You can qualify for a personal loan even without a credit history. The lack of a credit history helps in one way: Being new to credit means you don't have any negative credit information to worry about, such as late payments or foreclosures. With none of that as a factor, all you have to do is convince a bank, credit union or other lending institution that you are worthy of credit as a first-time borrower.
Secured installment loans are usually easy to qualify for because there is no risk for the bank. You guarantee the loan by depositing money into a savings account held for collateral. Then you build your credit by making on-time monthly payments.
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You can qualify for a loan if you have a co-signer with excellent credit. Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, a nonprofit consumer information company, reports that credit scores range from 300 to 850, with scores above 760 representing the best credit. Finding a co-signer, such as a parent or other relative, with a high credit score could make approval easy on your loan. However, the co-signer will be responsible for the loan if you default.
The state of New Jersey reports that so-called "subprime loans" are often available for people with "incomplete credit histories" -- such as someone seeking credit for the first time. Subprime lenders are typically finance companies comfortable with lending to bad-credit borrowers or to people seeking a loan for the first time. Some banks and credit unions also offer subprime loans, according to the Bankrate.com website. One drawback: The loans generally feature higher interest rates than traditional loans.