Getting a $3,000 Personal Loan

Getting a $3,000 Personal Loan

The funds from a personal loan can be used for anything from paying off high-interest credit card debt to buying a new spinning bike. But how hard is it to qualify for a $3,000 personal loan? And what if you have bad credit?

Online lenders tend to cater more to borrowers with bad credit. They may also charge higher interest rates and financing fees because a borrower with bad credit is considered higher risk.

Read on to find out how to get a personal loan, what credit score you need for a personal loan, and where to go to get a loan if you have bad credit.

Can I Get a $3,000 Personal Loan with Bad Credit?

A personal loan is money borrowed from a bank, credit union, or online lender. Loan amounts range from $1,000 to $50,000, and the principal is paid back with interest in fixed monthly payments, typically over several months to seven years. Personal loans are flexible, meaning they can be used for virtually any purpose, from a cross-country move to home improvements.

Getting approved for a personal loan that is $3,000 with bad credit may mean you have to jump through a few hoops to qualify. What is bad credit? According to FICO®, someone with a score of 580 or below is considered to have “poor” credit (their lowest rating tier) and poses a high risk to a lender.

When calculating an individual’s credit score, FICO and other rating agencies will look at a variety of factors, including whether you pay bills on time, how long you have held credit lines or loans, how much of your available credit you are currently using, how often lenders have pulled your credit report, and your history of bankruptcy or foreclosure.

A low credit score indicates that you could be at a higher risk of defaulting on a loan. To compensate for that risk, a lender may charge you a higher interest rate for a loan or credit card, or you may have to put down a deposit or provide collateral.

What Is the Typical Credit Score Required for a $3,000 Personal Loan?

While some personal loan lenders allow you to apply with a very low credit score, many require a minimum credit score of 660 or 700 to be considered for a $3,000 personal loan. Generally, the higher your credit score, the less interest you will pay.

Benefits of a $3,000 Personal Loan

The benefits of a $3,000 personal loan include flexibility and predictability. The loan can be used for pretty much anything you need, and the payments will be the same each month until the loan is paid off.

Interest Rates and Flexible Terms

The interest rate for a personal loan will typically be fixed for the term of the loan, and the repayment terms are flexible, ranging between a few months to seven (or more) years. Personal loans typically have a lower interest rate than a credit card, and the rates can be much better if you have excellent credit. You might also be able to borrow more using a personal loan versus a credit card.

No Collateral Required

An unsecured personal loan does not require any collateral. Some loans require the borrower to use their car or home as an asset to guarantee the loan. The interest rate may be a little higher for an unsecured loan than it would be for a secured loan because the lender assumes more risk, but you won’t risk your car or home if you default.

Recommended: Secured vs. Unsecured Personal Loans

Fixed Monthly Payments

A personal loan will have fixed monthly payments for the life of the loan, which makes budgeting for bills easier.

Cons of a $3,000 Personal Loan

A personal loan might not be the best option depending on your situation and the loan’s purpose. Here are some of the downsides to a personal loan.

Debt Accumulation

Many people use personal loans to pay off credit card debt because the interest paid on a credit card is generally more than the interest paid on a personal loan. However, this can be a double-edged sword if clearing your credit card balances tempts you to use those cards again and rack up even more debt.

Origination Fees and Penalties

Personal loans may come with significant fees and penalties that can drive up the cost of borrowing. Though some lenders don’t charge origination fees, these fees are common and can run as high as 10% of the loan amount. If you decide to pay off the balance before the term ends, you may have to pay a penalty.

Interest Rates May Be Higher Than Other Options

This is particularly true for people who have a low credit score. In that case, a credit card might charge a lower rate than a personal loan.

If you have equity in your home, another option is a home equity line of credit (HELOC). Alternatively, a balance transfer credit card might charge a lower interest rate than you’re currently paying on your credit card balance.

Where Can I Get a $3,000 Personal Loan?

You can get a personal loan from online lenders, commercial banks, and credit unions. Online lenders offer a streamlined application process and loans are often funded within two days. You can also typically get prequalified and see your potential loan terms before you apply. An online lender might do a soft credit check to prequalify you for a loan, but your credit rating will not be affected.

Credit unions may offer lower interest rates and more flexible terms for members. Federally chartered credit unions cap annual percentage rates (APRs) at 18%, so borrowers with imperfect credit may receive lower rates than they would elsewhere. A history with a credit union might boost your eligibility.

A bank will typically require good credit to qualify for a personal loan. You may also need an account with the bank. Account holders are likely to qualify for the lowest interest rates and bigger loans. You may have to visit a branch and complete the application in person.

How to Apply for a $3,000 Personal Loan

1.    Check your credit reports. You may find errors on your reports that you can fix to boost your eligibility for lower-rate loans.

2.    Compare the terms and conditions offered by lenders. A personal loan calculator can help you determine what your payments will be.

3.    Prequalify if you can, because it won’t affect your credit score and will help you with your comparison.

4.    Consider using your car or other collateral to get a better rate with a secured loan.

5.    Use a cosigner (with good credit) to get a better rate. The cosigner’s credit rating is considered along with your own, but they must agree to pay the loan if you cannot.

6.    Gather the documents you need and apply to the best lender. Examples of documents you may be asked to provide are W-2s, paystubs, and financial statements.

$5,000 Personal Loan

Here’s an example of what your costs would be if you took out a $5,000 loan with a three year term at various APRs:

APR

Monthly Payment

Total Interest Cost

8% $157 $640.55
12% $166 $978.58
16% $176 $1,328.27

$10,000 Personal Loan

The monthly payment on a personal loan of $10,000 with an 12% APR and a three-year term would be $332.13. The loan’s total interest cost by the end of the term would be $1,957.15.

