You know your credit score is an important thing, as it determines how easily you can get a personal loan. The FICO 8 system grades with a score ranging from 300 to 850, and 580 is the “line in the sand” between credit that is fair and poor. Here, we are going to review the best credit cards and personal loans if you fall in that 500 to 550 credit score range.
It is not hard to have a poor credit rating, as it takes just a few strokes of bad luck, late monthly payments, or taking on too much debt. Also, a loan you have might go into collections. All of these things can happen, and it is up to you to rebuild that credit once you have paid back those debts.
But, how can you demonstrate you are creditworthy if you do not have credit to use?
This is where we come in. In this article, we have rounded up great secured loans for those with a credit score of 550 or under.
List of Online Lenders for Personal Loans with Poor Credit
- MoneyMutual: Best Loans for Bad Credit Under 500
- CashUSA: Personal Loans for Bad Credit
- Credit Loan: Bad Credit Loans Online
- Surge Mastercard: Personal Loans for Credit Score Under 600
- Indigo: 550 Credit Score Loans
- Auto Credit Express: No-Credit-Check Loans Online
- CarLoan.com: Bad Credit Personal Loans
- myAutoloan.com: 550 Credit Score Auto Loans
Personal loans from our sources listed below are ideal for people who have bad credit. These secured loans are great if you need more cash than what you have available and because the terms can be anywhere from a few weeks to a year and up.
You will repay long-term personal loans in equally divided installments over a certain number of months. A short-term secured loan could require you to pay back the amount owed in full in four weeks or less.
So, keep reading to discover our top choices for secured loans, especially for those who have poor credit.
#1. MoneyMutual: Best Loans for Bad Credit Under 500
MoneyMutual is a lending network that connects you with over 60 different lenders specializing in short-term loans. Each one of these lenders varies in their requirements, origination fee, and terms, so pay close attention to each one.
You will fill out a single, prequalifying form that verifies you are 18 years or older and make at least $800 every month. Rest assured, the site uses 256-bit encryption by Norton to keep your information safe.
MoneyMutual offers a variety of loans, such as payday loans, installment loans, loans for those with bad credit, and cash advances. These are all known as “bad credit loans,” in that they have lesser eligibility requirements as compared to traditional lenders. But, their interest rates are typically higher thanks to the risk presented by the borrower.
The good news is that the lenders who work with MoneyMutual look at factors other than one’s credit as a means of issuing a loan or not. For example, they may ask for documentation of monthly earnings, such as pay stubs or benefits received from the government.
MoneyMutual is also part of the Online Lenders Alliance. This organization is a family of lending companies that abide by stringent laws preventing abuse, keeping borrowers safe from fraud, and essentially guaranteeing legitimacy.
Moreover, it is free to use the services provided by MoneyMutual. There are some basic eligibility requirements, one being needing to have a valid checking account. This way, your money can get to you faster and the automatic repayments can be withdrawn easily.
You also must prove you have a regular income source, whether you are full-time, receiving benefits, or self-employed. You must also be a resident of the U.S.
- Max loan amount is $5K
- Funds transferred in just 24 hours
- Fast and easy application form
- Two million customers and counting
- Not available for CT or NY clients
#2. CashUSA: Personal Loans for Bad Credit
With CashUSA, you can get a loan from $500 to $10,000. You can pay them back in a range of 90 days to 72 months, with personal loan APRs falling anywhere from 5.99% to 35.99%.
The application process is straightforward. Plus, you will find plenty of interesting and easy-to-understand financial institutions that are perfect if you are trying to rebuild credit. You will get a crash course in what you need to know and gain confidence in your ability to boost that score.
Rest assured, you are in good company with CashUSA, and they even have a million visitors a month.
You start out by submitting your request form, which asks you to provide your zip code, email, name, military status, and the amount you wish to borrow.
Then, you will give your phone number, your address, ownership of home/rental status, employer name, how long you have worked there, how much you earn a month, driver’s license, SSN, and bank account.
Step three is to provide bank account info, whether or not you own a vehicle, job title, and whether you get your paychecks via direct deposit or regular checks.
It looks like a lot of info, and we understand it looks invasive. But rest assured, it takes just minutes, and the plethora of information you give out is just to make sure you qualify. Instead of putting you in an endless debt cycle, they want to lend only if you can pay it back.
