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A common requirement when applying for a personal loan is proof of steady income. This could be a challenge if you’re self-employed, especially if your income is irregular or difficult to prove.
However, there are several lenders that are willing to work with self-employed borrowers and that offer other ways to prove your income besides a typical pay stub or W-2.
Ready to find your personal loan? Credible makes it easy to find the right loan for you.
12 lenders that work with self-employed borrowers
While some lenders don’t offer personal loans to self-employed borrowers, there are several others that do. Here are Credible’s partner lenders that provide personal loans for the self-employed:
Personal loans from Avant are available for $2,000 to $35,000 with terms ranging from two to five years. If you’re self-employed, Avant requires that you submit your two most recent years’ complete, official tax documentation.
Axos Bank offers personal loans from $10,000 to $50,000 with repayment terms ranging from three to six years. Self-employed borrowers will need to provide their tax returns from the two most year periods to prove their income.
With Best Egg, you can borrow $2,000 to $50,000 and can choose a term of three or five years. Best Egg works with borrowers who have a variety of employment statuses, such as salaried, self-employed, or retired.
Be sure to check with Best Egg to see what documentation you’ll need to provide while self-employed.
Discover personal loans range from $2,500 to $35,000 and offer repayment terms of three to seven years. Self-employed borrowers will need to provide their two most recent years’ worth of tax returns to prove their income.
With LendingClub, you can borrow $1,000 to $40,000 with a repayment term of three or five years. If you’re self-employed, you’ll need to submit a recent tax return or other forms like a 1099 as proof of income.
LendingPoint offers personal loans from $2,000 to $36,500 with terms from two to six years. If you can verify that you earn at least $35,000 annually, then you might qualify for a LendingPoint loan as a self-employed borrower.
Personal loans from Marcus range from $3,500 to $40,000 and come with terms of three to six years. You’ll likely need to submit tax returns or other documentation to prove your self-employment income.
Payoff personal loans are available for $5,000 to $40,000 with repayment terms ranging from two to five years. Self-employed borrowers will need to submit the first two pages of IRS Form 1040 along with the first two pages of either the Schedule C or K1 form.
With Prosper, you can borrow $2,000 to $40,000 with a repayment term of three or five years. Prosper requires that borrowers have some form of annual income greater than $0 and will likely request recent tax returns or bank statements for verification — which means that self-employed borrowers might qualify.
SoFi offers personal loans from $5,000 to $100,000 with terms ranging from two to seven years. To potentially qualify for a loan, self-employed borrowers will generally need to show proof of consistent income through tax returns or bank statements.
In addition to income, SoFi will also consider your credit score, education, and whether or not you have a cosigner.
With Upgrade, you can borrow $1,000 to $50,000 with a repayment term of two, three, five, or six years. To apply, self-employed borrowers must provide their two most recent tax returns.
Upstart loans are available from $1,000 to $50,000 for terms from three to five years. If you’re self-employed, you’ll need to submit the previous year’s full tax return plus proof of recent income in the form of a digitally deposited check image or a business invoice.
Consider a cosigner
If you’re just starting out as being self-employed, then providing the commonly required two years’ worth of tax returns might be difficult.
In this case, applying for a personal loan with a cosigner could be a good option. Not all lenders allow you to apply with a cosigner, but some do.
Tip: Even if you don’t need a cosigner to qualify for a personal loan, having one could get you a lower interest rate than you’d get on your own.
Before you borrow, be sure to consider as many lenders as possible. This way, you can more easily find a loan with a good rate as well as favorable terms. Credible makes comparing lenders easy — you can see your prequalified rates from multiple lenders in two minutes.
How to get a personal loan when you’re self-employed
If you’re ready to take out a personal loan, follow these four steps:
- Shop around and compare lenders. Research and compare as many personal loan lenders as you can to find the right loan for you. Consider not only interest rates but also repayment terms, any fees charged by the lender, and requirements for self-employed borrowers. Also remember to check if the lender accepts cosigners, as having one might help you get approved if you’re having trouble proving your income.
- Choose your loan option. After comparing lenders, choose the loan option that best suits your needs.
- Complete the application. Once you’ve picked a lender, you’ll need to fill out a full application and submit any required documentation, such as tax returns or bank statements.
- Get your funds. If you’re approved, the lender will have you sign for the loan so your money can be sent to you. The time to fund for a personal loan is typically about one week — though some lenders offer fast personal loans that are funded as soon as the same or next business day after approval.