If you were to opt for the same loan amount and rate but a five-year (rather than three-year) term, the monthly payment would be $222.44 and total interest cost would be $3,346.67.

The Takeaway

A personal loan is a way to get flexible financing quickly. A personal loan can be used for nearly any purpose, and the term of the loan can range from a few months to seven or more years. Banks, credit unions, and online lenders offer these loans at varying interest rates.

Personal loans are popular for people who want to consolidate their debt or pay off credit cards that charge a higher interest rate. The requirements for a $3,000 personal loan depend on the lender, but a good credit score will typically get you a better rate.

Think twice before turning to high-interest credit cards. Consider a SoFi personal loan instead. SoFi offers competitive fixed rates and same-day funding. Checking your rate takes just a minute.

SoFi’s Personal Loan was named NerdWallet’s 2024 winner for Best Personal Loan overall.

FAQ

What credit score is needed for a $3,000 personal loan?

A score of at least 610 to 640 is typically required to qualify for an unsecured personal loan. To qualify for a lender’s lowest interest rate, however, borrowers generally need a score of at least 800.

Is it possible to get a $3,000 loan with bad credit?

Some lenders, particularly online lenders, will extend personal loans to people with bad credit. In fact, some online lenders will specifically advertise personal loans for borrowers with bad credit. However, the terms may include high interest rates and fees.

What’s the monthly payment on a $3,000 personal loan?

The monthly payment on a $3,000 personal loan will depend on the loan term and the interest rate. For example, the monthly payment on a two-year $3,000 loan with an annual percentage rate (APR) of 12% would be $141.22.The monthly payment on a $3,000 loan with a six-year term and an APR of 12% would be $58.65.


Photo credit: iStock/nortonrsx

SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.


Non affiliation: SoFi isn’t affiliated with any of the companies highlighted in this article.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Disclaimer: Many factors affect your credit scores and the interest rates you may receive. SoFi is not a Credit Repair Organization as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. SoFi does not provide “credit repair” services or advice or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history, or credit rating. For details, see the FTC’s website .

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woman calculating expenses

Getting a Personal Loan While Self-Employed: How to Apply

One downside of leaving a traditional 9-to-5 for a life of self-employment is navigating your personal finances as a sole proprietor. From invoicing to estimating taxes, it’s all on you — because you’re the boss now.

Qualifying for a personal loan while self-employed could also present some challenges. Self-employed individuals may have a need for a personal loan, but may find it difficult to produce traditional documentation, like W-2s or pay stubs, used to verify income. But, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re out of luck. Here’s a look at some ways to get a personal loan when you’re self-employed.

How to Get a Personal Loan if You’re Self-Employed

A personal loan is a type of installment loan that can be used for nearly any personal expense, including home improvements, a work sabbatical, or consolidating your credit card debt. If you’re considering making a big purchase, like buying an engagement ring, a personal loan can be an alternative to using a credit card, if you don’t have the means to pay the balance off right away.

Personal loans are typically unsecured, meaning a lender won’t require collateral. However, they can also be secured, usually by the asset purchased with the loan. Unsecured loans are usually approved based on the financial standing of the borrower.

In addition to looking at an applicant’s credit history, lenders will also typically consider a potential borrower’s income when deciding whether to not o approve a loan and, if so, what the rates and terms will be. Those who are self-employed may find it more difficult to show proof of income, especially if their income fluctuates from month to month and year to year.

Self-Employed Loan Requirements

Loan requirements for self-employed individuals will be similar to the typical loan requirements for any borrower as determined by the lender. In addition to evaluating factors like the applicant’s credit score, many lenders will require proof of income.

Traditional documentation used to verify income includes pay stubs and W-2s. However, self-employed people may have some difficulty producing these documents, because they often aren’t W-2 employees. It is possible for self-employed individuals to show proof of income, but it may require a little more legwork.

In general, lenders are looking for borrowers who have income stability and it can help if the borrower has been working in a single industry for at least two years. A shorter employment history could indicate that you are a borrowing risk.

Recommended: Typical Personal Loan Requirements Needed for Approval

Showing Proof of Income When Self Employed

Those who are self-employed have a couple of options for showing a lender they have sufficient and reliable income. Here are a few options that self-employed individuals could provide as documentation to prove their income.

Tax statements: Self-employed individuals can use their tax returns from the prior two or three years to offer proof of income. These forms include your wages and taxes for those tax years. Lenders often view tax documents as a reliable source of income proof because they are legal documents.

Bank statements: Bank statements could be used if there is a regular history of deposits that illustrate consistent income.

Profit and loss statement: If you own your own business, this document provides an overview of your costs, expenses, and revenue.

Court-ordered agreements: These may include things like alimony or child support.

Keep in mind that each lender will likely have their own application requirements, so be sure to read those too. Contact the individual lender if you have specific questions on the types of documentation they’ll accept.

Consider Having a Cosigner

In the event that you are still struggling to gain approval for a personal loan with your self-employed proof of income, one option is to consider adding a cosigner. A cosigner is someone who agrees to pay back the loan should you, the primary borrower, have any trouble making payments.

A cosigner can be a close friend or family member, ideally one who has a strong credit history who will strengthen your loan application.

Awarded Best Online Personal Loan by NerdWallet.
Apply Online, Same Day Funding


Why It’s Difficult for the Self-Employed to Get a Personal Loan

It can be more challenging for self-employed individuals to provide proof of income to lenders, which can make it more challenging for them to get approved for a personal loan. But it’s important to note that each loan application is unique, and employment status is just one consideration.

