Loan Reviews

Best Installment Payday Loan Alternatives for Bad Credit 2020

EPF Last Update: September 23, 2020

If you’re considering an installment payday loan, don’t waste your time! They’re extremely expensive and come with average APRs of 400%. Moreover, if you fall behind on your payments, you run the risk of falling into a vicious debt cycle. In 2020, the lending market has evolved and offers plenty of better alternatives. If you have bad credit, there are solutions for you. And while you may not get the lowest APR, your rate will still be much less than 400%!

Have a look at the options below.

All of the companies on our list are highly reputable and offer unsecured loans to those with bad credit. But, if you don’t qualify, consider a secured loan or a co-signer loan. If that fails, credit unions are your next best option as federal credit unions cap their APRs at 18%. As a last resort, look to alternative payday loans. Their APRs are more expensive, but they’re still much less than traditional payday loans.

Best Installment Loan Alternatives for Bad Credit 2020

Loan CompanyMin Credit ScoreAPRAmountApprovalTermsType
BadCreditLoans05.99% – 35.99%$500 – $10,000< 1 Day3 – 36 MonthsPersonal Loans for Really Bad Credit
OppLoans0Vary By State$1,000 – $5,000< 1 Day9 – 36 MonthsAlternative Payday Loans for Really Bad Credit
LendUp0Vary By State$100 – $1,000< 1 Day7 – 30 DaysAlternative Payday Loans for Really Bad Credit
CashUSA05.99% – 35.99%$1,000 – $10,000< 1 Day2 – 5 YearsSecured Personal Loans for Bad Credit
LendingTree5003.99% – 35.99%$1,000 – $50,000< 1 Day1 – 5 YearsPersonal Loans for Bad Credit
SignatureLoan05.99% – 35.99%$1,000 – $35,000< 1 Day2 – 5 YearsCo-Signer Loans for Bad Credit
Credible5005.34% – 35.99%$1,000 – $100,000< 1 Day90 Days – 72 MonthsPersonal Loans for Bad Credit
LendingPoint5859.99% – 35.99%$2,000 – $25,0001 – 3 Days3 – 5 YearsPersonal Loan for Bad Credit
PersonalLoans5805.99% – 35.99%$1,000 – $35,000< 1 Day90 Days – 72 MonthsPersonal Loans for Bad Credit

We always mention how the lending market has evolved in 2020. More than ever, companies are opening their doors to people with bad credit – offering higher approval rates and much better terms. Compare that with payday loans. Do you see any evolution? The only change they make is offering ‘installment payday loans.’ But, what are they? And are they a better option?

Well, at ElitePersonalFinance, we decided to investigate the matter!

But before we get into the details, we want to explain why traditional payday loans are so dangerous. First, payday loans have an average APR of 400%. Next, you can only borrow up to $1,000 and you need to repay the proceeds within two weeks. If you miss a payment, you’re charged a late payment fee and interest continues to accumulate on your loan. Moreover, payday lenders are extremely aggressive in debiting your checking account when this happens. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) found that payday loan borrowers incurred bank overdraft fees that were 185% higher than the average American. The point is: payday lenders want you to think they’re your only option. But stay with us and we’ll show you they’re not!

Back to installment payday loans.

They’re an improvement over traditional payday loans because they allow you to repay the proceeds over a few months. However, their APRs are still extremely high and the longer term actually costs you more money in the long-run. Because of this, we recommend you avoid them.

Pros of installment payday loans:

  • You can repay the funds over a longer term.
  • The longer term slightly lowers the risk of falling to a debt cycle, however it’s still very high.
  • Loans are designed for people with bad credit.

Cons of installment payday loans:

  • Average APRs are 400% making them extremely expensive.
  • There are hidden fees, rollover charges and no refinancing options.
  • Your total interest paid is through the roof!

Most people don’t realize that longer repayment period actually increase the total amount over the loan.

Have a look at the table below. Notice how increasing the repayment term causes your total interest paid to quickly get out of hand:

Amount:APR:Total Interest Paid: 1-Month Loan:Total Interest Paid: 3-Month Loan:Total Interest Paid: 12-Month Loan:

As you can see, your total interest paid increases significantly the longer you hold the loan. By extending the term of a $100 payday loan from one month to 12 months, you pay an extra $279.98 in interest.

The numbers are even more staggering for a $1,000 payday loan.

By borrowing $1,000 at an APR of 400% for 12 months, you end up paying $3,130.65 in interest. That works out to 3.13 times the amount you borrowed! Moreover, repaying that same loan in one month rather than 12 saves you $2,797.32 in total interest paid.

