5 Installment Loans for Bad Credit (2017) | Apply Online
My first car wasn’t the prettiest girl on the block — she wasn’t the newest, and definitely not the fastest — but she was mine and I loved her. Our relationship started to sour, however, during a series of increasingly costly repairs — repairs culminating in a bill so shockingly expensive that just looking at it caused my first gray hairs to appear.
Life comes with many unexpected financial burdens, and even those we can see coming are no less a burden just because they RSVP. Many people turn to personal installment loans — loans that require repayment with a set schedule and payment amount — for all the expenses that are a bit too big to afford immediately.
Finding the right loan can be tricky, and particularly so for those with more dips than peaks in their credit history. To take some of the hassle out of the process, here are our experts’ top picks for installment loan providers serving those with bad credit, as well as a rundown of what you should know before you decide.
Top 5 Online Installment Loan Providers
Our current financial environment is not very friendly to the credit challenged, but the growing online marketplace is helping to change the game. Many providers with less stringent requirements are popping up all over the internet, and finding a loan when you have bad credit has never been easier.
Our two favorite services for getting an installment loan with less-than-perfect credit are BadCreditLoans.com and PersonalLoans.com.
The following three services are the remaining top contenders chosen by our experts for their reliability and numerous positive reviews. There’s never any obligation to accept a loan — be sure to review the terms of each offer you’re presented with.
Helping Hand Advances
While we’ve done the work to give you the best options, there are still a lot of factors to contemplate when choosing the right loan. Requirements for installment loans will vary among lenders and should be given serious consideration before making a final decision.
Navigating the Requirements for Installment Loans
The basic requirements for an installment loan will be the same, regardless of lender:
- minimum age (18)
- status as a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
- a valid checking account
The variances will start to occur when looking into the financial details — such as income and credit score. Your average lender works to minimize the risk of a loan not being repaid, which is reflected in the higher income and credit score requirements for their loans.
On the other hand, providers that specialize in lending to those with questionable credit histories rely on higher interest rates to make their extra risk worthwhile, allowing them to be less picky about a borrower’s qualifications. These lenders will have much lower income requirements — typically around $800 a month — and will usually not disqualify you based on credit history alone.
Keep in mind that all requirements can vary with the size of the loan. While a specific lender may have been happy to lend you $1,000 with your particular income and credit score, they may not be as friendly with a $10,000 loan. Also, some income/credit situations may be considered too risky for even the most laid-back of lenders and could require a responsible third party to co-sign — or guarantee — the loan.
Rebuilding Credit and Other Potential Benefits
There are more than a few obvious benefits to an installment loan — such as the joy of paying for the thing that prompted the need for the loan in the first place. The real benefit here, though, is the ability to repay the loan a little at a time, over months or years. Most lenders will even let you choose the payment due date and frequency that works best for you, making it as easy as possible to maintain your payments.
Responsible borrowers can also use their loan to help rebuild credit. While installment loans are a form of debt, in many ways they’re one of the better kinds of debt: debt with a consistent payment schedule. There is little else in the financial world as good at proving to potential lenders that you can pay off a debt quite like, well, regularly paying off a debt. To reap the full credit benefits, avoid late or missing payments and make sure your lender reports to at least one of the major credit bureaus.
Depending on the nature of your financial landscape, installment loans may even provide an avenue to consolidate or refinance your current debt. If you can get a personal installment loan with a lower interest rate than you are paying on your current debt, it may be a better deal to pay off existing loans with a new one.
Borrow Responsibly — Some Important Considerations
While the options for installment loans are limited when you have poor credit, that does not mean you should accept any loan you are offered; make sure you still research your options to get the best interest rates possible. Each loan will also come with its own loan fees, term length, and payment schedules, so pick the repayment requirements you’re most likely to maintain.
As with the decision to take on any kind of debt, there are also some potential drawbacks to consider when taking out an installment loan — drawbacks that are often magnified for those who already have poor credit. The very reasons that installment loans can provide credit score benefits are the same that provide the drawbacks — your lender will be just as quick to report missed or late payments as they are to tell the credit bureaus what a great job you’re doing. The bureaus will count your payment history as 35% of your credit score when doing their calculations, so be sure to pay on time, every time.
Your payment history counts for 35% of your credit score; the total debt amount will also affect the calculation.
Installment loans will also affect your debt-to-income ratio, thus impacting your chances of qualifying for additional loans in the future. Your ratio is much like a golf score: the smaller, the better. Every time you take on new debt without new income, your debt-to-income ratio increases, decreasing your appeal to future lenders.
Never Underestimate the Power of a Good Loan
With a little bit of research — and a lot of dedication — installment loans can be a blessing. The right installment loan helped me repair my car and get her back on the road. That loan (and a giant bottle of hair dye) saved me and my car from months of resentment and heartache that no doubt would have ended in a crushing breakup. Instead, we’re still going strong after all this time. I owe my lender more than interest — I owe them a “thank-you.”