder loans.