Next, you will get offers from the vast network of lenders in the CashUSA family. You can then look over what these companies can do for you and figure out if any of them are suitable for your needs.
Remember, go over these terms with a fine-tooth comb, and ask questions if you do not understand. You can even contact the loan company itself and make sure they fill you in on all of the details.
- Loans offered from $500 to $10,000
- Approval in mere minutes
- Loans available for business or commercial purpose
- Loan transferred directly to your bank account
- Not a direct lender
#3. Credit Loan: Bad Credit Loans Online
If your credit is poor, you should definitely check out Credit Loan, as they can get you the money you need fast.
They allow just a single active loan at one time while using their network. So, if you have already applied for a personal loan with them and are still paying it back, do not expect to get a second one.
This company has been in business for 20 years now and counting, and it works in a very straightforward manner.
You begin by submitting your information on their secure site. Then, they will find a lender that specializes in small-amount personal loans.
Next, you will read over the terms carefully, and you will go to the site of the lender to do this. Once you have read the terms carefully, you can accept the personal loan.
From there, you are free to use your funds as you wish. They get to your account in just 24 hours or less for most banks; however, this varies with every financial institution.
The Credit Loan service is free, so do not hesitate to check them out and see what personal loans are out there for you. Their website is well-constructed and easy to navigate. All of the questions you could think of while applying are listed on their site, so have a look.
They even have a section devoted just for those with bad credit, and they are very welcoming. You will even find a video that explains bad credit in greater detail and offers advice about how to improve it.
They also offer advice on what you can do to improve your chances of loan approval. For example, only ask for the amount you need, try to get a cosigner, apply for one personal loan at a time, and pay your debts off. And, of course, have all supporting documentation ready, such as pay stubs or tax returns.
You will find Credit Loan is an excellent place if your credit is not so good.
- $250 to $5,000 loans offered
- Cash directly put into your bank account
- Since 1998, thousands of happy customers have enjoyed this service
- Bad credit accepted
- Funds available in 24 hours
- Bad credit holders can only get small loan amounts
#4. Surge Mastercard: Personal Loans for Credit Score Under 600
Do you desire a little plastic in your pocket, but you have been turned down everywhere? The Surge Mastercard might be your solution. This handy card offers many of the benefits associated with traditional credit cards, but the limit is low, so you will not get into a huge debt hole.
Some of the benefits include $0 in liability for fraud. So, if somebody makes an unauthorized charge, you will not be held responsible. In addition, all credit types are accepted with this Mastercard, so bad credit consumers should not feel shy about applying. Third, you are guaranteed at least $300 if approved, which is excellent for subprime borrowers/applicants.
This card is for those who need to boost their credit score by being responsible with a card or those who have no credit and would like to establish some. It does not provide rewards such as points or airline miles, but it is good if you would like to build credit and attain greater spending power.
However, you should be aware of the high annual fee during your first year of membership. The APR is also relatively high, so it is critical you pay off the balance on time and in full every month. There is a lot of competition in the subprime market, especially among credit cards, so some of you may wish to check out other card offerings, such as the Indigo card.
To give you an idea, the annual fee for this card is $75 to $99, and you could incur up to $120 in monthly maintenance fees for the second year. With the APR being 24.99% to 29.99%, it is important to pay it off.
With that being said, we recommend it as it is a legit card for those with bad credit. You also will enjoy the fact the company reports to the three major bureaus every month, which helps you boost that score.
- All credit scores are welcome to apply
- Enjoy a Free Vantage 3.0 score (must apply for e-statements)
- Start with a small amount from $300 to $1,000
- Monthly credit report sent to credit bureaus
- Prequalifying will not impact your credit score
- Easy and fast application
- Online 24-hour account access for your convenience
- Requires a checking account under your name
- High annual fee and interest rate
#5. Indigo: 550 Credit Score Loans
Here is another great credit card that will help you build up or repair your credit. Like the Surge, it reports to Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. This is great because these are the bureaus used in calculating one’s credit score.
Like any other personal loan or credit card, having a good payment history is critical for forming a good credit score. So, as long as you stay on time, you will slowly but surely qualify for a better credit card down the road.
Based on your creditworthiness, you might not incur an annual fee. But, if you do have bad credit, you may owe an annual, ongoing fee of $59/$99. If you are a new cardholder, the annual fee is reduced from $99 to $75.
