Loans for Low Income in Madison – Personal Loans for a Tight Budget

Madison Wisconsin City

Those with low incomes are often the people who need loans the most, but they find them the hardest to get. Lenders will assess borrowers in several ways, including their annual income and debt-to-income ratio (DTI).

Borrowers without much disposable income, such as those with low-income families, are deemed the highest risks. Lenders know that offering a loan to a low-income borrower means there is a chance the borrower will not be able to make their monthly loan payment during their loan term.

Securing a low-income loan may be challenging, but they are not entirely impossible. Here we will walk you through what you need to know in order to secure a personal loan and also offer some tips for what steps you can take if your personal loan application is rejected.

Loans for Low Income in Madison

What Do Lenders Consider a Low Income?

There is no one set figure that classifies a borrower as “low income,” and the figures may vary from lender to lender.

However, you can always look at your state’s area median income as a guide, and consider whether your current income has you falling above or below that number.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median household income for the United States is $62,843. If your median household income is $30,000, you can be fairly certain a borrower would classify you as “low income.”

This does not mean an automatic rejection when it comes to your loan application, but it does mean you are facing an uphill battle in the process.

The good news is there are some participating lenders who will work with borrowers who have incomes as low as $20,000. This means it’s entirely possible to secure a low-income home loan, repair loan, or other forms of financial relief.

Before you approach a potential financial institution for your loan options, you will need to do some prep work to ensure your application is accepted.

Copper-colored Coin Lot

How to Get a Personal Loan if You Have a Low Income

Because you will never know until you try, now is the time to apply for a personal loan. Even with a low income, you can and should still apply for a loan if you really need the funds and have no other savings or ways to manage your expenses. Here are the steps you should take when you are ready to move forward:

1. Shop Til You Drop!

In this case, we mean shop around for the best loan—we certainly do not mean you should add more debt. Check out the rates available from different financial institutions for their offered loan program.

Be sure you also investigate their fees and read consumer reviews. You may want to find a program that has benefits such as loan forgiveness, payment assistance, and other perks that will make your monthly payment easier.

2. Apply

Once you have found the best possible options, follow the personal loan application process and submit your information so the lender can assess you as a potential borrower.

You will need to provide pay stubs as well as some other financial documentation. Be sure you submit every item the lender requests in the application; missing documents could slow down the application process.

3. Sign

If your personal loan application is accepted you will need to sign a loan agreement, but you should only do this after reviewing the fine print carefully. If you are a first-time borrower or at all unsure about the loan, ask a trusted family member or friend with financial expertise to review the agreement with you before you sign.

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I Am Unemployed: Can I Get a Personal Loan?

The answer to this question is yes, with some specific conditions. Being unemployed does not mean you will automatically be rejected in a personal loan application; however, you will need to show the lender you have some type of income, be it a pension, government benefits, or some other form of funding that would ultimately enable you to meet the financial requirements of your loan and make your monthly payments.

Additionally, self-employed people face a challenge with lenders who would typically ask for pay stubs in the loan application process. In this case, a self-employed individual may be able to satisfy the application requirements with copies of bank statements or tax returns instead of the usual pay stubs.

What Can I Do If My Application is Rejected?

It can be extremely discouraging to face rejection in the loan application process, but borrowers should not give up altogether. There are some proactive steps you can take to improve your chances of being accepted the next time.

Work on Your Credit Score

You can always obtain a copy of your credit report at, and any borrower should know where she stands in terms of credit score before applying for a personal loan.

You can improve your score by making on-time payments for any accounts you have already opened, paying down high balances, and making sure you have the right mix of credit.

It may seem counterintuitive to open a new credit account to help your score, but in some cases, this actually works to reverse bad credit (as long as you make your payments on time, every time).

Find a Loan Cosigner

If you have a family member or friend in better financial standing who would be willing to cosign your loan, this could increase your chances of acceptance. It could also lower the interest rate attached to the loan.

