List Of personal loans for low credit scores in South Africa

Getting Personal Loans in South Africa With a Low Credit Score

Having a low credit score can make it challenging to get approved for a personal loan from traditional lending institutions. However, there are specialized lenders in South Africa that offer personal loans to borrowers with poor credit scores.

This guide outlines the loan options, interest rates, eligibility criteria, and tips for getting personal loans when you have a low credit score below 600.

List Of personal loans for low credit scores in South Africa

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What is a Low Credit Score?

Your credit score in South Africa ranges between 0-999, with 0 being the worst and 999 being the best possible score. A low credit score is generally considered to be below 600.

Some factors that contribute to a low credit score include:

  • Multiple credit inquiries
  • High debt-to-income ratio
  • Missed or late payments
  • Payment defaults
  • CCJs (County Court Judgements)
  • Being blacklisted with credit bureaus

Having a score below 600 indicates you are a high-risk borrower in the eyes of lenders. But specialized subprime lenders offer loan products tailored for borrowers with low credit scores.

Loan Options Available With Low Credit Scores

If you have a credit score below 600, here are some personal loan options to consider in South Africa:

Low Credit Loans

Low-credit loans are designed for borrowers with credit scores below 600. These are unsecured personal loans ranging from R500 to R250,000 with repayment terms up to 5 years. Interest rates start around 20% p.a. but can go higher depending on your credit profile.

Bad Credit Loans

Bad credit loans cater to borrowers with very poor credit scores below 500. These short-term loans range from R500 to R150,000 with up to 3 years of repayment. Interest rates are higher, starting at around 32%.

No Credit Check Loans

No credit check loans disregard your credit score entirely. These loans rely on your income, expenses and existing debts for approval. Loan amounts range from R500 to R8,000 with up to 6 months of repayment. Interest rates start around 60% p.a.

Payday Loans

Payday loans offer quick cash advances up to R8,000. They require repayment by your next paycheck. Payday lenders generally do not check your credit score. Interest rates are higher at 5-10% per month.

Debt Consolidation Loans

These loans allow you to consolidate multiple debts into one monthly payment. This can help improve your credit score over time. Debt consolidation loans range from R1,000 to R250,000 with 5-year terms.

Eligibility Criteria

When applying for loans with poor credit, lenders assess your repayment ability based on:

Minimum Age: 18 or 21 years

Income Requirement: R3,000 per month

Employment: Permanent job

Residency: South African citizen/valid ID

Existing Debt: Moderate debts with the ability to repay

Collateral: Not required for unsecured loans

Meeting the eligibility criteria improves your chances of loan approval despite low credit scores.

Interest Rates for Low Credit Scores

Lenders charge higher interest rates for borrowers with low credit scores to offset the higher risk:

  • Prime Rate: 10%-15% p.a. (for credit scores ~650)
  • Low Credit Loans: 20%-25% p.a. (credit scores 550-600)
  • Bad Credit Loans: 32%-60% p.a. (credit scores below 500)
  • No Credit Check Loans: 60%-120% p.a.
  • Payday Loans: 5%-10% per month (300%-400% p.a.)

Compare rates across multiple lenders. Opt for the lowest rate you qualify for based on your credit score.

Tips to Improve Chances of Loan Approval

Follow these tips to boost your chances of getting approved for a personal loan when you have a low credit score:

  • Compare offers from multiple lenders to find the best loan product that suits your needs.
  • Know your credit score and get your credit report before applying. This helps set accurate expectations.
  • Improve your score if possible by paying down debts and avoiding further credit inquiries. Even a small boost can help.
  • Apply for a co-signer with better credit to improve your chances of approval and get lower interest rates.
  • Leverage collateral such as a car or fixed deposit to secure the loan and improve eligibility.
  • Explain past defaults clearly and assure the lender of your repayment ability now.
  • Start small – take a smaller loan amount than required and build a track record of timely repayments.
  • Choose longer repayment terms to reduce your monthly repayments and appear more affordable to lenders.

With the right lender and loan product, you can still access financing to meet your needs despite having less-than-perfect credit. As you build your credit score over time, you can refinance for better rates later.


Q: What credit score is considered low in South Africa?

A: Generally credit scores below 600 are considered low. Scores between 550-600 indicate poor credit, while scores below 500 are very poor.

Q: How can I check my credit score for free in South Africa?

A: You can obtain your credit report and score for free once a year from TransUnion Checking your score frequently can damage your credit, so limit it to once or twice a year.

Q: Does opening new credit accounts hurt my credit score?

A: Yes, applying for new credit makes multiple hard inquiries on your credit report, which can negatively impact your credit score if done excessively. Limit applications to when necessary.

Q: How long does it take to improve a low credit score?

A: With diligent credit management, it takes 6-12 months to significantly improve a low score of 550. It can take 2+ years to rebuild very poor scores below 500. The key is using credit responsibly over time.

Q: What is the fastest way to increase credit score in South Africa?

A: Paying down revolving debt is the fastest way to increase your score. Maintaining low credit utilization has a major positive impact. You can also add a positive payment history by becoming an authorized user on someone else’s account.


A low credit score makes getting a personal loan more difficult but not impossible. Specialized subprime lenders offer tailored loan products for borrowers with poor credit. Compare your options and apply with a lender best suited to your credit profile. Follow the tips above to boost your chances of approval. With responsible borrowing and diligent repayment, you can access the financing you need and gradually improve your credit score over time.


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