For example, a self-employed individual who has a stellar credit history and who has been self-employed for a few years may be in a better position to apply for a personal loan than someone who has just transitioned into managing their own business.

The Income Challenge

Proving consistent and stable income is the biggest challenge for self-employed individuals. Because you may not be guaranteed the same payment each pay period, lenders may request specific documentation in order to verify the fact that you have enough cash coming in to make payments on the loan. Some lenders may request tax returns for several years in order to verify your income.

Consistency Matters

Consistency in income is another major hurdle for the self-employed. It’s not uncommon for self-employed people to experience fluctuation in their income. While some slight fluctuation may be acceptable to a lender, for the most part they are looking for consistent payments getting deposited into your account, even better if there is an increasing trend over time.

Personal Loan Alternatives When Self-Employed

Personal loans aren’t the only option for self-employed individuals looking to borrow money to pay for expenses. Other options to consider include a credit card, cash advance, or a home equity loan.

Credit Cards With 0% APR Promotions

Credit cards can have high-interest rates, but with a 0% APR promotion, a credit card could be a great tool to pay for an upcoming expense. Just be sure to pay off the credit card before the promotional period ends and interest starts accruing.

Recommended: Average Credit Card Interest Rates

Cash Advances

A cash advance is a short-term loan generally offered by your credit card which allows you to borrow cash against your existing line of credit. Cash advances can provide an avenue for you to get quick access to cash, but there may be additional fees and a high-interest rate for borrowing. Be sure to read all the terms and conditions outlined by your credit card company before borrowing a cash advance.

Home Equity Loans or HELOCs

If you are a homeowner, you may be able to tap into the equity you’ve built in your home using a home equity loan or home equity line of credit (HELOC). A home equity loan is an installment loan where the borrower receives a lump sum payment and repays it in regular payments with interest.

A HELOC, on the other hand, is a revolving line of credit that the borrower can draw from and, once it is repaid, continue drawing from during a specified period of time.

Business Loans

Small business loans can be used to pay for business expenses. Self-employed individuals may be able to qualify for loans backed by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), as well as private small business loans offered by banks, credit unions, and online lenders.

It is important to keep your personal and business expenses separate as a self-employed person. If you are using the money for a personal expense, you’ll want to avoid borrowing a business loan. Also keep in mind that many lenders don’t allow you to use personal loans for business expenses.

The Takeaway

The challenge for self-employed individuals applying for a personal loan will generally be providing proof of income. Alternatives to traditional proof of income documents include tax or bank statements.

Fortunately, many lenders understand that a full-time job isn’t the only qualifier of financial stability and will also consider factors like your credit score, education, financial history, career experience, monthly income versus expenses, and whether you have a cosigner.

Think twice before turning to high-interest credit cards. Consider a SoFi personal loan instead. SoFi offers competitive fixed rates and same-day funding. Checking your rate takes just a minute.

SoFi’s Personal Loan was named NerdWallet’s 2024 winner for Best Personal Loan overall.

FAQ

Can you get any loans if you’re self-employed with no proof of income?

It is possible to get a loan if you are self-employed. However, with zero proof of income, it may be challenging to gain approval for a loan. To improve your odds of approval, you may consider adding collateral to the loan or applying with a cosigner.

Are there any loans for self-employed people with bad credit?

While a strong credit history can help strengthen a loan application, it’s not impossible to qualify for a loan with bad credit. If you can show a consistent and stable income history, that could help improve your application. If that’s not enough, another option may be to add a cosigner.

Can self-employed freelance workers get personal loans?

Yes, self-employed freelance workers can qualify for a personal loan. Instead of providing W-2 documents to verify their income, they will need to provide alternatives such as tax documents or bank statements. Applicants who have been working in a specific industry as a freelancer for two years or more may be viewed more favorably by lenders. Those with a strong credit score and history may qualify for more competitive rates and terms.

If a self-employed freelancer is struggling to get approved for a personal loan they could consider adding a cosigner to help strengthen their application.


SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.


Non affiliation: SoFi isn’t affiliated with any of the companies highlighted in this article.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Tax Information: This article provides general background information only and is not intended to serve as legal or tax advice or as a substitute for legal counsel. You should consult your own attorney and/or tax advisor if you have a question requiring legal or tax advice.

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Understanding How P2P Lending Works

Understanding How P2P Lending Works

Sometimes you need a loan for a venture that a traditional bank might not approve. In these instances, a peer-to-peer (P2P) loan might be what you’re looking for. Peer-to-peer lending, also known as social lending, rose out of the 2008 financial crisis. When banks stopped lending money as freely as they had in the past, potential borrowers had fewer loan options. At the same time, low interest rates meant lower returns from savings accounts or CDs.

Enter P2P lending sites. P2P lenders essentially cut out the middleman (banks and traditional lenders) and created a space for borrowers and investors to do business. Since then, the concept of lending person-to-person has taken off, with the rise of a number of peer-to-peer lending platforms.

Wondering if a P2P loan is right for you? Or if investing in P2P lending is a smart way to diversify your portfolio? Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons.

What Is Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Lending?

P2P lending links up people who want to borrow money with individual investors who want to lend money. P2P lending sites like Prosper, Upstart, and Kiva — three prominent P2P lenders — provide low-cost platforms where borrowers can request loans and investors can bid on them.

The most common type of loan available through P2P lending is a personal loan, which provides borrowers with a lump sum of money they can use for virtually any purpose. However, other types of loans, including car loans, business loans, and home loans, are offered.

Personal loan amounts offered on P2P platforms range anywhere from $1,000 to $50,000 and repayment periods are typically 36 to 60 months. Interest rates can vary widely, from around 7.5% to 35.99%, depending on factors including the individual’s credit history and perceived risk, as well as the purpose of a loan.

