Best for: Fast funding for bad credit
With Universal Credit’s online application process, you could potentially get your initial rate quote and your loan funded within one business day. With other lenders, the process could take up to seven days or more.
But Universal Credit is not a good fit for all borrowers. If you’re looking for a loan over $50,000, can’t qualify without a cosigner, or have excellent credit, your needs may be better served by a different personal loan lender.
In this review:
- What to consider before applying
- How to qualify
- How to take out a personal loan with Universal Credit
- How to contact Universal Credit
- How Universal Credit compares to other lenders
- How Universal Credit can improve
Universal Credit pros and cons
When deciding if getting a personal loan through Universal Credit is a good move for you, you’ll want to consider the following pros and cons:
- No prepayment penalty: You can pay off your loan early without paying a fee.
- Fast funding: Universal Credit can fund your loan within one day once your loan is approved.
- Low minimum loan amount: You can get a loan for as little as $1,000.
- Prequalifying won’t affect your credit: Universal Credit only does a soft inquiry into your credit history when you prequalify.
- No cosigners allowed: Without a cosigner, those with bad credit aren’t likely to qualify.
- Higher rates than competitors: With a high maximum APR (35.99%), bad credit borrowers might find better rates with another lender.
- High origination fee: Not only does Universal Credit charge an origination fee, but it could be as much as 9.99% of the total loan amount.
|APR range||11.69% - 35.99% APR7|
|Loan amount||$1,000 to $50,000|
|Min. credit score||560|
|Repayment terms||3, 5, or 7 years8|
|Time to get funds||Within one day, once approved9|
|Fees||Origination fees (5.25% to 9.99%)
Late payment fee
Universal Credit’s standout features
- Low minimum loan amounts: If you need a small loan amount, Universal Credit lets you borrow as little as $1,000. In other words, you won’t have to pay interest on more money than you actually need.
- Fast funding: Universal Credit offers fast funding, with a one day turnaround time (or less) between loan approval and funds deposited in your account. That said, your loan payout could be delayed if Universal Credit has trouble verifying the documents you provided to them or your bank account.
- Personal loans for bad credit: The minimum credit score required is 560. This is much lower than most other competitors’ minimums, which are typically higher than 600.
What to consider before applying for a Universal Credit personal loan
Before applying for a personal loan through Universal Credit consider the following:
- No cosigners allowed: Getting a cosigner is a common strategy that under-qualified borrowers use to get their loan approved. Unfortunately, Universal Credit doesn’t allow you to apply with a cosigner.
- High interest rates: Universal Credit’s interest rates are higher than many of its competitors, from [universal_credit_fixed]. If you have a less-than-favorable credit history, you may be able to find a better interest rate with one of Universal Credit’s competitors.
- Relatively short term limits: Universal Credit offers loan terms up to 60 months (5 years). Some competitors offer terms up to 7 years or longer.
How to qualify for a personal loan from Universal Credit
In order to get a personal loan from Universal Credit, you’ll need to meet its qualifications:
- Be 18+ years old (19+ if in Alabama)
- Be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or in the U.S. with a valid visa
- Have a valid e-mail address
- Have a bank account that can be verified
- Have a minimum credit score of 560
How to take out a personal loan with Universal Credit
Universal Credit advertises a three-step process:
- Get a rate quote: You’ll answer a few questions, including loan details and basic personal information, which can generate a rate quote within minutes.
- Accept an offer: If you like the rate and terms offered, select the loan. From there, you’ll need to wait on final approval and any requests for additional documentation from Universal Credit.
- If approved, get funded: Once your loan is approved, it could be funded within one day.
It is important to note that you may need to submit documents to Universal Credit before it can officially approve your loan, including proof of identity and proof of income.
How to contact Universal Credit
Through Universal Credit’s mobile app, you can manage your Universal Credit account 24/7. That said, its customer service team is also available to you via the following:
- Email: [email protected]
- Phone: (877) 418-9765
- Monday – Friday, 5 a.m. – 7 p.m. PT
- Saturday – Sunday, 6 a.m. – 5 p.m. PT
How Universal Credit compares to other lenders
We compared Universal Credit to other popular lenders — Discover and LightStream — so you can better see where they excel, and where they don’t.
