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Best Personal Loan for Low Income

When you have a low income, it can be challenging to find a personal loan with an affordable interest rate. That’s unfortunate, because those with lower income often need a personal loan to handle medical bills, home and car repairs or to consolidate debts.

Loan for Low Income
Jason Steel
Written by:Jason Steel
Personal Finance Journalist

A low income is generally defined as someone who earns less than 200% of the poverty guidelines as defined by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). As of 2021, that means that a family of four with a household income of under $53,000 would be considered low income. Low income loans differ from other loans in that they can have lower eligibility requirements and that they may also take a broader look at borrower’s finances. For example, a low income loan may look beyond just your income and credit score, but also consider your debt-to-income ratio, your repayment history and other factors. Our team of financial experts reviewed and ranked more than 30 online lenders to help you get funded.

Our Top Picks Personal Loan for Low Income

upstart review
  • Loans can be funded in one busines day
  • Prequalification with a soft credit check
  • Accepts borrowers with fair credit
Min. Credit Score
Min. Credit Score 600+
Loan Amounts
Loan Amounts $1K-$50K
Est. APR
Loan Repayments 36-60 months
propsper_logo
  • Lower credit score requirements
  • Quick and easy application process
  • More freedom of loan uses
  • Interest rates are fixed
Min. Credit Score
Min. Credit Score 640+
Loan Amounts
Loan Amount $2K-$40K
Est. APR
Loan Repayment 36-60 months

How to Choose the Best Personal Loan for Low Income?

When you’re a low income borrower shopping for a personal loan, there are several factors that you’ll want to consider:

  • Loan Features: Look at the key features such as the loan terms, loan amounts and loan use limitations.
  • Interest rates and fees: Be aware of all of the different types of fees, as minimum and maximum interest rates that may apply.
  • Application process. Examine the application information requirements, and take a look at whether it requires a hard-pull or soft-pull of your credit report, and what the impact on your credit score will be. You also want to know what the funding time is and any distinctively competitive offerings.
  • Qualification process. Find out what the loan’s minimum credit score is, as well as the income requirements. If applying with another person, learn if a co-signer or joint application is an option. And if applying to a credit union, you’ll want to know what the membership requirements are.
  • Customer support. Do they offer live customer service representatives? What are the other ways they offer support?
  • Online user reviews. Look for reviews on independent review sites like Trustpilot.
  • Perks and Bonuses. Does the loan provider feature other service offerings like payment flexibility, advertising transparency and advanced technology.

Best Personal Loans for Low Income in 2022 - Full Overview

1.Upstart - Best for Low Loan Amounts

Upstart is a great lender for low income borrowers as it uses alternative data and artificial intelligence to look beyond just your credit score. And it’s great for small loan amounts as it starts at just $1,000.
Pros
Loans start at just $1,000.
Funding in one business day.
Flexible payment dates.
Cons
Origination fees on some loans.
Limited repayment options.
No mobile app available.

upstart
Low income borrowers often feel limited by their income and credit score, but not with Upstart. Upstart will look at other credit information not found on your credit history, such as rent and utility payments. Its loans start at just $1,000 and can be funded within one business day.

The Bottom Line

Low income borrowers who need a small personal loan should strongly consider Upstart. By looking beyond traditional credit profiles, Upstart can offer you loan options that may surprise you.

2.LendingClub - Best for Joint Loans

Adding a co-borrower can be a great way for those with low income to qualify for a loan. LendingClub offers loans to those with at least fair credit, and is open to joint-applications. It offers loans with terms of three to five year terms, and has a minimum credit score of 600.
Pros
Joint loan options.
Prequalification with a soft pull.
Flexible payment dates
Cons
Limited term options.
Origination fees.
Can refinance another personal loan.

lending club
As one of the few lenders that offers joint loan options, LendingClub makes sense for those with a co-borrower. It offers terms of three to five years and loan amounts as low as $1,000. You can prequalify with just a soft credit check, which won’t affect your score. And while you can choose your due date,

The Bottom Line

LendingClub personal loans are a strong option for joint filers. With loans starting at just $1,000 and a soft credit pre-qualification check, it’s worth taking a look at

3.Prosper - Best for No Stated Minimum Income

Introduction - Low income borrowers will be glad to hear that Prosper offers personal loans with no stated minimum income. Beyond that, it offers a wide range of loan amounts, and has a minimum credit score of just 600. However, it can have higher interest rates and fees than some of its competitors.
Pros
No stated minimum income.
Joint loan options.
Flexible payment dates.
Cons
No autopay discount.
Longer funding times.
Origination fees.
Late fees.
Limited repayment terms.

prosper
For low income borrowers, it’s nice to be able to apply for a loan, without having to meet a minimum income requirement. Prosper’s loans start at just $2,000 and it even offers joint loans. Once funded, you can choose your payment due date. Just note that these clones can have origination and late fees.