The lending platforms make money from serving as the intermediary in this process. In exchange for keeping records and transferring funds between parties, they charge a fee — typically 0.5% to 1.5% of the interest earned — to the investors lending the money. Some platforms also charge origination or closing fees to the borrowers, which typically range from 1% to 8% of the loan amount.

Is Peer-to-Peer Lending Safe?

The bulk of the risk of peer-to-peer lending falls onto investors. It’s possible that borrowers will default on their loans, and that risk increases if the investor opts to lend to those with lower credit ratings. If the loan were to go into default, the investor may not get paid back.

Further, peer-to-peer lending is an investment opportunity, and returns are never guaranteed when investing. There is the risk that investors could lose some or all of the amount they invest. Unlike deposit accounts with a traditional bank or credit union, P2P investments are not FDIC-insured.

How Does Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Lending Work?

The basic P2P lending process works like this: A borrower first goes through a quick soft credit pull with the P2P lending platform of their choice to determine initial eligibility. If eligible to continue, the lender likely will conduct a hard credit pull and then assign a borrower a “loan grade,” which will help lenders or investors assess how much of a risk lending to them might be.

The borrower can then make a listing for their loan, including the interest rate they’re willing to pay. With some P2P lending platforms, the borrower has an opportunity to make a case for themselves; they can provide an introduction and describe why they need the loan. A compelling, creative listing might have more luck grabbing a lender’s attention and trust.

Next, lenders can bid on the listing with the amount they can lend and the interest rate they’d be willing to offer. After the listing has ended, the qualified bids are combined into a single loan and that amount is deposited into the borrower’s bank account.

Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Lending Examples

Here are some examples of popular peer-to-peer lending sites:

•   Prosper: Prosper can provide loans in amounts anywhere from $2,000 up to $50,000. Loan terms are two to five years, and funding can happen in as little as one business day.

•   Upstart: Upstart is an AI lending marketplace that can offer borrowers loans of up to $50,000, with loan terms of either three or five years. It’s possible to check your rate in minutes, and most loans are funded within one business day after signing.

•   Kiva: Kiva connects borrowers in need of money to fund their small businesses with a network of lenders who aren’t seeking to make a profit. Kiva requires borrowers to get some funding from one of the microlending partners. Once a certain threshold amount is met, their loan becomes available for public funding.

Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Lending for Bad Credit

It is possible to get a peer-to-peer loan with a bad credit score (meaning a FICO score below 580). However, those with lower credit scores will almost certainly pay higher interest rates.

Additionally, those with bad credit may have more limited options in lenders, though there are peer-to-peer lending platforms for bad credit. Many platforms have minimum credit score requirements, which tend to be in the range of fair (580-669) to good (670-739). For instance, Prosper requires a minimum score of 600.

If you have bad credit and are seeking a P2P loan, you might first work to improve your credit profile before applying. Or, you could consider getting a cosigner, which can increase your odds of getting approved and securing a better rate if you’re finding it hard to get a personal loan.

Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Lenders Fees

Peer-to-peer lending platforms can charge fees to both borrowers and investors. Which fees apply and the amount of these fees can vary from lender to lender.

A common fee that borrowers may encounter is an origination fee, which is typically a percentage of the loan amount. Other fees that borrowers may face include late fees, returned payment fees, and fees for requesting paper copies of records.

Investors, meanwhile, may owe an investor service fee. This is generally a percentage of the amount of loan payments they receive.

Recommended: Fee or No Fee? How to Figure Out Which Loan Option Saves You the Most

Pros of Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Lending

There are upsides to peer-to-peer lending for both borrowers and investors. However, the benefits will differ for both parties involved.

Pros of P2P Loans for Borrowers

•   Easier eligibility: The biggest advantage for a borrower getting a personal loan peer-to-peer is being eligible for a loan they might not have been able to get from a traditional lender.

•   Faster approval and competitive rates: P2P lenders might approve your loan faster and offer a more competitive rate than a traditional lender would.

•   Possible to pay off credit card debt: One way that people are using P2P loans is to crush their credit card debt. People with high credit card balances could be paying up to 24.37% APR or higher in interest charges. If they can wipe it out with a P2P loan at a lower interest rate, it can save them a lot of money.

•   Option to finance upcoming expenses: Those who are facing a lot of upcoming expenses might find it more cost-effective to take out a P2P loan rather than put those expenses on a high-interest credit card.

Pros of P2P Loans for Investors

•   Promising alternative investment opportunity: Some see P2P lending as a promising alternative investment. When you lend money P2P, you can earn income on the returns as the borrower repays you. Those interest rates can be a few percentage points higher than what you might earn by keeping your money in a savings account or a CD. While there is some risk involved, some investors see it as less volatile than investing in the stock market.

•   Option to spread out risk: P2P lenders also offer many options in terms of the types of risk investors want to take on. Additionally, there are ways you can spread the amount you’re lending over multiple loans with different risk levels.

•   Sense of community: For borrowers and investors, the sense of community on these sites is a welcome alternative to other forms of lending and investing. Borrowers can tell their stories and investors can help give their borrowers a happy ending to those stories.

Cons of Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Lending

Though there are upsides to peer-to-peer lending, there are certainly drawbacks as well. These include:

•   Risk for investors: The biggest disadvantage of P2P lending is risk. Since P2P loans are unsecured, there’s no guarantee an investor will get their money back. The borrowers on a P2P site might be there because traditional banks already declined their application. This means investors might need to do extra legwork on their end to evaluate how much risk they can take on.

