9 low income personal loans for 2021

Our goal here at Credible Operations, Inc., NMLS Number 1681276, referred to as "Credible" below, is to give you the tools and confidence you need to improve your finances. Although we do promote products from our partner lenders, all opinions are our own.

74ded87d-cred1280.jpg

While having a low income might limit your borrowing options, there are still several lenders that offer low-income loans. (iStock)

Many personal loan lenders require borrowers to make a minimum amount of income to be eligible for a loan — which generally means you’ll have fewer borrowing options if you don’t make very much money.

While there’s no official definition for what low income means, it’s typically understood to be any amount lower than the median household income. In 2020, the median household income in the U.S. was $78,500, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

If you have a low income, borrowing might be more difficult — but it isn’t impossible. Here’s what you should know about low-income loans.

9 lenders that offer loans to people with low incomes

Here are Credible’s partner lenders that offer personal loans to borrowers who make $40,000 or less per year. Keep in mind that some of these lenders don’t have a minimum income requirement at all. Also note that you’ll still likely need to meet other lender requirements, such as having good credit.

You can compare your prequalified rates from these and other lenders for low-income loans through Credible.

Avant

  • Terms: 2 to 5 years
  • Loan amounts: $2,000 to $35,000
  • Minimum credit score: 580
  • Minimum income: $24,000
  • Origination fee: Up to 4.75%
  • Allows cosigners: No

Best Egg

  • Terms: 3 or 5 years
  • Loan amounts: $5,000 to $50,000
  • Minimum credit score: 600
  • Minimum income: None
  • Origination fee: 0.99% to 6.99%
  • Allows cosigners: No

Discover

  • Terms: 3 to 7 years
  • Loan amounts: $2,500 to $35,000
  • Minimum credit score: 660
  • Minimum income: $25,000
  • Origination fee: None
  • Allows cosigners: No

FreedomPlus

  • Terms: 2 to 5 years
  • Loan amounts: $7,500 to $40,000
  • Minimum credit score: Does not disclose
  • Minimum income: None
  • Origination fee: 1.99% to 4.99%
  • Allows cosigners: Yes

LendingClub

  • Terms: 3 or 5 years
  • Loan amounts: $1,000 to $40,000
  • Minimum credit score: 600
  • Minimum income: None
  • Origination fee: 1% to 6%
  • Allows cosigners: Yes

LendingPoint

  • Terms: 2 to 5 years
  • Loan amounts: $2,000 to $25,000
  • Minimum credit score: 580
  • Minimum income: $20,000
  • Origination fee: 0% to 6%
  • Allows cosigners: No

Payoff

  • Terms: 2 to 5 years
  • Loan amounts: $5,000 to $40,000
  • Minimum credit score: 640
  • Minimum income: None
  • Origination fee: 0% to 5%
  • Allows cosigners: No

Prosper

  • Terms: 3 or 5 years
  • Loan amounts: $2,000 to $40,000
  • Min. credit score: 640
  • Min. income: None
  • Origination fee: 2.4% to 5%
  • Allows cosigners: No

Upstart

  • Terms: 3 to 5 years
  • Loan amounts: $1,000 to $50,000
  • Min. credit score: 580
  • Min. income: $12,000
  • Origination fee: 0% to 8%
  • Allows cosigners: No

Consider using a cosigner to qualify for better rates

If you’re struggling to qualify for a personal loan, consider applying with a cosigner. Not all lenders allow cosigners on personal loans, but some do. This could improve your chances of getting approved if you don’t make enough money or have bad credit.

Even if you don’t need a cosigner to qualify, having one could get you a lower rate than you’d get on your own. Just keep in mind that you won’t be able to get a personal loan with a cosigner through Credible.

What is the minimum income needed for a personal loan?

Each personal loan lender has its own criteria for determining your eligibility as a borrower. While some lenders share the minimum income you’ll need to qualify, others don’t disclose this information. Also keep in mind that some lenders don’t have a minimum income requirement at all.

However, income isn’t the only factor that could affect your loan eligibility. Lenders also typically consider your:

  • Credit history and score
  • Debt-to-income ratio

If you qualify with a lender, make sure your loan payments will fit comfortably in your budget before you accept the loan. Missing payments could cause massive damage to your credit and affect your ability to access more credit in the future — so be sure to borrow only what you can afford to pay back. You can estimate how much you’ll pay for a loan using Credible’s personal loan calculator.

How to get a loan with low income

Once you’re ready to apply for a loan, follow these four steps:

  1. Compare lenders. Be sure to shop around and compare as many lenders as you can to find a loan that suits your borrowing needs as well as your budget. Consider not only interest rates but also repayment terms, any fees charged by the lender, and eligibility requirements (such as income minimums).
  2. Choose your loan option. Once you’ve compared lenders, pick the loan option that works best for you.
  3. Complete the application. After choosing a lender, you’ll need to fill out a full application and submit any required documentation, such as pay stubs or tax returns.
  4. Get your funds. If you’re approved, the lender will have you sign for the loan so you can get your money. The time to fund for a personal loan is usually about one week — though some lenders will fund loans as soon as the same or next business day after approval, which could be helpful if you need an emergency loan.

Keep in mind that while you might be able to more easily qualify for a payday loan (also known as a cash advance loan) if you have a low income, these types of loans often charge astronomically high rates and fees. In general, a personal loan is a much less expensive option compared to a payday loan — meaning you’ll keep more money in your pocket.

If you decide to take out a personal loan, remember to consider as many lenders as possible to find the right loan for you. Credible makes this easy — you can compare your prequalified rates from multiple lenders in two minutes.

Can I get a loan if I’m unemployed or self-employed?

Qualifying for a loan without a regular source of income could be tricky. However, if you’re unemployed or self-employed, you might still be able to qualify for a loan as long as you meet the other requirements set by the lender.

For example, unemployed borrowers could be eligible for a Discover loan if their household income meets Discover’s $25,000-per-year minimum requirement. And with Upstart, you can use many different kinds of income to potentially qualify for a loan, such as disability benefits, alimony, child support, 1099 contracting work, or self-employment.

Another option is taking out a secured personal loan. This type of loan uses a deposit as collateral, which lessens the risk for the lender. As long as you have the money for the deposit, qualifying will likely be easier in comparison to getting approved for an unsecured loan.

You can compare your prequalified rates from multiple lenders for low-income loans through Credible.