To get a personal loan for the first time, you should start by checking your credit score and comparing relevant lenders based on factors like APRs, fees and loan amounts. Next, you need to choose the loan that works best for you, apply for it and wait for a decision and funding.
It usually takes up to 7 business days to get a personal loan. For the best results, check to see if you’re pre-qualified by your chosen lender before submitting your application. You can check whether you’re pre-qualified with multiple lenders at once using WalletHub’s free prequalification tool. You can also see the full step-by-step process of getting a personal loan for the first time below.
How to Get a Personal Loan for the First Time in 2023
Check your credit score.
Checking your credit score helps you figure out which loans you can qualify for. Most major lenders have minimum credit score requirements in the 580 - 680 range. Some other lenders don’t have a minimum credit score because they don’t check your credit when you apply.
Pre-qualify, if possible.
Some lenders let you pre-qualify before you officially apply. Checking to see if you pre-qualify will give you a sense of your approval odds as well as the rates you may receive.
You’ll need to compare lenders based on factors such as APRs, loan amounts, repayment periods and fees. To see the top ranked offers, check out WalletHub’s picks for the best personal loans.
Apply for the loan.
You can apply for a loan online, over the phone or in person at a branch. During the application process, you’ll need to give the lender some personal and financial information, like your name, address, income and employment status.
Wait for a decision and funding.
You may get a decision the same day you apply or a few business days after. Once you’re approved, you should get your funds within a few business days.
You should also consider some alternatives to personal loans. Using a credit card or getting a loan from a friend or family member may be better options for you. You could also consider getting a credit-builder loan, but a credit-builder loan works differently than a personal loan.
You can get a personal loan for the first time with no credit history from a bank, credit union or online loan company. The best personal loans for first-timers with no credit are available through Upstart because the loans have dollar amounts of $1,000 - $50,000 and a typical APR range of 5.35% - 35.99%.… read full answer
Personal loans for people with no credit often provide up to a few thousand dollars in funding, and may have high rates and fees. Some companies won’t check your credit at all, while others do check your credit but are open to people with no credit history.
Best Personal Loans for First-Timers with No Credit
Upstart: Loan amounts of $1,000 - $50,000. APRs of 5.35% - 35.99% typically available. Repayment periods of 36 , 60 months. Accepts applicants with no credit history.
Oportun: Loan amounts of $300 - $12,000. APRs of 36% maximum. Repayment periods of 6 - 46 months. Accepts applicants with no credit history.
NetCredit: Loan amounts of $500 - $10,500. APRs of 36% - 155% (varies by state). Repayment periods of 6 - 60 months (varies by state). Accepts applicants with no credit history.
OppLoans: Loan amounts of $500 - $4,000. APRs of 59% - 160%. Repayment periods of 9 - 18 months. No credit check.
Integra Credit: Loan amounts of $500 - $3,000. APRs of 99% - 300%. Repayment periods of 6 - 18 months. No credit check.
60MonthLoans: Loan amounts of $2,600 - $10,000. APRs of 19.24% - 69.5%. Repayment periods of 24-60 months. No credit check.
Your loan amount will be determined based on your credit, income, and certain other information provided in your loan application. Not all applicants will qualify for the full amount. Minimum loan amounts vary by state: GA ($3,100), HI ($2,100), MA ($7,000), NM ($5,100), OH ($6,000).
The full range of available rates varies by state. The average 5-year loan offered across all lenders using the Upstart platform will have an APR of 24.83% and 60 monthly payments of $26.36 per $1,000 borrowed. For example, the total cost of a $10,000 loan would be $15,817 including a $594 origination fee. APR is calculated based on 5-year rates offered in the last 1 month. There is no down payment and no prepayment penalty. Your APR will be determined based on your credit, income, and certain other information provided in your loan application. Not all applicants will be approved.
The easiest loans to get approved for are payday loans, car title loans, pawnshop loans and personal loans with no credit check. These types of loans offer quick funding and have minimal requirements, so they’re available to people with bad credit. They’re also very expensive in most cases.
Below, you can compare some of the easiest-to-get personal loans available right now.… read full answer
A personal loan from OppLoans is one of the easiest loans you can get approved for because there’s no credit check when you apply. All you’ll need is to be at least 18 years old, have U.S. citizenship or permanent residency, and have enough income to make your payments each month. Integra Credit and 60MonthLoans are two similar options.
Among lenders that do a credit check, the easiest loans to get approved for are from LendingPoint. This online lender requires a credit score of 580 or higher for approval. LendingPoint loans also range from $2,000 - $30,000, require repayment in 24 - 72 months, and have an APR range of 7.99% - 35.99%.
Types of Loans That Are Easy to Get
No Credit Check Loans
A no credit check loan is the easiest type of loan to get approved for, though it isn't necessarily the best choice for everyone. No credit check loans are usually quite a bit more expensive than loans from lenders that check your credit.
Unsecured Personal Loans
Many unsecured personal loans may be easy for people with bad credit to get approved for since they typically have a credit score requirement of 580 or higher. However, these loans are risky for lenders to offer since you do not have to put up collateral.
Secured Personal Loan
The reason secured personal loans are easy to get approved for is that you will have to put up collateral that the lender can keep if you don't pay the loan back. This minimizes the lender's risk, so the approval criteria are relatively easy to meet.