Seek Other Resources for Financial Help

If your loan application is rejected and you are in a dire situation with expenses you cannot cover (especially in cases where you may be facing unexpected medical bills), look into charitable financial aid organizations in your area that may be able to provide short-term assistance.

Alternatives to Personal Loans

Finally, there are also some alternatives you can try, such as payday loans or title loans (if you have a lien-free title to an automobile), but these should be last-ditch efforts as they have incredibly high-interest rates.

Credit unions often provide better interest rates to borrowers than other banks, and seeking a personal loan from a credit union, even with a low income, could be the best place for you to start.


What Is a Good APR on a Personal Loan?

What Is a Good APR on a Personal Loan

The process of taking out a personal loan can be overwhelming for many people. From worrying about whether your loan application will be approved to combing through the fine print and understanding loan terminology, the experience can be a daunting one.

Personal loans can be attached to some exciting and joyous periods in our lives (when we are seeking a loan for a wedding or a car loan for a new ride), or they can be linked to incredibly difficult times (when we need a cash advance to help with sudden and unexpected medical expenses, for example).

Whatever the reason that prompts you to apply for a loan, a basic understanding of how personal loans work can ease your mind in the process and help prepare you to choose the best possible loan for your circumstances.

That choice could be dictated by the loan with the best APR, which leads us to the question: “What is a good APR on a personal loan?” In order to answer that, we will start with a basic understanding of how APR works.

APR: What Is It and How Does it Work?

APR stands for “annual percentage rate,” referring to the interest rate and fees charged in conjunction with a loan, whether it is a cash loan or a loan of goods or assets (like an automobile). Most consumer loans use an APR rate, which does not compound interest.

Lenders are required to disclose APR to borrowers. This was a significant 20th-century initiative with the Truth in Lending Act in 1968, which was created to protect consumers.

Today’s loans are much more transparent than in the past; however, this does not mean some consumers are still unclear on how APR works or sign on to loans without researching all of the possibilities for securing a good interest rate.

APR can be calculated with these steps:

  • Add the total interest paid over the life of the loan with any loan fees
  • Divide that number by the amount of the loan
  • Then divide that number by the term of the loan expressed in the number of days
  • Multiply that number by 365 to generate an annual rate
  • Finally, multiply that number by 100 to turn it into a percentage

What is the Average APR on Personal Loans?

The major credit bureaus report 9.41% as the average interest rate on an APR loan rate on personal loans, with your credit score being the main driver in terms of how the lender calculates your percentage.

Consumers with a solid credit history can expect an APR of 15% or less, but those with a poor or nonexistent credit history could be faced with an APR as high as 60% or more.

Basically, the higher the risk you are as a borrower, the higher your APR will be on a personal loan. To ensure you are getting good credit card apr, be sure to keep the average credit card apr in mind and compare rates among lenders.

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Factors That Affect Your APR

There are many factors that lenders place a heavy focus on when determining your APR. Your credit history, for example, is of great importance.

All lenders will look at your credit report to determine if you have good credit or bad credit. You may want to look into this yourself before looking to secure a loan, in case you need to take steps to improve your score.

There are also several other important factors you should be aware of before submitting a loan application.

Annual Income

Before a lender will agree to offer you a loan or establish the APR, they will want to review your income. In addition to assessing you by your credit score, the lender will consider whether your income will enable you to pay back the loan. You will need to provide proof of income with pay stubs or other documentation required by the lender.

Debt to Income Ratio

Even if your income is relatively high, it may be offset negatively in the lender’s assessment by a high amount of debt. Your debt-to-income ratio (DTI) is another way to predict your ability to repay a loan.

This figure is calculated by taking all of the debt payments you make each month (such as your mortgage loan, credit card debt, student loan, and auto loan payments) and then dividing the total of those bills by your gross monthly income.

A higher DTI will be a red flag for a lender—indicating you are already close to maxed out on debt and it is likely you would struggle to make the payments every billing cycle. A lower DTI is a promising sign for a lender, and in turn, it would help you secure a lower interest rate.

