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Personal Loans

Best Personal Loans With a Cosigner

Personal loans can be a lifesaver in times of financial need—partly because you can use them for almost any purpose. Plus, unlike a secured loan (such as a car loan or mortgage) that requires collateral, personal loans are often unsecured, so you don’t need to put up collateral to get approved.

Not everyone can quality for a personal loan individually. That’s where a cosigner or co-applicant comes in. By applying for personal loans with cosigner or co-applicant options, you can increase your chances of approval and even secure a better interest rate. 

Some lenders allow for co-applicants, but others don’t. We’ve researched lenders to find personal loans with cosigner or co-applicant options. 

CompanyAPRLoan amountAllows cosigners or co-applicants?
Credible5.20%35.99%$600 – $200,000Varies by lender
LightStream7.99%25.99%$5,000 – $100,000Co-applicants
SoFi8.99%% – 23.43%$5,000 – $100,000Co-applicants
Upgrade8.49%35.97%$1,000 – $50,000Co-applicants
Achieve7.9935.99%$5,000 – $50,000Co-applicants

In this guide:

Best personal loans with cosigners or co-applicants

When researching cosigner options, we found that our top-rated lenders allow co-applicants (aka co-borrowers) but not cosigners. A cosigner and a co-borrower can help you get approved for a loan, but they have different roles and responsibilities.

CosignerCo-applicant (aka co-borrower)
Agrees to take on the responsibility of repaying the loan if the primary borrower can’tApplies for the loan together with the primary borrower
Lenders often consider the cosigner’s credit score and incomeLenders often consider both applicants’ credit scores and income equally
Does not have ownership of the loan or access to loan fundsBoth parties are responsible for repayment and have equal ownership rights to loan funds

>>Read more: Co-applicant personal loans

Best marketplace: Credible

Editorial rating: 5 out of 5

  • See prequalified rates from multiple lenders
  • Checking rates won’t impact your credit score
  • No fees

Credible stands out in the personal loan market by providing a platform to compare loan offers from multiple lenders. Credible caters to many borrowers, including those seeking loans with a cosigner.

The lenders in Credible’s network offer competitive rates, and several allow cosigners to be added to improve the chances of qualifying for lower rates and better terms. This makes Credible a strong option for various financial needs, including debt consolidation, home improvements, or unexpected expenses.

Features of Credible personal loans include:

  • Credit score category: Most credit profiles
  • Soft credit pull to check rates?: Yes
  • Deposit time: As fast as one business day, depending on the lender
  • Origination fee: Varies by lender, but several have no fee
  • Late fee: Varies by lender, but several have no fee
  • Rates (APR): 5.20%35.99%
  • Repayment terms: 12 – 120 months

Best for excellent credit: LightStream

Editorial rating: 4.8 out of 5

  • Allows co-applicants
  • Rate Beat program will beat any rate a competitor offers by 0.10%
  • Loan amounts: $5,000 – $100,000

LightStream provides personal loans at low rates. For those with excellent credit who can qualify closer to the 7.99% interest rate, LightStream has other options that make it an even stronger contender. Its Rate Beat program will beat any competitor’s rate by 0.10 percentage points for qualified borrowers. 

LightStream makes it easy to apply for online personal loans with cosigners in just a few minutes and makes getting your cash just as easy. Borrowers can get funding as soon as the day they apply, making it a good option for emergency funding. 

  • Credit score category: Excellent, good (660+)
  • Soft credit pull to check rates? Not available
  • Deposit time: As soon as the same day
  • Origination fee: 0%
  • Late fee: None
  • Rates (APR): 7.99%25.99%
  • Discounts: 0.50% autopay
  • Repayment terms: 24 – 144 months

Best for good credit: SoFi

Editorial rating: 5 out of 5

  • Allows co-applicants
  • Unemployment Protection to modify payments in case of job loss
  • Loan amounts: $5,000 – $100,000

SoFi offers borrowers an extensive range of loan amounts. Those with excellent credit (often 740 or better) can qualify for low interest rates of around 8.99%. You can begin your process with SoFi’s prequalification tool. It takes just 60 sections and can help you understand whether to proceed with the complete application. 