A payday loan is a small, short-term loan that you pay back with your next paycheck. But payday loans are incredibly expensive compared to normal personal loans, so they are not worth pursuing except as a last resort.
Emergency loans are personal loans that you can get within a few business days to pay for unexpected expenses such as hospital bills, auto repairs or fixing storm damage. They can offer up to $100,000 in funding, low minimum APRs and long repayment periods.
Hardship Loans from Local Government
All states offer hardship or disaster loans, whether it’s to help pay rent or to keep a small business afloat. These loans typically have eligibility requirements that are different from state to state.
Hardship Distribution from Your 401(k)
You can withdraw money from your 401(k) because of an important, immediate financial need. However, you cannot take out more than necessary to satisfy the need and you cannot repay the withdrawal.
A 401(k) loan lets you borrow money from your retirement account. You will need to repay the loan, along with interest, within 5 years of taking it out, or else there are taxes and penalties, in most cases.
A paycheck advance is a way to get a portion of your next paycheck from your employer earlier than scheduled. Not all employers offer this service, though.
Car Title Loans
Car title loans usually allow you to borrow anywhere from 25% to 50% of the value of your vehicle in exchange for the car’s title, which serves as collateral for the loan. This type of loan typically comes with a monthly finance fee of 25% and a short payoff term of 15-30 days, so be cautious.
A pawnshop will evaluate a personal item that you bring in as collateral and loan you a percentage of its value. Pawnshop loans offer instant cash but can sell your property if you fail to repay the loan.
Major personal loan requirements include being at least 18 years old, having a bank account, having a good credit history, and having enough income or assets to afford monthly loan payments. Specific personal loan requirements vary by lender, however. Avant requires a credit score of 600 or higher, for example, while … read full answerProsper sets the bar at 640 and SoFi asks for 680. Most lenders don’t disclose annual income requirements, but two exceptions are LendingPoint ($20,000+) and Citibank ($10,500+).
Some personal loans may have additional requirements, such as collateral to secure the loan. Lenders will also look at plenty of other factors when you apply, including your existing debt, employment status and housing payments.
Personal Loan Requirements
18+ Years Old
A loan is a binding contract, and most states won’t let you enter into a binding contract unless you are at least 18. Lenders generally do not offer loans to minors as a result.
SSN and U.S. Residency
Many (but not all) lenders will only make loans to U.S. citizens and permanent residents. You may be required to have a Social Security number. Some lenders allow applicants to use an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number or a Visa instead.
Lenders usually send the funds as a direct deposit to a bank account. Certain types of loans, such as ones where you provide collateral, may not require you to have a bank account. But most loans will.
Lenders need to be confident that you will repay the loan. So you will need to demonstrate that you have a source of income and/or significant assets. Lenders don’t generally disclose minimum income requirements, but you must be able to manage your monthly payments in addition to any other debts/expenses you have.
Credit Score of 585-700+
Lenders require applicants to meet a certain credit score threshold for approval. The most popular lenders usually require a credit score of at least 585 to 700. However, these requirements aren’t set in stone. Having a high income might help make up for a low credit score, and vice versa.
Reasonable Financial Obligations
If the lender determines that you already owe too much money relative to your income and assets (i.e. the amount you can afford to pay back), you probably won’t qualify. Lenders will also consider monthly expenses like housing payments that will decrease the amount of money you can put toward repaying a loan.
It’s not impossible to get a loan if you don’t have a job. But if you’re unemployed you’ll need a strong alternative source of income, such as a pension, government benefits or investments.
Overall, good credit and disposable income are the two most important personal loan requirements. You can check your latest credit score for free as well as compare personal loans based on their minimum credit score requirements on WalletHub. Lenders will be able to provide more detailed information about other requirements.
Although each lender is a bit different, the basics of the application and approval processes are pretty much the same. You can take the same general approach to maximize your odds of success, too.
Personal loan applications require several key pieces of personal information, including your name, SSN/ITIN, address and date of birth, along with financial information such as your yearly income and monthly mortgage/rent payments. It usually takes less than 7 business days to get a decision and to receive your money if you’re approved.
WalletHub Answers is a free service that helps consumers access financial information. Information on WalletHub Answers is provided “as is” and should not be considered financial, legal or investment advice. WalletHub is not a financial advisor, law firm, “lawyer referral service,” or a substitute for a financial advisor, attorney, or law firm. You may want to hire a professional before making any decision. WalletHub does not endorse any particular contributors and cannot guarantee the quality or reliability of any information posted. The helpfulness of a financial advisor's answer is not indicative of future advisor performance.
WalletHub members have a wealth of knowledge to share, and we encourage everyone to do so while respecting our content guidelines. This question was posted by WalletHub. Please keep in mind that editorial and user-generated content on this page is not reviewed or otherwise endorsed by any financial institution. In addition, it is not a financial institution’s responsibility to ensure all posts and questions are answered.
Ad Disclosure: Certain offers that appear on this site originate from paying advertisers, and this will be noted on an offer’s details page using the designation "Sponsored", where applicable. Advertising may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). At WalletHub we try to present a wide array of offers, but our offers do not represent all financial services companies or products.