The Bottom Line

When looking for a loan with no stated minimum income, Prosper is a competitive lender. With loan terms of three to five years and a minimum credit score of just 600, this is a very accessible product.

4.Marcus by Goldman Sachs - Best for Good and Excellent Credit

You probably know Goldman Sachs as an investment bank, but Marcus is its online banking brand. Marcus by Goldman Sachs offers especially competitive credit card consolidation loans for applicants with good or excellent credit, even if you have low income. But you should have a FICO credit score of 660 or higher. Options include numerous loan terms and direct payments to creditors, but don’t expect co-signed loans, joint loans or secured loan options.
Pros
No origination fees.
No late fees.
No prepayment fees.
Multiple loan term options.
Payment deferral options.
Cons
No co-signed or joint loan options.
No secured loan option.
Few online points of contact.

marcus goldman sachs
To qualify for a credit card debt consolidation loan, you have to have a credit score of 660 or above, and loan amounts start at $3,500. Loan terms can vary from three to six years with many options in between. But as you might expect from an old-school investment banking company, they prefer you call them by phone, and don’t even offer online chat or social media contact options.

The Bottom Line

This is a great option for those without serious credit problems who want to work with a really established institution. It also offers credit card consolidation loans with no fees, and direct payment options, but don’t expect much in the way of 21st century online customer service.

5.OneMain Financial - Best for No Minimum Credit Score

When you have had serious credit problems, and a low income, then it can be extremely hard to qualify for a personal loan. But OneMain Financial is one of the few lenders in this space that doesn’t have a minimum credit score, so it can’t hurt to apply. In fact, it’s designed for borrowers with low credit scores, and it offers several secured lending options. However, it does charge an origination fee and there’s no discount for autopay.
Pros
No minimum credit score.
Joint and secured loans offered.
Funding the next business day.
Direct payments to creditors.
Cons
Higher rates than others.
Origination fees charged.
No autopay discount.
Higher APR than competitors.

OneMain
OneMain Financial can offer credit card consolidation loan options to all borrowers, with no minimum credit score required. It looks at the applicant's entire credit and income history, not just the credit score. It features secured loan options as well as joint loans. That said, you can expect higher interest rates than some competitors as well as origination fees.

The Bottom Line

Personal loans from OneMain Financial are an attractive option for those with low income and fair or poor credit, as you can expect it to take into account your entire financial picture. This can be ideal for those who have had financial problems, but now have a strong income and a good recent payment record.

6.Discover Personal Loans - Best for Customer Service

When you’re looking for a credit card debt consolidation loan provider for those with low income that offers the top notch customer service, then consider Discover. While Discover might be best known as a credit card issuer and payment network, its debt consolidation loans can be filled out and managed online and through their mobile app. It can even fund loans the next business day with numerous term options. Other benefits include direct payments to creditors and no origination fees.
Pros
Highly functional mobile app.
Next day funding.
Direct payments to creditors.
Many repayment term options.
Cons
Late fees.
No discount for autopay.
No co-sign or joint options.
No secured loan options.

discover
Discover Personal Loans offers credit card debt consolidation loans between $2,500 and $35,000. Terms vary from three to seven years, and it charges no origination fees. There are also no prepayment penalties and Discover is widely known for offering excellent customer support. If you need to speak with someone, it offers 100% U.S.-based loan specialists who are available seven days a week. However, it doesn’t offer a rate discount for autopay, as many loan providers do.

The Bottom Line

Discover Personal Loans offers online applications and fast funding, which may be enough to sway many borrowers. But on top of that, it features outstanding customer service, a variety of payment options and no origination fees. If you don’t need cosign or joint loans, this could be a strong option to consider.

7.Universal Credit - Best for High User Reviews

Universal Credit stands out by offering the highest user reviews of all the personal loans we rated. Other things that make it ideal for low income personal loans include loans for as little as $1,000 and no minimum income requirement. It even includes free credit score access and a discount of half a percentage point for those who set up autopay. That said, it does have an origination fee, and there’s no option for joint loans or secured loans.
Pros
Top reviews by users.
Direct payment options.
Free access to credit scores.
No minimum income requirement
Discount for autopay.
Offered to those with fair or bad credit.
Cons
Charges origination fees.
No option for joint loans.
No option for secured loans.

universal credit
In addition to receiving the highest user reviews, Universal Credit offers several features for credit card consolidation. First, it it has no minimum income requirement, which can be a relief. It also gives you the ability to change your payment due dates and offers discounts for autopay. But it does charge origination fees and has no option for joint loans.

The Bottom Line

Users rate Universal Credit this highest, but you don’t have to take their word for it. When you consider features like no minimum income requirements and a discount for autopay, you may choose this lender for its terms alone.

8.Lightstream - Best for low rates and fees.

