Best Personal Loans With a Co-signer

These lenders make it simple to get a personal loan with a co-signer

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You need to take out a loan, but your credit score and/or credit history isn’t the strongest. In that case, you might need a co-signer to help you qualify. A co-signer serves as an additional repayment source for the lender: They’re responsible in case the primary borrower fails. As a result, a co-signer can help an applicant obtain not only the loan itself but loan terms—such as more money—than they may have otherwise been unable to get.

Not every personal loan lender allows co-signers, though, or they mandate extra responsibilities (see What Is the Difference Between a Co-signer and a Co-Borrower? below). Among the ones that do, here are our choices for the best, depending on your situation:

Best Personal Loans With a Co-signer–October 2020

Lender Best For APR Range Minimum Loan Amount Maximum Loan Amount Terms Recommended Credit Score
LightStream Best to Use for Anything 3.99%–19.99% with autopay $5,000 $100,000 24–144 months 680+
LendingClub Best for Alternative Financing 10.68%–35.89% $1,000 $40,000 36 or 60 months 600+
Alliant Credit Union Best Hardship Assistance 6.24%–10.24% with autopay $1,000 $50,000 12–60 months 670+
First Tech Credit Union Best Minimum Loan Amount 7.70%–18.00% $500 $50,000 24–84 months 580+
Navy Federal Best for Veterans 7.49%–18.00% $250 $50,000 36–84 months 580+
Loan amounts, APR, and repayment period may vary by loan purpose or type.

LightStream Best to Use for Practically Anything

LightStream

Whether you have to cover a medical expense or consolidate debt, LightStream likely has a loan for it. The company allows you to apply with a joint applicant.

Pros
  • High loan amounts: You can borrow as much as $100,000

  • Fast funding: Depending on when you apply, you can get your money within a day


  • No fees: LightStream doesn’t charge any extra costs, prepayment penalties, or fees

Cons
  • No prequalification: Unlike some lenders, LightStreams requires to formally apply to see your loan terms, which could lower your credit score

  • Location-based restrictions: Depending on where you live, you might not be eligible for $20,000 loans. For instance, Maine residents are capped at $7,000. In Florida, loans go as high as $8,000

  • High minimum amount: LightStream loans start at $5,000, a tad high compared to competitors

Other important information:

  • Maximum/minimum amount you can borrow: $5,000 to $100,000
  • APR range: 3.99%–19.99% with autopay
  • Fees: 0.35% stamp tax for Florida residents
  • Minimum recommended credit score: 670+
  • Other qualification requirements: Lightstream reviews several years of credit history, your debt-to-income ratio, and credit mix
  • Repayment terms: 24 to 144 months
  • Time to receive funds: As soon as the next business day
  • Restrictions: Income from cannabis industry won't count

Read the full review: LightStream

LendingClub: Best for Alternative Financing

LendingClub

LendingClub is a peer-to-peer lending group that lets investors put their money towards helping others, extending funds to help them pay off debt, meet major expenses or any other financial necessity. Such groups are often a good alternative financing source if you fear you wouldn't meet a conventional, institutional lender's criteria—or just don't want to deal with one for whatever reason.

Pros
  • Low minimum: Personal loans start out at $1,000

  • Flexible due date: You can change your repayment date to best suit your cash flow

  • No prepayment penalty: You don't incur a fee if you pay your loan off before the final deadline

Cons
  • Origination fee: Calculated as 2% to 6% of your loan amount

  • Long payout: It could take up to four days for your money to get into your account

Other important information:

  • Maximum/minimum amount you can borrow: $1,000 to $40,000
  • APR range: 10.68%–35.89%
  • Fees: 2%–6% origination fee; $15 late fee or 5% of unpaid balance (whichever amount is greater)
  • Minimum recommended credit score: 580+
  • Other qualification requirements: Must be at least 18 years ago, a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or have a long-term visa with a valid bank account
  • Repayment terms: 36 or 60 months
  • Time to receive funds: Up to 10 business days depending on type of payment
  • Restrictions: Loans not available for U.S. territories and Iowa residents

Alliant Credit Union: Best Hardship Assistance

Alliant Credit Union

Founded in 1935, Alliant Credit Union offers competitive rates on loans up to five years. Borrowers have the choice to sign up for an optional program called the Debt Protection program—fees start at $1.99 per month for every $10,000 you borrow. If an emergency or unexpected event (like disability or involuntary unemployment) happens, then the credit union will suspend monthly payments without charging penalties or extra interest.

Pros
  • No origination fees and prepayment penalties

  • Protection program available in case of hardship

  • Fast funding times

Cons
  • Limited loan terms

  • Credit union membership required

  • Longer terms have higher rates

Other important information:

  • Maximum/minimum amount you can borrow: $1,000 to $50,000
  • APR range: 6.24%–10.24% (includes autopay discount)
  • Fees: No origination fee or prepayment penalty
  • Minimum recommended credit score: 670
  • Other qualification requirements: Alliant Credit Union considers your credit score, income, and debt-to-income ratio
  • Repayment terms: 12 to 60 months
  • Time to receive funds: As soon as the same business day
  • Restrictions: Membership to credit union required

First Tech Credit Union: Best Minimum Loan Amount

FTFCU3

First Tech Credit Union was founded in 1952 and offers members access to small personal loans. offers those with low to fair credit access to better rates and minimal fees. To become a member, applicants need to be an employee on their partner list or join the Financial Fitness Association. Rates are competitive, especially for those with lower credit scores, which start at 7.70%.

