Self-employed workers need to buy their own equipment and pay their own medical bills if they can’t secure insurance. No matter the reason, self-employed workers need to ensure they’re getting the best rates possible.
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When you need money, you need money, especially if you’re
self-employed and have an irregular income. Finding the right online personal
loan lender can help you secure financing quickly. Going the more traditional
route (bank or credit union financing) can leave you waiting for weeks. Online
lenders can often offer turnaround times of just 24 hours.
Our team of financial experts reviewed and ranked more than
30 online lenders to help you get funded. Here are the 7 best online lenders we
Top Pick for Best Personal Loans for Self-Employed
For self-employed borrowers who need a little flexibility in their loan, Upgrade could be the right choice. They offer a quick application process with the ability to pick a monthly payment and term length that works best for your budget. Upgrade promises to clearly show you all the fees you’ll pay before you choose your final options. They lay out your APR, how much you get exactly, and your exact monthly payment in an easy-to-read picture. When you do choose a loan, you can get your funding in as little as one day.
With Upgrade, you’ll have loan amounts ranging from $1,000 - $50,000 with an interest rate between 6.55%-35.97%. Upgrade offers loans for most credit ranges, but the higher interest rates will go to those with lower credit. Additionally, you’ll choose terms between 24-84 months, giving you plenty of wiggle room in how much you’ll pay each month. The only potential negative is the origination fee, which maxes out at 8%.
Upgrade is a good option for self-employed borrowers because they offer a customizable term length and have options for borrowers of any credit and income. And for those who need their money quickly, Upgrade promises turnaround times of one business day once your info is verified. Plus, you can easily pay off your loan early with no additional fees.
Offers a financial health portal to help you track your credit and financials.
36-month minimum on loans, so you won’t find year-long terms.
No mobile app yet.
No joint funding options as of yet.
Best Egg has a strong reputation with their customers, ranking consistently high in customer reviews. Their Trustpilot and BBB scores also speak highly of their customer experience. For those who are self-employed, Best Egg offers an extensive resource library so you can be sure you understand the loan process and how it will work for you before you even look at rates. When you are ready to apply, Best Egg assures that it’ll only take a few minutes (assuming you have all your financials in order). WIth loan amounts up to $50,000, most major expenses can be covered by a personal loan through Best Egg.
Best Egg offers a wide range of terms with 36-60 month repayment options and no penalties for paying off your loan early. Plus, those with excellent credit can qualify for a fixed rate as low as 5.99%. The only catch is you need a minimum credit score of 700 to qualify for a loan through Best Egg, so those with poor credit should try looking elsewhere.
Upgrade allows self-employed borrowers to really dive deep into researching the loans they need with their resource center. Plus, when it comes time to check your rates, they offer an application process that takes a matter of minutes.
No direct loans, so you will need to apply through the lender you choose.
Rates you see aren’t guaranteed.
Fiona makes it about as easy as it can get to find a personal loan that’s right for you. They operate as an aggregator rather than a direct lender, meaning they compile a list of quotes for you from other lenders. Through this method, your credit won’t be affected and you can spend a fraction of the amount of time you would collecting quotes from companies individually. Fiona works with well-known names (some of which are on this list) to offer the most competitive rates. Plus, you can learn about all the loan types available to you in Fiona’s ‘Learn’ center.
While Fiona isn’t a direct lender, they only work with the best, so you’ll find rates starting at 3.99%, which are some of the lowest in the industry. Additionally, Fiona offers to match you with loan amounts all the way up to $250,000. Any credit score is welcome on Fiona, you should just expect higher interest rates.
Fiona is perfect for the self-employed freelancer who has no free time and needs to compare loan rates quickly. Instead of completing the application process at each individual lender, you can start with Fiona to get an idea of what your next step should be.
Check your rates will no harm to your credit score.
No options for bad credit borrowers.
Origination fees will apply to your loans.
