How to Get a Loan Without a Job

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Contributor, Benzinga
July 10, 2023

You may need to get a loan without a job in many situations. If you’re self-employed or work as a freelancer and don’t have a regular pay stub, lenders may see you as without a job. Likewise, getting a loan can offer a solution if you’re hit with a big unexpected expense while you’re between jobs. In either case, getting a loan without a job will require additional preparation, but it’s possible. Read on for the types of loans you can get and how to get a loan without a job.

Overview of Loans You Can Get Without a Job

Can you get a loan without a job? Yes. The most common types of loans you can get without a job are secured or unsecured personal loans, microloans, home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) or cash advances. These loans come with risks ranging from high-interest rates to taking on more debt. Below are the options to consider. 

Secured Personal Loans

Secured personal loans are tied to an asset, such as a house, property, jewelry, painting or other valuables. You must meet the lender’s credit requirements. With these loans, you risk losing your asset if you’re unable to repay the loan on time. Be sure to check the lender’s policies and ensure you only take out what you can afford to pay back. Examples of secured loans include:

  • Vehicle loans
  • Mortgage loans
  • Share-secured or savings-secured loans
  • Secured credit cards
  • Secured lines of credit
  • Car title loans
  • Life insurance loans
  • Pawn shop loans

Unsecured Personal Loans

An unsecured personal loan is not tied to your assets. An unsecured loan is the best option if you meet the lender’s credit requirements and can document income or savings. Examples of unsecured loans are student loans and personal loans. Credit cards are even a form of unsecured loan, although they have very high-interest rates. 

Find some of the best personal loans here. Alternatively, consider applying for a credit card with 0% annual percentage rate (APR) for one year, as long as you have a plan to repay it. 

Cash Advances

Cash advances are possible with some credit card companies, although they typically come with high-interest rates and aren’t usually the best way to get cash. If you’ll be able to pay it off within a week they can provide a solution for fast cash. 

Microloans or Payday Alternative Loans

Some organizations offer small loans specifically designed for people without traditional employment. Microfinance institutions, credit unions or online lenders may provide these loans. They often have less stringent requirements and may consider factors other than employment status when assessing your application. 

While payday loans have high interest and predatory fees, microloans or alternative lenders may offer lower interest rates and more favorable terms.  

Apply for a Home Equity Line of Credit

A home equity line of credit allows you to borrow against your property’s value. A HELOC gives you a revolving credit line to use for large expenses or to consolidate higher-interest rate debt. Approval criteria vary by lender, but many require you to own at least 15% of your home outright to qualify. They will also look at your credit score and any other sources of income or savings.  

Pros of HELOCs:

  • Withdraw funds for many years
  • Pay interest only on what you borrow
  • Use funds however you like
  • High loan limits
  • Low initial monthly payments
  • May offer a tax deduction

Cons of HELOCs:

  • Variable interest rates, which means you may have to pay more later 
  • Payments are inconsistent
  • Puts your home at risk
  • Possible prepayment penalties
  • Possible ongoing fees

How to Get a Loan Without a Job: 4 Ways

Lenders want to ensure you have the means to repay the loan. You have several options to demonstrate this, even without a job, but you might need to get more creative with income sources or show a co-signer. Here’s how to get an emergency loan with no job or secure a loan regardless of employment status.

1. Show Alternative Income Sources

Income isn’t just pay stubs or W-2s. Income sources like disability or retirement benefits can help you qualify for a loan. Provide lenders with as many alternative income sources as possible to demonstrate financial stability and that you’re prepared to repay the loan. Alternative income sources include:

  • Child support payments
  • Alimony
  • Retirement income
  • Disability payments
  • Investment income
  • Rental income
  • Business income 
  • Freelance income
  • Peer-to-peer lending income
  • Royalty income from music, books, YouTube channels or other creative work
  • Passive income from website domains, advertising or other passive income streams

In addition, demonstrating substantial savings or retirement funds — especially if you’re nearing retirement age — can help you qualify for a loan. 

2. Find a Co-Signer

A family member or a friend with a good credit score and a regular income can help you apply for a loan. Start by asking family members or close friends. Ensure the co-signer has a strong financial profile in order to qualify for the loan. 

With a co-signer, both parties will be financially reliable for loan repayment. If you fail to pay the loan on time, the co-signer will be responsible for payments. To avoid strained relationships, be sure only to take on a loan you’re confident you can repay and make on-time payments.

3. Present Good Credit Scores

A good credit score can help when applying for a loan when unemployed or without a job. You can also contact your bank or credit card lenders, who may be willing to approve a personal loan.

If you don’t have a good credit score, find tips to improve your credit score right now. Some online lenders will approve a personal loan even if you have a lower credit score, but check interest rates, as these can add up fast. You can also ask a co-signer to help you apply for the loan. 

4. Government Assistance Programs

Depending on your location, there might be government-backed loans, programs or initiatives that provide financial assistance to people in need. Explore the available options in your area, such as small-business grants, unemployment benefits or low-income assistance programs.

Dangers of No-Income Loans

No-income loans may come with additional risks, including higher interest rates, fees or loss of assets. The main dangers to weigh:

  • High-interest rates
  • High fees
  • Risk of losing physical assets, such as home
  • Increased debt over time
  • Risk of even bigger financial dependence 

How To Get a Small Loan with No Job 

Whether you’re wondering how to get a loan when unemployed or just need a small emergency loan, your credit score can work in your favor. Having an 850 credit score is a great aspiration, but anything over 800 will give you almost the same benefits of strong credit opportunities, regardless of your current income. 
With an excellent score, lenders see that you’re responsible and will find a way to pay back the loan, so you may be able to qualify based on the strength of your credit score alone. Here are tips for raising your credit score to open greater financial opportunities this year.

Frequently Asked Questions


How can you qualify for a loan without a job?


How to get a loan without a job can vary for each person. If you have a high credit score, you might be able to qualify independently, especially if you have strong savings or additional income streams. With a low credit score, a co-signer can help you qualify for a loan. 


What if you don’t qualify for a loan when unemployed?


If you don’t qualify for a loan, you can ask a creditworthy co-signer to apply with you to help you get a loan. You can also apply to online lenders or approach other banks to apply for a loan.


What loans can you get without a job?


You can get a secured or unsecured personal loan and microloans or HELOCs even without a job. Which loans you qualify for will depend on your financial situation, including savings, assets and credit score.

About Alison Plaut

Alison Plaut is a personal finance writer with a sustainable MBA, passionate about helping people learn more about financial basics for wealth building and financial freedom. She has more than 17 years of writing experience, focused on real estate and mortgage, business, personal finance, and investing. Her work has been published in The Motley Fool, MoneyLion, and she is a regular contributor for Benzinga.