Through April 20, 2022, Experian, TransUnion and Equifax will offer all U.S. consumers free weekly credit reports through AnnualCreditReport.com to help you protect your financial health during the sudden and unprecedented hardship caused by COVID-19.
At Experian, one of our priorities is consumer credit and finance education. This post may contain links and references to one or more of our partners, but we provide an objective view to help you make the best decisions. For more information, see our Editorial Policy.
In this article:
Getting a personal loan without a credit check can be difficult, but there are options available. Unfortunately, many of these loans have high interest rates and fees, which can make them poor choices for most borrowers. If you know where to look and can qualify based on non-credit information, however, you might be able to get a personal loan with favorable terms.
Check Your Credit Report and Score
Before you rush to a lender that offers loans without requiring a credit check, it's a good idea to check your credit. If you've never done this before, you might find you have a credit report and credit score that qualifies you for a personal loan.
You can request free copies of your credit reports from the three consumer credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion and Equifax) at AnnualCreditReport.com. You can also get a free FICO® Score☉ based on your Experian credit report.
Lenders don't all use the same scoring models or necessarily check all three of your credit reports, so the score you see may not be the same one that every lender uses. Still, many lenders use a FICO® Score to evaluate new credit applications, so seeing your FICO® Score can give you a good sense of where you fall in the credit score range.
If you don't need a loan right away, taking time to establish or improve your credit scores may make sense. If you check your FICO® Score through Experian, you'll get personalized suggestions based on your unique credit history.
Where to Get a Personal Loan With No Credit Check
Some people look for personal loans without a credit check because they have no credit. Others know they likely won't get approved if there's a credit check because they have poor credit. It's an important distinction.
Personal loans are often unsecured loans, meaning they don't require collateral. As a result, lenders generally want to review your financial information and credit to make sure you can afford to repay the loan and that you have a history of paying your bills on time.
Lenders that don't require a credit check often make up for this lack of information by charging borrowers high interest rates or fees.
For example, payday loans and high-rate installment loans might not require a credit check. Or, if you own a vehicle or valuable property, you may be able to get an auto title loan or pawn loan without a credit check. But these should be last-resort options as their high costs can make them difficult to repay, often resulting in a cycle of reborrowing at astronomical rates.
However, there are increasingly new and better options for people who have no credit score. In these situations, lenders may focus on other information, such as your relationship with the company, employment history and debt-to-income ratio.
A Few Lower-Cost Options
Here are a few options to explore if you want a personal loan without a credit check:
- Look into early payday apps to see if you can borrow money based on your income.
- Reach out to credit unions to see if you can get a payday alternative loan.
- If you have an account at a community bank or small credit union, contact the local loan officer. You may be able to get a personal loan based on your income and account history.
- Ask your employer if they offer loans to employees. Some companies have formal policies for employees who've been at the company for at least a few years and need a loan for an emergency expense.
- Some online lenders, such as Experian partner Upstart, can use alternative data. You may be asked to connect your bank account, and the lender will analyze your banking history to help determine your eligibility and loan offer.
- A loan from a friend or family member could also be an option. However, lending and borrowing money can lead to strained, and sometimes ruined, relationships. If you go that route, make sure to get your agreement in writing and stick to the repayment terms you agree on.
Many of these options don't require good credit—or any credit at all—but the lender may try to check your credit. In some cases, having no credit may be better than having poor credit.
How to Apply for a Personal Loan
The application process for a personal loan can vary depending on the lender and the type of loan. Some lenders have streamlined online applications with step-by-step instructions you can follow. With others, your best option may be to call or visit a local branch and speak to a loan officer.
While there might not be a credit check, you may still have to prove your identity and income, and provide other documentation. When preparing to apply for a personal loan, you may want to gather:
- A copy of a valid government-issued photo identification
- Recent pay stubs or other proof of income, such as recent tax returns
- Your employment history and contact information for your employers
- Recent bank statements
- Education history
- Personal and professional references
How to Establish Credit When You Have No Credit History
If you don't have a credit history, establishing your credit and building a good credit could be helpful. Even if you don't want to take out a loan or get a credit card, good credit can make it easier to rent an apartment or get a job. In many states, your insurance premiums may also be impacted by your credit history.
To get started, you'll need your accounts and payments to be reported to the consumer credit bureaus. Many people use one—or several—of the following approaches:
- Open a secured credit card.
- Take out a credit-builder loan, lending circle loan or peer-to-peer loan.
- Become an authorized user on a trusted friend or family member's credit card.
- Apply for a credit card that doesn't require a credit check.
- Sign up for a rent reporting service.
Once you've established your credit, be sure to manage your accounts to build good credit. Making all your debt payments on time and only using a small portion of your credit limit on credit cards are important ways to improve credit scores. For this reason, it may not be the best idea to transfer a personal loan to a credit card, depending on the amount of the loan.
Build Your Credit and Get Personal Loan Offers
Once you've established credit, you can also use the features and tools in a free Experian account to build, monitor and use your credit.
Experian Boost™† is a free app that you can use to connect your bank account and add utility, phone and popular streaming service bills to your Experian credit report. These extra accounts and on-time payments can also help improve your credit or make your credit report scoreable if you don't yet have a score.
Your Experian account also comes with free credit monitoring and a free FICO® Score based on your Experian report. If you want to put your credit to use, you can use Experian CreditMatchTM to compare credit card and loan offers. In some states, you can also receive personalized offers based on your credit profile.