LendingClub was one of the first lenders of its kind and has helped fund more than $70 million in loans for over four million members. They do prioritize borrowers that have good credit (700+), but they offer great terms for those who do qualify. Plus, they often have turnaround times of 24 hours, so you can get your money quickly. LendingClub is unique in that they’re a peer-to-peer lender, meaning they get investors to fund your loans, which can help LendingClub offer loans to a wider range of borrowers. With their large resource center for borrowers and investors alike, LendingClub wants you to understand the loan process and how it can effect your finances.
LendingClub offers loans up to $40,000 and while they focus on debt consolidation, they over personal loans for any purpose. You’ll typically get repayment terms of three or five years, which is a little more strict than other lenders, but may work perfectly for those looking for a fixed rate and a fixed monthly payment.
LendingClub is perfect for the self-employed borrower who wants to focus on paying off debt. If you have good credit, you can qualify for low rates, and many borrowers can get next-day funding once they’re approved.
No fees, including origination fees and prepayment fees.
There’s a $5,000 minimum loan amount.
Not every loan qualifies for the same-day funding option.
Good credit borrowers will get the best interest rates.
SoFi is another peer-to-peer lender that offers no fees and potential low rates. They offer unemployment protection, which allows you to modify your payments if you end up losing your clients and can’t make full payments. With SoFi, you can check your rate in just 60 seconds, and it won’t affect your credit score. SoFi also offers a Personal Loan Calculator that can show you how much you could save using a SoFi personal loan.
For good credit borrowers, SoFi is a dream lender. They have good interest rates with a discount available when you enroll in autopay. Plus, they offer loan amounts all the way up to $100,000. You will have to take out a minimum of $5,000 to get a loan, so those looking for small loans may want to consider a different lender. However, unlike some lenders, with SoFi you won’t have to pay any origination fees and there are no other hidden fees, either.
SoFi is a well-respected lender for a reason. They offer tons of perks including an autopay discount, no fees, and even unemployment protection in the event that you lose your job. With low interest options and a ridiculously fast application process, SoFi is a worthy contender.
Credible is an aggregator, similar to Fionam that shows you your rate options from a variety of lenders. With Credible, you can get prequalified and see your real-time rates in just three minutes. For microloan options starting at $600, Credible is an great option to start with. That way you can get a sense of which lenders actually offer loan amounts that low . Credible also has a unique perk called “Best Rate Guarantee”. They’re so sure they’ll quote you the best rate available to you that Credible will give you a $200 gift card if you close with a better rate somewhere else.
Credible works with a huge number of lenders to offer you rate quotes that are truly the best. With rates starting at 3.99% and loan amounts ranging from $600 to $100,000, you’ll be able to easily see many options all with a quick application. Even if you don’t want to apply, you can see a range of loan lender options and their terms on Credible’s personal loan page.
Credible makes rate shopping easy and can save you tons of time when looking for a personal loan. With their Best Rate Guarantee, you can be sure your rate options are some of the very best.
Avant is built for borrowers looking for a mix between traditional and online lenders. Avant has live customer support as well as chat and email available for any questions you may have. Plus, they offer funding as fast as the next business day once you’re approved. Avant also has a mobile app so you can keep track of your payments right from your phone. Plus, with their autopay option, you can set your payment and forget it. And if you ever want to pay off your loan early, Avant won’t charge you any prepayment fees.
Avant offers loans between $2,000 and $35,000, so you won’t be getting the largest loan amount around. That said, Avant offers a personal touch with their live support option. Avant does provide terms between 24-60 months, so you can choose from a variety of options depending on the monthly payment you want. Be aware that there is an administration fee of up to 4.75% on your loan, so make sure to factor that into the cost of your loan.
Avant offers fast funding for smaller loan amounts up to $35,000. While you will have to watch out for their fees, they allow lower credit borrowers to qualify for loans with decent rates.
How to Choose the Best Self-Employed Personal Loans?
When choosing the right lender, there are a number of factors you want to look into. We considered the following when choosing the best personal loans for self-employed borrowers:
Loan features - Of course, you’ll need to look at the loan terms, loan amounts, and any loan use limitations stated by the lender. There’s no use in applying through a company that requires you to at least take out $5,000 if you only need $1,000.