Good-credit borrowers will appreciate the potential to qualify for same-day funding through SoFi. To add to your savings, SoFi offers a 0.25% autopay discount for borrowers who set up automatic payments. 

  • Credit score category: Good, excellent 
  • Soft credit pull to check rates? Yes
  • Deposit time: As soon as the same day
  • Origination fee: 0% to 6%
  • Late fee: None
  • Rates (APR): 8.99% – 23.43%
  • Discounts: 0.25% autopay
  • Repayment terms: 2 – 7 years

Best for fair credit: Upgrade

Editorial rating: 4.9 out of 5

  • Allows co-applicants
  • Allows borrowers to check their credit score for free and offers credit monitoring tools
  • Loan amounts: $1,000 – $50,000

Upgrade is a solid option for borrowers who need smaller loan amounts because its minimum of $1,000 is lower than most lenders. Eligibility is more dependent on free cash flow as compared to other lenders. If your credit score doesn’t reach Upgrade’s minimum required 560 to qualify for a loan—or you want access to a lower rate—you might still be eligible for next-day funding with a co-applicant. 

Upgrade charges an origination fee of as high as 9.99%, but the autopay discount of 0.50% can help you pay less interest over time. You can also choose the monthly payment and term length that work for you.

  • Credit score category: Fair, bad (560+)
  • Soft credit pull to check rates? Yes
  • Deposit time: As soon as the next day
  • Origination fee: 1.85% – 9.99%
  • Late fee: $10
  • Rates (APR): 8.49%35.97%
  • Discounts: 0.50% autopay
  • Repayment terms: 24 – 84 months

Best for choosing payment date: Achieve

Editorial rating: 4.8 out of 5

  • Allows co-applicants
  • Check rates and apply without affecting your credit score
  • Loan amounts: $5,000 – $50,000

Achieve makes getting a personal loan simple, even if you need a cosigner. You can choose your amount, terms, and payment date, making Achieve a flexible lender. Repayment schedules come with term options of two, three, four, or five years, and loan amounts range from $5,000 to $50,000. 

Borrowers who apply with a co-borrower may be able to secure a discount. On top of that, Achieve offers several discounts to help lower what you pay over the life of your loan. 

  • Credit score category: Good, excellent (620+)
  • Soft credit pull to check rates? Yes
  • Deposit time: 24 – 72 hours
  • Origination fee: 1.99% to 6.99% of the loan amount
  • Late fee: None mentioned
  • Rates (APR): 7.99%35.99% 
  • Discounts: Co-borrower discount; Retirement asset discount; Direct pay discount
  • Repayment terms: 2, 3, 4, or 5 years

When would you need a cosigner for a personal loan?

A borrower may need a cosigner for a personal loan in various situations, such as when they have a low credit score, limited credit history, or high debt-to-income ratio. 

Here is a breakdown of credit score categories and when you might need a cosigner:

Credit score Credit score rangeDo you need a cosigner or co-borrower?
Excellent / Very good740 – 850Rarely—borrowers can qualify for most loans.
Good670 – 739Not often, but a cosigner could help secure better loan terms.
Fair580 – 669It may be required for certain loans, such as large amounts or low interest rates.
Poor300 – 579Likely for most loans, in particular, large amounts or low interest rates

>>Read more: Best bad-credit personal loans

How does adding a cosigner to a personal loan work?

A cosigner signs the loan paperwork with you, promising they’ll make the payments and ensure the loan is repaid in full and on time if you default.

From a lender’s perspective, this decreases the risk it takes when it approves your loan. The cosigner has solid credit, so they’re likely to step up and fulfill the loan’s obligation by making the monthly payments if you don’t.

A personal loan or installment loan cosigner can also help lower your interest rate. Most lenders are more willing to offer lower rates if the risk on the loan is low, which a cosigner can provide.