•   Potentially higher rates for borrowers: While P2P lenders might approve a loan that a traditional bank wouldn’t, they might offer it with a much higher interest rate. In these cases, it could be wiser to search for alternatives rather than accepting a loan with a costly interest rate.

•   Effort and personal exposure for borrowers: There can be a lot of effort and personal exposure involved for the borrower. Borrowers have to make their case, and their financial story and risk grade will be posted for all to see. While we’re used to sharing a lot of our lives online, sharing financial information might feel like too much for some borrowers.

•   Relatively new industry with evolving regulations: Then there’s the risk of P2P lending itself. The concept is still relatively new, and the decision on how best to regulate and report on the industry is still very much a work in progress. Some lending platforms have already hit growing pains as well. As regulations around the industry change and investors are tempted elsewhere, the concept could lose steam, putting lending platforms in danger of closing.

Recommended: 11 Types of Personal Loans & Their Differences

Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Loans vs Bank Loans

When it comes to P2P loans compared to bank loans, the biggest difference is who is funding the loan. Whereas bank loans are funded by financial institutions, peer-to-peer loans are funded by individuals or groups of individuals.

Further, bank loans tend to have more stringent qualification requirements in comparison to P2P loans. This is why those with lower credit scores or thinner credit histories may turn to peer-to-peer lending after being denied by traditional lenders. In turn, default rates also tend to be higher with peer-to-peer lending.

The Takeaway

Peer-to-peer lending takes out the middleman, allowing borrowers and investors to do business. For borrowers, P2P loans can offer an opportunity to secure financing they may be struggling to access through traditional lenders. And for investors, P2P loans can offer an investing opportunity and a sense of community, as they’ll see where their money is going. However, there are drawbacks to consider before getting a peer-to-peer loan, namely the risk involved for investors.

Whether you’re getting a P2P loan or a loan from a traditional lender, it’s important to shop around to find the most competitive terms available to you.

Think twice before turning to high-interest credit cards. Consider a SoFi personal loan instead. SoFi offers competitive fixed rates and same-day funding. Checking your rate takes just a minute.

SoFi’s Personal Loan was named NerdWallet’s 2024 winner for Best Personal Loan overall.

FAQ

Is peer-to-peer lending safe?

There are certainly risks involved in peer-to-peer lending, particularly for investors. For one, borrowers could default on their loan, resulting in investors losing their money. Additionally, there’s no guarantee of returns when investing.

What is peer-to-peer lending?

Peer-to-peer lending is a type of lending wherein individual investors loan money directly to individual borrowers, effectively cutting out banks or other traditional financial institutions as the middlemen. This can allow borrowers who may have been denied by more traditional lenders to access funds, and provide investors with a shot at earning returns.

What is an example of peer-to-peer lending?

Some popular P2P lending sites include Prosper, Upstart, and Kiva. Borrowers can use peer-to-peer loans for a variety of purposes, such as home improvement, debt consolidation, small business costs, and major expenses like medical bills or car repairs.


SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.


Non affiliation: SoFi isn’t affiliated with any of the companies highlighted in this article.

Checking Your Rates: To check the rates and terms you may qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull and may affect your credit.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

Disclaimer: Many factors affect your credit scores and the interest rates you may receive. SoFi is not a Credit Repair Organization as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. SoFi does not provide “credit repair” services or advice or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history, or credit rating. For details, see the FTC’s website .

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Pawnshop Loan: What Is It & How Does It Work?

Pawnshop Loan: What Is It & How Does It Work?

If you’re strapped for cash and have a hard time qualifying for traditional loans, or you live in an underbanked area, you may be considering a pawnshop loan. They appear to be a convenient option for fast cash, but they can also come with significant disadvantages, including high fees.

Before putting your valuables down in pawn, learn more about what pawnshop loans are and how they work.

What Is a Pawnshop Loan?

A pawnshop loan is a secured, or collateralized, loan. To borrow the money, you must produce an item of value as collateral – such as a piece of jewelry, a musical instrument, electronics, or an antique – that provides backing for the loan. You and the seller agree to a loan amount and a term. If you don’t pay back the loan (plus fees) within the agreed amount of time, the pawnshop can sell the item to recoup their losses.

Pawnshops will typically offer you 25% to 60% of the resale value of an item. The average size of a pawnshop loan is $150 with a term of around 30 days.

Aside from the need for collateral, there are few other requirements to qualify for a pawnshop loan. You typically don’t need to prove your income or submit to a credit check.

Recommended: No Credit Check Loans Guide

How Do Pawnshop Loans Work?

Pawnshops don’t charge interest on the loans they offer. However, the borrower is responsible for paying financing fees that can make the cost of borrowing higher than other loan options.

Regulations around what pawnshops can charge vary by state, but you could end up paying the equivalent of many times the interest charged by conventional loans.

Say you bring in a $600 guitar to a pawnshop, and they offer you 25% of the resale value, or $150. On top of that, let’s say the pawnshop charges a financing fee of 25% of the loan. That means you’ll owe $37.50 in financing fees, or $187.50 in total.

If you agree to the loan, the pawnbroker will typically give you cash immediately. They’ll also give you a pawn ticket, which acts as a receipt for the item you’ve pawned. Keep that ticket in a safe place. If you lose it, you may not be able to retrieve your item.

You’ll usually have 30 to 60 days to repay your loan and claim your item. According to the National Pawnbrokers Association, 85% of people manage to do this successfully. When a borrower pays off a pawnshop loan, they can retrieve the item they put in pawn. For those who don’t, the pawnshop will keep the item and put it up for sale. There is no other penalty for failing to pay off your loan, but you do lose your item permanently.

Recommended: Can You Get a Loan Without a Bank Account?

