When you’re looking for a personal loan, the most important thing you need to know before starting your search is your credit score. With that number, you can get a pretty good idea of whether you’ll get approved or not, as well as being prepared for a high or low interest rate.
What credit score is needed for a personal loan?
If you haven’t already signed up for your free annual credit report, now is the time to do that. Luckily, if you currently have a major credit card, there’s a good chance you can already view your credit score and history through your account. While that’s usually based only on one of the major credit bureau reports, it will at least give you a general idea of where you stand. Ideally, you’ll want to know your FICO score from all three traditional credit bureaus: Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax.
Your credit score will fall somewhere between 300 and 850, and the score is based on a percentage of five main categories, although other factors such as debt-to-income ratio can play a role. These are the main categories that make up your FICO score:
35% – Payment history
30% – Amount of credit used
15% – Length of credit history
10% – Credit type
10% – New credit accounts
The percentages above show how important it is to always make payments on time—even one day late can hurt your score. And while it might feel great to have high credit limits, you want to avoid using all of your available credit. A general rule of thumb with the credit utilization ratio is to avoid using more than 30% of your total available credit, so if you have $10,000 of credit available, utilizing more than $3,000 of that will negatively impact your credit score.
What score do I need to apply for a loan?
Once you’ve figured out what your credit score is, it’s time to decide if you want to apply for a personal loan. Your decision to move forward with applying for a loan will be based on whether you think you’ll be approved. Depending on where your credit score falls in the ranges listed below, you can get a good idea of the ease-of-approval.
300-499: Very Poor
Obviously, the higher your score, the easier, quicker, and more affordable your personal loan process will be. A credit score above 660 will usually be most favorable in terms of interest rates.
A Fair credit score in the 601-660 range will, in most cases, likely mean you can get approved, but rates will be a bit higher than if you had a top-tier score.
If you’re looking at the information above and wondering, “Can I get a personal loan with bad credit?” the answer will vary depending on where you apply. As mentioned above, other factors like work history and debt-to-income ratio can also play a role in your favor. For instance, Helix by Bank of Orrick provides alternative lending to individuals with both high and low credit scores. One of the key factors going into your decision making for a low-credit-score personal loan should be to make sure you avoid predatory payday, title, and cash advance loans.
Should I get a personal loan with a bad credit score?
Before deciding to get a personal loan, especially with a low credit score, ask yourself if the loan is for a “want” or a “need.” If the loan is for an emergency, such as an unexpected medical expense, car repair, or anything else that qualifies as a need, then you’ve already made the decision.
If you have bad credit and it’s not an emergency, or if it’s something you can hold off on for a few months, you can spend a little time working to get your score up without a lot of effort. If it’s not an emergency and you can wait, spend the next few months making on-time payments for existing credit lines, reduce your overall credit utilization ratio to 30% or less, and be sure not to open any new lines of credit.
Do I qualify for a personal loan with a low credit score?
The only way to know for certain if you qualify is to apply for a personal loan. Luckily, when applying for a personal loan from Helix by Bank of Orrick, remember your credit will be pulled via Clarity Service, also you will get an answer within seconds, and the application process itself can be completed online in a matter of minutes. With Helix, you can receive the funds you need as soon as the next business day, so you can cover your expenses and get on with the more enjoyable things in life.