LightStream received our highest rating for rates and fees, which is a top priority for low income borrowers. That’s because it offers no fees as well as very competitive interest rates. It also features a discount for autopay, a rate beat program and a satisfaction guarantee. However, it doesn’t have an option to pre-qualify, and it requires multiple years of credit history to apply.
Pros
No fees.
Interest rates as low as 4.99%.
0.5% discount for autopay.
Rate beat program.
Satisfaction guarantee.
Cons
660 minimum credit score needed.
Must supply several years of credit history.
No prequalification option.

lightstream
If you’re looking for a low income personal loan with the lowest interest rates and fees, then LightStream could be your answer. It has no fees and offers interest rates as low as 4.99% APR. It will even match its competitors with its rate beat program and even offers a satisfaction guarantee. You must have at least a 660 FICO score and loan terms are seven years. You will receive a half a percentage point rate discount if you enroll in autopay.

The Bottom Line

LightStream is a great option if your goal is to avoid fees and to receive the lowest interest rate on your low income personal loan. But you’ll give up the option for direct payment and you’ll have to provide several years of credit history to apply.

9.Upgrade - Best for Fair or Bad Credit

This lender is an excellent choice for those who have had credit problems and are looking for a low income loan. They offer direct payments to pay off your debts, and even feature a discount for doing so. You can get pre-qualified with only a soft credit pull, so it has no effect on your credit score. And most importantly, Upgrade has a minimum credit score of just 560, so it provides loans to those with fair or bad credit
Pros
Minimum credit score of 560.
Prequalify with just a soft credit pull.
Offers secured loans.
Can add a co-borrower to the application.
Discounts for autopay
Discounts for direct payments to creditors.
Discounts for checking account holders.
Cons
Charges an origination fee of 2.9% - 8%.
Doesn’t offer same day funding
Charges late fees.
Interest charges can be as high as 35.97%.

upgrade
Upgrade offers many options for its personal loans including secured and joint loans. It also features a broad variety of repayment terms, and borrowers can take advantage of a 0.5% discount for using autopay. It also offers additional discounts for those who are checking account customers and those who opt for direct payment to creditors. However, it does impose both origination fees and late fees.

The Bottom Line

When you have a low income and serious credit problems, Upgrade is there to help. By offering credit card debt consolidation loans to people with credit scores as low as 560, and numerous opportunities for discounts, upgrade is a strong choice for those with fair or bad credit.

10.Best Egg - Best for Secured Loan Options

One way for those with low income to take out a personal loan is to look for one that’s secured by your home equity, and Best Egg offers homeowners personal loan options that allow you to do this. On the other hand, it does charge an origination fee of 0.99% to 5.99% and it doesn’t offer a discount for autopay. In fact, it doesn’t even offer a mobile app to help you manage your loan.
Pros
Secured loans offered.
Direct payments to credit card issuers.
Offers a free credit score.
Cons
Interest rates as high as 35.99% APR.
Origination fees.
Must have 640 FICO or higher.
No discount for autopay.

bestegg
Best Egg has many compelling features for those who need a low income personal loan. At the top of that list is a secured loan option that allows homeowners to receive a lower interest rate than is possible with an unsecured loan. Other features include direct payments to creditors as well as loan amounts from $2,000. However, there’s no discount for autopay, and it does have an origination fee.

The Bottom Line

Best Egg can be a great option for those who need a low income loan and want to get a lower interest rate by taking out a secured loan. It simplifies paying off your debts by offering direct payments to creditors, and loans are available for amounts starting at $2,000. However, you do need to have good or excellent credit to qualify.

Best Low Income Personal Loans - Main Features Table


Company Name

Est. APR

Min. credit score

Loan Amount

Loan term

Upstart

5.39-35.99%

None

$1,000-$50,000

3 to 5 years

Lending Club

6.34-35.89%

600

$1,000-$40,000

3 to 5 years

Prosper

7.95-35.99%

600

$2,000-$40,000

3 to 5 years

Marcus by Goldman Sachs

6.99-19.99%

660

$3,500-$40,000

3 to 6 years

OneMain Financial

18.00-35.99%

None

$1,500-$20,000

2-5 Years

Discover Personal Loans

5.99-24.99%

720

$2,500-$35,000

3 to 7 years

Universal Credit

8.93-35.43%

560

$1,000-$50,000

3 to 5 years

LightStream

4.99-19.99%

660

$5,000-$100,000

7 years

Upgrade

5.94-35.97%

560

$1,000-$50,000

2 to 7 years

Best Egg

4.99-35.99%

600

$2,000-$50,000

2 to 5 years

What is a low-income loan?

A low income loan is one made to borrowers with a household income that is less than twice the poverty level. These loans will often have low minimum income requirements, or none at all. However, these loans may often have higher interest rates and fees than loans for those with higher incomes, to reflect the increase risk lenders face. There may also be a lower maximum lending amount.

