If your FICO score is between 350 and 579, which is considered bad or poor credit, you typically won't qualify for a personal loan unless you apply with a co-signer. Although some personal loans require a credit score of at least 670, many lenders, including those on this list, offer loans to individuals with scores of 580 and 600.

Best fast personal loans in South Africa

Company Advisor Rating Loan Amounts View More


Loan amount R100 – R250,000. Repayment terms can range from 3 – 72 months


The maximum annual interest rate including fees is 27.5%. Repayment terms can range from 1 – 72 months.


From R 500 to R 8,000; loans with flexible terms up to 37 days. Get your payday finance sorted with just a few required documents.


Bring a smile to your dial with a Boodle quick loan.

Best fast business loans in South Africa

Company Advisor Rating Loan Amounts View More
Improve your cash flow in under 24 hours. Access between R20,000 and R5,000,000 in business finance with a Bridgement facility.
We move as fast as your business. Apply today with absolutely no commitment and get access to R10,000 – R5,000,000

Interest rates on personal loans vary based on your credit score and other qualification criteria. With damaged credit, you shouldn't expect to receive the lowest rates or most favorable terms.

For those with bad credit, finding the lowest rates isn't usually the priority; instead, look for a lender willing to work with your credit score. If you have multiple options, compare loan limits and interest rates to choose the one that best meets your needs.

Tips for Comparing Personal Loans for Bad Credit

Here are some tips for comparing personal loans for bad credit:

  1. Compare the Highest Interest Rates: Interest rates are heavily influenced by your credit score, and with bad credit, you’re likely to get a rate at the upper end of the spectrum. When evaluating personal loans for bad credit, focus on comparing the maximum rates.

  2. Prequalify When Possible: Many lenders offer the option to prequalify for a loan. This involves providing details like your income, loan purpose, and housing situation to receive information on potential loan limits, rates, and repayment options. Prequalifying only requires a soft credit check, which won’t affect your credit score, allowing you to explore the best rates without risk.

  3. Check for Additional Fees: Some lenders may charge fees such as origination fees, late payment fees, or prepayment penalties, while others may not. When comparing bad credit personal loans, examine the fee structures in addition to the interest rates.

  4. Assess the Lender’s Customer Support: Before finalizing a loan agreement, consider the quality of customer support provided by the lender. Good customer service can be crucial if you encounter payment issues or financial difficulties during the repayment period. Review the lender’s support resources and read customer reviews to ensure they are a good fit for your needs.

Comprehensive Guide to Bad Credit Loans in South Africa

Understanding Bad Credit Loans

Bad credit loans are designed for individuals with low credit scores, often due to past financial difficulties. These loans typically come with higher interest rates and stricter terms to offset the lender's risk.

Interest Rates for Bad Credit Loans

Interest rates for bad credit loans can be significantly higher than those for individuals with good credit. Rates often range from 20% to 60%, depending on the lender and the borrower's credit profile.

Fees for Bad Credit Loans

In addition to high interest rates, bad credit loans may include various fees such as origination fees, late payment fees, and prepayment penalties. It's essential to understand these costs before committing to a loan.

Steps to Obtain a Loan With Bad Credit

1. Check your credit score and report for accuracy.
2. Research and compare lenders who specialize in bad credit loans.
3. Gather necessary documentation, such as proof of income and identification.
4. Apply for the loan, providing all required information.
5. Review the loan terms carefully before accepting.

Defining a Bad Credit Score

A bad credit score is generally considered to be below 600. Scores in this range indicate a higher risk to lenders, often resulting from late payments, defaults, or high debt levels.

Average Personal Loan Interest Rates by Credit Score

– Excellent (750+): 5% – 12%
– Good (700-749): 12% – 20%
– Fair (650-699): 20% – 30%
– Poor (600-649): 30% – 40%
– Very Poor (below 600): 40% – 60%

Five Types of Loans for Bad Credit

1. Secured & Unsecured Personal Loans for Bad Credit

Secured loans require collateral, reducing the lender's risk and potentially offering better terms. Unsecured loans do not require collateral but come with higher interest rates and stricter eligibility criteria.

