Applying for a $20,000 Personal Loan

By Austin Kilham · February 22, 2023 · 6 minute read

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Applying for a $20,000 Personal Loan

You’ll likely need a credit score in the Good range (670 to 739) or higher to qualify for a $20,000 personal loan with a competitive interest rate. If your credit rating is Poor or even on the lower end of Fair, you may have difficulty getting approved for a personal loan.

Personal loans offer relatively low interest rates compared with other options, such as high-interest credit cards. Ultimately, the interest rate will depend on the size of your loan, the term, and your credit score.

Here’s a closer look at what it takes to apply for a personal loan this year.

Can I Get a $20,000 Personal Loan with Bad Credit?

Your credit score helps banks understand your history of managing debt. A high score suggests that you have a history of paying your bills on time while managing multiple accounts. As a result, banks see borrowers with high scores as at relatively low risk of default. Therefore, they may offer these borrowers better terms and interest rates on loans.

Lenders see borrowers with low scores as risky. To compensate for this risk, they may charge higher interest rates, if they offer a loan at all. It may be more difficult for those with bad credit to find a $20,000 personal loan, or to find one they can afford.

What Is the Typical Credit Score Required for a $20,000 Personal Loan?

When applying for a loan, a FICO® credit score in the Good range (670 to 739) or higher will help you qualify for loans with better interest rates from a wider variety of lenders.

If you have Poor credit (a FICO score of 300 to 579), or even in the low end of the Fair range (580 to 669), you may have difficulty getting approved for a personal loan.

If this is the case, all is not lost. You can work to raise your credit score by paying down debts and making sure to always make payments on time.

What Can You Use a $20,000 Personal Loan for?

A personal loan is money that you borrow from a bank, credit union, or online lender that you pay back in regular installments with interest, usually over about two to seven years. One feature of personal loans is the flexibility it provides borrowers in how they can spend their funds. Here are a few common options:

Debt Consolidation

Debt consolidation is one of the most popular uses for personal loans. If your current debt carries high interest rates, you may be able to pay it off in one fell swoop, combining all of your debt under a lower interest rate. Consolidating confers a number of advantages, including saving money in interest and replacing several debts with just one payment, which may be easier to keep track of and pay off on time.

If you consolidate credit cards, be wary of running up more debt on your cards while you pay off your personal loans. You don’t want to increase the amount of debt you’ve taken on.

Medical Expenses

If you’ve had an accident or unexpected illness, and you find yourself with growing medical bills, you may consider a personal loan to help you get them under control. Medical bills can be extremely pricey, so before committing to a loan, see if there is a way to negotiate the price down.

You may also be able to negotiate a payment plan that allows you to pay off your bill in installments, which might be more manageable and wouldn’t require taking out a loan that saddles you with interest payments.

Home Improvements

Borrowing money for home improvements is sometimes necessary and smart. For example, repairing a leaking roof in a timely manner can help prevent further damage to your home, which could cause pricier repairs down the road. In some cases, improvements or remodels can increase the value of your home.

That said, beware of taking out loans for home improvements that are simply “wants.” For example, it may not be prudent to borrow money to install a hot tub.

Funeral Expenses

In 2021, the median cost of a funeral was approximately $7,848, according to the National Funeral Directors Association. Personal loans may be an option for those who can’t afford to pay these expenses out-of-pocket.

Vacation Expenses

You can use a personal loan to pay for anything, but should you? The answer is likely no. When it comes to discretionary spending, like vacations, consider saving up money from your paycheck to cover the cost. Otherwise, because you’re paying interest, your vacation could end up costing you a lot more than the sticker price.

What’s more, if you miss a payment, you’ll be putting your credit score in jeopardy, which may not be worth it for a few days of fun in the sun.

Recommended: 11 Types of Personal Loans

Applying for a $20,000 Personal Loan

To secure your money, you’ll need to get approved for a personal loan. Once you know how much you want to borrow, you may consider getting prequalified for a loan. Lenders will ask you to provide basic information, including your address, income, and Social Security number. They may then perform a soft credit check that won’t hurt your credit score.

Finally, they’ll offer you a prequalified quote, including how much money you qualify to borrow, your monthly payment, and your interest rate. You can use this process to shop around with a few lenders to secure the best quote.

Once you’ve decided which lender to go with, you’ll submit an application. You’ll need to provide proof of income, address, and employment, and you’ll need to submit to a hard credit check.

Recommended: Personal Loan Calculator

Applying for Other Small Loan Amounts

If you don’t qualify for a $20,000 personal loan that you can afford based on your credit, you might consider taking out a smaller loan, such as a $3,000, $5,000, $10,000, or $15,000 personal loan. Smaller loans present less risk to lenders, so you may be able to qualify with a lower score.

The Takeaway

To get the best terms and interest rate for a $20,000 personal loan, you’ll likely need a Good credit score (670 to 739). But no matter your score, shop around and consider using prequalification to find the loan that’s best for you.

Consider personal loans from SoFi, which have no fees and offer low rates for loans of $5,000 to $100,000. Borrowers can receive funds as quickly as the same day their loan is approved.

Compared with high-interest credit cards, a SoFi Personal Loan is simply better debt.


What credit score is needed for a $20,000 personal loan?

To access personal loans from a broad array of lenders offering the best interest rates, you’ll need a credit score of at least 670.

Where can I get a $20,000 loan with bad credit?

Some lenders may offer you a personal loan if you have bad credit. However, they may charge much higher interest rates.

What’s the monthly payment on a $20,000 personal loan?

Your monthly payment will depend on the term you choose and your interest rate. Typically, shorter terms will carry higher monthly payments and lower interest rates, while longer terms will have smaller monthly payments and higher interest rates.

Photo credit: iStock/AsiaVision

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