Checking Your Credit vs. Checking Your Ability to Repay

If you have bad credit, then you have to be on the lookout for predatory lenders, so start looking for lenders who check your ability to repay the money you’re borrowing.

For people with good credit, any loan they take out is going to come with a credit check. They’re not too worried about it because, well, they have good credit! Check away, lenders and landlords! No skeletons in these here closets.

But for people with bad credit, the situation is totally different. The requirement that a lender checks their credit means they might as well not apply. Besides, a hard credit check will actually lower your score slightly, and a bad credit score needs all the help it can get.

When folks with bad credit need a loan, they often end up settling for bad credit loans and no credit check loans. These loans don’t come with credit checks, but they do come with much higher rates than standard personal loans. Some of them can be downright predatory, trapping borrowers in a dangerous cycle of debt.

That doesn’t have to happen, though! There are bad credit loans out there that can provide helpful bridge financing for someone who’s in a bind. If you have bad credit, it’s all about finding the right bad credit loan. And a good place to start is by finding a lender who, even though they aren’t checking your credit, still checks your ability to repay.


How do bad credit loans work?

Bad credit loans are a little different from regular personal loans. Since they’re meant for folks with poor credit scores, they see much higher default rates than loans that are aimed at people with prime scores. As such, bad credit loans come with much higher interest rates to counteract those higher rates of default.

Many bad credit loans, like payday loans cash advances, and title loans are extremely short-term loans, with average repayment periods of only two weeks. They’re small-dollar loans, too; while rates will vary from lender to lender and from state to state, short-term payday loans aren’t usually offered for more than a few hundred dollars.

These short-term loans are paid off in a single lump sum, and they charge interest as a flat fee at an average rate of $15 per $100 borrowed. (In terms of APR, that adds up to 391 percent on a two-week loan!) If you borrowed a $400 cash advance at a 15 percent interest rate, you’d pay it back in a single payment of $460 on the loan’s due date.

There are also bad credit installment loans, which are structured like regular personal loans, just with higher interest rates. The interest for bad credit installment loans is accrued over time, and they come with an amortizing payment structure, which means that every payment you make goes towards both the principal amount owed and the interest.

How do credit checks work?

When a traditional lender is assessing a loan application, they want to see whether or not the borrower in question is likely to repay their loan. One of the best ways that they have to determine this is by checking the person’s credit.

This doesn’t just mean checking their credit score, either. A “hard” check on a person’s credit score will return a copy of their credit report as well.

Credit reports are documents maintained by the major credit reporting agencies that track your history as a borrower. The information on those reports is used to create people’s credit scores, and getting a copy of someone’s credit report allows a lender to get a full view of their credit history.

Recent credit inquiries make up 10 percent of your overall score. Anytime a hard credit check is made on your history, that check is, itself, recorded on your credit report. Applications for new credit usually temporarily ding a person’s score by 5 points or so, and many checks in a short-period can lower it even more.

“Soft” credit checks, on the other hand, return far less information than a hard credit check, but they also don’t get reported on a person’s credit report and they don’t affect their score.

Finding a lender who checks your ability to repay.

All of the loans mentioned in the first section of this post don’t require a hard credit check as a part of their application process. But some of these lenders don’t do anything else to verify whether a borrower can afford the loan they’re applying for. That’s where things get risky.

With short-term payday cash advances, it can actually be very difficult for many customers to pay these loans back on time. Those lump sum repayments can blow a large hole in many people’s monthly budgets, leading them to roll over their loan or take out a new loan in order to make ends meet.

This is how people end up trapped in a cycle of debt, continually incurring new interest fees and charges in order to, essentially, borrow the same amount of money over and over again. They throw money at their loan every couple of weeks without ever getting closer to getting out of debt.

Some lenders will issue a loan to almost anyone who applies, regardless of whether they can afford that loan or not. Other lenders will run a soft credit check, verify a borrower’s income, or perform other underwriting measures to ensure that borrowers can reasonably pay back the money they’re borrowing.

If you have bad credit and need a loan to cover emergency expenses, find a lender who checks your ability to repay. It’ll help you steer clear of a dangerous payday debt trap and stay on the road to getting debt-free.

Want to improve your score and stop worrying about credit checks? Then check out these related posts and articles from OppLoans:

Do you have a personal finance question you’d like us to answer? Let us know! You can find us on Facebook and Twitter.

Visit OppLoans on YouTube | Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIN |Instagram

The information contained herein is provided for free and is to be used for educational and informational purposes only. We are not a credit repair organization as defined under federal or state law and we do not provide "credit repair" services or advice or assistance regarding "rebuilding" or "improving" your credit. Articles provided in connection with this blog are general in nature, provided for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for individualized professional advice. We make no representation that we will improve or attempt to improve your credit record, history, or rating through the use of the resources provided through the OppLoans blog.