If you have bad credit or limited credit history, applying for a personal loan with a co-signer can help you access cash you may not qualify for on your own. A co-signer typically is a creditworthy friend or family member who agrees to be responsible for your debt if you don’t pay back the loan. Co-signing comes with risks, but if you’ve decided it’s your best option, be aware that not all personal lenders allow co-signed applications.
The best personal loans with a co-signer have an online application process that makes co-signing easy. They also come with low APRs, few fees, and flexible repayment terms to ensure you can pay back the loan on your own. Before you decide on a lender, compare the rates, terms, and features of different lenders with your co-signer.
Best Personal Loans With a Co-Signer of February 2023
Best Overall : Upgrade
- APR Range: 7.96% - 35.97%
- Time To Receive Loan: 1 day
- Loan Amount: $1,000 - $50,000
Upgrade has a low minimum credit score requirement, offers a fast and easy online application process, and provides loans for almost any purpose with competitive starting rates and no prepayment penalties. And if you’re using your loan to consolidate debt, Upgrade can conveniently pay your creditors directly.
Fast funding within one business day
Flexible borrowing amounts and repayment terms
Relatively high origination fee
Higher maximum APR than some competitors
Upgrade is our best overall pick because not only does it offer a quick and easy application process, but loans can be used for almost anything including debt consolidation and medical expenses. You can also pre-qualify to see if you actually need a co-signer, and Upgrade lets you borrow anywhere from $1,000 to $50,000.
Upgrade was founded in 2017 and since then has made $10 billion in credit available to borrowers. In addition to offering personal loans, they also provide a rewards checking account with loan discounts for account holders and the Upgrade card.
Upgrade charges an origination fee between 2.9% and 8%, which is deducted from the loan proceeds, meaning your actual loan amount will be slightly lower than the amount you applied for. It also charges a $10 late fee, but there’s no prepayment penalty, so it’s okay to make extra payments on your Upgrade loan at any time. As an added perk, Upgrade offers a variety of discounts, including one for paying your creditors directly.
To be eligible for a loan from Upgrade, you’ll need to be at least 18 years old and a U.S. citizen or permanent resident with a bank account and email address. You or your co-signer will need a credit score of at least 550. Also note that Upgrade loans are not available in Washington, D.C. It’s easy to apply with a co-signer online or over the phone. You’ll be able to choose a repayment term between 24 and 84 months, and you’ll receive your money as soon as the next business day.
Best for Low Fees : Old National Bank
- APR Range: 6.26% - 25.00%
- Time To Receive Loan: 1 Days
- Loan Amount: $2,500 - $35,000
First Midwest is our top pick for low fees because the bank doesn’t charge any origination fees, late fees, or prepayment penalties on its personal loans. What’s more, it allows up to seven years for repayment, and its APR range is relatively low.
Quick funding in as little as one business day
Flexible repayment terms
Only available in 24 states
Stricter limits on borrowing amounts
Because First Midwest doesn’t charge any fees, even late fees, it’s our pick for the best low-fee personal loan with a co-signer. First Midwest’s history began when a bank was founded in Joliet, Illinois in 1940. By 1983, 20 banks were merged under the name First Midwest Bancorp, and by 2016, the institution surpassed $10 billion in assets. First Midwest merged with Old National in 2021.
With a personal loan from First Midwest, you can borrow between $5,000 and $35,000 and choose a repayment term up to 84 months. This lender does not charge origination fees, late fees, or prepayment penalties. It’s easy to apply for a personal loan with a co-signer online, by phone, or at a branch, and you can get your funds the same day if you’re an existing checking customer. If not, you can still receive your money as soon as the next business day.
First Midwest doesn’t specify a minimum credit score, but note that the lowest rates will only be available to borrowers with excellent credit. You’ll need to be at least 18 years old and a U.S. citizen or permanent resident of one of the following states to qualify:
- New Hampshire
- Rhode Island
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
Online reviews of First Midwest bank are few and far between. While there isn’t much feedback available overall, the reviews we researched did not mention problems with First Midwest’s personal loan product.
Best for Fast Funding : Santander Bank
- APR Range: 6.99% - 24.99%
- Loan Amount: $5,000 - $50,000
If you’re approved for a personal loan from Santander with a co-signer, you can get your funds as soon as the same day, depending on the time of your application. Plus, there’s an easy online pre-qualification option and few fees.