The Pros and Cons of Pawnshop Loans

In general, it’s best to seek traditional forms of lending, such as a personal loan from a bank, credit union, or online lender, if you can. These loans tend to be cheaper and can help you build credit. However, if you need cash the same day and you don’t qualify for other loans, you might consider a pawnshop loan. Carefully weigh the pros and cons to help you make your decision.

Pros of a Pawnshop Loan

•   Access to cash quickly. When you agree to a pawnshop loan, you can typically walk out with cash in hand immediately.

•   No qualifications. The ability to provide an object of value is often the only qualification for a pawnshop loan.

•   Failure to pay doesn’t hurt credit. While you will certainly lose the item that you put in pawn if you don’t pay back your loan, there are no other ramifications. Your credit score will not take a hit.

•   Loans aren’t sent to collections. If you don’t pay back your loan, no collections agency will hound you until you pay.

Recommended: How Do Collection Agencies Work?

Cons of a Pawnshop Loan

•   High fees. The financing fees associated with pawnshop loans can be much more expensive than traditional methods of obtaining credit, including credit cards and personal loans. Consider that the average annual percentage rate (APR) on a personal loan is currently 12.21%, whereas pawnshop financing fees, when converted into an APR, can be 200% or more.

•   Loans are relatively small. The average size of a pawnshop loan is just $150. If you need money to cover a more costly expense, you may end up scrambling for cash elsewhere.

•   You won’t build credit. Pawnshop loans are not reported to the credit reporting bureaus, so paying them off on time doesn’t benefit your credit.

•   You may lose your item. If you can’t come up with the money by the due date, you’ll lose the item you put in pawn. (Same if you lose your pawn ticket.)

Pros and Cons at a Glance

Pros

Cons

Quick access to cash. Monthly interest rates can be as high as 20% to 25% and contribute significantly to the cost of the loan.
No qualification requirements, such as credit check or proof of income. Pawnshop loans aren’t reported to the credit reporting bureaus, so they won’t help you build credit.
Failure to pay doesn’t hurt your credit. If you fail to pay back your loan on time, or you lose your pawn ticket, you can’t reclaim your item.
Loans can’t be sent to collections. Loans are relatively small, just $150 on average.

What Is a Pawnshop Title Loan?

A pawnshop title loan is a loan in which you use the title of your car as collateral for your loan. You can typically continue driving your vehicle over the course of the loan agreement. However, as with other pawnshop loans, if you fail to repay your loan on time, the pawnbroker can seize your car.

Typical Requirements to Get a Loan Through a Pawnshop

There are typically few requirements to get a pawnshop loan, since the loan is collateralized by the item you put in pawn and the pawnbroker holds on to that item over the course of the loan. However, pawnbrokers do want to avoid dealing in stolen goods, so they may require that you show some proof of ownership, such as a receipt.

Alternative Loan Options

There are a number of benefits of personal loans that make them a good alternative to pawnshop loans. Personal loans are usually unsecured, meaning there is usually no collateral required for a personal loan. Lenders will typically run a credit check, and borrowers with good credit scores usually qualify for the best terms and interest rates. That said, some lenders offer personal loans for people with bad credit.

If you qualify for a personal loan, the loan amount will be given to you in a lump sum, which you then typically repay (plus interest) in monthly installments over the term of the loan, often two to seven years. The money can be used for virtually any purpose.

Personal loans payments are reported to the credit reporting bureaus, and on-time payments can help you build a positive credit profile.

The Takeaway

If you only need a small amount of money, you don’t qualify for other credit, or if you’re looking for a loan without a bank account, you may consider a pawnshop loan. Just beware that they are potentially costly alternatives to other forms of credit.

Think twice before turning to high-interest credit cards. Consider a SoFi personal loan instead. SoFi offers competitive fixed rates and same-day funding. Checking your rate takes just a minute.


SoFi’s Personal Loan was named NerdWallet’s 2024 winner for Best Personal Loan overall.

FAQ

How is a loan obtained through a pawnshop?

To borrow money from a pawnshop you must present an item of value that can act as collateral for the loan. The pawnbroker may then provide a loan based on the value of that item.

What happens if you don’t pay back your pawnshop loan?

If you fail to pay back your pawnshop loan on time, you won’t be able to reclaim the item you put up as collateral for the loan. The pawnshop will sell it to recoup their losses.

What’s the most a pawnshop loan will pay?

On average, a pawnshop will loan you about 25% to 60% of an item’s resale value. The average pawnshop loan is $150 and is repaid in about 30 days.


Photo credit: iStock/miriam-doerr
SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.


Non affiliation: SoFi isn’t affiliated with any of the companies highlighted in this article.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Disclaimer: Many factors affect your credit scores and the interest rates you may receive. SoFi is not a Credit Repair Organization as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. SoFi does not provide “credit repair” services or advice or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history, or credit rating. For details, see the FTC’s website .

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Using a Personal Loan to Pay Off Credit Card Debt

The average credit card balance in the U.S. increased by 10% in 2023 to $6,5013, according to Experian’s 2023 Consumer Credit Review. And according to a November 2023 Bankrate survey, a full 49% of cardholders carry credit card debt from month to month. Considering the average credit card interest rate in the U.S. today is 24.71%, carrying a credit card balance can get costly. The question is, how do you get out from under high-interest credit card debt?

One method to consider is taking out a personal loan (ideally with a lower rate than you’re paying on your credit cards) and using the funds to pay off your credit card debt. If you’re currently paying off multiple cards, this approach also simplifies repayment by giving you just one bill to keep track of and pay each month. Still, there are pros and cons to consider if you’re thinking about getting a personal loan to pay off credit cards. Read on to learn more.

