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Best medical loans

Compare the best lenders that help with medical expenses

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Written by Kevin Payne
Edited by Jana Lynch

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SoFi and LightStream
calculator and stethoscope on top of loan papers

A medical loan is generally an unsecured personal loan used to pay for medical expenses. Medical loans are typically available through banks and online lenders. You can use loan funds received to pay for hospital bills, medical procedures and other health care costs.


Key insights

  • Our picks for medical loans are available for up to $100,000.
  • Good lenders usually have flexible repayment terms and low fees.
  • Some lenders offer medical loans to borrowers with less-than-excellent credit.

Our picks for best medical loans

To make our choices for the best medical loans, we collected 806 data points (26 individual data points for 31 lenders), including customer reviews and overall ratings from ConsumerAffairs readers, for popular lenders. We used these data points to evaluate factors that have the most impact on borrowers, including loan amounts, APRs and credit score requirements, to make our final selections.

Our picks may be Authorized Partners who compensate us. This does not affect our recommendations or evaluations but may impact the order in which the companies appear.

SoFi AUTHORIZED PARTNER
  • $100,000 max loan amount
  • 24- to 84-month repayment terms
  • Minimum credit score not disclosed
  • User star rating: 3.8

SoFi provides multiple offerings, including lending products, investment accounts and insurance. It performs a soft credit pull to provide an estimated rate in minutes without affecting your credit score. SoFi typically funds medical loans within seven days of approval, but funds can be provided as soon as the same day in some cases. There are no hidden fees with SoFi medical loans, and you can use a SoFi loan for medical procedures, hospital bills, follow-up visits, prescriptions and other medical expenses.

Loans come with repayment terms ranging from 24 to 84 months. Amounts range from $5,000 to $100,000, so this pick is better for people who need larger loans.

Note that SoFi has had some legal issues regarding discriminatory lending practices and misrepresenting loan refinancing savings.

  • No hidden fees
  • No pharmacy restrictions on prescriptions
  • Doesn't require a doctor's appointment or personal medical information
  • Lets you check rates without a hard credit pull
  • Review process may take one to two weeks longer with co-applicant
  • $5,000 loan minimum

What do reviewers say?

While some ConsumerAffairs reviewers praise the company’s customer service, user-friendly process and multiple payment options, others were disappointed that the advertised and offered rates didn’t match.

Bob, a ConsumerAffairs reviewer from Texas, said: “Sofi came through with an offer at a reasonable rate, much to my surprise, and I jumped on it. All done through website and email. Speed, accuracy, easy, all words to describe transaction. Can't say enough good, especially after those 20-25% offers.”

LightStream AUTHORIZED PARTNER
  • $100,000 max loan amount
  • 24- to 144-month repayment terms
  • Requires “good-to-excellent” credit profile
  • User star rating: 3.9

LightStream is an online lending platform that offers fixed-rate loans. It provides loans from $5,000 to $100,000 to qualified borrowers for medical expenses and other needs. LightStream doesn't charge fees or prepayment penalties on its loan products.

Borrowers can receive reduced rates through LightStream's Rate Beat Program if they’re offered equal or better rates on similar unsecured loans (with the same terms) from competing lenders. LightStream also offers a 0.5% rate discount to borrowers who opt for automatic payments.

LightStream loans are open to borrowers in all 50 states. Repayment terms range from 24 to 144 months, and borrowers may receive funds on the same day their loans are finalized.

  • No fees
  • Will beat competitor rates on similar unsecured loan products/terms
  • No preapprovals
  • $5,000 loan minimum

What do reviewers say?

While some reviewers like LightStream’s multiple repayment options and the ability to change due dates, others were upset at how long the approval process took and how cumbersome it can be.

According to Victoria, a ConsumerAffairs reviewer from Minnesota: “I would rate LightStream 5/5 for their commitment to their client, the competence displayed in their organization, and their reliability. They exceeded my expectations and I would not hesitate to recommend them to others.”

