What credit score do I need for a personal loan?
Published Sun, Sep 9, 2012 Updated Tue, Feb 16, 2021
Getting a personal loan depends on a lot of different factors, only one of which is your credit score (or more to the point your credit history) and it is impossible to know exactly what credit score will or won’t get you accepted.
Here are some factors to consider:
What is your credit history like?
The actual score is only an indication and there is no universal ‘credit score’ anyway. Lenders will want to look at things like what sorts of debt you have had in the past and where your problems (if any) have been. For instance, if you have a long history of occasional mishaps that tells a different story than if you had a few serious mishaps during a rough patch last year.[cta]
How much are you borrowing?
It goes without saying of course, if you want to borrow a lot the bank will want more security than if you want a relatively small loan. If you are worried that you might struggle to get accepted then it makes sense to apply for the smallest loan possible – after all, borrowing less than the ideal amount is still better than borrowing nothing isn’t it?
Can you afford it?
That’s what the bank wants to know. If you have a consistent income then your chances are much better. If you don’t have any income then the lender will want to know how you intend to repay the debt.
Is it secured?
For obvious reasons secured debts are easier to get accepted for, simply because if you default you lose whatever you have used as security. This is why car finance is often easier to get than a bank loan, because if you miss a payment the finance company keeps the car.
Shop around a bit first
Remember that a string of credit checks might prevent you getting accepted, so start by researching your options and see what you can find out about any potential lenders. Often your own bank might be the best place to start, so don’t assume that you have to go for one of the very high interest options out there.[cta]
Also remember that some proof of income track record will help. If you get a new job it is often tempting to go out and start spending right away, but if you wait just 3 or 4 months you will probably find it easier to get credit when you do try.