A cosigner can help improve your chances of approval and help you secure more favorable loan terms. Here’s what it often looks like to add a cosigner to a personal loan:

  1. Find a cosigner: Choose someone with good credit and a stable income who is willing to take on the responsibility of cosigning your loan.
  2. Choose a lender that allows cosigners: Shop around for lenders that allow cosigners and offer favorable loan terms.
  3. Gather necessary information: The borrower and cosigner will need to provide personal information, such as name, address, and Social Security number, as well as employment and income verification.
  4. Submit your application: The borrower must submit the loan application, and the cosigner will provide their information and agree to cosign the loan.
  5. Wait for approval: The lender will review the application and decide based on the borrower’s and cosigner’s creditworthiness and income.
  6. Receive the loan funds: If approved, the borrower gets the loan funds and is responsible for making payments on time.
  7. Communicate with your cosigner: It’s essential to keep your cosigner informed about the status of the loan and any repayment issues. If you can’t make payments, your cosigner may need to make payments on your behalf to avoid default.

>> Read more: How to apply for a personal loan

Pros and cons of adding a cosigner to a personal loan

Adding a cosigner may be one of your only options to get the loan you need, but it comes with consequences in certain instances. Here are the pros and cons of working with a cosigner.

Pros

  • Increased chances of approval:

    If you have a poor credit score or low income, a cosigner with a strong credit score and income can help improve your chances of approval.

  • Better interest rates:

    A cosigner with a strong credit score and income can help you qualify for a lower interest rate on your loan and save you money over the life of the loan.

  • Potential to borrow more:

    Adding a cosigner can also help you qualify for a higher loan amount, which can be beneficial if you need to borrow a larger sum.

Cons

  • Responsible for repayment:

    When you add a cosigner to your loan, they’re responsible for repaying if you miss a payment or default. This can damage the cosigner’s credit score and financial standing, not just yours.

  • Strained relationships:

    Money can be a sensitive topic, and adding a cosigner to your loan could strain your relationship if you can’t make your payments on time.

  • Fewer options:

    Personal loans for bad credit with cosigner options can be challenging to find, especially compared to the options out there for those with good or excellent credit. 

Are there risks for a cosigner?

Being a cosigner carries responsibility. Before you ask someone to cosign your loan, you should understand what you’re requesting. The risks to a cosigner’s credit and finances can be severe. 

  • Responsibility for repayment: When a cosigner signs on a loan, they’re responsible for repaying the loan if the primary borrower can’t make the payments. This means if the borrower defaults on the loan, the cosigner is responsible for paying each month, which could put their credit and financial stability at risk.
  • Negative impact on their credit score: If the primary borrower misses payments or defaults on the loan, it could harm the cosigner’s credit score. This can make it more difficult for the cosigner to get approved for credit in the future.
  • Legal action: If the borrower defaults on the loan and the lender takes legal action, the cosigner could also face legal action.
  • Strained relationships: Cosigning a loan can create tension and strain on the relationship between the cosigner and the borrower. If the borrower can’t repay the loan, the cosigner may feel resentful or angry.
  • Difficulty obtaining credit: If the cosigner needs to apply for credit themselves, having a cosigned loan on their credit report could make it more challenging to get approved for credit on their own.

How do you know when a cosigner can improve your approval odds and loan terms?

Deciding whether to add a cosigner to your loan application can be a significant decision, and it’s essential to know when adding a cosigner can improve your approval odds and the terms of your loan. 

Here are some factors to consider when deciding whether a cosigner is right for you:

  • Credit score: If your credit score is fair or poor, a cosigner with a strong credit score can improve your chances of approval. Lenders often consider the primary borrower’s and cosigner’s credit scores when making a lending decision.
  • Income: If you have a low income, adding a cosigner with a higher income can help you qualify for a loan you might not otherwise get on your own.
  • Debt-to-income ratio: Lenders also look at your debt-to-income ratio (DTI) when considering your loan application. If your DTI is too high, adding a cosigner with a lower DTI can help you qualify.
  • Loan amount: If you need to borrow a large sum, a cosigner with a strong credit score and income can help you qualify for a larger loan amount.
  • Interest rate: A cosigner with a higher credit score can help you qualify for a lower interest rate on your loan, which means less to pay back in the long term.

How to choose a cosigner for a personal loan

Choosing a cosigner for a personal loan is a big decision, and it’s important to ask someone trustworthy, reliable, and stable. Otherwise, you could be wasting your time—and risking a hit to your credit score. 