Best Alternatives to Installment Payday Loans

Because lenders offer so many different products, we place them all in different groups. Some loans have lower APRs while others have more or less risk:

Loan Type:Expected APR:Average Amount:Risk:
Unsecured Personal Loan15% – 35.99%< $1,000 – $5,000Low
Secured Personal Loan10% – 20%< $1,000 – $10,000Low
Credit Unions18% – 28%< $1,000 – $5,000Low
Alternative Payday Loans35.99% – 400%< $1,000 – $5,000Medium

Unsecured Personal Loans for Bad Credit. With rising competition and lenders now looking at more than just your credit score, unsecured personal loans are attainable if you have really bad credit. Your APR will be on the high-end, but personal loans never exceed 35.99%. We recommend you apply to as many lenders as you can. They perform a ‘soft’ credit pull so it won’t hurt your credit score. And the more lenders you have competing for your business, the better your chances of obtaining great terms.

Secured Personal Loans for Bad Credit. If you don’t qualify for an unsecured loan, move on to secured loans and co-signer loans. With secured loans, you have to put up collateral, but doing so increases your chances of being approved and lowers your APR. But remember, only take out a secured loan if you’re sure you can repay the funds on time. If you fall behind on your payments, you risk losing your property. Regarding a co-signer loan, it’s a great way to lower your APR. If you have a friend who’s willing to sign for you, it can make all the difference in obtaining an affordable loan.

Credit Union Cash Advances. If you don’t qualify for either of the loans above, credit unions are great fallback option. They’re non-profit enterprises, and because of this, their products are used to help those in the community rather than generate a profit. To qualify, however, you need to become a member. This typically requires a one-time fee of $25. But, their APRs tend to range from 18% to 28% and federal credit unions cap their APRs at 18%.

Alternative Payday Loans. We only recommend alternative payday loans as a last resort. If you’re unfamiliar, alternative loans are hybrid between standard personal loans and predatory payday loans. Personal loan APRs are capped at 35.99%, while payday loan APRs average 400%. Alternative loan APRs fall right in the middle. They range from 35.99% and up, but rates are often capped at 199%. Remember though, only apply for an alternative payday loan if you don’t qualify for a standard personal loan.

Personal Loans vs. Alternative Payday Loans vs. Installment Payday Loans

To understand the interest, have a look at the table below:

Type:Amount:APR:Total Interest Paid: 1-Month Loan:Total Interest Paid: 3-Month Loan:Total Interest Paid: 12-Month Loan:
Personal Loan$1,00030%$25.00$50.41$169.84
Alternative Payday Loan$1,000100%$83.33$171.11$619.91
Payday Loan$1,000400%$333.33$729.72$3,130.65

Without a doubt, payday loans are the most expensive. Even a 1-month payday loan – with a 400% APR – incurs $163.49 more in interest charges than a 12-month, 30% APR, personal loan. As for alternative payday loans, like we mentioned above, they fall right in the middle. And while $171.11 in interest is still expensive on a 3-month loan, the amount is $558.61 less than what you’ll pay with a comparable payday loan.

Best Alternative Loan Companies for Bad Credit


Loan amounts$500 – $10,000
Typical APR5.99% – 35.99%
Min Credit Score0
Time to funding1 Day
Loan terms3 – 36 months
Origination feeN/A
Debt-to-income ratioN/A
Check rates

BadCreditLoans is one of the top bad credit lenders in the marketplace and one we highly recommend. The company offers loans that range from $500 to $10,000, and no collateral is required. Because their APRs go as low as 5.99% and never exceed 35.99%, they’re a comparable option to standard personal loans. But keep in mind, if you have really bad credit, your APR will most likely be 15% or more. As well, most borrowers with really bad credit end up qualifying for $3,000 or less.


  • The company works with borrowers who have extremely bad credit.
  • There is no minimum credit score requirement and all borrowers are encouraged to apply.
  • APRs never exceed 35.99%, which makes them nearly identical to personal loans.


  • If you have a very low credit score, you APR will most likely fall between 15% and 35.99%.
  • You can borrow up to $10,000, but the company usually offers $3,000 or less to borrowers with really bad credit.
  • While everyone is encouraged to apply, not all borrowers will qualify.


Loan amounts$1,000 – $10,000
Typical APR5.99% – 35.99%
Min Credit Score0
Time to funding1 Day
Loan terms24 – 60 months
Origination feeN/A
Debt-to-income ratioN/A
Check rates

CashUSA is another go-to option if your credit is really poor. But unlike BadCreditLoans, you need upfront collateral to qualify. The process is similar to a car title loan. But, unlike car title loans CashUSA APRs range from 5.99% to 35.99%, which are much more affordable. The company offers loans that range from $500 to $10,000, and if you speak with them directly, you can qualify for a higher amount. But, like BadCreditLoans above, if you have really bad credit, you shouldn’t expect any more than $1,500. Before you apply though, consider the risks of using collateral. If you fall behind on your payments, you could end up losing your car. Thus, we only recommend CashUSA if you’re sure you can repay the debt on-time and in-full.


  • Loans are available to borrowers of all credit scores.
  • Because collateral is required, borrowers with bad credit have received APRs as low as 10%.
  • If you speak with the company directly, you may qualify for a loan in excess of $10,000.