With the annual fee being higher, the card may not be worth it for some. You should also be aware that the APR is 23.9%, which is typical for a bad credit charge card. As with the Surge, you are going to want to pay the balance off in full every month, because having a balance with this card will be pricey.
You are able to prequalify first with no impact on your credit score, which is another perk. It is an excellent way to see if you can get the card before performing a hard pull on your credit rating. If you are preapproved, you might wish to consider submitting the full application, which will result in that hard pull taking place.
Overall, we really like this Indigo card, as the card itself is attractive and is relatively easy to get. However, the low limit means it is not hard to get a high Credit Utilization Ratio, which could harm your credit, although you are working hard to bring it up. So, for some of you, the high annual fee might not be worth the low limit.
- Prequalifying is easy, and the response is fast
- Your minimum credit history is reported to the three major bureaus
- No security deposit is needed; credit card is unsecured
- Online help available 24 hours a day
- Accepts those with bad credit
- High annual fee
#6. Auto Credit Express: No-Credit-Check Loans Online
Do you need a car, but you have been turned down everywhere? Consider going to Auto Credit Express. Here, you will find a personal loan marketplace devoted to connecting consumers, lenders, and dealers to one another, making your dream of owning a car come true.
All you need to do is fill out a single application on the Auto Credit Express site, and from there, they will do the remaining leg work. They will match you up with the best lenders and dealers for your financial situation.
After all, they work with 1,000+ dealers and lending companies to provide you with a multitude of options. Once your application is complete, you will work closely with a rep from Auto Credit Express to find the best options for you.
Moreover, they have personal loans for those of us with bad credit. After all, traditional lending companies and dealers usually turn away people whose credit is not so great, which leaves you unsure of where to turn and where to look. Auto Credit Express will connect you to those who specialize in subprime auto loans and financing.
Even if you have a bankruptcy on your record, you should shop here. Again, most lenders turn away those with bankruptcies, but not this company. You are sure to find somebody who is willing to help you with your financial needs.
This way, you can rebuild your credit by making on-time payments, and having a car will make it easier to work/take on extra jobs to pay down the debt faster.
Additionally, the application is fast and easy. Like the other companies we have mentioned today, you will start by filling out some basic info, including SSN, whether you own or rent your home, income and employment information, and your address/name.
You can even call them to apply — just dial 1-855-439-0814.
It will take 24 hours or less in most cases to learn whether or not you are approved.
- Closed one billion dollars of bad credit car loans
- Prequalify in seconds
- 20 years of experience
- Bankruptcies/repos/bad credit accepted
- Minimum income required: $1,500 a month
#7. CarLoan.com: Bad Credit Personal Loans
Here, we have another great personal loan lending site that is also suitable for bad credit holders. This company works with people all across the credit spectrum, so rest assured they are likely to find something for you.
Applying with them is quite easy, as you will go directly to their website and submit your application. From there, you will wait it out for just a little while, and a personal loan advisor, who specializes in lending to people who have bad credit, will reach out to you. Think of it as having a personal assistant who will guide you along and get you financing. Best of all, there is no charge for using the service.
Their minimum monthly income requirement is $1,600, so make sure you meet that criterion before you apply.
Overall, you are in good hands if you go with CarLoan.com, as they have helped six million people and counting for over 30 years. Moreover, they specialize in subprime lending. You will immediately feel right at home once you get to the site, as they prominently state it is OK if you have a bankruptcy, past credit issues, or are a single parent.
Another reason we like CarLoan.com is that it has plenty of resources for those who need a car and want to improve their credit score in the process. For starters, they have a very detailed “car buying tips and advice” section, which will help you make smart decisions about negotiating the price of your car once you have identified a dealership willing to work with you.
For example, the site discusses the tactic of salespeople trying to steer you toward the monthly loan installment instead of considering the amount and interest of the personal loan. Their advice is to make sure you understand how much the total cost of the car will be once you have factored in the personal loan and the interest. Remember, longer loans can leave you with a car that is considered “upside down,” or you owe more than what the car is worth.
For its great educational resources and one-on-one attention, we highly recommend CarLoan.com.