Loan Cosigner

If your credit and income history do not make you the best candidate for a personal loan, you may be able to improve your odds by adding a cosigner.

This may be a family member with better credit who is willing to sign on to the loan with you, and their willingness to assume responsibility for the debt could result in a lender lowering APR.

Person with Cash and Calculator App

How To Compare Personal Loans: Good APR and More

Before you sign on the dotted line, you should be sure you have compared loan options to find the one that works best for you.

The best APR you can get is indeed a priority, but there are also other factors you should compare. Use this checklist when assessing the personal loans before making your final decision:

APR: If your credit history is good, then a good APR will be under 20%, and excellent credit will be under 10%.

Loan Term: Go for the shortest term you can afford, which will lower your APR.

Monthly Payments: Be sure the monthly payment is an amount you can afford while keeping up with all of your other financial obligations.

Fees: This is where the fine print is incredibly important. Be sure you understand every fee that is attached to the loan, including things like penalties for an early payoff, any interest charge, or an annual fee. Ask the lender to review every fee in detail before you agree.

Discounts: Wherever possible, try to take advantage of discounts that could be available from lenders. For example, you might be eligible for better rates by using a bank or credit union where you already have a checking or savings account.


How to Get a Car Loan with No Credit History – All the Information You Need

Get a Car Loan

Job seekers, who face one rejection after another because they lack experience are often left to wonder in frustration, “How can I gain any experience if no one gives me a shot?”

There is a similar frustration for young adults when it comes to credit. How can one establish a credit history, proving they will pay back their debts, if no one will give them a loan in the first place?

Many people stress over whether they have good credit or bad credit, but it becomes even more stressful when you don’t have credit at all. When it comes to lenders, a nonexistent credit history lumps a borrower in a similar category as those with bad credit, which seems unfair but it is a reality. If lenders cannot see evidence that you have a track record of paying your debts, they see you as a risk.

For young adults who need to purchase a car, either to commute to college or work or both, this can be particularly frustrating. A car loan may seem impossible to secure without an established credit history.

While it is difficult it is not entirely possible, and we will walk you through what you need to know about getting a car loan with no credit.

Option 1: Finance through Your Bank or Credit Union

Since most young adults have a checking and/or savings account, even if they have not yet opened lines of credit, you can go to your bank and ask if you can prequalify for a car loan, which in turn will dictate your budget when you go car shopping.

Credit unions often offer financing options with lower interest rates, so if you can qualify for membership in one, this can be a great place to start. In addition to banks and credit unions, you can also investigate online lenders.

A word of caution when it comes to any online lender is to research thoroughly and look at customer reviews. Beware of giving out your personal and financial details too quickly, before verifying the lender is credible and reliable as you pursue auto financing options.

Spilled Coins from the Jar

Option 2: Finance through the Dealership

In some cases, buyers will finance a car loan directly through the dealership. This may seem like the easiest car financing option to buy a car, by choosing your vehicle and working out a financial arrangement all in one place, but it does not come without a cost.

The dealer is essentially the “middleman” between you and a lender. Even though fast loan approval feels nice, they will often give you a higher interest rate on top of what would already be attached to the loan. A lower interest rate is what you should be looking for, so pay close attention to financing terms when going through a dealership!

Option 3: Attach a Co-Signer to Option 1 or 2

Whether you finance through a bank, credit union, or auto dealer, you may be able to secure a much better interest rate if you bring on a cosigner.

This would be someone else with an established and perfect credit history (or at least, a good credit score) who would also be responsible if the debt was not repaid.

The lender would be more likely to extend the loan in this case, since someone with a positive credit rating is now invested in the ultimate repayment of the loan.

These three options may help you secure a car loan with no credit if you absolutely need to move forward with one before establishing credit. A fourth option we want to point out is that you could simply wait.

Should I Wait?