Quick funding as soon as the same day
Flexible repayment terms
No origination fee or prepayment penalty
Only available in 12 states
Higher APR range than some competitors
$5,000 minimum loan amount
Santander wins the top spot for fast funding because the bank is able to disburse funds as soon as the same day. Santander’s loans also have few fees, and this lender is a reputable bank with a long history.
Bancorp Santander was incorporated in Spain in 1857 to facilitate trade with Latin America. After years of expansion across Latin America, Santander acquired Sovereign Bancorp in the United States in 2010. Sovereign Bancorp, the 18th largest bank in the U.S., changed its name to Santander. Santander has 190,000 employees and branches all over the world.
Santander offers personal loans ranging from $5,000 to $50,000 with flexible repayment terms ranging from 36 to 84 months. APRs range from 6.99% to 24.99%, with a 0.25% autopay discount. The bank doesn’t charge any origination fees, so you can get the full amount as soon as the same day, and there are no prepayment penalties, so you can pay off the loan early if you have the cash. However, Santander does charge a late payment fee of either $20 or 10% (whichever is greater) of the past due balance. We encourage borrowers to set up automatic payments to avoid these fees.
It’s easy to apply for a Santander personal loan online with a co-signer, or you can visit a branch. You can check your rate without hurting your credit. To be eligible for a loan, you must be 18 years old and a resident of one of the following states: Massachusetts, Maryland, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, Delaware, Maine, Vermont, or Florida. Santander will also review your credit score and income information when you apply. Loan proceeds can’t be used to pay for college.
Santander receives poor customer reviews on third-party sites like Trustpilot. There are many complaints about long wait times for customer service. This is something to consider in case you end up needing assistance with your personal loan.
Read our full Santander Bank personal loans review.
Best for Veterans : Navy Federal Credit Union
- APR Range: 7.49% - 18.00%
- Time To Receive Loan: 0 days
- Loan Amount: $250 - $50,000
Navy Federal is our top pick for veterans because this credit union offers a low maximum interest rate and no fees.
No origination fee or prepayment penalty
Fast funding as soon as the same day
Low maximum APR and no minimum credit score requirement
Higher rates and minimum borrowing amounts for longer terms
No pre-qualification option
Only open to members
Navy Federal offers a low maximum APR and no fees for co-signed loans, making this credit union our top pick for veterans. Navy Federal is a member-owned, not-for-profit credit union founded by a group of Navy Department employees at the end of the Great Depression. The credit union now has 11 million members. Membership is open to active duty military, veterans, Department of Defense employees, and eligible family members.
Navy Federal’s personal loans do not include any origination fees, late fees, or prepayment penalties. You can pay back your loan in your choice of terms, but note that rates are higher for terms longer than 36 months, and terms longer than 60 months are only available for home improvement loans. You can apply online for a personal expense loan between $250 and $50,000, but if you’re using the loan for debt consolidation or home improvement, you’ll need to apply by phone or visit a branch. Navy Federal also offers a savings secured and CD secured personal loan, but online applications are not available.
There’s no pre-qualification option with Navy Federal loans, so expect a small dip in your credit score from the hard credit check when you apply. Navy Federal will review your credit score, banking history, employment, and income information when making a decision. Eligibility is open to members over 18 years old in any U.S. state.
Navy Federal has been recognized as #1 by Forrester for customer experience and offers 24/7 support. The credit union also has excellent reviews on Trustpilot, with a 4.7 out of five-star average rating from thousands of customers. However, most customers say the credit union offers a quick and easy process, low rates, and helpful customer service in their reviews.
Compare the Best Personal Loans With a Co-Signer of February 2023*APR ranges for some companies include a discount for automatic payments or existing bank customers.
Not all lenders allow co-signers for personal loans, so that’s important to remember as you’re comparing loans. But there are still several reputable lenders you can choose from—some, like Santander, offer quick funding, while others, like First Midwest and Navy Federal, don’t charge any fees. But our top pick for a personal loan with a co-signer is Upgrade.
Upgrade offers loans for almost anything, including debt consolidation, and will pay your creditors directly. It also checks the boxes for fast funding, no prepayment penalties, competitive starting rates with discounts, and flexible repayment terms.