- Application is free, and there is zero obligation
- Thousands of people are helped every day
- Same-day approval
- No application or origination fee
- Affordable payments
- Specialize in bankruptcy, divorce, first-time buyers, and subprime borrowers
- High minimum monthly income requirement — $1,600
#8. myAutoloan.com: 550 Credit Score Auto Loans
One thing that stood out to us with myAutoloan.com is the range of personal loans offered. Of course, you can get the usual used and new car loans, but you can also attain lease buyout loans and private party loans.
They also consider a wide range of credit scores. However, you do have to have at least a 575 score to work with this lending network, so keep that in mind. Also, if you have had trouble with your credit in the past, you may wish to get a co-signer who can go in on the personal loan with you, as this could improve the likelihood of your approval.
The application process is fast and easy. Once the online app is complete with myAutoloan, they will perform a soft pull on your credit. This will match you with a total of four lenders, making it easy to compare each one’s terms.
Once you have found a lender you like and you have decided you do want the personal loan, then the hard credit pull will be performed. Rest assured that even though your score will drop, it will go back up with on-time payments.
Once you have signed the lending agreement, your money will reach you soon — just 24 hours in some cases — and you will be off to the dealership to get your car.
Your personal loan terms will be for up to 72 months, so you will not be in debt paying off your car for years. Also, the minimum loan amount to borrow is $8,000, so keep that in mind as well. In addition, you need to make at least $21,000 per year to pre-qualify for a personal loan. Alaska and Hawaii customers need not apply, as it is not available in those states.
- Can be used for new, refinanced, or used cars
- Funds available within 24 hours
- Bad credit accepted
- Works with lenders around the U.S.
- Not available in Alaska or Hawaii
- Only deals with those with a 575 and above credit score
FAQs: Loans for 550 Credit Score
Many of our readers pose questions about bad credit loans. So, here are some answers to those frequently asked questions.
Q. Just How Bad Is My 500 Credit Score?
Using the FICO 8 grading scale, scores go from 300 to 850. A 500 score is poor and below the national average. According to CreditCards.com, the national average is 711.
Experian says that over half of consumers who fall into the “very poor” credit range are more apt to get behind on personal loan installments for 90 days or more. On top of this, 19% of those with a 500 credit score have been past due on a qualifying debt for 30 or more days within the past decade.
On average, those with a 500 credit score have about $2,700 in credit card debt. The same group has a CUR, or credit utilization rate, of, on average, 113%. This measures your available credit against used credit, which indicates that those in the 500-scoring range possess a debt that is greater than credit authorized.
The silver lining here is that for those with a 500 credit score, there is only one place to go, and that is up. It is going to be a slow and steady process that can take up to a year before it works, but there are some things we can do to further it along.
For starters, pay off that existing debt but do not close the account, and make your payments on time. You might wish to speak with a credit counselor who can create a debt management strategy for you.
Q. What Is the Minimum Credit to Get Approved if I Have Bad Credit?
It is pretty easy to get store credit cards. For the cards we reviewed here today, the Surge Mastercard is the easiest to get.
Here is why:
- All credit types are accepted
- Spending limit is quite modest
- Card is suitable for people with less than perfect credit
Within the world of credit cards, secured cards are easiest for consumers that have poor credit to attain. These cards are secured using cash collateral you place into an account that is locked. The credit limit does not exceed the amount you deposited.
If you are late on a payment, the issuer debits the account for that amount. If you miss any payments, the issuer is likely going to cancel that card. Secured cards are there for people who have any credit score, and these cards’ annual percentage rate, or APR, is lesser than that of unsecured cards.
The Indigo and the Surge cards are targeted at consumers who have bad credit. Both are accepting of poor credit applicants in the 500 to 550 scoring range, but both are notorious for their heavy origination fee charges.
The starting limit for these cards ranges in the low hundreds, minus the origination fee associated with having the card. Both of these cards report to the three major credit bureaus, which is great because it allows you to rebuild your credit by paying your bill on time and not exceeding that credit limit.
These cards are great because they offer consumers the chance to carry a real credit card and use that buying power when necessary. When traveling, you can use the card anywhere Mastercard is accepted, including international locations.
The cards also come with the benefits you typically get with a regular credit card, such as fraud protection in the event your card is lost or stolen. The Indigo Card even offers roadside assistance if you are on the road and need some help with your car.
The cards also make it easy to stay on top of your credit score. With both of them reporting to the three biggest credit bureaus, you are sure to notice an uptick in your score, provided all payments are made on time and the balance is paid in full each month.