Interest rates and fees - If you have a high interest rate, you’ll pay hundreds of extra dollars over the life of your loan. Consider your credit score and the type of rate it’ll earn you (the better your score, the lower your interest rate, typically). On top of the interest rate, make sure you understand any extra fees a lender charges, including origination fees or any early payoff fees.
Application process - One of the biggest perks of online lenders is how easy they make the application process. With an online lender, your application should take 10 minutes at the most. Plus, some lenders will let you prequalify, which only requires a soft pull on your credit score.
Qualification process - Most lenders will list their minimum requirements somewhere on their website. This can tell you if you should even bother applying. Look for any minimum credit score or income requirements. Additionally, find out if you can work with a co-signer if you can’t qualify on your own.
Customer support - Consider accessibility to a live customer service rep, as well as other support options. Some people prefer to talk to a live rep while others prefer email or text support, so make sure your company of choice has your preferred method.
Online user reviews - Reviews are easy to find, so Google any company before you officially decide to apply.
Perks and bonuses - Select lenders offer extra perks or bonuses like looking past your first missed payment or a super-fast application process driven by AI.
Best Loans for Self-Employed People - Feature Comparison
Min. credit score
Up to $50,000
Up to $250,000
6 - 144 months
6.34% – 35.89%
Up to $40,000
3 or 5 years
As low as 6.99% APR
2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7-year terms
3.99% - 35.99%
$600 to $100,000
24 to 60 months
Should you take out a loan when you’re self-employed?
Whether or not you should take out a personal loan as a self-employed individual depends entirely on why you need the funds. Even if you are a sole proprietor, using a personal loan for business purposes may not be the best option. You can get business loans specifically designed for funding business needs.
If, however, you need a loan to fund personal expenses or even very small business equipment needs, a personal loan might make sense. As with any loan, seriously consider if you need the money before taking on additional debt.
How to Get a Personal Loan When You’re Self-Employed
Step One: Check Your Credit Score. Your interest rate is heavily dependent on your credit score. If you have poor credit, banks see you as more of a liability since you may have a history of poor borrowing in the past. This, in turn, means you won’t get the best interest rates.
Step Two: Gather the Necessary Documents and Information. When taking out a loan, you’ll need to gather a few important documents so you can fill out the full application. You’ll want to consider having 1099s, bank statements, tax returns from the last few years, and any other documents that show your income.
Step Three: Shop Around and Prequalify with Several Lenders. Some lenders are aggregators that can show you multiple rates from different providers, but it’s still worth getting quotes directly from a couple of lenders you’re really interested in. When looking around, make a quick list with the main features of each company (or check ours out above) and start narrowing down your choices from there.
Step Four: Select the Lender that Best Meets Your Needs. Pick a lender that offers a mix of features you really appreciate. That could be a low interest rate and easy only application. Or, it could be the longest loan terms paired with 24/7 customer service.
Step Five: Complete the Loan Application. Once you’ve found the best lender, your next step will be to fill out their full application. This is when all those documents you gathered before are going to come in handy. Typically, you’ll spend 5-10 minutes filling out this application and you’ll be presented with your final rate and terms.
Step Six: Wait for Approval. How long it takes to hear about your approval will depend on the lender of your choice. Some provide instant approval or same-day approval while others take a few days to a few weeks. You’ll be told when you choose your terms how long the funding process will take. In general, online lenders will provide a faster turnaround than brick-and-mortar banks and credit unions.
Step Seven: Receive Your Funds. Finally, you’ve made it to the best part: receiving your funds! You’ll get them deposited in your account in the time frame given by the lender and you can use them as you see fit. You can use personal loan funds for almost anything, with the exception of purchasing a home.
Self-Employed Loans: Tips for Getting Approved
Maintain a Good Credit Score
Most lenders make your credit score the number one factor behind your interest rate, so ensuring you have the best score possible can get you the best rates. Making any debt payments on time, taking out loans in responsible amounts, and using credit wisely are all ways to keep up your score.
Keep Detailed Financial Records
Keeping track of past tax returns, W-2s, and other financial records can help you when you need to apply for a loan. Since you’ll be asked a variety of questions when applying, having these forms at the ready will make the application process run a lot smoother.