  • By putting up your car as collateral, you risk losing it if you fall behind on your payments.
  • Most bad credit borrowers end up with an APR between 20% and 35.99%.
  • Everyone is eligible to apply, but CashUSA only approves select borrowers.


Loan amounts$1,000 – $50,000
Typical APR3.99% – 35.99%
Min Credit Score500
Time to funding1 Day
Loan terms1 – 5 years
Origination fee0 – 3%
Debt-to-income ratioN/A
Check rates

Unlike the two options above, LendingTree requires a minimum credit score of 500. But, because that’s still on the low-end for most applicants, it’s a great option if you need a bad credit loan. You can borrow as much as $50,000 and APRs are as low as 3.99%. However, if you have really bad credit, your APR will most likely fall between 20% and 35.99%.


  • LendingTree is name you know and trust.
  • Loans are available to borrowers with credit scores as low as 500.
  • APRs never exceed 35.99%, which makes them comparable to personal loans.


  • The company charges a loan origination fee that ranges from 0% to 3%; however, it’s still less than many other lenders.
  • If you have bad credit, expect an APR of 20% to 35.99%.
  • The company has its own eligibility criteria, so not all applicants qualify.


Loan amounts$500 – $5,000
Typical APR99% – 199%
Min Credit Score0
Time to funding1 Day
Loan terms9 – 36 months
Origination feeN/A
Debt-to-income ratioN/A

If you don’t qualify for the options above, you need to consider OppLoans. While its APRs range from 99% to 199%, it’s a great option for borrowers who can’t get a personal loan. You can borrow anywhere from $1,000 to $4,000, and loans are unsecured, which means no collateral is needed. You can repay the proceeds over nine months or up to 36 months and on-time payments will help build your credit score. For borrowers who qualify, there is also a refinancing option if you need additional funds or fall behind on your payments.


  • OppLoans offers a great middle-ground between personal loans and payday loans.
  • There is no credit score requirement and you never need any collateral.
  • It’s possible to refinance your loan if you suffer an unexpected emergency.


  • APRs are higher than personal loans, ranging from 99% to 199%.
  • You’re charged a loan origination fee of 0% to 3%, but it’s included in your APR.
  • Loans are not available in all states*

*As of today, OppLoans offers installment loans to residents in Alabama, California, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin. However, the company also offers loans through FinWise Bank – an entity OppLoans contracts to handle certain loan products. These loans are available to borrowers in Alaska, Arizona, California, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Washington and Wyoming. Its line of credit is only available to residents in Kansas, Tennessee and Virginia.


Loan amounts$100 – $1,000
Typical APR30% – 1252%
Min Credit Score0
Time to funding1 Day
Loan terms7 – 30 days
Origination feeVary
Debt-to-income ratioN/A

Similar to OppLoans, LendUp APRs fall in between personal loans and payday loans. For single-payment loans, APRs start at 134%, while installment loans have APRs that range from 30% to 180%. You can borrow anywhere from $100 to $1,000 and receive your funds in as little as one business day. To help borrowers obtain better terms, the company offers credit building solutions through its LendUp Ladder. As you make on time payments and complete its free education courses, you accumulate points that can be used to qualify for higher loan amounts and lower APRs.


  • There is no minimum credit score or annual income requirement.
  • Installment loans have affordable APRs that range from 30% to 180%.
  • You have access to free education courses that can help increase your credit score.


  • Single payment loans are extremely expensive with APRs starting at 134%.
  • While it varies by state, loan fees can reach upwards 20% of the amount borrowed.
  • Loans are not available in all states*

*As of today, LendUp loans are only available in California, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin


Despite being slightly better than traditional payday loans, installment payday loans shouldn’t be your first choice. In fact, they shouldn’t even be your last choice! That’s why we create this guide. We wanted to show you that there are alternatives available. And while ‘bad credit’ is based on how low your credit score actually is, there are much more affordable options out there. So, before you settle for a payday loan, follow our tips above. Start your search with unsecured personal loans. If that fails, move on to secured personal loans. If that doesn’t work, move on to a credit union cash advance. As a final option, opt for an alternative payday loan. Even then, you’ll end up with a ‘worst-case’ APR of roughly 200%. And considering payday loans have average APRs of 400% – on a 12 month loan – saving 200% on your APR will lower your total interest paid by more than 56%.

Recommended Articles


Can Alternative Payday Loans Save Those with Really Bad Credit Score?

EPF September 9, 2020

Do you know that even if you are with really really really bad credit, payday loans are NOT the last option for you to get a loan? No no, don’t go with payday loans! Payday loans are very expensive, lead...


Unique Ways to Qualify for Extremely Cheap Personal Loan Interest Rate, Even if You are With Bad Credit

EPF August 1, 2020

When you plan to use money that is not yours, you will be paying interest. But no one wants to pay high interest rates. In this article, we will give you advanced information on how to find the cheapest personal...