Loans for average credit

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Need to make a major home repair or fund some other large purchase? See how much a $15,000 loan could cost and how to get one.

There’s an endless list of expenses that could come up and require you to shell out a large amount of money at one time. Maybe your patio is leaking and you need to get it rebuilt. Or maybe you’d like to finish your basement in one large project rather than spread the work out over several months.

If you don’t have all the money saved up, a personal loan could help you accomplish your task affordably. You know how much you want to borrow, but how do you go about comparing lenders and getting the best rate and terms? Find answers to this question and more in our guide.

How to get a $15,000 personal loan

  • Review multiple lenders. Comparing lenders can get you better rates, terms and a better overall loan. If you have an existing relationship with a bank or credit union, it may be worth checking with them to see if they offer perks for their customers. Keep in mind that online lenders tend to have easier application processes and may be able to approve loans faster. You can start by looking at the descriptions of top online lenders in our comparison table on this page, or you can browse the lenders in the left-hand menu to read full reviews.
  • Know how much you can afford. Budget how much you need to borrow, your monthly repayment limit and a comfortable payment date. This can ensure you’re always in a position to make repayments on time. If your patio repair, for example, turns out to cost $12,000, consider only getting a $12,000 loan. Even though you qualify for $15,000, that extra money will cost you more in interest over the course of the loan.
  • Check your credit. It has a direct impact on the interest rate you’ll be offered. Be sure your credit score is higher than the lender’s minimum credit score required.
  • Apply for the loan. Click “Go to Site” button next to the lender you’re interested on to be taken to the application form. There you’ll provide your full name and contact information, fill out what you’re taking the loan out for and the amount you want. After you submit your application, you may receive instant pre-approval. If not, it can take anywhere from a few hours to a week to process your application, depending on the lender. Be sure to have documents ready that verify your identity and income.
  • What do I need to qualify?

    Here’s what lenders are generally looking for in applicants:

    • Why you’re taking out the loan. A $15,000 loan could be used for a variety of large purchases that can demonstrate different levels of responsibility. If you’re using the loan for a repair on a home you own, the lender may see that as a less risky borrowing reason than someone who’s using the money for a vacation, for example.
    • Your creditworthiness. What you’ve borrowed in the past, your payment history, your current debts, among other factors, all affect the APR you could be offered.
    • Specifics about your income. Lenders want to know if you’re making enough money to cover the amount you want to borrow, but that’s not all. Your entire debt-to-income ratio is important, as lenders also want to see that you can afford all of your financial obligations. Lenders generally want you to have a debt-to-income ratio less than 40%, but the lower the better.
    • Your employment status. Because income is a big factor when assessing your application, lenders will want to know that you have a stable job with regular paychecks.


    • Character is about creditworthiness, how you’ve handled your debt payments in the past.
    • Capital is better known as collateral. If your creditworthiness is lacking, some lenders may only offer you secured loans. A secured loan will require collateral – an asset they can take possession of if you don’t repay the loan as you’ve agreed.
    • Capacity refers to your ability to repay the loan. That’s where the lender will evaluate the length and type of your employment as well as your income and debt-to-income ratio. If you’ve been in your current employment for a short time, previous job history may be important. The lender will analyze your ability to handle the new monthly payment.

    How is my creditworthiness determined?

    A lender typically reviews your credit score and credit report to determine your creditworthiness. Your credit report is a detailed record of your credit history, including open accounts, credit inquiries and payment history. Your credit score is a number that represents your capacity to take on new credit and repay it. It’s based on five factors: payment history, amounts owed, length of credit history, new credit and types of credit used.

  • How to get the best rate and terms on your loan

    Ask yourself three important questions about important factors that’ll determine the rate and term of your loan.

    • Do I want a fixed vs. variable interest rate? Is the interest rate set for the entire loan term or will it fluctuate with the market? Variable interest rate loans typically have lower starting APRs than fixed ones but have the possibility to increase over time.
    • Do I meet the minimum credit score set by the lender? If your credit score isn’t in the good-to-excellent range needed to get the best rate, you may want to consider an installment loan for a lower loan amount.
    • Can I secure the loan for a lower rate? Some lenders offer both secured and unsecured personal loans, with lower APRs when you secure the loan with collateral, such as a vehicle or savings account.

    Additional tips:

    • When applying, be sure to include all your income and assets — your savings and investment accounts and real for example — in the application to demonstrate your ability to repay the loan.
    • Apply for the smallest amount and shortest-term loan for your situation if possible. A longer repayment period means smaller monthly payments but a higher cost overall with the added interest payments.

What can you use a $15,000 personal loan for?

  • Get a personal loan for business use. This has several advantages over business loans, especially if you only need a small amount to get started. Compare personal loans versus business loans.
  • Complete a home repair or renovation. If you have a leaky roof or want to finish your basement, a $15,000 could cover all the necessary labor and materials. If you have enough equity in your home, you could consider a HELOC (home equity line of credit) or home equity loan.
  • Consolidate credit card debt. Whether you have balances on one or multiple credit cards, you can pay them off with a credit card consolidation loan and save money on interest while simplifying your payments.
  • Learn about even more personal loan uses. Personal loans can generally be used for just about any legitimate purposes. Find out some of the most common uses for personal loans and compare lenders.

Other things to keep in mind when applying for a $15,000 loan

  • Additional costs. Consider any fees or charges beyond the interest rate. The APR will give an idea of the total cost of the loan including required fees for things like origination. However, you may also want to keep a lookout for penalty fees that aren’t included in the APR for things like late payments or early payoff, if applicable.
  • Terms and conditions. Be sure to read the terms and conditions of the loan agreement for things about the loan that may not have been advertised. You can contact a customer support representative if you don’t understand something in the document. Things to flag may include hidden fees or privacy policies regarding your personal information.
  • Alternatives if you have bad credit. If it turns out a personal loan isn’t the best fit for you because of your credit score or eligibility, you can look into installments loans as another borrowing option. For example, you could get a $5,000 loan even if you have bad credit.