How to Get a Personal Loan With Low Income

Getting a personal loan with low income isn’t necessarily easy or simple, and there are several steps that you should follow to apply for one.

  • Research your debts and income. First, make a list of your current debts, their interest rates and your monthly payments. This way, you’ll understand the total amount of debt that you need to consolidate, and what interest rate you will need to receive to justify the new loan. As a low income borrower, you’ll also want to ensure that you add up your total household income, including any alimony, child support and government benefits.
  • Check your credit. You can use one of many free services to check your credit scores. And if you notice any problems, you’ll want to check your credit reports as well. Thankfully, you are entitled to a free copy of your credit reports from AnnualCreditReport.com, which is the only source of free credit reports that’s authorized by Federal Law.
  • Shop around. Compare the terms and conditions of various loans. Finding the lowest interest rate is the most important thing for most borrowers, but you’ll want to consider the factors as well.
  • Apply for the loan. This process involves gathering and submitting the necessary documents including those that verify your identity and your address, as well as verify your income. At the same time, you’ll want to closely examine your loan document’s terms including fees and prepayment penalties, if any.
  • Close on the loan, and make payments. Once the loan is finalized, or closed, you’ll need to ensure that all of your other loans are paid off and have a zero balance. You’ll also want to set up a system to ensure that you make timely payments. Your lender might offer a way to make payments automatically, or you can set up recurring payments through your bank.

Things to consider beyond income requirements

The loan’s income requirements are important, but they are not the only thing that you need to consider. Here are some other factors to consider:

  • APR. This is the most important factor when it comes to the cost of the loan. With a high credit score, you could still receive a low APR, even if you have low income.
  • Origination fees. After APR, this could be the next most important factor in the cost of your loan.
  • Cosign or joint loan options. If you’re borrowing with someone else, these options are essential.
  • Loan terms. It’s best to have a range of options when it comes to how long you’ll have ot pay off your loan.
  • Prepayment penalties. You want to avoid loans that have prepayment penalties, so that it doesn’t cost you extra if you pay your loan off early.

Alternatives to low-income loans

Low income personal loans can be the right solution for your needs, but you’ll only know for sure after you’ve considered these alternatives:

  • Cash advances. Credit cards can offer cash advances. And while you can receive cash instantly through an ATM, these loans can have very high interest rates and fees. Nevertheless, this can be far more affordable than payday loans.
  • Assistance from non-profits. If you only need a small amount, you may be able to receive assistance from a community group, non-profit or religious institution. Employers may also offer financial assistance programs.
  • Personal loans from a friend or family member. While you may not want to ask, your friends and family may be able to offer you a loan at little or no cost. Of course there is the risk of damaging your relationship should you fail to pay the loan on time, and it’s still best to spell out the terms in writing.
  • Loans with cosigners. As an alternative to getting a loan directly from a friend or family member, you could consider asking them to cosign a loan. That way, their income and credit history is added to your finances, potentially making it easier to qualify for a low interest loan with favorable terms.

Conclusion

It’s certainly possible to get a personal loan with a low income, but it will be more challenging than it is for those who earn more. However, the same principle will apply. Have the best credit score, show as much income as possible and be sure to shop around for the loans that best meet your needs. Once you start researching your options, you’ll be sure to find the best personal loan for low income in no time at all.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is the minimum income needed for a personal loan?
There is no single minimum income required to get a personal loan. Different lenders will have different requirements, and some don’t even have a minimum income amount. More important is your debt to income ratio.
Can I get a loan if I am unemployed or self-employed?
Yes, you can receive a personal loan if you’re self employed. However, self employed individuals will need to document their income in some way, such as with their tax returns or bank account statements.
What can I do if I don’t qualify for a personal loan?
If you don’t qualify, you’ll want to find out why. Thankfully, lenders are required to give you a reason. There may be ways to improve your credit and reapply. And there are alternatives to personal loans that can be worth considering.
Do You Need Proof of Income for a Personal Loan?
Yes. Most lenders will require proof in the form of pay stubs, bank statements or tax returns. The lender may also ask you for your employer’s contact information so that it can verify your employment. If it makes you feel any better, these requirements exist for borrowers at all income levels.
Which loan is easiest to qualify for?
There’s no single answer for this. You’ll want to find lenders that have low credit score and income requirements, as well as an easy application process. But remember, the easier the loan is to qualify for, the less favorable the rates and terms may be.

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About the Author

Jason Steele

Jason Steele

Personal Finance Journalist

Jason Steele is one of the nation’s leading personal finance journalists, specializing in credit cards, consumer credit and travel rewards. Since 2008, his work has appeared in over 100 outlets including The Points Guy, Money.com, CreditCards.com, SlickDeals and Business Insider.

More about me