Key Points

•   Using a personal loan can consolidate multiple credit card debts into a single payment, potentially at a lower interest rate.

•   Personal loans are unsecured and typically have fixed interest rates throughout the loan term.

•   Consolidating credit card debt into a personal loan can simplify financial management and reduce total interest paid.

•   Applying for a personal loan involves a hard credit inquiry, which might temporarily lower your credit score.

•   Personal loans can be obtained from various sources, including online lenders, banks, and credit unions.

How Using a Personal Loan to Pay Off Credit Card Debt Works

Personal loans are a type of unsecured loan. There are a number of uses of personal loans, including paying off credit card debt. Loan amounts can vary by lender and will be paid to the borrower in one lump sum after the loan is approved. The borrower then pays back the loan — with interest — in monthly installments that are set by the loan terms.

Many unsecured personal loans come with a fixed interest rate (which means it won’t change over the life of the loan), though there are different types of personal loans. An applicant’s interest rate is determined by a set of factors, including their financial history, credit score, income, and other debt. Typically, the higher an applicant’s credit score, the better their interest rate will be, as the lender may view them as a less risky borrower. Lenders may offer individuals with low credit scores a higher interest rate, presuming they are more likely to default on their loans.

When using a personal loan to pay off credit card debt, the loan proceeds are used to pay off the cards’ outstanding balances, consolidating the debts into one loan. This is why it’s also sometimes referred to as a debt consolidation loan. Ideally, the new loan will have a lower interest rate than the credit cards. By consolidating credit card debt into a personal loan, a borrower’s monthly payments can be more manageable and cost less in interest.

Finally, using an unsecured personal loan to pay off credit cards also has the benefit of ending the cycle of credit card debt without resorting to a balance transfer card. Balance transfer credit cards offer an introductory rate that’s lower or sometimes even 0%. This might seem like an appealing offer. But if the balance isn’t paid off before the promotional offer is up, the cardholder could end up paying an even higher interest rate than they started with. Plus, balance transfer cards often charge a balance transfer fee, which could ultimately increase the total debt someone owes.

Recommended: Balance Transfer Credit Cards vs Personal Loans

Understanding Credit Card Debt vs. Personal Loan Debt

At the end of the day, both credit card debt and personal loan debt are both simply money owed. However, personal loan debt is generally less costly than credit card debt. This is due to the interest rates typically charged by credit cards compared to those of personal loans.

The average credit card interest rate is 24.71%. Meanwhile, the average personal loan interest rate is 12.21%. Given this difference in average interest rates, it can cost you much more over time to carry credit card debt, which is why taking out a personal loan to pay off credit cards can be an option worth exploring.

Keep in mind, however, that the rate you pay on both credit cards and personal loans is dependent on your credit history and other financial factors.

Taking Out a Loan to Pay Off Credit Card Pros and Cons

While on the surface it may seem like taking out a personal loan to pay off credit card debt could be the best solution, there are some potential drawbacks to consider as well. Here’s a look at the pros and cons:

Pros

Cons

Potential to secure a lower interest rate: Personal loans may charge a lower interest rate than high-interest credit cards. Consider the average interest rate for personal loans is 12.21%, while credit cards charge 24.71% on average. Lower rates aren’t guaranteed: If you have poor credit, you may not qualify for a personal loan with a lower rate than you’re already paying. In fact, it’s possible lenders would offer you a loan with a higher rate than what you’re paying now.
Streamlining payments: When you consolidate credit card debt under a personal loan, there is only one loan payment to keep track of each month, making it less likely a payment will be missed because a bill slips through the cracks. Loan fees: Lenders may charge any number of fees, such as loan origination fees, when a person takes out a loan. Be mindful of the impact these fees can have. It’s possible they will be costly enough that it doesn’t make sense to take out a new loan.
Pay off debt sooner: A lower interest rate means there could be more money to direct to paying down existing debt, potentially allowing the debtor to get out from under it much sooner. More debt: Taking out a personal loan to pay off existing debt is more likely to be successful when the borrower is careful not to run up a new balance on their credit cards. If they do, they’ll potentially be saddled with more debt than they had to begin with.
Could positively impact credit: It’s possible that taking out a personal loan could improve a borrower’s credit profile by increasing their credit mix and lowering their credit utilization by helping them pay down debt. Credit score dip: If a borrower closes their now-paid-off credit cards after taking out a personal loan, it could negatively impact their credit by shortening their length of credit history.

How Frequently Can You Use Personal Loans to Pay Off Credit Card Debt?

Taking out a personal loan to pay off credit cards generally isn’t a habit you want to get into. Ideally, it will serve as a one-time solution to dig you out of your credit card debt.

Applying for a personal loan will result in a hard inquiry, which can temporarily lower your credit score. If you apply for new loans too often, this could not only drag down your credit score but also raise a red flag for lenders.

Additionally, if you find yourself repeatedly re-amassing credit card debt, this is a signal that it’s time to assess your financial habits and rein in your spending. Although a personal loan to pay off credit cards can certainly serve as a lifeline to get your financial life back in order, it’s not a habit to get into as it still involves taking out new debt.

Awarded Best Personal Loan by NerdWallet.
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So You’ve Decided to Apply for a Personal Loan to Pay Off a Credit Card. Now What?

The steps for paying off a credit card with an unsecured personal loan aren’t particularly complicated, but having a plan in place is important. Here’s what you can expect.

Getting the Whole Picture

It can be scary, but getting the hard numbers — how much debt is owed overall, how much is owed on each specific card, and what the respective interest rates are — can give you a sense of what personal loan amount might be helpful to pay off credit cards.

