5 Loans for People with Bad Credit or No Bank Account

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If you’re struggling to build or repair your credit, you know the vicious cycle all too well. You need money to pay for, well, life, and some of those payments require credit.

But with a bad credit score or no access to a bank account, you may find yourself stuck without an option. So, you fall behind on your payments, which means your credit score gets even worse.

struggling couple

A personal loan can help ease this kind of financial burden by allowing you to finally get ahead. A small windfall can help you pay off existing debts or cough up a down payment on a necessary investment.

Best Installment Loans for Bad Credit

Even if you don’t have a great credit history, these financial institutions may have a personal loan that’ll suit your needs. Some of them can even let you know if you qualify without a hard credit check. This will save you from making your credit even worse.

1. MoneyMutual

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Operating “at the speed of life,” MoneyMutual understands that sometimes, you need cash right now. That’s why you can get your bad credit loan of up to $2,500 in as little as one business day after your application’s been accepted.

There are no minimum credit score requirements, and you can be approved even if you’ve been involved with bankruptcy or other serious credit hassles.

  • Loan Amount: Up to $2,500
  • APR: Variable
  • Term: Variable

2. Cash Advance

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Personal loans from Cash Advance are on the smaller end of the spectrum. They generally cap out at $1,000. However, they still offer longer repayment periods of up to a year and much more reasonable rates than you’d find at a typical payday loan vendor.

  • Loan Amount: $100 – $1,000
  • APR: Variable
  • Term: Variable

3. Upgrade

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Combining available loans of up to $50,000 with affordable monthly payments and low fixed rates, Upgrade has a one-page application that you can fill out in a flash.

Once you’re approved, the funds will be sent directly to your bank account within a day of clearing any necessary institutional verifications.

  • Loan Amount: $1,000 – $50,000
  • APR: 7.46% – 35.97% APR
  • Term: 36 – 60 months

4. Lending Club

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Lending Club offers personal loans of up to $40,000 with generous repayment terms, allowing you to chip away at the total over the course of up to five years.

In addition, depending on your creditworthiness, you may be able to secure a loan with an interest rate below 10% APR.

  • Loan Amount: Up to $40,000
  • APR: 6.95% – 35.89%
  • Term: 36 – 60 months

5. OneMain

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With bad credit loans ranging up to $30,000, OneMain is the perfect place to secure the personal loan you need. You can use it for debt consolidation, dealing with an unexpected life event, or even home renovations.

After completing the easy online application, you’ll be invited to meet a loan specialist in person to nail down the exact terms of your agreement.

  • Loan Amount: $1,500 – $30,000
  • APR: 16.05% – 35.99%
  • Term: 24, 36, 48 or 60 months

Although living debt-free is the ideal scenario, life can sometimes be less than ideal—and expensive! Fortunately, if you need fast cash, these vendors can help you find the personal loan you need, even if your credit isn’t quite where you want it to be. (Yet.)

Here’s what you need to know to get your hands on that loan you need and turn your financial landscape around.

Can you get a loan without a bank account?

Maybe you’ve already been searching for a loan for some time, but you’ve realized you’re missing an important requirement: a bank account. Most online lenders necessitate a bank account to initiate the transaction as part of their eligibility prerequisites. You may also have to meet other requirements, such as income thresholds or holding permanent U.S. residency or citizenship.

There are certain loans you can get if you don’t have a bank account. However, they tend to be short-term loans with very high interest rates, such as a payday loan or car title loan. And in most cases, you want to avoid them.

Why is a bank account required for most loans?

A bank account is required for most loans because it gives a lender vital insight into your financial situation. Although it is only one piece of the puzzle, most lenders like to see that an applicant has a bank account. This is all part of the lender’s decision to determine whether you are a trustworthy borrower. Even some payday lenders may require a bank account.

There are also practical reasons why lenders require customers to have a bank account. Bank accounts are an extremely convenient way to provide credit and collect payments. The reality is that many creditors simply are not equipped to lend money in any other way.

What is a payday loan, and why should you avoid them?

A payday loan is a short-term loan (usually 30 days or less) with towering interest rates (up to 400% or even higher). Traditionally, a payday loan was due to be repaid on your next payday, which is where it gets its name.

You can find payday loans from a variety of vendors, including storefronts, where you can walk in and secure a loan the same day. However, just because the money is easy to come by doesn’t mean it’s a good idea! Payday loans often put borrowers even further behind when they find they can’t repay them. And even if you can, you’ll have paid more in interest than you need to.

Risks of Title Loans and Payday Loans

Both payday loans and title loans are often marketed to people with bad credit scores, or those who don’t have access to a bank account. However, while they may be presented as convenient alternatives, the reality is that both come with significant risks.

Here’s a run through of the risks associated with both title and payday loans:

  • High APR — The interest rate for these loans is extremely inflated, often hitting triple digits. This puts them far beyond the cost of a traditional personal loan.
  • Limited equity — When seeking a title loan, the potential loan amount will be limited to how much equity you have in your vehicle. Title loans usually land between $100 to $5000.
  • Repossession — Failing to pay back your loan within the agreed terms will result in the loss of your car via repossession. 
  • Risk of debt spiral — If you are struggling to pay back your payday loan on time, the fees can add up fast and cause your current financial problems to multiply out of control.

