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What credit score do you need for a personal loan?

Are you thinking about applying for a personal loan? Your access to credit may depend on your credit score.

If your score isn’t high enough, you may be subject to smaller loans or higher interest rates. You may not qualify for a personal loan at all.

In this guide, you’ll get the answers to some of the most important questions that people ask about qualifying for loans based on credit score:

  • What is the minimum credit score that I need to qualify for a personal loan?
  • How to improve your credit score before getting a personal loan
  • Alternatives to personal loans for those who don’t meet the minimum credit score

Let’s start by looking at a range of credit scores that will qualify you for a loan.

What is the minimum credit score to qualify for a personal loan?

The minimum credit score you need to qualify for a personal loan varies.

It may depend on several factors, including:

  • The amount you want to borrow.
  • The type of lender you choose
  • Your relationship with the lender (for example, a bank you have a long relationship with as a client)

The average score needed for a personal loan is between 610-640.

Specific institutions may have their own standards. For example, Wells Fargo typically requires a minimum score of 621. However, approval is much more likely with a score of 700.

An online-only lender like LendingTree may approve applicants with credit scores as low as 585.

How to improve your credit score before getting a personal loan

You can improve your credit score over both the short and long term by taking some simple steps. Use all the methods below to increase your score.

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Pay Bills on time

Late payments are considered to be a heavy mark on your credit score. That means that each one will significantly impact your score than other types of negative marks. Paying your bills on time, or paying off bills that are currently late, can allow your score to recover a lot of points.

Get a secured credit card

A secured credit card is a credit card that is backed by a cash deposit. The cash serves as collateral and eliminates the risk for the issuer of the card. For that reason, secured credit cards can be issued to almost anyone, even if they have poor or no credit.

If you don’t qualify for any other forms of credit, a secured card can help you develop a credit history. In time, this will improve your score.

Monitor your credit score

Monitoring your credit score is an important way to spot problems before they impact your creditworthiness. Not every mark that lowers your credit score is your fault. Some of them may be the result of errors or outdated information.

Dispute credit report errors

If you spot errors while monitoring your credit score, you must address them as quickly as possible. The Federal Trade Commission details how you can report credit errors here. Before you begin, make sure that you gather evidence to prove that


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Alternatives to personal loans for those who don’t meet the minimum credit score

You may not be able to increase your credit score quickly enough to get the loan you need. Fortunately, there are other ways that you get credit without applying for a personal loan.

Consider the advantages and downsides of all of the following alternatives:

Credit card

You may qualify for an additional credit card. Credit cards can be used to manage small to medium size expenses such as plumbing repairs, car repairs, or other emergency costs.

Qualifying for a credit card is typically easier than qualifying for a personal loan. However, there are some significant downsides. Applicants with low credit scores may be targeted with high interest and harsh repayment terms.

Salary Advance

A salary advance (or payroll advance) is a type of loan where your employer allows you to borrow against your future earnings. You may be asked to deduct the advance from your next paycheck or in increments from paychecks over the next few months.

Salary advances can be an excellent option for emergency funds if they are offered by your employer. Employers are not required to offer advances, and many don’t.

You rarely need to pay interest on advances. However, you may be asked to pay some fees for the extra workload taken on by the accounting department.

Peer to peer loan

Peer-to-peer lending is a type of arrangement where individuals lend directly to other individuals. These loans are facilitated by websites that allow lenders to interact directly with the people who will be receiving the loans.

These loans often don’t come with the same qualifications as traditional loans. Lenders may take on as much risk as they’ll tolerate. These loans typically have great rates and repayment flexible terms.

Home equity line of credit

A home equity line of credit (HELOC) is a loan you take out against the equity of your home.

It’s different than a mortgage in several ways. First of all, it replenishes like a line of credit. When you’ve paid some of it off, you can borrow against it again. Also, you never have to borrow the total amount. You can choose to borrow only small amounts and pay them back monthly.

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Build the right minimum credit score for personal loans

Now, you understand more about the minimum credit score for an unsecured personal loan. You also know some of the most effective ways to repair your credit score so that you can apply again at a later time.

Finally, you know some alternative options for credit that may help you if you don’t qualify for a personal loan right now. Use what you’ve learned to get the credit you need for your emergency expenses or investments.


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The responsibility is yours to take action. Create a plan to manage your debts with reasonable goals and have reasonable expectations. Lending may or may not be the answer to your unique situation, calculate, and let the numbers guide you.

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