Many or all companies we feature compensate us. Compensation and editorial research influence how products appear on a page. Personal Loans Low-Income Personal Loans Updated Jan 22, 2024   |   6-min read   |   This article has been reviewed by a Certified Financial Planner™ for accuracy. Written by Lauren Ward Written by Lauren Ward Expertise: Mortgages, real estate, investing, credit, debt, small businesses Lauren Ward is a personal finance writer who regularly covers topics like mortgages, real estate, and investing. Learn more about Lauren Ward Reviewed by Erin Kinkade, CFP® Reviewed by Erin Kinkade, CFP® Expertise: Insurance planning, education planning, retirement planning, investment planning, military benefits, behavioral finance Erin Kinkade, CFP®, ChFC®, works as a financial planner at AAFMAA Wealth Management & Trust. Erin prepares comprehensive financial plans for military veterans and their families. Learn more about Erin Kinkade, CFP® Finding personal loans for low-income borrowers can be easy if you know how to focus your efforts. Every lender’s eligibility criteria is unique—no universal amount signals a low income. Other factors may also affect how lenders view your income. For instance, many governmental programs look at income in the context of your family size. A one-person household earning under $22,000 is considered low income by the U.S. Department of Education. An eight-person household can earn over $75,000 and fall into the same category. When applying for a personal loan, lenders consider your income compared to monthly payments for the new loan and other debt. They want to see stable income from month to month. This signals that you have enough money coming in each month to cover all your debts. Keep reading to find out the best lenders for low-income personal loans, plus how to get a loan at different credit levels. Table of Contents Skip to Section 15 personal loans for low income Personal loans for good credit and low income Personal loans for bad credit and low incomeAlternatives to personal loans when you have low income 15 personal loans for low income Some lenders disclose their minimum income requirements, and others evaluate it based on your application as a whole. In most cases, you must prove you have consistent income when you apply—often by providing copies of recent pay stubs or bank statements. One reason many lenders don’t have a set income limit is that eligibility depends on how much you borrow and how much you owe on other accounts. This is called your debt-to-income ratio (DTI). To calculate an applicant’s DTI, the lender adds up their monthly debt payments and divides it by their gross monthly income—their income before taxes and other deductions. Most lenders have a DTI cap rather than an income cap. Even with a low income, you could qualify for a smaller personal loan if the monthly payment doesn’t add too much to your DTI. Let’s say you earn $1,200 per month, and a lender has a maximum DTI of 40%. All your monthly debt payments, including the new personal loan, student loans, auto loans, and credit card minimums, could be at most $480 ($1,200 x 40%). Check out this list of lenders that may provide personal loan options for borrowers with lower income levels. LenderHas min. incomeDetailsUpstart✅$12,000View ratesAvant✅$1,200 per monthView ratesProsper ✅$80,000 in 8 states listed below$85,000 (CA)View ratesSoFi❌Must show proof of income or offerView ratesCredible❌Varies by lenderView ratesHappy Money❌—View ratesLightStream❌Must show proof of incomeView ratesBest Egg❌—View ratesLending Club❌Must show proof of incomeView ratesUpgrade❌—View ratesRocket Loans ❌Must show proof of incomeView ratesNavy Federal❌Must show proof of income View ratesOne Main Financial ❌Must show proof of income View ratesAlliant Credit Union❌Must show proof of incomeView ratesAchieve❌Must show proof of incomeView rates Prosper has a minimum income of $80,000 in the following states: Alaska, Idaho, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oregon, Virginia or Washington Personal loans for good credit and low income The best way to keep payments affordable on your loan is to have a good credit score so you get a lower interest rate. The definition of a good credit score varies, but credit scores often fall into one of four categories: bad, fair, good, and very good. Credit scores range from 300 to 850, and here’s where you’ll need to fall in each of these categories: Bad: 579 and underFair: 580 – 669Good: 670 – 739Very good: 740 – 799 Your maximum loan amount may be limited based on income and other debts, but you could qualify for better rates with a good credit score. Our top picks for borrowers in this credit category include Achieve, Best Egg, and Happy Money. You can qualify for a lower loan amount with these lenders. LenderMin. incomeMin. credit scoreMin. loan amountAchieveNone, but proof of income is required620$1,000Best EggNo set amount640$2,000Happy MoneyNo set amount640$5,000 Personal loans for bad credit and low income You still have the potential to qualify for a personal loan even with bad credit and low income. First, ensure your credit report is accurate so you’re not penalized for incorrect entries. Once you get copies of your annual credit reports, you can file a dispute if something looks wrong. Next, take a look at your current level of debt. You can’t change late payments, but you can pay off outstanding balances to lower your credit utilization. This can boost your score and help you qualify for a larger loan if needed. Finally, compare lenders by getting prequalified with a soft pull. This lets you see the loan terms you may qualify for without a hard pull, which affects your credit score. That way, you can find the best terms, such as interest rates and fees, before applying. Secured vs. unsecured loans Another option for getting a personal loan with low income and bad credit—sometimes depending on what you plan to use the loan for—is a secured loan rather than an unsecured one. A secured loan requires collateral, such as a car or your home. If you default on the loan, the lender can seize the collateral to cover your debts. A secured loan comes with an element of risk. But it may be worth considering if your credit score otherwise keeps you from qualifying for an unsecured loan. Upgrade, Navy Federal Credit Union, and Best Egg offer secured loan options. Here are our top picks for bad-credit lenders with low or no income requirements. LenderMin. incomeMin. credit scoreSecured or unsecuredAvant$1,200 per month580Unsecured 🔓UpgradeNo set amount580Both 🔓🔒Upstart$12,000 per year300Unsecured 🔓 Our expert’s advice Erin Kinkade CFP® If you’re considering a personal loan, I recommend being diligent about making the monthly payment on time and building a budget that works for you to save money for future emergencies and needs instead of borrowing. And of course, always contact the lender if your monthly payment will be delayed or a financial hardship has occurred. Alternatives to personal loans when you have low income Consider one of these alternatives if you discover you can’t qualify for a personal loan based on your income. Be sure to weigh the pros and cons before making your decision. Side hustle: Instead of borrowing, consider finding a way to earn more to cover your cash flow needs. You’ll find no shortage of side hustle ideas, which can help you boost your income on a schedule that works for you. Credit card: If you have a low income, consider applying for a credit card instead of a personal loan. The interest rates tend to be higher, and your credit limit may start low. But you might find it easier to get extra financing by choosing a credit card instead of an installment loan.Cash advance app: When you have a more minor, short-term financial need, consider using a cash advance app. Loan amounts are much smaller, often maxing out around $500. Instead of interest, you’ll pay a funding fee and potentially a monthly fee for using the service.Retirement loan: It’s possible to borrow money from your 401(k) if you have one, but this has several drawbacks. For instance, if you don’t repay the loan on time, you’ll have to pay income tax and an early withdrawal penalty on the funds. You also might have to repay the loan immediately if you leave your job. The loan also reduces your retirement account balance, which could reduce the account’s growth.