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Personal Loans

Personal Loans for a Credit Score of 550

Lenders use credit scores to measure creditworthiness. A FICO score of 580 or below puts a borrower in the poor credit category, indicating higher risk. However, having a credit score in this range doesn’t mean you’re completely shut out of getting a loan if you need one. 

You have some options if you’re looking for lenders that offer personal loans for a 550 credit score. That’s reassuring to know if you need to borrow money to cover a financial emergency or want to get a small loan to repay so you can rebuild your credit history. 

We researched different lenders to find ones that extend personal loans to borrowers with lower credit scores. Learn where you might get a personal loan with a 550 credit score, what’s required for approval, and alternative borrowing options. 

Best personal loans for 550 credit score 

We’ve placed three top lenders and loan marketplaces under the microscope to help you decide which best suits your needs.

LenderMin. credit scoreRates (APR)
Upstart3007.80% – 35.99%

Credible – Best marketplace

LendEDU rating: 5.0 out of 5

  • Wide variety of lenders
  • Convenient rate comparisons
  • Easy application process

Credible stands out as a superior marketplace for personal loans, even for borrowers with a 550 credit score. It allows users to compare rates from different lenders in one platform.

Leveraging its extensive network, prospective borrowers can fill out a single application and get prequalified rates—all without harming their credit score via a hard credit check. This makes Credible a fantastic starting point for those seeking a personal loan.


LendEDU rating: 4.8 out of 5

  • Free credit score access
  • Robust lender network
  • Comprehensive loan tools and resources

While LendingTree does not earn a specific best-for designation, it is an exemplary platform for those seeking personal loans. It offers an extensive range of lenders, comprehensive tools and resources, and consistent access to credit scores.

With LendingTree, potential borrowers can easily compare loan offers and discover the best rates and terms for their financial needs. The opportunity to review multiple offers can help you make the most informed decision. 

Upstart – Best for little-to-no credit

LendEDU rating: 4.8 out of 5

  • Rates are based on education and job history
  • Quick decisions and next-day funding
  • No prepayment penalties 

Upstart is excellent for assisting those with little to no credit histories. Instead of relying solely on credit scores, Upstart considers educational background and job history when determining loan terms and rates.

This approach can often result in more equitable rates for borrowers who may have been penalized by more traditional lending metrics. Coupled with quick decision times and next-day funding, Upstart provides an excellent option for those new to credit.

Should you get personal loans for credit scores under 550? 

Personal loans offer access to cash when needed, but it’s important to understand what you’re getting. Having a credit score of 550 or below can affect the loan terms you’re able to qualify for, including:

  • How much you’re able to borrow
  • Loan interest rates and fees
  • Repayment terms

Evaluating the pros and cons and what you need the money for can help you decide if personal loans for a 550 credit score make sense. It’s also helpful to consider some alternatives to personal loans if you’re not able to find a good lending option. 

Pros and cons of personal loans if your credit score is 550


  • A 550 credit score is not an absolute barrier to approval, since there are lenders that extend loans with low (or no) minimum credit score requirements.

  • Personal loan rates are usually fixed so you know how much to borrow up front will cost.

  • Unsecured personal loans for bad credit allow you to borrow without requiring you to offer any collateral.

  • It may take just a few minutes to apply for a personal loan online and get approved, with some lenders offering funding as quickly as the next business day.

  • Repaying a personal loan could improve your credit score if you make on-time payments.


  • A credit score of 550 or below may result in a higher interest rate on the loan or a larger origination fee, if the lender charges one.

  • Higher rates can automatically make your loan more expensive, even if you’re choosing a relatively short repayment term.

  • You might be limited to getting a smaller loan, which could be a drawback if you have a larger financial need.

  • There may be fewer loan options to choose from overall, as many lenders prefer borrowers with good to excellent credit scores.

  • If you cannot get an unsecured loan, you may need to find a secured option that would require you to have collateral.

When to consider a personal loan for 550 credit score

Personal loans can make more sense in some situations than others. Looking at where you are financially can help you decide if a loan is your best option when you have a 550 credit score. 

Consider a personal loan if…Reconsider a personal loan if…
✅ You need to borrow a fixed amount of money.❌ You’re not sure how much money you need. 
✅ You’re comfortable with the possibility of paying a higher interest rate. ❌ You prefer to find the cheapest borrowing option. 
✅ You want to rebuild a positive credit history with on-time payments. ❌ You sometimes have trouble making bill payments on time. 
✅ You’ve estimated your monthly payments to ensure they fit your budget. ❌ You don’t have a budget or your income isn’t stable. 
✅ You’re comfortable taking time to research lenders to find the best borrowing option.❌ You don’t understand the different loan terms and rates. 

Personal loans can help you financially in the short and long term, but getting one with a 550 credit score sometimes requires extra time and patience. You might be able to get approved for a personal loan at reasonable terms, but it’s important to think about what comes next. 

That includes deciding how you’ll use the loan funds and how you’ll pay them back. If you’re paying a higher rate for a personal loan because of a 550 credit score, paying it off sooner rather than later could save some money. Here are a few tips for accelerating your loan payoff. 

  • Pay biweekly, which adds up to one extra loan payment per year. 
  • Use windfalls, such as tax refunds or work bonuses, to make lump sum payments to the principal. 
  • Make extra micropayments of $25 or $50 monthly to chip away at the balance. 

