Universal Credit personal loans review: Qualify with a low credit score, but you could pay a high interest rate

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The bottom line: Universal Credit funds loans quickly, but also comes with high origination fees. It could be a good choice for borrowers who have a poorer credit history and need to take out a larger loan.

Universal Credit personal loans

Universal Credit Personal Loans

Fees

5.25% to 8% origination fee, undisclosed late fee

Regular APR

11.69% to 35.93%

Universal Credit Universal Credit Personal Loans
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3

/5

A five pointed star

A five pointed star

A five pointed star

A five pointed star

A five pointed star

3 out of 5 Stars

Editor's Rating

Apply for a loan

Universal Credit Personal Loans

Universal Credit Universal Credit Personal Loans
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3

/5

A five pointed star

A five pointed star

A five pointed star

A five pointed star

A five pointed star

3 out of 5 Stars

Editor's Rating

Apply for a loan

Fees

5.25% to 8% origination fee, undisclosed late fee

Regular APR

11.69% to 35.93%

Pros & Cons

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Pros

  • Quick funding
  • Low minimum credit score
  • Wide range of loan amounts
  • Rate discounts available

Cons

  • High minimum and maximum interest rates
  • Origination fees
  • No cosigned loans available
  • Not available in all states

Details

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More Information

  • Loan amounts range from $1,000 to $50,000
  • Repayment term lengths are between 3 to 5 years
  • You'll receive money within a day of application approval
  • Unavailable in Iowa, West Virginia, and Washington, DC.
  • Rate discount if you use a loan to consolidate high-interest debts, as well as one for setting up AutoPay

Pros and cons of Universal Credit personal loans

Pros

  • Fast funding. After you accept your loan offer, you will likely get your money within a day of clearing the verification process.
  • Low minimum credit score needed. You only need a minimum credit score of 560 to get a loan from Universal Credit. However, the lower your score, the higher the likelihood you'll get a worse rate.
  • Wide range of loan amounts. You have the option to borrow between $1,000 to $50,000 with Universal Credit, which allows many types of borrowers to take out a loan from the company. 
  • Multiple rate discounts available. You're able to get a rate discount if you use a loan to consolidate high-interest debts, as well as one for setting up AutoPay. The exact rate discount depends on a company algorithm. 

Cons

  • High minimum and maximum interest rates. Universal Credit's rate are particularly high, especially when compared to some of the lenders in our best personal loan lender guide.
  • Hefty origination fees. You'll pay an origination fee between 5.25% and 8%, which is very high. Some other lenders don't charge an origination fee at all.
  • No co-signed loans available. If you're looking to add a co-borrower to increase your chance of loan approval or get a lower rate, you'll have to choose a different lender. 
  • Not available everywhere. Universal Credit personal loans are unavailable in Iowa, West Virginia, and Washington, DC.

Compare personal loan rates:

Who is Universal Credit best for?

Universal Credit is best for borrowers with poor credit who likely couldn't qualify for a loan elsewhere. Borrowers with good credit will likely find lower rates with another lender, as Universal Credit's minimum APR is higher than a lot of its competitors' APRs.

Universal Credit may also be a good choice for borrowers who need a sizable chunk of cash, as you're able to take out up to $50,000 with the lender. Its $1,000 minimum loan amount is pretty accessible to borrowers on the other end of the spectrum who only need a bit of cash to tide them over. 

How Universal Credit personal loans compare

Universal Credit Logo
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Universal Credit

The Avant Personal Loans logo.
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Avant

OneMain Financial Logo
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OneMain Financial

Editor's rating

3.00

Editor's rating

3.75

Editor's rating

3.00

APR

11.69% to 35.93%

APR

9.95% to 35.99%

APR

18% to 35.99%

Check rates

Check rates

Check rates

All three companies offer same-day or next-day funding. 

The minimum loan term for Avant and OneMain Financial is two years, and the maximum term is five years. Universal Credit has repayment lengths between three to five years. If you want a repayment term longer than five years, you'll have to look elsewhere. 

OneMain Financial has an origination fee of up to 10%, while Universal Credit has an origination fee up to 8%. Avant charges an administration fee (which is their name for an origination fee) of up to 4.75%. Depending on your credit score and other financial factors, this could eat into a significant portion of your loan proceeds — Avant may be the best choice because its fee maximum is the lowest.   

Is Universal Credit trustworthy?

Universal Credit has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, a nonprofit organization focused on consumer protection and trust. The BBB determines its ratings by looking at a company's response to customer complaints, its honesty in advertising, and its transparency about business practices.

Universal Credit hasn't been involved in any recent controversies, so you may feel comfortable borrowing from the lender. Keep in mind that a clean history and top-notch BBB score doesn't guarantee you'll have a good relationship with the company, so also reach out to others who have used Universal Credit before to hear their first-hand experiences. 

Frequently asked questions

What credit score do you need for Universal Credit?

You need a minimum credit score of 560 for Universal Credit. Many other lenders require a higher score, so this could be a good choice if you have bad credit. Be careful — the lower your credit score, the more likely you'll be saddled with a high interest rate, which could cost you over the duration of your loan. 

How long does it take to get a loan from Universal Credit?

After your loan application is approved and you accept its terms, you should receive your money within one business day. If you choose to have your funds sent directly to your creditors to pay them off, it may take up to two weeks for the transaction to clear. 

Does Universal Credit do a hard inquiry?

When you check your rates with Universal Credit, the company will only perform a soft credit inquiry, which allows the lender to see your credit history but doesn't impact your score. After you accept your loan offer, Universal Credit will conduct a hard inquiry which may negatively impact your credit score.

Can you pay a Universal Credit loan back early?

Yes, you can repay a Universal Credit loan early with no penalty. 

Ryan Wangman is a junior reporter at Personal Finance Insider reporting on personal loans, student loans, student loan refinancing, debt consolidation, auto loans, RV loans, and boat loans. He is also a Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF).

In his past experience writing about personal finance, he has written about credit scores, financial literacy, and homeownership. He graduated from Northwestern University and has previously written for The Boston Globe. 

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