Tip: You typically need good to excellent credit to qualify for a personal loan. While some lenders offer personal loans for bad credit, these loans typically come with higher interest rates than good credit loans. If you’re struggling to get approved because of your credit, applying with a cosigner could improve your chances. Having a creditworthy cosigner might also qualify you for a better interest rate than you’d get on your own.
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Other ways to prove income
While traditionally employed borrowers can typically provide a pay stub or W2 to prove their income, you might need to rely on other types of documentation if you’re self-employed, such as:
- Tax statements: Providing your previous year’s tax return can help you show how much income you earn annually. If you don’t have a copy, you can check with your tax preparer, tax software provider, or the IRS.
- Bank statements: If you have income regularly deposited into your bank account, then you might be able to use bank statements as proof of income. You can typically get copies of past statements by visiting your bank or by downloading them from your online account.
- Business ledgers: If you own a small business, lenders might ask to see your business’s ledgers as proof of income. You might need to download or print several months’ worth of ledger entries to share with your lender — be sure to check with them to see exactly what you need to provide.
- Social Security or other government benefits: If you’re receiving government benefits like Social Security, these benefits could act as proof of regular income, even if you’re also self-employed. You can generally get a benefit verification letter from the appropriate government website, such as the Social Security website. You might also be able to request a verification letter by calling or visiting the government agency.
- Court-ordered agreements: If you receive alimony or child support, this could also be used as proof of income. You might need to share the court order with your borrower, along with proof of receipt of several months’ worth of benefits. Be sure to check with the lender to see what their exact requirements are.
Alternatives to personal loans
Personal loans aren’t the only way for self-employed individuals to borrow money. Here are a few other options to consider:
- Use a credit card. A credit card might be a good choice if you need to cover small or ongoing expenses as you can repeatedly draw on and pay off your credit line. Some cards come with a 0% APR introductory period, which means you could avoid paying interest if you repay your balance by the end of the period. However, if you can’t pay off your card in time, you could get stuck with some hefty interest charges.
- Tap into your home’s equity. If you own your home, you might be able to access your home’s equity through a home equity loan or home equity line of credit (HELOC). While these loans typically have lower interest rates than personal loans, keep in mind that you risk losing your house if you can’t make your payments.
- Take out a secured personal loan. While most personal loans are unsecured (meaning you don’t have to provide collateral), a secured personal loan requires collateral, such as a car, jewelry, or other item of value. Because there’s less risk to the lender, you might have an easier time qualifying for this type of personal loan if you’re self-employed. Just remember that if you can’t keep up with your payments, you could lose your collateral.
If you decide to take out an unsecured personal loan, remember to consider as many lenders as you can to find a loan that works for you. Credible makes this easy — you can compare your prequalified rates from multiple lenders in two minutes.
Ready to find your personal loan? Credible makes it easy to find the right loan for you.
About the author: Emily Guy Birken is a Credible authority on student loans and personal finance. Her work has been featured by Forbes, Kiplinger’s, Huffington Post, MSN Money, and The Washington Post online.
About Rates and Terms: Rates for personal loans provided by lenders on the Credible platform range between 3.49%-35.99% APR with terms from 12 to 84 months. Rates presented include lender discounts for enrolling in autopay and loyalty programs, where applicable. Actual rates may be different from the rates advertised and/or shown and will be based on the lender’s eligibility criteria, which include factors such as credit score, loan amount, loan term, credit usage and history, and vary based on loan purpose. The lowest rates available typically require excellent credit, and for some lenders, may be reserved for specific loan purposes and/or shorter loan terms. The origination fee charged by the lenders on our platform ranges from 0% to 8%. Each lender has their own qualification criteria with respect to their autopay and loyalty discounts (e.g., some lenders require the borrower to elect autopay prior to loan funding in order to qualify for the autopay discount). All rates are determined by the lender and must be agreed upon between the borrower and the borrower’s chosen lender. For a loan of $10,000 with a three year repayment period, an interest rate of 7.99%, a $350 origination fee and an APR of 11.51%, the borrower will receive $9,650 at the time of loan funding and will make 36 monthly payments of $313.32. Assuming all on-time payments, and full performance of all terms and conditions of the loan contract and any discount programs enrolled in included in the APR/interest rate throughout the life of the loan, the borrower will pay a total of $11,279.43. As of March 12, 2019, none of the lenders on our platform require a down payment nor do they charge any prepayment penalties.