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Best medical loans

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LendingClub, SoFi, LightStream and Upstart
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.

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Good lenders usually have flexible repayment terms and low fees.

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Some lenders offer medical loans to borrowers with less-than-excellent credit.

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More details about our top 5 medical loan lenders

SoFi

Max loan amount
$100,000
Repayment terms
24 to 84 months
Minimum credit score
610

SoFi offers personal loans with no hidden fees for both medical and dental procedures. You can use a SoFi loan for medical procedures, hospital bills, follow-up visits, prescriptions and other medical expenses.

You can access an estimated rate in minutes without affecting your credit score. SoFi says it typically funds medical loans within seven days of approval, but funds can sometimes be provided as soon as the same day.

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

ConsumerAffairs reviewers praised the company’s customer service, user-friendly process and multiple payment options.

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

Max loan amount
$100,000
Repayment terms
24 to 144 months
Minimum credit score
670

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% discount to borrowers opting 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.

Some reviewers like LightStream’s multiple repayment options and the ability to change due dates.

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

Max loan amount
$65,000
Repayment terms
24 to 60 months
Minimum credit score
Not disclosed

LendingClub is an online marketplace that connects potential borrowers with lenders. Its personal loans carry no prepayment penalties but come with origination fees of 3% to 8% of the loan amount. LendingClub allows you to prequalify for a fixed-rate loan through a soft credit pull (which does not affect your credit score).

Personal loans for medical expenses and other needs are available for as little as $500 (up to $65,000). Loan terms range from six to 84 months.

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.

Some reviewers 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

Max loan amount
$50,000
Repayment terms
36 or 60 months
Minimum credit score
300

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 12%. You can check your rate online in minutes without affecting your credit. Upstart says the vast majority of approved loans receive funding within one business day of signing.

Loans are available in 48 states and Washington, D.C. (not available in Iowa or West Virginia). Repayment terms are limited (only 36 or 60 months), but loans are available even if you have a poor credit score or don’t have enough credit history to generate a score.

There are minimal reviews from ConsumerAffairs readers who’ve used Upstart. While these few reviews report a poor experience, it is important to note that they relate only to their unique circumstances and might not reflect the overall picture of working with Upstart.

Max loan amount
$40,000
Repayment terms
12 to 60 months
Minimum credit score
No minimum

Credit Direct is an online lender that offers personal loans from $1,000 to $40,000. 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 13 states (Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, 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.

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.”

What is a medical loan?

A medical loan is a personal loan you can use to pay for medical expenses. These include expenses for hospital stays, emergency room visits, surgeries or dental work. Medical loans are usually unsecured, meaning you don’t need to provide collateral (like a house or car) against the loan.

You can get a medical loan from several sources, including banks, credit unions and online lenders, such as those mentioned in this article. You can use these loans for various purposes, including paying for medical expenses and consolidating existing medical debt.

How to apply for a medical loan

If you have a medical procedure, including anything from an emergency root canal to a botox injection, you might use a medical loan to cover some or all of the cost.

Here’s how the process typically works:

  1. Research lenders. Many companies may offer loans for medical expenses, but some may be better than others. The lenders in this list are a good place to start. Choose two or three top contenders to consider.
  2. Compare quotes. Each lender will likely give you different quotes. Get quotes from the lenders you are considering and compare rates, terms and repayment schedules.
  3. Apply. Once you have identified the best offer, apply for the loan. You can usually do this online, providing personal information and details about your finances. The lender may perform a hard credit inquiry.
  4. Get approval and funding. If approved, the lender will disburse the money, often the same day or the next day. The money may go to the health care provider or directly to your bank account.
  5. Begin repayment. The final step is to repay the loan according to your repayment schedule. Usually, this means making fixed monthly payments for a predetermined number of months. These payments usually include principal and interest.

Because medical loans charge interest, financing medical expenses with these loans means you will pay more money overall. However, medical loan providers often don’t charge prepayment penalties, which means you can save money on interest if you pay more than the minimum.

Can you refinance a medical loan?

Yes, it’s possible to refinance a medical loan. Depending on the situation, refinancing can lead to lower interest rates and better repayment terms and may allow you to consolidate multiple payments.

Refinancing will be subject to lender approval, and your creditworthiness will determine the terms and rates that will be available to you.

Generally, the refinancing process will be similar to getting a medical loan:

  1. Research lenders. Again, you will start by researching the best lenders offering medical loan refinancing. The lenders in this list may offer refinancing, too. Pick two or three top contenders for your refinancing.
  2. Compare quotes. Obtain refinancing quotes for your top contenders, again comparing rates, terms and repayment schedules.
  3. Apply. Once you have identified the best offer, apply for the new loan, which you can often do online.
  4. Pay off your existing loan(s). If you are approved, the new loan will pay off any existing medical loans you may have.
  5. Start repayment of new loan. Finally, you will start making payments on your new loan, typically with monthly payments.

Refinancing may be good if your credit has improved or interest rates have dropped significantly since you first applied. Both can lead to much better terms for a new loan.

» MORE: Loan modification vs. refinance: how to decide

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Pros and cons of a medical loan

Taking out a loan can be a huge help when you’re struggling with medical bills that you’re struggling to pay. But as with any financing, there are both pros and cons to consider.

Pros

  • Fast funding
  • Lower interest than credit cards
  • Consolidate medical debt
  • Long repayment period

Cons

  • Can have high rates
  • Credit score impacts
  • Fees

» MORE: Does medical debt affect your credit score?

Medical loan alternatives

Although medical loans can be a good way to pay your medical bills, they are far from the only way. If your quoted interest rates are too high, look into possible alternatives.

Medical credit card

Medical credit cards like Synchrony Financial’s CareCredit are specifically designed for medical expenses. These cards can have a lower annual percentage rate (APR) during a promotional period or under certain conditions.

For instance, the CareCredit card has a reduced rate during promotional periods. The card’s website quotes a $1,000 charge with a possible 24-month repayment period and a 17.90% APR. This could be lower than the APR on some medical loans.

Medical credit cards are good for planned procedures, giving you the opportunity to pay them off with no interest during promotional periods. However, these cards can charge you a lot in interest if the balance isn’t paid in full by the end of the billing period. Approval may also require good to excellent credit.

Crowdfunding

Platforms like GoFundMe allow you to raise money to help cover medical expenses. People who create GoFundMe pages often share details about the situation, asking for help paying the medical expenses.

This can give you access to a large network of donors, potentially covering some or all of your bills. However, success isn’t guaranteed; you must put effort into creating and promoting your campaign.

Provider payment plans

Hospitals and providers often give you the option to pay for your expenses with a payment plan instead of paying the whole cost upfront. They may let you pay with interest-free or low-interest payments, allowing you to split your payment into more manageable installments.

The process is often simple, with no credit check and little to no interest. However, availability and terms can vary significantly.

» COMPARE: Personal loan lenders

FAQ

How difficult is it to get a medical loan?

Getting a medical loan can be simple, but the ease of getting a loan depends on several factors. These include things like your credit score, your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio and how you intend to use the money. Approval will be easier in some cases than others.

Can I get a medical loan with bad credit?

Yes, it’s possible to get a medical loan with bad credit. Some lenders, such as Upstart, specialize in providing personal loans to people with low credit scores. However, other eligibility criteria may apply, such as DTI requirements and not having bankruptcies in the last 12 months.

What is the typical medical loan rate?

There is not one typical medical loan rate, as these rates can vary widely. Factors that might impact your medical loan rate include your credit score, the lender’s pricing models, the loan term and the loan amount. It’s best to obtain quotes from several lenders to get a feel for what kind of rates you may have to pay.

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