For instance, Universal Credit has lower loan limits and credit minimums than both companies, but higher APRs and an origination fee.
|APR||11.69% - 35.99% APR7||7.99% - 24.99% APR||7.99% - 25.49% APR with autopay|
|Min. credit score||560||660||700|
|Loan Amounts||$1,000 to $50,000||$2,500 to $35,000||$5,000 - $100,000|
|Repayment terms||3, 5, or 7 years8||36 to 84 months||24 to 144 months|
|Fees||Origination fee: 5.25% to 9.99%|
Late payment fee (yes, but amount not reported)
|Late fee: $39||No fees|
|Discounts||Autopay||Not reported||Autopay discount: 0.50 percentage points|
|Time to fund||Within one day, once approved9||As soon as the next business day after acceptance||As soon as the same business day|
How Universal Credit can improve
Like most lenders, Universal Credit has room to improve.
- Eliminate origination fees: Since other lenders offer loans without origination fees, good credit borrowers are more likely to seek them out instead of Universal Credit.
- Allow cosigners: By allowing cosigners, Universal Credit could approve more personal loans for bad credit borrowers.
- Increase repayment terms: Providing repayment terms longer than five years could make it easier for applicants with a high debt-to-income ratio (DTI) to qualify.
Universal Credit FAQs
What types of personal loans does Universal Credit offer?
Universal Credit only offers one type of personal loan, a fixed-rate loan with payment terms of three to five years. That said, personal loans can be used for almost anything other than repaying student loans, a down payment on a home, and business expenses.
How does a Universal Credit personal loan affect my credit?
Getting a rate quote from Universal Credit won’t have an effect on your credit. Should you accept a rate offer and proceed with an application, Universal Credit will run a hard inquiry that could negatively impact your score by a couple of points.
Can I repay a personal loan from Universal Credit early?
With no prepayment penalty, Universal Credit allows you to pay off your loan early and won’t charge you fees for doing so. Many personal loan lenders don’t charge prepayment penalties, but it’s always best to check the fine print.
Credible evaluated the best personal loan lenders for fair credit based on factors such as customer experience, minimum fixed rate, maximum loan amount, funding time, loan terms, and fees. Credible’s team of experts gathered information from each lender’s website, customer service department, and via email support. Each data point was verified to make sure it was up to date.
Daria Uhlig has contributed to the reporting of this article.
7Personal loans made through Universal Credit feature Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) of 11.69%-35.99%. All personal loans have a 5.25% to 9.99% origination fee, which is deducted from the loan proceeds. Lowest rates require Autopay and paying off a portion of existing debt directly. Loans feature repayment terms of 36 to 60 months. For example, if you receive a $10,000 loan with a 36-month term and a 28.47% APR (which includes a 22.99% yearly interest rate and a 7% one-time origination fee), you would receive $9,300 in your account and would have a required monthly payment of $387.05. Over the life of the loan, your payments would total $13,933.62. The APR on your loan may be higher or lower and your loan offers may not have multiple term lengths available. Actual rate depends on credit score, credit usage history, loan term, and other factors. Late payments or subsequent charges and fees may increase the cost of your fixed rate loan. There is no fee or penalty for repaying a loan early. 8Your loan terms are not guaranteed and are subject to our verification and review process. You may be asked to provide additional documents to enable us to verify your income and your identity. You may be required to have some of your funds sent directly to pay off your credit cards. This rate includes an Autopay APR reduction of 0.5%. By enrolling in Autopay your payments will be automatically deducted from your bank account. Selecting Autopay is optional. Annual Percentage Rate is inclusive of a loan origination fee, which is deducted from the loan proceeds. Late payments or subsequent charges and fees may increase the cost of your fixed rate loan. Personal loans made by Universal Credit's lending partners. Information on Universal Credit's lending partners can be found at https://www.universal-credit.
The company above is one of Credible’s approved partner lenders. Because they compete for your business through Credible, you can request prequalified rates from them by filling out a single form. Then, you can compare your available options side-by-side. Requesting prequalified rates is free and doesn’t affect your credit score. Credible receives compensation if you close a loan with one of our partner lenders. The rates you receive and the fees you pay (if any) are not impacted by this compensation.