LendingClub
  • $40,000 max loan amount
  • 36- or 60-month repayment terms
  • Minimum credit score not disclosed
  • User star rating: 4.0

LendingClub is an online marketplace bank. Its personal loans carry no prepayment penalties, but they do come with origination fees of 3% to 6% of their respective loan totals. LendingClub allows customers to pre-qualify for fixed-rate loans through soft credit pulls (which do not affect your credit score).

Personal loans for medical expenses and other needs are available for as little as $1,000 (and up to $40,000). LendingClub also offers patient financing through partnered health care providers, but these loans and lines of credit have different terms and rates than its personal loans.

LendingClub loans are available in 49 states (not available in Iowa).

  • You can pre-qualify online with a soft credit pull
  • $1,000 minimum loan amount
  • No automatic payment discount
  • 3% to 6% origination fees

What do reviewers say?

Some reviewers on our site were disappointed with LendingClub’s higher interest rates, poor application processing and communication issues, but others felt that the process was transparent and quick and appreciated that the lender was willing to work with those in less-than-ideal credit situations.

Cristine, a ConsumerAffairs reviewer from Nevada, said: “They give folks who are reasonable with their money a chance to recover and get ahead when other institutions wouldn't - over trivial things that negatively impacted their credit score years ago, when it necessarily shouldn't have. The process is transparent, simple, and quick. So much so, I had to call to make sure I was approved because it seemed too good to be true, and too easy.”

Upstart
  • $50,000 max loan amount
  • 36- or 60-month repayment terms
  • 300 minimum credit score
  • User star rating: 0.0

Upstart is an online lending marketplace that partners with banks to offer personal loans and other financing options. Its personal loans range from $1,000 to $50,000, with terms of three or five years. Upstart doesn't charge prepayment penalties, but its loans carry origination fees of up to 10%. You can check rates online in minutes, and doing so won’t affect your credit. The vast majority of approved loans receive funding within one business day of signing.

Loans are available in 46 states and Washington, D.C. (not available in Iowa, Maryland, West Virginia or Nevada). Repayment terms are limited (only 36 or 60 months), but even borrowers with poor credit may be approved for an Upstart loan. Loans are available even if you don’t have enough credit history to generate a score, and if you do have a credit score, you only need a score of 300 to qualify, which is as low as normal credit score scales go anyway.

  • No prepayment penalties
  • Minimal credit requirements
  • $1,000 minimum loan amount
  • 99% of personal loan funds are sent one business day after signing
  • Potentially high origination fees
  • Only two repayment terms available

What do reviewers say?

There’s only one review for Upstart on ConsumerAffairs at the time of publishing. That reviewer mentioned receiving a high interest rate and difficulties canceling their loan.

Credit Direct
  • $47,500 max loan amountt
  • 12- to 60-month repayment terms
  • Minimum credit score not disclosed
  • User star rating: 4.1

Credit Direct is an online lender that offers personal loans from $1,000 to $47,500. It has a reputation for fast funding times, with some borrowers receiving funds just 24 hours after signing their loan agreements. Credit Direct provides loans directly and through its partner network. However, its partner lenders may offer loans with different details than the company advertises for itself.

Currently, Credit Direct only operates in 11 states (Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Louisiana, Maryland, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Texas). Its loans have repayment terms ranging from 12 to 60 months. The company does not disclose a minimum credit score requirement.

  • No prepayment penalties
  • You can check rates without affecting your credit
  • Provides funding in as little as 24 hours after signing
  • Only available in 11 states
  • Partner lenders may have different rates, fees and terms

What do reviewers say?

Credit Direct reviewers on our site are overwhelmingly impressed with the quick application and funding times and quality customer service.

Wanda, a ConsumerAffairs reviewer from Pennsylvania, gave Credit Direct a great review: “Great experience, loan approval in one day. The Loan Specialist for CreditDirect provided several loan and debt consolidation options. He worked with me to get the best loan for my situation explained the process. Really great experience. Great to know there are options to help your situation. Would highly recommend to my family and friends.”