Consider the following when choosing a cosigner:

  • Look for someone with good credit: Your cosigner’s credit score is one of the most important factors lenders will consider. You’ll need someone with a strong credit score and a history of responsible financial behavior. Their credit score helps offset your low one.
  • Consider their income: Your cosigner should have a stable income sufficient to cover the loan payments in case you can’t make them.
  • Choose someone you trust: Choose someone you have a close and trusting relationship with, such as a family member or close friend. Make sure you feel comfortable discussing financial matters with them.
  • Discuss expectations: Before you ask someone to be your cosigner, discuss your expectations for the loan, including the repayment terms and your plan for repaying the loan. Ensure your cosigner understands the potential risks and benefits of being a cosigner so they can make an informed decision. 
  • Have a plan in place: Before you apply for the loan, make a plan to repay the loan on time. This includes creating a budget, ensuring you can afford the loan payments, and having a backup plan in case of unforeseen circumstances. Your cosigner shouldn’t be your backup plan if you can’t make payments. 
  • Be polite when you ask: Be courteous and respectful when asking someone to be your cosigner. Explain why you need the loan, how you plan to use the money, and how you plan to repay the loan. Again, ensure your cosigner understands they’re taking on a significant financial responsibility.
  • Get it in writing: Once your cosigner has agreed to cosign your loan, make sure you have a written agreement that outlines the terms of the loan and the responsibilities of both parties. This can help avoid misunderstandings and potential conflicts.

Alternatives to adding a cosigner to a personal loan

If you’re unable to find a willing cosigner or you’ve decided against asking someone to cosign your loan, consider the following alternatives:

  • Improve your credit score: If you have a low credit score, improving it can increase your chances of getting approved for a loan. You can improve your credit score by paying your bills on time, paying down debt, and disputing errors on your credit report.
  • Apply for a secured loan: A secured loan is backed by collateral, such as a car or savings account. The collateral means less risk for the lender, so secured loans may be easier to qualify for and offer lower interest rates than unsecured loans.
  • Explore other borrowing options: Several options are available, such as credit cards, home equity loans, and home equity lines of credit (HELOCs). Be sure to compare the interest rates, fees, and terms of these options before deciding.
  • Consider a co-borrower: A co-borrower is similar to a cosigner in that they’re also responsible for repaying the loan. However, unlike a cosigner, a co-borrower is a joint loan owner with an equal stake. This can be a better option if you have a trusted friend or family member willing to share the responsibility and the benefits of the loan with you.
  • Wait and save up: If you’re not in immediate need of the loan, waiting and saving up money is always your best option. This can help you avoid borrowing and the associated interest and fees. 

Remember that these options all have pros and cons, and it’s essential to consider your needs and financial situation before making a decision.

FAQ

Does a cosigner or co-borrower make more sense for your loan?

Whether to use a cosigner or a co-borrower for a loan depends on your financial situation and needs. A cosigner can be helpful if you have a weaker credit history or income, while a co-borrower is a better option if you want to share ownership of and responsibility for the loan. 

What is the best personal loan that allows cosigners?

There is no one “best” personal loan that allows cosigners because the ideal loan for you will depend on your situation. We recommend shopping around and comparing multiple lenders to find the loan with the most favorable terms, interest rates, and repayment options.

Look for lenders that mention cosigners in their loan requirements and application process, and consider factors such as credit score requirements, fees, and available repayment terms before making a decision.

What happens if you don’t pay back your cosigned loan?

If you don’t pay back your cosigned loan, you and your cosigner are responsible for repaying the debt. The lender can take legal action against both parties and report the missed payments to credit bureaus, damaging both credit scores. 

Sometimes, the lender may go after the cosigner for repayment if the primary borrower can’t or won’t make payments. It’s essential to communicate with your cosigner and lender if you’re having trouble making payments. Explore options for repayment before the loan goes into default.

What credit score does a cosigner need for a personal loan?

The credit score requirements for a cosigner on a personal loan can vary depending on the lender and the loan amount. A cosigner with a credit score of 700 or higher is often ideal. It indicates a strong credit history and the ability to make payments on time. However, some lenders may accept cosigners with lower credit scores, depending on factors such as income and debt-to-income ratio. 

What does a cosigner need for a loan?

To be a cosigner on a loan, a person often needs to provide the same information and documentation as the primary borrower, including identifying information, employment and income verification, and credit history. The cosigner should also prepare to assume responsibility for repaying the loan if the primary borrower can’t.