Using a Co-borrower on a Joint Personal Loan

By Janet Schaaf · April 06, 2024 · 9 minute read

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Using a Co-borrower on a Joint Personal Loan

If your credit is not quite up to a lender’s preferred level to get favorable interest rates and terms on your own, you may be considering a joint personal loan. Using a co-borrower may be one option to help you qualify for a personal loan.

A co-borrower is an additional borrower on a loan who is obligated to repay the loan alongside the primary borrower and shares the responsibility of paying it back. And a co-borrower — if they have great credit and income, among other factors — may have the added benefit of helping to make the original borrower seem less of a risk to a lender.

Here are key things to know about using a co-borrower on a personal loan.

What Are Joint Personal Loans?

Joint personal loans are loans that take into account multiple borrowers’ creditworthiness in the approval process. There are typically two borrowers on this type of loan — a primary and a secondary borrower — to establish joint personal loan eligibility.

Being a co-borrower on a loan comes with different rights and responsibilities than being a cosigner on a loan.

•   Co-borrowers, along with the primary borrower, have equal ownership of loan funds or what is purchased with the loan funds and are equally responsible for repayment of the loan over the life of the loan.

•   Cosigners have no ownership of the loan funds or what they’re used to purchase, and they are responsible for repayment only if the primary borrower fails to make payments.

💡 Quick Tip: Before choosing a personal loan, ask about the lender’s fees: origination, prepayment, late fees, etc. SoFi personal loans come with no-fee options, and no surprises.

How To Use Joint Personal Loans

If you don’t feel confident about qualifying for a loan, or have concerns about a potentially higher interest rate due to your overall creditworthiness or other reasons, finding a reliable co-borrower might help improve your chances of approval, along with the interest rate and terms you’re offered.

Couples can use a joint personal loan for a wide variety of purposes, including consolidating high-interest debts, paying for a large expense or event (like a wedding), or funding a remodeling project.

Why Do People Use Joint Personal Loans?

One common reason why someone might consider a joint personal loan is that they cannot qualify for a loan on their own, or they would like to qualify for a lower interest rate or more favorable loan terms than they could on their own.

Some reasons people may seek a co-borrower are:

•   They don’t have a long credit history.

•   They’ve just entered the workforce.

•   They’re in the process of rebuilding their credit.

•   They would like to qualify for a larger loan than they could on their own.

How Much Can You Save With Joint Personal Loans?

Having two borrowers on one personal loan may help you to qualify for a more favorable interest rate than if just one person’s income and credit are considered. Different lenders will have different qualification requirements, though, so it’s a good idea to compare lenders.

Using a joint personal loan for debt consolidation can be one way to lower the amount of interest paid on outstanding debt. Again, how much savings is accomplished depends on multiple factors, such as the borrower’s creditworthiness, how long it takes to pay down the debt, and others.

What Credit Score Is Required for a Joint Personal Loan?

There is no definite answer to this question, but, in general, applicants with higher credit scores qualify for loans with lower average personal loan interest rates. And, vice versa, applicants with lower credit scores generally qualify for loans with higher interest rates.

Lenders tend to be risk averse and prefer to lend money to people who they believe will repay it in full and on time. An applicant’s credit report — a summary of how responsible they are with credit that has been extended to them in the past — and credit score are tools lenders use to assess risk.

Before applying for a joint personal loan, it’s a good idea to review your credit report. If there are errors or discrepancies, you can file a dispute with the credit reporting agency. If you have poor credit or a limited credit history, you might consider taking some time to improve your credit profile before applying for a loan. Lenders will look at both applicants’ credit reports during the joint personal loan approval process, so it’s worth it for your credit to be in good shape.

Recommended: What Credit Score Do You Need for a Personal Loan?

Individual vs Joint Loan Applications

The basic process of applying for a loan is the same no matter the number of applicants. Lenders will typically request the same information on either an individual or a joint loan application: proof of identity and address and verification of employment and income, in addition to any lender-specific information. For an individual loan application, there is just one person’s information to verify. Joint loan applications require information for each applicant.



Only one applicant’s creditworthiness is considered in the approval process. Creditworthiness of both applicants is considered in the approval process.
One income is considered in the approval process. Combined incomes of all applicants are considered in the approval process.
Only one applicant signs the loan application. The loan application is specifically for more than one applicant, and both must sign it.
One borrower is responsible for repaying the loan. All borrowers are responsible for repaying the loan.