Waiting may not be the answer for everyone, but it is worth considering. If there is any way to utilize public transportation, carpools, etc. to get to your work and school, it may serve you well to try and establish credit before seeking a car loan. Here are some ideas for what you can do to be proactive during this waiting period:

Save Every Extra Penny

If you can put aside some money long enough to save up a substantial down payment, this could have a huge benefit when it comes to purchasing your car. You may be able to negotiate a much better deal overall, and you would not need to take as long to pay off your loan.

Apply for a Secured Credit Card.

You can start to build a credit history with a secured card (one that you pay a deposit to open).

Hone Your Negotiation Skills

While your limited credit history may mean you are stuck with higher interest rates on auto loans, you could at least find ways to lower the overall purchase price. Negotiating for a lower purchase price should always be a priority among new (and used) car buyers.

The Six-Month Mark and Credit Scores

Once you have opened a line of credit, such as a secured credit card, it will take approximately six months to establish a credit history. This is when you should start to check your credit score, and you should continue to monitor it as you prepare to try for an auto loan.

FICO scores are broken out into five categories, outlined below. You will not jump right to the excellent tier after six months, but over time you can get yourself into the top two tiers with on-time payments and a good mix of credit accounts.

Car Loans with No Credit History

300-579: Very Poor

Borrowers in this range have a bad credit score and are typically rejected by lenders. If they are approved, they will likely be required to pay some type of initial fee or upfront deposit to secure a loan.

580-669: Fair

Borrowers who fall into this category may also be referred to as “subprime borrowers.”

670-739: Good

In this range, borrowers are more likely to be approved for loans, but not always at the best rates.

740-799: Very Good

This category finds borrowers receiving much better interest rates on loans.

800-850: Exceptional

This is the ideal scenario for a borrower, and a lender, too, who has great assurance the money will be paid back.

Car Loans with No Credit History: Final Thoughts

It will not be easy to get a car loan with no credit history, so wait and establish a credit history first if you can.

If this is out of the question, be sure you fully understand the terms of the loan before you sign, knowing that interest rates and other penalties will be high. You must have a solid plan in place to repay that car loan so it does not damage your credit history as soon as it starts.


Keys to Successful Personal Financial Management

Many people find the topic of financial management to be completely overwhelming but don’t allow yourself to get discouraged and disheartened.

No matter what your personal financial situation looks like today, one of the best ways to successfully manage your money is to adopt a continuous and proactive commitment to improvement. Continue reading Keys to Successful Personal Financial Management


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A credit report shows your bill payment history, current debts, and other financial information. Companies and lenders use this credit report to calculate your credit score.

VantageScore and FICO are the two main credit scoring models. In each model, the credit score ranges are 300 for the lowest and 850 for the highest. Is it possible to earn a perfect credit score? Continue reading What is the Best Credit Score – Can You Reach ‘Perfect’?


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Whatever is causing your anxiety, the truth is there is no better time than the present to get a grip on personal finance. Once you get the ball rolling, you will soon wonder why you waited so long to form healthy financial habits.

To help you get started, we have assembled 19 tips to help you meet your financial goals. Continue reading How to Manage Your Money: 19 Tips to Do it Right


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DCCU staffer shares personal story of how she is getting out of a financial hole.
DCCU’s Alyssa H.

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Advice from Dane County Credit union about breaking the payday loan cycle.
Break the payday loan cycle.

Instead of turning to a payday loan advance outlet for fast cash, consider the options for credit union personal loans in Madison and save yourself a LOT of money.

Typically payday is a day all workers look forward to. Who can complain about getting paid for all the hard work you put in at your job? But unfortunately, for some people, payday also means paying off what’s called a payday loan. Continue reading Personal Loans in Madison Help Break Payday Loan Cycle


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DCCU consolidation loans
Simplify with a consolidation loan at DCCU.

Benefit from a Consolidation Loan

Mention the word “holidays” and immediately you think of good food, good friends and many family traditions. But you may also think of those holiday charges recently appearing on your credit card statements. Maybe you saved up for these expected expenses but if you’re like me (and most consumers) you ended up over budget and it’s time to look at a consolidation loan. Continue reading Here’s A Quick Way to Simplify Your Financial Life