Q. What Loan Company Is Ideal for My Bad Credit?
If you want convenience in getting a personal bad credit loan, then go for Credit Loan, MoneyMutual, or CashUSA. They will match your request for personal loan interest rates to lenders in their vast networks.
Bear in mind that these three companies do not offer loans directly, but they are great at getting you connected with one, two, or even three lenders who have plenty of experience working with bad credit consumers. The services are free, and if it is a credit approval, you will have your funds in just one business day.
You might also consider refinancing your car or home to get some cash quickly. You can turn the equity into cash, and you could get better terms as a result. Auto Credit Express is best for doing this, as it is excellent at helping subprime buyers locate a dealer who is willing to give you a refi loan, despite your low credit score.
If you are interested in refinancing your home and are eligible for an FHA loan, check out the FHA rate guide. They have lenders who are accommodating to borrowers like yourself. Additionally, active military and veterans can get some pretty good cash-out refi loans using the VA Sponsored Home Loan Program.
Because vehicle and home refinance loans are secured using the property in question as collateral, they are offered with great personal loan rates to bad credit customers.
Q. Can You Boost Your Credit Score for a Personal Loan in 30 Days?
There are a few things you can do to bring up your credit score over a six-month to one year period. You should reduce the amount of existing debt you owe, make all monthly payments on their scheduled due dates (or before), and do not close down your old accounts.
There are also a few strategies you can follow if you need to increase your credit score quickly. First of all, gain access to all three of your credit reports using Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. If you discover any errors, make sure to ask the respective credit bureau to get rid of them.
But, how do you check your credit reports? Well, there are four areas to examine. The first is Public Records, where you can verify any public record data that has been collected from the county and state courts as well as collection agencies. The second is inquiries, where you can see who has requested to view your credit report and ensure you were the one who initiated it. The third is credit accounts.
With this one, you should make sure you recognize every account, such as personal loans, credit cards, and more. You should also ensure all balances, credit history, and limits are accurate. Fourth, review the personal information on the credit report and make sure your address, social security number, date of birth, and name, plus employment info, are up to date and correct.
By getting rid of any “black marks” on your credit score, you might see a rebound. You can certainly do this work yourself, but you might wish to employ the help of a credit repair agency. The most effective agencies are priced at a reasonable cost and will provide excellent service.
Other quick methods of improving your credit score include debt consolidation with a lowered APR, working with creditors to negotiate debts, automating your monthly payments to ensure they are never missed, using an old credit card to make a small purchase you pay off at the end of the month, and avoiding opening any new accounts.
If you want to see an improvement in your credit score for a personal loan, consider the Experian Boost. It is free, and it can raise your score by up to 13 points. It connects to your bank account and lets you get credit for paying your phone and utility monthly payments.
Another suggestion is to ask a creditor for what is called a “goodwill” adjustment. This gets rid of late payments from your credit report, as they can bring down your credit score by 60-plus points.
You can also pay down an account that is in collections by working out a “pay for delete” scenario. This is a loan agreement drawn up and partaken in by the collection agency and yourself. The collection agency will erase the collection from your record so long as you pay off the account.
You can also lower your CUR by requesting higher limits. Since the CUR is calculated by credit used divided by the available credit, increasing your credit limits will automatically reduce your CUR and, in turn, raise your score. You can use this handy CUR calculator to plug in numbers and see what various credit utilization ratios are or just to see your own.
If you have a low credit score because you have no credit history, adding new accounts should help you build up that number. So, you can apply for a credit card, whether unsecured or secured. Once you get your card, use it and pay off your balance in full every month.
You can also gain authorized use of somebody else’s card. The advantage is that you inherit the limit of that card, and your credit utilization ratio then decreases. As time goes on, making monthly payments can help you, and the primary cardholder brings your credit scores up.
During our look at the best credit cards and loans for those with a credit score under 550, we have determined the top picks for credit cards, auto loans, home loans, and personal loans. The important thing to remember is that your minimum credit score is not an end-all, be-all for your finances.
Regardless of credit history, you can build up your credit score by being smart. Your incentive can be more readily available access to credit that is affordable, plus the ability to grab hold of those high-reward and slick-looking credit cards. On top of that, think about the confidence boost you will get as a result of taking action to improve your life by paying down existing debt. Who knows what else you can accomplish with your improved confidence?