2. Student Loans for Bad Credit

Student loans for bad credit are available through government programs and some private lenders. Federal student loans typically do not require a credit check, making them accessible for those with poor credit.

3. Auto Loans for Bad Credit

Auto loans can be obtained with bad credit, though they often come with higher interest rates. Making a larger down payment can help reduce the loan amount and improve approval chances.

4. Payday Loans for Bad Credit

Payday loans are short-term, high-interest loans designed to be repaid on the borrower's next payday. While they are easy to obtain, they can lead to a cycle of debt due to their high costs and short repayment periods.


EarnIn is an app that allows users to access their earned wages before payday without traditional loan terms or high interest rates. This can be a helpful alternative for those needing short-term financial assistance.

5. Home Equity Loans & HELOCs for Bad Credit

Home equity loans and HELOCs use your home as collateral. These options can offer lower interest rates compared to unsecured loans, but carry the risk of losing your home if you default.

Sources for Loans With Bad Credit

Online Personal Loans for Bad Credit

Many online lenders specialize in offering personal loans to those with bad credit. These platforms often provide quick approval and funding, making them a convenient option.

In-Person Lenders for Bad Credit Loans

Traditional banks and credit unions may offer bad credit loans, though their approval process is often more stringent. Local lenders can provide a more personalized service and potentially better terms for established customers.

Qualifying for a Loan With Bad Credit

To qualify for a loan with bad credit, improve your chances by:
1. Demonstrating stable income.
2. Reducing existing debt.
3. Providing collateral.
4. Applying with a co-signer.
5. Showing a history of timely payments on other debts.

Recognizing Bad Credit Loan Scams

Be cautious of lenders that guarantee approval without a credit check, charge upfront fees, or pressure you into taking a loan. Legitimate lenders will provide clear terms and conditions and will not demand fees before approval.

Alternatives to Personal Loans for Bad Credit

Credit Union Loans

Credit unions often offer more favorable terms for members with bad credit. They may provide lower interest rates and fees compared to traditional banks.

Secured Loans

Secured loans use an asset as collateral, which can help lower interest rates and improve approval odds. Common collateral includes vehicles, savings accounts, or property.

Co-Signed Loans

Having a co-signer with good credit can improve your chances of approval and result in better loan terms. The co-signer agrees to repay the loan if you default.


Our analysis of bad credit loans involved researching various lenders, comparing interest rates, fees, and terms, and considering customer reviews and ratings. We aimed to provide a comprehensive overview of the best options available in South Africa for 2024.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can you get a personal loan with a credit score of 550?

Yes, it is possible to get a personal loan with a credit score of 550, though your options may be limited and interest rates higher. Consider secured loans or finding a co-signer to improve your chances.

How much money can you borrow with bad credit?

The amount you can borrow with bad credit varies by lender and your financial situation. Typically, lenders offer smaller loan amounts to those with poor credit, ranging from a few hundred to several thousand rands.

How do you fix bad credit to get a better loan?

To fix bad credit:

  1. Pay bills on time.
  2. Reduce debt levels.
  3. Check and correct credit report errors.
  4. Avoid opening multiple new credit accounts.
  5. Use a secured credit card to rebuild your credit.

Can you get a loan with no credit check?

Yes, some lenders offer no-credit-check loans, but they often come with high interest rates and fees. These loans should be approached with caution due to their potential for unfavorable terms.

Which loan company is best for bad credit?

The best loan company for bad credit depends on your specific needs and circumstances. Some well-regarded options include local credit unions, online lenders specializing in bad credit loans, and peer-to-peer lending platforms.

Is there risk in bad credit loans?

Yes, bad credit loans carry risks such as high interest rates, additional fees, and the potential for debt traps. It's crucial to carefully read the loan terms and ensure you can meet the repayment obligations.

What is the easiest type of loan to get with bad credit?

Payday loans and auto title loans are typically the easiest to obtain with bad credit due to minimal credit requirements. However, they come with high costs and should be used as a last resort.