If you have a tarnished credit history, don’t search in the darkest depths of the Internet to find new credit. Legitimate companies online and offline are willing to lend as long as you meet a few conditions. You can get mortgages, personal loans, auto loans and student loans just like everyone else. Keep reading to uncover the secrets of loans for people with bad credit.

I Don’t Need a Bad Credit Loan, Do I?

If you think you may need a bad credit loan, you probably do. Nearly a quarter of Americans fall into the subprime category of borrowing. If your VantageScore or FICO credit score is 619 or lower, most banks will call you “high risk.” If you cannot afford to purchase your credit score right now, you can request a free copy of your credit report and look for certain items. If you see bankruptcies, foreclosures, delinquencies or tax liens, you typically need a loan for damaged credit.

What Makes These Loans Different?

Individuals who need bad credit loans have had problems paying their bills in the past. Lenders fear losing their money if they extend cash offers, so they require collateral or co-signers to offset their risk. Many banks also raise interest rates or charge higher fees. For example, the APR on a subprime car loan can be up to 10 percent higher than the APR given to a well-qualified buyer. On a $20,000 car, that small change can add $6,000 to the total cost.

Where Are the Best Loans for Poor Credit?

In the end, you can find bad credit loans at credit unions, regional banks, national banks and online lenders. The key to getting the best loan is to shop around. In addition to reviewing the borrower requirements, you should look for lenders that will report your positive payment history to the credit bureaus. Then, you can improve your credit score and possibly refinance your loan under better terms. Never accept the first offer that comes your way. Apply for bad credit loans with different lenders and see what makes each program unique.