Best Personal Loans With a Co-signer

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

Investopedia publishes unbiased product reviews; our opinions are our own and are not influenced by payment we receive from advertisers. Learn more about how we review products and read our advertiser disclosure for how we make money.

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:

Below you'll find personal loan offers available from our advertising partners, followed by our complete list of the best personal loan options that allow co-signers nationwide.

OneMain Financial: Best for Small Loans

OneMain Financial

Never borrow more than you actually need. If your financing needs are relatively modest, OneMain Financial loans start as low as $1,500.

Pros
  • Prequalification screening: You can get a sense of whether you’re eligible for a loan, and on what terms, without actually applying.


  • Numerous branches: There are 1,500 physical branches in 44 states.

  • Fast funding: Once approved, you can expect to see your money by the next business day

Cons
  • Copious charges: There’s an origination fee (either flat or percentage-based), a late payment fee, a nonsufficient funds fee, and a government fee

  • Location-based restrictions: Depending on where you live, you might not be eligible for the maximum financing

  • High minimum APR: The lowest APR available is 18%, high compared to other lenders

Other important information:

  • Loan ranges: $1,500 to $20,000, depending on borrower's location
  • APR ranges: 18.00% to 35.99%
  • Minimum recommended credit score: 580+

LightStream Best to Use for Anything

LightStream

Whether you have to cover a medical expense or consolidate debt, LightStream has loans for everything.

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:

  • Loan ranges: $5,000 to $100,000
  • APR range: 4.99% to 19.99% with autopay
  • Minimum recommended credit score: 670+

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:

  • Loan range: $1,000 to $40,000
  • APR range: 10.68% to 35.89%
  • Minimum recommended credit score: 580+

Prosper: Best for Debt Consolidation

Prosper

Having the means to pay off a cluster of other debts, such as credit card balances with their sky-high interest rates, is a popular use for personal loans. Prosper, another peer-to-peer lending group, accepts joint applications if you are specifically seeking financing for this purpose.

Pros
  • Change due date: If your current date doesn’t work for you, you can change it

  • No prepayment penalty: Pay off your loan early without an extra fee

Cons
  • Numerous charges: Including an origination fee, a check fee (if you decide to pay by paper check), a late payment fee, and an insufficient funds fee

  • Long review/payment process: Loan approval can take up to five days. Three days is the fastest the money can hit your account

  • Stringent rules: Co-signers not allowed; they must be co-applicants—fully responsible for the loan

Other important information:

  • Loan range: $2,000 to $40,000
  • APR range: 7.95% to 35.99%
  • Minimum recommended credit score: 640+

SoFi: Best for Co-borrowing

SoFi

Having a cosigner is nice, but with SoFi, you get so much more than a loan. Things like unemployment protection let you pause payments on your loan without facing a penalty. You’ll also get access to personalized financial planning, career coaching, and bonuses for referring a friend.

Pros
  • No fees: You won’t face extra fees, like a late payment fee or an origination fee

  • Autopay discount: Sign up for autopay and save get a 0.25% interest rate deduction

  • Flexible repayment date: If your current monthly due date doesn’t work, you can change it

Cons
  • Co-applicant required: SoFi doesn't allow co-signers on personal loans; they must actually apply with you and be full partners on the loan. They will also need to live at the same address as you

  • Longer loan payout: Some lenders will disburse funds the same day you’re approved or the next day. SoFi loans take a few days to get to you

Other important information:

  • Loan amount range: $5,000 to $100,000
  • APR range: 5.99% to 19.96% (with autopay)
  • Minimum recommended credit score: 670+

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

We reviewed personal loan lenders and based results off those who accept co-signers or a variation of co-signers in their application process. Other criteria considered include comparing interest rates, fees, the minimum and maximum borrowed amount, the prequalification process, and other features.