Cosigned Loan vs Joint Personal Loan: The Differences

Both cosigned and joint loans include an additional borrower. However, a co-borrower taking out a joint loan has different rights and responsibilities than a cosigner.

The Disadvantages of Choosing a Cosigned Loan

The disadvantages of a cosigned loan lie mostly with the cosigner, not the primary borrower. The cosigner does not have any ownership rights to the loan funds or anything purchased with the loan funds. They are, however, responsible for repayment of the loan if the primary borrower fails to make payments.

The cosigner’s credit can be negatively affected if the primary borrower defaults on the loan, and their future borrowing power could be affected if a lender decides extending more credit would be too risky.

The Disadvantages of Choosing a Joint Personal Loan

Since joint personal loans take into account both applicants’ credit, and ownership and repayment responsibility is equal for both borrowers, the disadvantages of this type of arrangement are less lopsided than for a cosigned loan. People who already share financial responsibilities — married couples or parents and children, for example — may consider joint personal loans, so there is typically some familiarity present.

Even so, it’s important to have confidence in a co-borrower’s ability to repay the loan because each borrower is equally responsible for repayment over the entire life of the loan. Co-borrowers also have equal ownership rights to the loan funds or what the loan funds purchased, so trust is a big factor in choosing a co-borrower.

Recommended: How Much of a Personal Loan Can I Get?

Cosigned Loan vs Joint Personal Loan: The Advantages

Arguably, the primary borrower on either a cosigned loan or a joint personal loan has a bigger advantage than the cosigner or co-borrower. Depending on one’s perspective, however, all parties involved can reap benefits from these partnerships.

The Advantages of Choosing a Cosigned Loan

The advantage lies almost exclusively with the primary borrower on a cosigned loan. If they default, the cosigner is responsible for repaying the loan, although the primary borrower’s credit will likely be negatively affected. Ownership of the loan funds or what they purchased is solely the primary borrower’s.

A personal loan cosigner’s main advantage may be in the form of a benevolent feeling. This is not to discount a cosigner’s contribution, since compassion is important to humanity.

The Advantages of Choosing a Joint Personal Loan

The main advantage of a joint loan is that there is equal ownership of the loan funds or the property purchased with those funds. Choosing a joint loan means you are able to present a higher total income than you could alone, signaling to lenders that it’s more likely someone will be able to make the monthly loan payments.

Because joint loans give both co-borrowers equal rights, they are well-suited for people who already have joint finances or own assets together.

💡 Quick Tip: Generally, the larger the personal loan, the bigger the risk for the lender — and the higher the interest rate. So one way to lower your interest rate is to try downsizing your loan amount.

What’s the Better Loan Option?

If you’re seeking a loan with a spouse or relative, and one of you has the strong credit history needed to get a low interest rate and terms you’d prefer, then a joint loan as co-borrowers may be right for you.

However, if you’d rather have a loan in your name with a little added security, then having a cosigner may make more sense.

No matter which situation you find yourself in, it’s important to weigh all of the options and do the necessary research that will allow you to arrive at the best joint personal loan option for you. After all, taking out a loan and repaying it responsibly has the power to put someone on a path to a more secure financial future, but it can also come with risks if each party hasn’t thoroughly vetted the other.

Recommended: Exploring the Pros & Cons of Personal Loans

Where Do You Find a Joint Personal Loan?

It’s not uncommon for lenders to offer joint personal loans, but some research is necessary to find a lender who will work with your unique financial situation.

Looking at lenders of joint personal loans online is a good first step. Prequalifying to check joint personal loan eligibility is a fairly quick and easy process.

If you’re already an established customer at a local bank or credit union, you may also want to look at loan options there.

The Takeaway

Though co-borrowers may bring with them peace of mind, they also require a great deal of forethought — especially regarding who to ask. And regardless of whether or not someone opts for a co-borrower, it’s still important for the primary borrower to get their own credit in the best shape possible.

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.


Can you apply for joint personal loans?

As long as the lender allows co-borrowers, you can apply for a joint personal loan.

What is the maximum amount of people for a joint personal loan?

Typically, a joint personal loan has two co-borrowers, but the maximum number of co-borrowers is up to the individual lender.

Do joint personal loans get approved faster?

It’s likely to take more time for a joint personal loan to be approved than an individual loan because the lender will check the credit of each applicant.

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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.


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