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Loans for low-income people Personal loans for a tight budget

When life arrives, taking out a personal loan may be necessary to stay afloat financially. If your credit score is in good shape and you’re earning enough income to pay the loan repayments, you could be back on track sooner rather than later. But if money is tight, managing a personal loan can be difficult and have serious consequences for your finances.

Still, it is possible to get a good deal on a personal loan by exploring your options. Payments can still strain your budget, but borrowing costs could be more affordable if you get a personal loan on competitive terms.

These lenders offer personal loans with low interest rates to make taking out a personal loan more affordable:

Lender APR range Loan amounts Loan amounts Minimum credit score
Reached 5.40% – 35.99% $1,000 – $50,000 3 or 5 years Unspecified
PenFed As low as 6.74% Up to $50,000 Up to 5 years Unspecified
LightStream 3.99% – 19.99% (with automatic payment) $5,000 – $100,000 2 to 12 years old 660
Pay 5.99 – 24.99% $5,000 – $40,000 2 to 5 years 600
NCP Bank 5.99 – 28.74% (with automatic payment) $1,000 – $35,000 Up to 60 months (in some states) Unspecified


Upstart offers fast approvals and funding in as little as one business day. What makes the lender even more attractive to potential borrowers is that there is no minimum credit score requirement. Instead, Upstart looks beyond your credit score by evaluating your work and educational history to determine if you’re a good candidate for a loan.


You must join PenFed Credit Union to apply for a personal loan. However, it could be a worthwhile decision as there is no setup fee and you can apply with a co-applicant. Plus, the starting interest rate is among the lowest in the industry if you have a good credit score.


LightStream is another outstanding online lender with competitive interest rates on personal loan products. The amounts are some of the most generous you’ll find, and depending on when you apply, you could be approved and receive funding the same day. There is also an option to select a later funding date that coincides with the date you will need the loan.


On the Payoff site, you’ll find a plethora of money management tools and financial education resources to help you take better control of your finances. You can check your rate in minutes and customize a loan product to suit your financial situation if there’s a match. A member of the Payoff team will contact you quarterly to register and answer any questions you may have.

NCP Bank

PNC Bank is a physical financial institution that also offers unsecured personal loans with low fees and competitive rates. Co-borrowers are also allowed if you want to boost your chances of approval. If you already have an account with PNC, you can benefit from a reduced interest rate. Additionally, there are over 2,600 branches nationwide should you wish to receive in-person assistance.

Income requirements for personal loans

Lenders want to be reassured that you are earning enough income to make loan repayments in a timely manner. Thus, they will likely have a minimum income requirement. Most also ask for stable, verifiable proof of income, such as a recent pay stub, W-2, or tax return, and contact information for your employer.

Consider using a personal loan calculator to view your potential monthly payment and determine how much loan you should apply for.

Other general personal loan eligibility criteria include:

  • An active bank account it is in your name to send the loan process
  • An acceptable credit rating and debt to income ratio
  • Proof of addresssuch as a mortgage statement, rental agreement, or utility bill showing your name and physical address listed on the loan application

Remember that each lender sets their own rules, so borrower requirements vary.

How to get a personal loan on a low income

You may have to do some legwork to get a personal loan on a lower income, but it is possible. In fact, you might have better luck with an online lender that has flexible eligibility criteria.

To boost your chances of approval, request a lower loan amount or ask a friend or relative to co-sign for you.

If you don’t need the funds immediately, consider paying off your debt, getting a better-paying job, or negotiating a raise to lower your debt-to-equity ratio. Also work on improving your credit score to eventually unlock larger loan amounts.

Alternatives to the personal loan when you have low income

Whether you can’t qualify for a personal loan or prefer to explore other sources of financing, these options could be viable:

  • Credit card: If you have good or excellent credit, consider a credit card with an interest-free introductory period. Repaying the entire balance before the end of the promotional period means that you will not pay any interest on any charges you incur. Otherwise, this form of financing could be expensive, mainly if you spend more than you can afford to repay before the offer expires, the interest starts accumulating and you end up only making the monthly payment. minimal for some time.
  • Payday Loans: These loans should only be used as a last resort for a few reasons, although they are easy to access if you have less than perfect credit income. For starters, interest rates are often in the triple digits, with some as high as 650%. And as its name suggests, the balance is usually payable at your next payday.
  • Guaranteed loans: You will need to provide collateral to get a secured loan. However, they are attractive to many borrowers because you can be approved with a lower credit score and minimal income. The downside is that you could lose your asset if you fail to repay the loan.

Also consider contacting your local credit union to inquire about personal loan options. They often give smaller loans and may agree to lend you more if you are already a member and have established a positive relationship with the branch.

Talk about the alternatives and say if they are better or worse in general. Include payday loans, secured loans, credit cards and local credit unions

At the end of the line

Taking out a personal loan is sometimes necessary, but having lower incomes can make management difficult. The advantage is that some lenders offer flexible and affordable loan products with competitive rates. Before applying, explore other funding options, as they may better suit your budget.