Why an Installment Loan Is Better

Installment loans, on the other hand, are a type of fixed-interest loan. They’re repaid regularly (typically monthly) over a longer period of time, such as one to three years.

Your exact terms will depend on your creditworthiness. However, personal installment loans don’t tend to have the same excessive interest as payday loans do. You might find one for about 20% APR (and sometimes as low as 5% for very creditworthy borrowers).

Since an installment loan is repaid over a longer period of time, they’re available for much larger loan amounts than payday loans. For example, a payday loan might cap out at $1,000. But, it’s easy to find a personal loan for $10,000 or even higher.

We certainly don’t recommend taking out more debt than you need. However, those higher sums may actually help you lift yourself out of revolving credit card debt or other suboptimal financial scenarios. On the other hand, a payday loan of $500 or $1,000 rarely will. And it certainly won’t be worth the hundred bucks or more in interest you’ll pay to get it.

Fee-Free Checking Accounts

Unfortunately, it’s difficult to find a legitimate personal loan lender who doesn’t require a checking account. In fact, all the online lenders we’ve listed below do.

You don’t want to keep paying a monthly maintenance fee just to keep your bank account open, especially if you can’t afford that $10 or $15. (And hey, even if you earn a lot, ten bucks is ten bucks!)

The internet has made it easy to find free online checking accounts with no minimum deposits and no monthly fees. One of the most well-regarded of these is Chime.

There are plenty of other no-fee checking accounts available for those willing to forego the sticks-and-bricks bank. And once you sign up, you’ll be eligible to take out the unsecured loan you need!

What to Look for in an Online Bank Account

If opening a no-fee online bank account is a possibility for you, great. Banking can be so much easier if you find an online platform that meets your unique needs.

However, there are a few important aspects to keep in mind when you’re looking for an online bank. It’s a busy market with lots of options, and all the biggest banks have both their pros and cons.

Security

First and foremost, take the time to check that any online bank you’re interested in is FDIC insured. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp (FDIC) confirms the legitimacy of financial institutions by insuring their accounts against failure.

It’s also worth considering how essential other security features, such as two-factor authentication, are to you.

Fees

Even though the majority of online banks waive the traditional fees for checking accounts, that’s not the end of the story. It’s important to pay attention to the small print because there can be ‘hidden’ or auxiliary fees that could apply to you under certain circumstances.

For example, some online banks charge high fees for things like wire transfers. You’ll want to check all fees and weigh them against your own banking needs.

Customer Service

When it comes to customer service, online banks can vary widely. Some manage to provide better service online than most regular banks, but others fall behind in this category. Check out what options are available to you for customer service.

Remember to take note of the operating hours for phone and email support, too, and consider reading online reviews.

Additional Products & Services

A lot of online banks are minimalist and focus on simply offering straightforward checking accounts. However, you might be interested in what additional financial products are available to you with an online bank.

Loans, credit cards, and high interest savings accounts are just some examples of what’s out there online.

How to Spot Loan Scams

While all the options we’ve presented above are legitimate and safe, the unfortunate reality is there are plenty of loan scams out there. When you’re looking for a bad credit loan without a bank account, or considering cash advance loans, the market can be fraught.

That’s why it’s important to know how to spot a loan scam. Here are the biggest red flags:

  • No credit check – Most legitimate lenders will want to check your credit history before approving you for a loan.
  • Upfront fees – Any lender requesting upfront payment, in any form, is unlikely to be trustworthy.
  • Pressure – A trustworthy lender will have no need to pressure you into purchasing a loan.
  • No business address – A legitimate lender will always have an easily searchable physical address.
  • Cold calling – No legitimate lender will make first contact with you regarding a loan.

Bad Credit No Bank Account Loan FAQs

Can you get a loan with bad credit and no bank account?

It is possible to get a loan with bad credit and no bank account. However, the easiest loans available to those in such situations are often risky.

If possible, it’s much better to open a fee-free online bank account and look for a suitable installment loan instead.

Can I get a cash advance loan without a bank account?

Yes. These types of loans, while financially risky, are easy to be approved for. Many payday loan and title loan lenders typically allow customers to borrow money without a bank account. The trade off, however, is a loan with an extremely high interest rate.

What is the easiest loan to get approved for?

The easiest loans to get approved for are secured loans from payday lenders. Other things like auto title loans and pawn shop loans are also among the easiest to land. The downside of easy approval, however, are huge interest rates and financial risk.

What is the easiest loan to get with bad credit?

As with loan approval in general, the easiest loans to be approved for with bad credit are the riskiest ones. A more sensible option would be to seek bad credit installment loans from reputable lenders who specialize in providing credit to those with poor credit scores.

Final Word

If you don’t have a bank account, securing a personal loan can be both expensive and risky. If your credit score is bad, opening a no-fee online bank account could help you find safer loan options. It might also be worth trying to borrow from a trusted family member or friend. 

Regardless of why you don’t have a traditional bank account, try to avoid committing to high interest cash advance loans and see if you can open an account online.  

Remember that any loan you take on should be clearly accounted for in your budget so that you can comfortably meet the repayment terms.

Jamie Cattanach
Meet the author

Jamie Cattanach is a freelance writer whose work has been featured at Fodor's, Yahoo, SELF, The Motley Fool, Roads & Kingdoms, and other outlets.