Choosing a Personal Loan to Pay off Credit Card Debt

These days, you can do most — or all — personal loan research online. A personal loan with an interest rate lower than the credit card’s current rate is an important thing to look for. Origination fees, which can add to a person’s overall debt and possibly throw off their payoff plan, is another thing to watch out for.

Paying Off the Debt

Once an applicant has chosen, applied for, and qualified for a personal loan, they’ll likely want to immediately take that money and pay off their credit card debt in full.

Be aware that the process of receiving a personal loan may differ. Some lenders will pay off the borrower’s credit card companies directly, while others will send the borrower a lump sum that they’ll then use to pay off the credit cards themself.

Hiding Those Credit Cards

One potential risk of using a personal loan to pay off credit cards is that it can make it easier to accumulate more debt. The purpose of using a personal loan to pay off credit card debt is to keep from repeating the cycle. Consider taking steps like hiding credit cards in a drawer and trying to use them as little as possible.

Paying Off Your Personal Loan

A benefit of using a personal loan for debt consolidation is that there is only one monthly payment to worry about instead of several. Not missing any of those loan payments is important — setting up autopay or a monthly reminder/alert can be helpful.

Budgeting Debt Payoff

Before embarking on paying off credit card debt, a good first step is making a budget, which can help you better manage their spending. You might even find ways to free up more money to put toward that outstanding debt.

If you have more than one type of debt — for instance, a personal loan, student loan, and maybe a car loan — you may want to think strategically about how to tackle them. Some finance experts recommend taking on the debt with the highest interest rate first, a strategy known as the avalanche method. As those high-interest-rate debts are paid off, there is typically more money in the budget to pay down other debts.

Another approach, known as the snowball method, is to pay off the debts with the smallest balances first. This method offers a psychological boost through small wins early on, and over time can allow room in the budget to make larger payments on other outstanding debts.

Of course, for either of these strategies, keeping current on payments for all debts is essential.

Where Can You Get a Personal Loan to Pay off Credit Cards?

If you’ve decided to get a personal loan to pay off credit cards, you’ll next need to decide where you can get one. There are a few different options for personal loans: online lenders, credit unions, and banks.

Online Lenders

There are a number of online lenders that offer personal loans. Many offer fast decisions on loans, and you can often get funding quickly as well.

While securing the lowest rates often necessitates a high credit score, there are online lenders that offer personal loans for those with lower credit scores. Rates can vary widely from lender to lender, so it’s important to shop around to find the most competitive offer available to you. Be aware that lenders also may charge origination fees.

Credit Unions

Another option for getting a personal loan to pay off credit cards is through a credit union. You’ll need to be a member in order to get a loan from a credit union, which means meeting membership criteria. This could include working in a certain industry, living in a specific area, or having a family member who is already a member. Others may simply require a one-time donation to a particular organization.

Because credit unions are member-owned nonprofits, they tend to return their profits to members through lower rates and fees. Additionally, credit unions may be more likely to lend to those with less-than-stellar credit because of their community focus and potential consideration of additional aspects of your finances beyond just your credit score.

Banks

Especially if you already have an account at a bank that offers personal loans, this could be an option to explore. Banks may even offer discounts to those with existing accounts. However, you’ll generally need to have solid credit to get approved for a personal loan through a bank, and some may require you to be an existing customer.

You may be able to secure a larger loan through a bank than you would with other lenders.

Recommended: Credit Unions vs. Banks

The Takeaway

High-interest credit card debt can be a huge financial burden. If you’re only able to make minimum payments on your credit cards, your debt will continue to increase, and you can find yourself in a vicious debt cycle. Personal loans are one potential way to end that cycle, allowing you to pay off debt in one fell swoop and hopefully replace it with a single, more manageable loan.

Remember, however, personal loans aren’t for everyone. While they typically have lower interest rates than credit cards, they are still debt and need to be considered carefully and used responsibly.

Ready for a personal loan to pay off credit card debt? With lower fixed interest rates on loans of $5K to $100K, a SoFi Personal Loan for credit card debt could substantially decrease your monthly bills.

SoFi’s Personal Loan was named NerdWallet’s 2024 winner for Best Personal Loan overall.

FAQ

Can you use a personal loan to pay off credit cards?

Yes, it is possible to use a personal loan to pay off credit cards. The process involves applying for a personal loan (ideally one with a lower interest rate than you are paying on your credit cards) then using the loan proceeds to pay off your existing credit card debt. Then, you will begin making payments to repay the personal loan.

How is your credit score impacted if you use a personal loan to pay off credit cards?

When you apply for a personal loan, the lender will conduct what’s known as a hard inquiry. This can temporarily lower your credit score. However, taking out a personal loan to pay off credit cards could ultimately have a positive impact on your credit if you make on-time payments, if the loan improves your credit mix, and if the loan helps you pay off your outstanding debt faster.

What options are available to pay off your credit card?

Options for paying off credit card debt include:

•   Taking out a personal loan (ideally with a lower interest rate than you’re paying on your credit cards) and using it to pay off your balances.

•   Using a 0% balance transfer credit card.

•   Exploring a debt payoff strategy like the snowball or avalanche method.

•   Consulting with a credit counselor.

•   Enrolling in a debt management plan.


SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.


Non affiliation: SoFi isn’t affiliated with any of the companies highlighted in this article.

Checking Your Rates: To check the rates and terms you may qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull and may affect your credit.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

Disclaimer: Many factors affect your credit scores and the interest rates you may receive. SoFi is not a Credit Repair Organization as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. SoFi does not provide “credit repair” services or advice or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history, or credit rating. For details, see the FTC’s website .

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