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    How to get a medical loan

    If taking out a medical loan makes sense for your situation, follow the steps below to apply for a loan. Just be aware that the application process may vary depending on your lender and their underwriting requirements.

    1. Determine your needs

    Health insurance may not cover medical treatments or only cover a portion of the costs. In these situations, medical loans can help cover out-of-pocket medical expenses. Typical uses for medical loans include:

    • Emergency medical care
    • Elective procedures
    • Cosmetic surgery
    • Dental procedures
    • In-vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments
    • LASIK surgery
    • Bariatric surgery
    • Outpatient services
    • Prescriptions
    • Consolidating medical debt

    If you’re interested in a medical loan, determine how much you need to borrow to cover your medical costs. Lenders typically set minimum and maximum amounts for these loans, so look for lenders offering loans that match your needs.

    2. Check your credit

    Knowing your credit score and history will help you narrow down lenders to the ones that will likely accept your application. It will also help you gauge the rates you'll qualify for.

    3. Shop around

    Take advantage of lenders that allow you to pre-qualify before applying for a loan. You can check rates from multiple lenders without dropping your credit score as long as they only perform soft credit pulls. When you officially apply for a loan, lenders will perform a hard credit pull to determine your creditworthiness. A hard credit pull could cause your credit score to drop temporarily.

    Compare rates, lender reputations, loan amounts and other factors to determine the best lender for your needs.

    4. Submit a loan application

    Once you've found a lender, apply online if possible. Provide all of the necessary information upfront to speed up to process. If you’re approved for a loan, choose the best loan offer for your needs and budget.

    Once you've completed and signed the paperwork, your lender should start the process of funding your loan within the allotted time. Some lenders allow you to send funds directly to creditors, while others may send funds to a linked bank account.

    Note that the application and funding processes may take several business days, depending on the lender.

    FAQ

    Is a medical loan a good idea?

    A medical loan is worth considering if you require medical care or other assistance that you couldn’t otherwise afford. Your insurance company may not cover certain medical procedures, even if they could drastically improve your quality of life. A medical loan can also alleviate some of the financial stress of ongoing medical care.

    However, it’s still important to make sure you’re financially sound enough to take on debt, so weigh the pros and cons of taking out a medical loan before you make a decision.

    What credit score do I need for a medical loan?

    Credit score requirements vary between lenders based on underwriting standards and other factors. Some lenders require little to no credit, while others require scores of 670 or higher.

    Generally, lenders reserve their best rates for individuals with excellent credit scores that meet other loan requirements.

    What can I use a medical loan for?

    Borrowers can use medical loans to cover costs related to emergency medical attention, medical procedures, prescriptions, follow-up visits, ongoing medical care and other medical expenses.

    Medical loans can cover costs for both medically necessary surgeries and elective medical care, like cosmetic surgery, LASIK surgery and in-vitro fertilization.

    What are some alternatives to medical loans?

    Other ways to pay for medical expenses include hospital payment plans, financial assistance programs and health care credit cards (like CareCredit). An emergency savings fund can help cover the costs of unexpected medical care too.

    Bottom line

    Medical loans can help you pay for medical costs that you otherwise couldn’t afford. Analyze your medical and financial needs to determine if applying for a medical loan makes sense. Take advantage of lenders that allow you to pre-qualify without hurting your credit score. Compare rates, payment terms and permitted uses and choose a lender that aligns with your needs.

    ConsumerAffairs writers primarily rely on government data, industry experts and original research from other reputable publications to inform their work. To learn more about the content on our site, visit our FAQ page. Specific sources for this article include:
    1. Courthouse News Service, “Lending Startup Can’t Dodge Suit Over Denying Loans to Immigrants.” Accessed October 12, 2022.
    2. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), “Online Student Loan Refinance Company SoFi Settles FTC Charges, Agrees to Stop Making False Claims About Loan Refinancing Savings.” Accessed October 12, 2022.
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