Borrow Only What You Need
Since you’ll be paying interest on any money you borrow, you should avoid borrowing more than you know you’ll need. There’s no point in paying interest on money you’re not using.
Consider a Co-Signer
If you don’t have the credit to get a reasonable interest rate, you can consider asking a family member or a trusted friend to co-sign on your loan. Only do this if they have a better score than you. Additionally, they need to understand that co-signing means they’re taking responsibility for the loan in the event that you can’t make payments.
Personal Loan Alternatives for Self-Employed People
Home Equity Loans or HELOC
Home Equity Loans and HELOCs let you take advantage of your home’s equity and borrow against it. You can often borrow up to 85% of your home’s value and use it to make home improvements, pay down debt, or other financial needs.
The biggest con of these loans is that your home is used as collateral for the loan. In the event that you can’t make payments, the lender can seize your home to pay down your debt.
Secured Personal Loans
Secured personal loans also require some form of collateral like your car, for example. These loans tend to be better options for those with lower credit that can’t qualify for good rates on unsecured loans.
While 0% APR credit cards can be used to pay off other debt or make larger purchases, those without 0% APRs will likely be paying much higher interest rates than those on personal loans. As long as you know you can pay off the credit card during the intro APR period (typically 18 months at most), these can be a good alternative.
Self-employed workers have business expenses they need to take care of. Business loans through the SBA or directly through lenders are good options when you need help with expenses related to your business. They often come with more reasonable requirements.
Payday loans, while they are an alternative to personal loans, are never a good idea if they can be avoided. They’re designed to keep you in a cycle of debt by offering interest rates of 100%+ and short repayment periods. They often don’t have credit score minimums, which is what draws a lot of people to them, but stay away from this option if you can.
When it comes to securing personal loans when you’re self-employed, the process will be mostly the same as a W-2 employee. The only difference is you’ll need to be able to provide more proof of income. There are many lenders that can help you get the funding you need, when you need it. We’ve created our list of the best personal loans for self-employed people in the hopes that you’ll find a lender who can offer you the best rate possible.
Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)
What are self-employed loan requirements?
When applying for a personal loan, providing proof of your
income is going to be an important part of the process. The lender wants to
know you have the money to pay them back. When you’re self-employed, providing
proof of this income can be a little more complex than just showing a W-2.
You’ll want to provide tax statements and 1099s, so make sure to keep track of
Is it more difficult to get a personal loan if you’re self-employed?
If you’ve been self-employed for at least a few months,
preferably a year or more, it shouldn’t be any more difficult to get a loan.
You’ll just need to be able to prove a semi-consistent income. For those just
starting out in self-employment, that’s another story, since it’ll be more
difficult to show this consistent income.
How can self-employed people prove their income for a loan?
By providing tax statements and 1099s, you can show that you
do make a regular income from self-employment. Bank statements that show
regular deposits of income can also help, as well as profit-and-loss statements.
Can self-employed borrowers get a loan without proof of income?
If you don’t have an income, applying for a personal loan
isn’t a good idea. You need to have a way to afford the monthly payments. You
could look into applying with a co-signer who has a good credit score and a
consistent source of income.
What are the best rates and terms for self-employed personal loans?
Some of the best rates hover around 4%-6%, as you can see
from the lenders above. You’ll only qualify for these rates with an excellent
credit score and a consistent income.
Are there any loans for self-employed people with bad credit?
Aggregators like Fiona and Credible can help those with poor
credit find lenders that could potentially offer them loans. It’s important to
know that with bad credit, you’ll get high interest rates that can add hundreds
or thousands to the total cost of your loan.
Can self-employed freelance workers get personal loans?
Yes, self-employed freelancers can get personal loans as
long as they can demonstrate a consistent source of income. So keep track of
1099s and bank statements.
Will a loan be more expensive if I’m self-employed?
Many different factors go into deciding your interest rate
including your credit score, so it’s not likely that someone’s employment type
will have too much of an effect as long as income can be verified.