Guide for Choosing the Best Personal Loans With Co-Signer
Determining Your Need for a Personal Loan With a Co-signer
If you’ve made some mistakes in your payment history or are just starting to build credit, you may not qualify for a personal loan on your own. Adding a co-signer means that a creditworthy person agrees to pay back the loan if you default. For this reason, you may be more likely to get approved for a loan with a co-signer.
However, keep in mind that if something changes with your financial situation and you’re unable to repay the loan, your co-signer will be on the hook for the remaining balance. If they don’t have the funds, the outstanding loan could destroy their credit. If you don’t want to risk damaging your relationship with that person, make sure you go over your plan for repayment together, and keep them informed of any financial hardship you might face.
Comparing Personal Loan Lenders Allowing a Co-signer
Before formally applying for a personal loan with your co-signer, it’s a good idea to pre-qualify with a few lenders and research their offerings. As you are comparing your options, pay attention to:
- APR: Choose the lender with the lowest APR you can qualify for.
- Fees: Consider if lenders charge origination, late payment, and prepayment fees.
- Loan amounts: Only borrow what you need. Choose a lender that offers the right loan amount.
- Terms: Make sure the lender offers a long enough term that you’ll be able to afford the monthly payments.
- Funding time: If you need cash quickly, narrow down your choices to lenders with same or next-day funding.
- Ease of application: Estimate how easy it will be for you and your co-signer to complete the application online.
- Customer service: Look for a lender with a positive track record of customer service, and make sure their customer service team operates at a time that is convenient for you.
How to Apply for a Personal Loan With a Co-signer
- Pre-qualify: The first step in applying begins with a rate check with the lenders of your choosing. You’ll need to share your contact info and SSN, as will your co-signer.
- Compare loan offers: For lenders you can pre-qualify with, compare the rates and terms offered, and select the best option for your needs.
- Formally apply: Submit income and employment information for you and your co-signer to the lender for review.
- Accept and sign: Once the lender gives you a decision, read the fine print and sign your loan documents.
- Receive the funds: Wait to receive the funds in your bank account.
- Repay: Manage your loan from your account on the lender’s online portal. Once your monthly payments are built into your budget, set up automatic payments so you don’t miss one.
What Is the Difference Between a Co-signer and a Co-borrower?
A co-signer is someone who agrees to be responsible for the loan but doesn’t have access to the funds. For example, your parent may agree to co-sign your loan to help you get a low APR, but the money will be delivered to you, the borrower. A co-borrower, on the other hand, has equal access to the loan proceeds. For example, a married couple could apply for a loan together and split the funds and the repayment responsibility. In both cases, the lender will review both applicants’ credit and income information when making a decision.
Do You Need a Co-Signer for a Personal Loan?
Not necessarily. If you meet the eligibility requirements on your own, there’s no need to ask someone to co-sign. On the other hand, if your credit score precludes you from getting a loan, or you need help getting a lower rate, asking a creditworthy friend or family member to co-sign may be the right choice.
Can I Get an Online Loan With a Co-signer?
Yes. Not all lenders allow co-signers, but there are plenty of options for online co-signed loans, including Upgrade.
What Happens If I Can’t Pay Back My Co-Signed Loan?
If you default on a co-signed loan, one of two things can happen:
- Your co-signer can make monthly payments on the loan until it is paid
- If no one can afford to repay the loan, defaulting will destroy both your co-signer’s credit and your own. The loan may also be sent to a collections department or agency. The debt collector may take you to court and try to garnish your wages.
What Does a Co-signer Need for a Loan?
Typically, lenders have the same eligibility requirements for co-signers and borrowers. A co-signer will need to meet the credit requirements for the loan and provide income or employment information.
How We Chose the Best Personal Loans With a Co-signer
Our team evaluated 38 lenders and collected 1,520 data points before selecting our top choices. We weighed more than 20 criteria and gave a higher weight to those with a more significant impact on potential borrowers.
The top picks were selected based on factors like membership requirements (weighted 15%), average fixed APR (weighted 15%), and average origination fees (weighted 10%).
We also took into account the flexibility of repayment terms, helpful features like pre-qualification, and whether a co-signer or joint applications are permitted to ensure borrowers get the best possible experience. For further information about our selection criteria and process, our complete methodology is available.