Best Personal Loans With a Cosigner

These lenders make it simple to get a personal loan with a cosigner

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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 cosigner to help you qualify. A cosigner serves as an additional repayment source for the lender: They’re responsible in case the primary borrower fails. As a result, a cosigner can help an applicant obtain not only the loan itself but loan terms—such as more money—that they may have otherwise been unable to get.

Not every personal loan lender allows cosigners, though, and the ones that do may mandate extra responsibilities (see What Is the Difference Between a Cosigner and a Co-Borrower? below). Here are our choices for the best loans with a cosigner, depending on your situation:

Best Personal Loans With a Cosigner of August 2021

Best for Variety of Use : LightStream


LightStream

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

Pros
  • High maximum loan amount

  • Fast funding

  • No fees in most states

Cons
  • No prequalification available

  • Higher minimum loan amount than some competitors

Other important information:

  • Maximum/minimum amount you can borrow: $5,000 to $100,000
  • APR range: 2.99% to 19.99% (with 0.50% autopay discount)
  • Fees: No application fees, origination fees, or prepayment penalties; Florida residents subject to 0.35% stamp tax
  • 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; Same-day funding possible if loan is approved and you complete verification process by 2:30 p.m. ET
  • Restrictions: Loans cannot be used for education-related expenses, to refinance an existing LightStream loan, or to purchase stock options or contribute to retirement savings.

Read the full review: LightStream Personal Loans

Best for Alternative Financing : LendingClub


LendingClub

LendingClub

LendingClub is a peer-to-peer lending group that lets investors put their money toward helping others—extending funds to help them pay off debt, meet major expenses, or cover another 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 loan amount

  • Flexible due date

  • No prepayment penalty

Cons
  • Origination fees of 3% to 6%

  • Slow funding process of 4 to 10 days

  • Limited repayment terms available

Other important information:

  • Maximum/minimum amount you can borrow: $1,000 to $40,000
  • APR range: 8.05% to 35.89%
  • Fees: Origination fee of 3% to 6%; Late fee of $15 or 5% of unpaid balance (whichever amount is greater) after 15-day grace period
  • Minimum recommended credit score: 630+
  • 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: 4 to 10 business days, depending on type of payment
  • Restrictions: Loans not available for residents of U.S. territories

Read the full review: LendingClub Personal Loans

Best Hardship Assistance : Alliant Credit Union


Alliant Credit Union

Alliant Credit Union

Founded in 1935, Alliant Credit Union offers competitive rates on loans with terms of up to 5 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 $1,000 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 time

Cons
  • Credit union membership required to check rates or apply

  • Longer repayment term = higher starting APR

Other important information:

  • Maximum/minimum amount you can borrow: $1,000 to $50,000
  • APR range: 6.24% to 10.24% (includes 0.4% autopay discount)
  • Fees: No origination fee or prepayment penalty; If making loan payments from an Alliant checking account, the following fees will be charged when applicable: non-sufficient funds fee of $25, returned deposit fee of $15, courtesy pay fee of $28
  • Minimum recommended credit score: 670
  • Other qualification requirements: Alliant Credit Union considers your credit score, income, and debt-to-income ratio
  • Repayment terms: 12, 24, 48, or 60 months
  • Time to receive funds: As soon as the same business day
  • Restrictions: Membership to credit union required; You may become eligible to join by one of the following methods: current credit union member in your family; affiliation with a business or organization partnering with Alliant; residence in an eligible community in the Chicago area; membership in Foster Care to Success (FC2S), a non-profit serving those who are aging out of the foster system (and Alliant will pay a $5 membership fee to FC2S on your behalf)

Best Minimum Loan Amount : First Tech Credit Union


FTFCU3

First Tech Credit Union was founded in 1952 and offers its members small personal loans, giving those with poor to fair credit profiles access to better rates with minimal fees. Rates are competitive—starting at 6.70%—especially for those with lower credit scores, and First Tech allows cosigners.

Unless you live in Lane County, Oregon, you'll need to meet one of these membership criteria: you're employed at a company on First Tech's partner list, you work for the state of Oregon, or you belong to either the Financial Fitness Association or Computer History Museum. However, since anyone can join these two affiliated member organizations, we have chosen First Tech as the best lender for minimum loan amounts.

Pros
  • Quick application and funding process

  • Offers one of the lowest minimum loan amounts

  • Variety of term lengths

Cons
  • Need to be a member of credit union

  • Longer minimum term length than other lenders

Other important information:

  • Maximum/minimum amount you can borrow: $500 to $50,000
  • APR range: 6.70% to 18.00%
  • Fees: No application or origination fees or prepayment penalties; Late fees vary by loan type; Returned payment fee of $28
  • Minimum recommended credit score: 580
  • Other qualification requirements: First Tech Credit Union considers your complete creditworthiness
  • Repayment terms: 24, 36, 48, 60, 72, or 84 months
  • Time to receive funds: As soon as same day of loan approval and within 2-3 business days of approval
  • Restrictions: Must be a member of the credit union to be eligible

Read the full review: First Tech Federal Credit Union Personal Loans

Best for Veterans : Navy Federal


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 or veteran of the armed forces, Department of Defense, the National Guard, or be the immediate family member of one.

Pros
  • Small loan amounts available

  • Applicants with lower credit scores may qualify based on other creditworthy attributes or their good standing within the credit union

Cons
  • Need to be a member of credit union

  • No prequalification available

  • Longer term length = higher starting APR

Other important information:

  • Maximum/minimum amount you can borrow: $250 to $50,000
  • APR range: 7.49% to 18.00% for terms of up to 36 months (starting APR for terms of 37 to 60 months is 14.79%)
  • Fees: None
  • Minimum recommended credit score: 580
  • Other qualification requirements: Navy Federal Credit Union considers your credit score and history, employment status, and debt-to-income ratio
  • Repayment terms: According to website, term options for personal loans include "up to 36 months" and "37 to 60 months"
  • Time to receive funds: As soon as the next business day
  • Restrictions: Must be a member of the credit union to be eligible

Once you've decided which lender is right for you, it's crucial to know exactly what kind of monthly payment, loan term, and interest rate you can afford. A personal loan calculator would be useful for this endeavor.

Compare The Best Personal Loans With a Co-signer

Lender APR Range Minimum Loan Amount Maximum Loan Amount Terms Recommended Credit Score
LightStream
Best for Variety of Use
2.99%–19.99% with autopay $5,000 $100,000 24–144 months 680+
LendingClub
Best for Alternative Financing
8.05%–35.89% $1,000 $40,000 36 or 60 months 630+
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
6.70%–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.

FAQs

What Is the Difference Between a Cosigner 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 cosigner and co-borrower. Although they sound similar, each comes with a different level of responsibility and privilege. 

  • Cosigner: 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 cosigner is liable for paying them and any fees associated with them. However, a cosigner 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 Cosigner for a Personal Loan?

The point of a cosigner 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 cosigner 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 cosigner 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 cosigner 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 cosigner 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 cosign a loan for you. If you have this person, you should use them if you need to.

Not every personal loan lender accepts cosigners, co-applicants, or joint borrowers. 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 cosigner, look for lenders who specify that they accept them. If possible, see if you qualify for a personal loan with a cosigner before you enlist one. And be sure to understand the status of your seconder that the lender requires: just a backup cosigner 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.

How We Chose the Best Personal Loans With a Cosigner

Investopedia is dedicated to providing consumers with unbiased, comprehensive reviews of personal loan lenders for all borrowing needs. We collected over 25 data points across more than 50 lenders including interest rates, fees, loan amounts, and repayment terms to ensure that our content helps users make the right borrowing decisions for their needs.