Pros
  • No origination fees or prepayment penalties

  • Quick application and funding

  • Offers one of the lowest minimum loan amounts

Cons
  • No prequalification option available

  • Applicants need to be a member of credit union

  • Long minimum loan term

Other important information:

  • Maximum/minimum amount you can borrow: $500 to $50,000
  • APR range: 7.70%–18.00%
  • Fees: None
  • Minimum recommended credit score: 580
  • Other qualification requirements: First Tech Credit Union considers your complete creditworthiness
  • Repayment terms: 24 to 84 months
  • Time to receive funds: As soon as the next business day
  • Restrictions: Membership to credit union required

Navy Federal: Best for Veterans

NFCU2

Founded in 1933, Navy Federal Credit Union is headquartered in Vienna, Virginia, and is another credit union offering loans for applicants with lower credit scores. Plus, loans start at $250, a great fit for those looking for a small personal loan. You do need to be a member of the credit union—requirements include being a member of the armed forces, Department of Defense, the National Guard, or be the immediate family member of one.

Pros
  • Small loan amounts available

  • Loan terms as short as six months

  • Applicants with lower credit scores may qualify

Cons
  • Need to be a member of credit union

  • No prequalification option

  • Long minimum loan term

Other important information:

  • Maximum/minimum amount you can borrow: $250 to $50,000
  • APR range: 7.49%–18.00%
  • Fees: None
  • Minimum recommended credit score: 580
  • Other qualification requirements: Navy Federal Credit Union considers your credit score and history, employment, and debt-to-income ratio
  • Repayment terms: 36 to 180 months
  • Time to receive funds: As soon as the next business day
  • Restrictions: Membership to credit union needed to receive loan funds

What Is the Difference Between a Co-signer and a Co-Borrower?

Having someone sign a loan application with you can mean one of several different arrangements. Among these, two of the most common and easily confused are co-signer and co-borrower. Although they sound similar, each comes with a different level of responsibility and privilege. 

  • Co-signer: This person essentially vouches, and acts as a guarantor, for the primary borrower. In the event that the primary can’t make the loan repayments, the co-signer is liable for paying them and any fees associated with them. However, a co-signer doesn’t receive any of the loan principal or statements (usually), nor are they involved with regular payments.
  • Co-borrower: Also commonly known as a co-applicant, this person is on more of an equal footing with the primary borrower. They have actual access to and use of the loan funds, as well as the obligation to make repayments. As a result, their credit history and financial profile are often more closely scrutinized by the lender, and the whole process may take longer. If you're approved, the lender extends what is called a joint loan.

Do You Need a Co-signer for a Personal Loan?

The point of a co-signer is to strengthen your financial profile in the eyes of a potential lender, making you look like a sounder applicant and less of a risk. Consider using a cosigner if:

  • You have poor or no credit: A shaky credit history can turn many lenders off. A co-signer with a stronger credit report can get you from denied to approved.
  • You want to lower your interest rate: If you’ve qualified for a personal loan on your own but the APR is too high for your budget, you may want to apply again with a co-signer whose score is higher than yours. The lender could offer a loan with more favorable terms.
  • You want a bigger loan: Lenders often loosen the purse strings if you’re backed by a co-signer with solid credit and a good income.
  • You need the money fast: It doesn’t mean approval is a sure thing, or even always expedite matters, but having a co-signer could avoid your application needing additional review or documentation.  
  • You have the option: Not everyone has access to a person with a great credit score who is willing to co-sign a loan for you. If you have this person, you should use them if you need to.

Not every personal loan lender accepts co-signers, co-applicants, or joint loans. Among those who do, terms can vary greatly, so be sure to shop around. Different lenders service different needs—from those seeking to borrow just a small amount to those who like lots of perks with their loan.

 If you need to borrow money with the help of a co-signer, look out for lenders that specify they accept them. If possible, see if you qualify for a personal loan with a co-signer before you enlist one. And be sure to understand the status of your seconder that the lender requires: just a backup co-signer or a full-fledged co-borrower.

Bear in mind, though, that enlisting someone to sign for a loan with you is a big responsibility—not just for your potential backer, but for you as well. If you can’t make payments on time, your credit score could plummet—and so could theirs.

Methodology

Investopedia is dedicated to providing consumers with unbiased, comprehensive reviews of personal loan lenders for all borrowing needs. We collected over twenty five data points across more than fifty lenders including interest rates, fees, loan amounts and repayment terms to ensure that our content helps users make the right borrowing decision for their needs.

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