Installment Loans for Bad Credit

Even if you don't have the best credit score, you may still qualify for an Installment Loan. With an Installment Loan, you can take out a set amount of money at once and repay it over time via fixed payments. 

In this article, we answer these key questions: 

  • How do Installment Loans work? 
  • What is considered bad credit? 
  • Can I get an Installment Loan online? 
  • How do I apply for an Installment Loan for bad credit? 
  • How do I improve my credit? 

How do Installment Loans for bad credit work? 

Installment Loans are short-term, unsecured loans that let you borrow a lump sum of money. You’ll then pay back the loan in fixed monthly payments, also known as “installments.” Many lenders offer easy online applications, so you may be able to apply for an Installment Loan in just a few minutes. If approved, funds are typically deposited in your bank account the same day you apply or on the next business day. 

Direct lenders like Advance America consider your current income and employment situation rather than relying solely on your credit score when determining whether you qualify for an Installment Loan. This means you could still qualify with fair or poor credit. 

What is considered bad credit for Installment Loans? 

Most credit scores range from 300 to 850. The higher your credit score, the more responsible you appear as a borrower. 

Here's a look at the common credit score ranges and their ratings.

Credit ScoreRating
300-579Very Poor
740-799Very Good

If your credit score is on the low end, you may find it difficult to get approved for a personal loan through a bank or credit union. This is because lenders tend to view you as a risky borrower who may not repay their loan. 

But Advance America isn’t a traditional lender. We work with borrowers from all credit backgrounds, so you may still qualify for a Payday Loan, Installment Loan, or Line of Credit when you need money most

Can I get an Installment Loan with bad credit? 

You could still get approved for an Installment Loan even if you have bad credit. 

At Advance America, we approve borrowers with less-than-perfect credit every day. Instead, of relying solely on your FICO score, we consider other factors like your income and employment situation when determining your ability to repay your loan. So, if you have a steady income and request a loan amount you can afford to pay back, you’re likely eligible. 

Can I get one online? 

You can apply for an Installment Loan online, making this type of loan a convenient option for bad-credit borrowers. 

Once you’ve chosen a reputable lender, visit the website to begin your application. Fill out the online application form with details about yourself, your income, and your banking information. You won’t even need to leave home to apply for a loan and collect the funds. 

Loan options available for borrowers with bad credit

Comparing online Installment Loans for bad credit 

Not all bad-credit Installment Loans are created equal. That's why it's important to compare your options. When shopping around, pay attention to the following factors: 


The higher a loan’s interest rate, the more it will cost over the life of the entire loan. Unfortunately, in many cases, borrowers with bad credit will only qualify for high-interest loans. You may need to choose a small-dollar Installment Loan to keep the added interest within your budget. 


In general, the longer a loan’s term, the lower its monthly payments. While it’s easier to budget for payments spread out over a longer period, choosing a shorter loan term can save you money on interest charges. 

Depending on your state and loan amount, an Installment Loan from Advance America can last anywhere from 3 to 36 months. We are happy to work with you to make sure the repayment schedule fits your budget, so don’t hesitate to contact us or stop by your nearest store to speak with one of our knowledgeable staff. 

Lender reputation 

Some lenders are more reputable than others. You should always do your own research and read customer reviews to see which ones you can trust. 

Since 1997, we’ve been a leading provider of Installment Loans and other financial services. We are happy to help borrowers find a solution that meets their needs and budget – regardless of credit score – which is why we have earned the support of countless satisfied customers


In a perfect world, you'd make all your payments on time. Since this may not be realistic, you should familiarize yourself with any fees your lender may charge for missed or late payments. We’re always transparent about our Installment Loan fees, so you’ll know what you’re getting into the moment you sign your agreement. 

Installment Loans vs. Payday Loans 

While Installment Loans and Payday Loans are both loan options for people with bad credit, there are significant differences between them.

What They AreBorrowing LimitsHow Repayment Works
Installment Loans
Longer-term loans that allow you to borrow a set amount of money and repay it over time.Up to $3,000 (depends on your state of residence).You'll repay them over 3 to 36 months via fixed monthly payments.
Payday Loans
Short-term loans that help cover your expenses until you get your next paycheck.Up to $1,000 depending on your state.You'll pay them back typically within two to four weeks. This normally aligns with your pay dates.

Payday Loans for bad credit are often used for emergency expenses, so you can get the money you need now and pay it back on your next payday. 

Installment Loans for bad credit allow you to finance larger expenses – like a new appliance or home repair – by spreading out your payments over a timeline that meets your needs. 

Pros and cons 

As with all financial products, Installment Loans come with their own set of advantages and drawbacks. 


