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Guide to Personal Loans for Single Mothers

Are There Personal Loans for Single Mothers?
Lauren Ward

Lauren Ward

Updated February 4, 2022
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Single mothers looking for a loan may have a harder time getting approved, but it mostly depends on their credit profile and income situation. Banks don’t factor in children when determining eligibility. They look at other factors such as your credit score and debt-to-income ratio. So while there aren’t any loans made specifically for single mothers, this certainly doesn’t mean getting a loan as a single mom is impossible.  

Pros and Cons of Personal Loans for Single Mothers

Typical Personal Loan Terms for Single Mothers 

The truth is, “typical loan terms” do not exist because each and every borrower is unique and this applies to single mothers. The factors listed below can influence a loan’s terms:
  • Credit score
  • Income
  • Debt-to-income
  • Loan amount
  • Repayment period
  • Collateral
  • Interest type
  • Employment history
  • Lender fees
  • Benchmark interest rates
Therefore, while the principal amount may be the same between borrowers, the amount each borrower pays may vary by a significant margin.

Tips for Finding a Personal Loan 

Following these advice points will help.

Compare Requirements 

These requirements can be anything from a minimum income to a minimum credit score.(And bear in mind that some lenders only offer bad credit loans.) 

Credit Score

To get the best loan terms for you, you’ll want to have a strong credit score. If you don’t know what your score is, your bank may give you free updates each month. If your score is lower than you think it should be, be sure to check out your credit report at www.annualcreditreport.com

Debt-to-Income Ratio 

Your debt-to-income ratio is all of your monthly recurring debt payments divided by your gross income (the money you make before taxes and insurance are taken out). A common maximum DTI that lenders stop lending at is 43%. 

Collateral

Collateral is only used for secured loans and is what is used to actually “secure” the loan. What can be used as collateral? Cars and homes are the most accepted forms, but if you own other assets, it’s possible a lender may be willing to work with you. While an unsecured loan may sound like a better deal because you’re not at risk of losing anything, unsecured loans come with higher interest rates.

Cosigner 

Personal loans for single moms with bad credit may be easier if you have a cosigner. The drawback, however, is that both of your credit scores will take a hit if you miss a payment. 

Employment 

Lenders like to see consistent employment, with little to no gaps in employment history. If you only recently obtained employment after a lengthy absence, lenders may hesitate to work with you. 

Compare Terms 

All loans are not created equal. When choosing loans, compare the terms of each. This means you should evaluate:
  • Fees
  • Repayment period
  • Interest rate

Soft Credit Pulls 

A soft credit pull does not hurt your credit score, hence the term “soft.” While loan shopping, companies that initially do soft credit pulls won’t damage your credit profile, so it’s safe to run some numbers with them to see if you’re interested in their potential offer.

Fees

Each lender is different both in the types of fees they charge and the amount they charge. If a loan has the lowest interest rate, it’s possible for it to still be the most expensive option when you compare origination and application fees. While comparing, also look at:
  • Prepayment penalty
  • Returned check fee
  • Late payment fee
  • Returned check fee

Repayment Term 

The longer the repayment period you have, the less amount of money you’ll pay each month. However, you’ll pay more in interest as time goes by. Shorter loan terms mean more aggressive payments, but you’ll pay less in interest overall. However, there are some quick personal loans on the market that, even though they have short repayment periods, still come with higher than average interest rates.  

Compare Interest Rates and Total Cost 

Comparing personal loan rates is essential if you want to save the most amount of money. Once you know the interest rate and other fees, you’ll be able to determine the total cost of the loan. Take this information to an online loan calculator to determine how much it will cost you to borrow from each lender. Note: Borrowers may receive lower interest rates with a credit card.

Consider Total Monthly Payment Amount

While you may want to save the most money, if a loan payment takes up too much of your monthly income, you may want to consider another lender offering a longer repayment period even if they’ll charge you more in interest. 

Applying for a Personal Loan

Gather Documentation 

You’ll need the following documents when applying for a personal loan:
  • Government issued ID
  • Bank statements
  • Tax returns
  • Pay stubs
  • Proof of address

What to Do if You Are Approved 

If you’re approved for a personal loan, you’ll need to sign any necessary loan agreements and documentation. Many lenders offer digital signing services so you don’t even need to print anything. 

What to Do if You Are Not Approved 

If you’re not approved, it’s not over. Consider finding another lender that has more flexible requirements. However, in doing so, you may pay more in interest. 

Paying Back a Personal Loan 

Your monthly payments will begin shortly after taking out the loan. If you sign up for auto-payments, your interest rate may be slightly lowered.

Personal Loan Alternatives for Single Mothers 

Home Loans 

Personal loans vs. mortgages? Mortgages are only used to purchase homes, but if that’s what you’re looking for, there are a few types of mortgages on the market that have lower credit score and down-payment requirements:
  • FHA Loan: A 3.5% down-payment option for borrowers with low to average credit scores.
  • VA Loan: A no down-payment mortgage for active and retired military, as well as their spouses.
  • USDA Loan: A no down-payment mortgage option for homebuyers buying in rural areas.

Grants and Non-Profit Aid 

A grant is money that does not have to be repaid. If you would struggle to make monthly payments after receiving a loan, then you should strongly consider alternative ways to receive funding. 

Educational Aid 

There are many educational grants on the market specifically designed for low-income women. Look for grants made for specific educational tracks that interest you. This way you may have less competition and can hopefully explore new career opportunities. 

Childcare Programs 

The U.S. government offers childcare aid to help single mothers. Funds can be used for things such as childcare, schooling, and extracurricular activities.

TANF 

For short-term assistance, consider applying for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF, until you’re able to get your feet back on the ground. TANF is not a long term solution, but can help if your current financial situation is unusual. 

DCA 

Diversion cash assistance can be used for emergencies and is also offered through the U.S. government. If you receive funds through DCA, however, you cannot also receive TANF aid. 

Emergency Financial Assistance 

What are you struggling to pay? If you’re having trouble paying rent, mortgage, or utilities, search for assistance that’s aimed at what you specifically need help with. Many cities and states have programs in place. You can also search for help at the national level, too. 

Hardship Grants 

The U.S. government offers a variety of hardship grants beyond what we have already discussed. If you’re facing consistent financial hardship, explore the numerous types of aid the federal government offers. 

The Takeaway 

While loans specifically made for single moms don’t exist, there are many types of personal loans out there and available. Just be sure to shop around and compare rates to ensure you’re getting the best deal.
Photo credit: iStock/DisobeyArt
The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.SOLC1221079

Frequently Asked Questions

How can single moms get loans?
Is there any financial aid for single mothers?
Can you get a personal loan while unemployed?

About the Author

Lauren Ward

Lauren Ward

Lauren Ward is a personal finance expert with nearly a decade of experience writing online content. Her work has appeared on websites such as MSN, Time, and Bankrate. Lauren writes on a variety of personal finance topics for SoFi, including credit and banking.
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