If you don’t have an emergency financial need, you could also wait to apply for a personal loan until your credit score improves. Getting into the 600+ range, for example, could make a big difference in the loan rates and terms you’re able to qualify for. 

Ask the expert

Chloe Moore


A credit score of 550 is considered poor. If your score is in this range, I recommend understanding how it fell to this level and working on improving your score over time. In some cases, it could be an issue with your budget, so focus on increasing your income (if needed), spending less, and saving more so you don’t put yourself in a position where you can’t manage debt responsibly. 

Alternatives to personal loans for a credit score under 550

You may have more options than you realize to secure the funds you need. Let’s explore alternatives to personal loans.

Secured loans

Unlike unsecured personal loans, secured loans require collateral, such as a house or a car. This option can be viable for a borrower with a 550 credit score because collateral reduces the lender’s risk. However, your collateral is at risk if you can’t repay the loan.

Credit builder loans

Credit builder loans can be an alternative to improve your credit score while borrowing. They’re designed to help borrowers build credit by reporting consistent on-time payments to credit bureaus. However, lenders will typically hold the loan amount until you’ve fully repaid the loan.

Payday alternative loans (PALs)

PALs are small, short-term loans offered by some federal credit unions. They’re designed as an affordable alternative to high-cost payday loans. They’re generally more accessible, but the maximum loan amount is limited, and you must be a member of the credit union offering it.

Cosigned or co-borrowed loans

A cosigned loan or co-borrowed loan involves another person—in this case, with a better credit rating. A co-borrower is equally responsible for repayment, and a cosigner agrees to repay the loan if you don’t. This can lead to a lower interest rate, but it places financial strain on the cosigner.

Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending

P2P loans come from individual investors rather than traditional financial institutions. This can provide more loan opportunities for lower-credit score borrowers, but the loans can have higher interest rates and stricter terms.

Loans from family or friends

Borrowing from family and friends can be an alternative when traditional lending options aren’t available. This can be advantageous due to potentially flexible terms and nonexistent interest, but it can strain relationships if not handled properly.

Credit union loans

Many credit unions have more flexible lending standards than banks. You must be a member, but credit unions offer competitive rates, even for members with lower credit scores. Sometimes, membership is as easy as making a small deposit, such as $5, in your credit union account.

Paycheck advance

Some employers or payroll apps offer advances on your next paycheck. These can be cheaper than payday loans but should be limited to occasional use due to the potential impact on future paychecks.

Ask the expert

Chloe Moore


Generally, you want to aim for a credit score of at least 700. A credit score above this level can help you qualify for the lowest interest rates when taking out a personal (or any) loan. 

How to improve your credit score 

If your credit score isn’t where you’d like it to be, you’re not stuck with it. There are some things you can do to push your score into a higher range, which could make it easier to qualify for personal loans with more favorable terms. 

Here are some tried and true strategies for improving credit scores. 

  • Pay on time. Payment history is the most important factor in FICO credit scoring, so you can do yourself a big favor by paying bills on time each month. Scheduling automatic payments or setting up due date reminders are two simple ways to avoid paying late. 
  • Become an authorized user. Being an authorized user means someone else adds you to their credit card accounts. Authorized user status can help your credit if the primary cardholder has a solid score since their account history is added to your credit reports. Just ensure you can pay the balance on any charges you make to the card because they’ll ultimately be responsible for the debt. You also don’t have to use the card—the benefit is having their payment history on your credit report. 
  • Pay down debt. If you already have some debt on credit cards, paying those balances down could help your score. Reducing what you owe improves your credit utilization ratio, which measures how much of your available credit you’re using. After payment history, this is the second most important factor in credit scoring. 
  • Raise your limits. Requesting a credit limit increase is another way to improve your credit utilization ratio. It may be harder to get a higher limit when you have a lower credit score, but it’s still worth asking your credit card company. The key is not to use your new higher limit if granted since that could work against your score. 
  • Review your credit report. Make sure there are no errors and dispute any inaccurate information. You can check your credit report weekly for free here.
  • Catch up on past-due debts. On-time payments account for a significant portion of your credit score. Catching up on overdue bills is a step in the right direction.

Remember that improving your credit score can take time; you might not see a huge jump in points right away. However, it may be worth the wait if your efforts eventually result in better credit. 


What are the interest rates like for loans with a 550 credit score?

Interest rates for personal loans with a 550 credit score can be quite high due to the perceived risk to lenders. Borrowers with a credit score in this range might face interest rates as high as 35%. Rates often depend on other factors, such as your income, loan amount, loan term, and credit scores.

How can a personal loan affect my credit score?

A personal loan could affect your credit score in several ways. If you handle the loan responsibly—by making on-time payments and reducing your debt balance—your credit score can improve over time. However, late or missed payments can hurt your score.

What documents do I need to apply for a personal loan with a low credit score?

The documents required to apply for a personal loan vary by lender. Still, they may include proof of income (e.g., recent pay stubs or tax returns), government-issued identification, and proof of address. Some lenders may also require bank statements or other financial documents.

How fast can I get a personal loan with a 550 credit score?

It varies by lender, but approval and funding for a personal loan can occur within several business days. Some online lenders even offer same-day or next-day funding after approval.