  • Flexible repayment terms: Repayment terms can range from 3 to 36 months, allowing you to choose a short- or long-term repayment period to meet your unique budget and preferences. 
  • Higher borrowing limits: Compared to other types of loans, which may only allow you to borrow a couple hundred dollars, an Installment Loan may offer higher borrowing limits. 
  • Fixed monthly payments: Since you'll pay back an Installment Loan through fixed monthly payments, it’s easier to budget for. 


  • Potential fees: Depending on your lender, you may have to pay an origination fee, prepayment penalty, and applicable late fees. Advance America, however, does not penalize you for paying off your loan early. 
  • Potential high interest: Loans for bad credit tend to have high interest rates compared to traditional loans, making them cost more in the long run. 

What can an Installment Loan for bad credit be used for? 

Home and car repairs 

Appliances and vehicles always break when we least expect them to. An Installment Loan for bad credit can help you out when you need new tires, have a leaky water heater, or need to replace your roof. 

Medical bills 

Even if you have health insurance, you may face an expensive medical bill at some point in time. An Installment Loan for bad credit can help you cover a high deductible or co-pay with ease. 

Unexpected expenses 

Maybe you need to pay for a loved one's funeral or take care of a larger-than expected tax bill. Whatever your unexpected expense may be, an Installment Loan for bad credit can be a quick solution, even if you don't have an excellent credit score. 

What you’ll need to apply 

Application requirements may vary by lender and your state of residence. In general, to get an Installment Loan for bad credit, you will need: 

  • A government-issued ID, like a driver’s license or passport 
  • Proof of income in the form of pay stubs, tax forms, or bank statements 
  • Social Security number 
  • Valid and active checking account 

How to apply 

Anyone can apply for an Installment Loan regardless of their credit score. Here’s what you need to do to apply: 

1. Compare Installment Loan options 

Don't settle for the first Installment Loan you find. Do your own research to compare options. Choose the one that offers fast approvals, lenient credit requirements, a borrowing limit that meets your needs, a competitive interest rate, and favorable terms. 

2. Prepare documents 

Before you apply for an Installment Loan for bad credit, gather a driver's license or another type of government ID, banking details for direct deposit, your Social Security number, and recent proof of income. 

3. Submit application 

Some lenders will only allow you to apply online, while others give you the option to apply in person. Regardless, be sure to fill out the Installment Loan application thoroughly and accurately to avoid delays in your approval decision. 

4. Receive funding 

Once approved for an Installment Loan for bad credit, you’ll receive the funds according to your lender’s timeline. 

5. Repay the Installment Loan for bad credit 

Make every effort to make your Installment Loan on time every month. You may want to enroll in automatic withdrawals or set up calendar reminders to avoid missing a payment. 

How to improve your credit 

Even though you may be able to get an Installment Loan with bad credit, it's wise to improve your credit before you borrow money. Improving your credit score can help you increase the amount you can borrow, while making approval for your loans and lines of credit even simpler. 

Here are some tips that can help you boost your credit score: 

Pay your bills on time 

Remember to pay your mortgage, rent, credit cards, car loans, and other bills on time every month. Even one missed payment can lower your credit score, so it's important to keep your bills top of mind. Consider automating your payments to make sure you don't miss any payments. 

Keep your credit balances low 

Try to keep your credit balances to no more than 30% of the credit available to you. For example, if you have a credit card with a $5,000 limit, your balance should never be more than $1,500. By either paying down your debt or increasing your credit limits, you can improve this credit utilization ratio, which can help you increase your credit score. 

Check your credit reports 

Go to to get copies of your credit reports from the three major bureaus: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Take a close look at each report and dispute any errors or inaccuracies: fixing incorrect reporting can immediately boost your credit score. 

With your credit report in hand, you can also identify the reasons for a bad credit score to help you avoid that type of credit behavior going forward. 

Don't apply for new accounts too often 

Every time you apply for a new line of credit, a hard inquiry shows up on your credit report and has the potential to lower your score temporarily. For this reason, don't apply for new credit unless you absolutely need to. 

Apply for an Advance America Installment Loan 

Whether you have good credit, bad credit, or no credit at all, you may still qualify for an Installment Loan from Advance America. Remember, we look at your employment status, income, and other factors beyond your FICO credit score when considering you for an Installment Loan. 

At the end of the day, we strive to find you a money solution that helps you weather whatever financial storm you may be experiencing. Visit your local Advance America or start your online application now.

About the Author

Jalin Coblentz has contributed to Advance America since 2023. His experiences as a parent, full-time traveler, and skilled tradesman give him fresh insight into every personal finance topic he explores.

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Since 1997, Advance America has helped millions of hardworking people with a variety of financial solutions including Payday Loans, Online Loans, Installment Loans, Title Loans and Personal Lines of Credit.
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