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Many people are surprised to learn just how easy it is to wind up with bad credit. A few bad decisions can quickly cause your score to plummet. Unfortunately, recuperating from these mistakes can literally take years since negative items stay on your credit report for anywhere from seven to ten years.

During this time, qualifying for a loan can be practically impossible. Most lenders balk at the idea of giving money to someone with bad credit. This can be particularly frustrating if you have a steady job and great income, but still can’t qualify for a loan because of a few late payments that you made years ago when you were at a completely different point in your life.

If you do find yourself in need of money, however, there are a couple of different options you can try. Getting loans with bad credit usually involves thinking outside the box.

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One place you can start is at your local credit union. If you don’t already have an account with them, consider opening one since they may be more willing to work with a current customer than with someone who just walked in off the street. Talk to them about any lending options they have available for people with bad credit. Most small institutions like this typically are more lenient with their lending standards than large national banks.

You can also look into taking out a secured loan. If you have a home, a car, or another large asset, you may be able to borrow money against it even if you have bad credit. Putting your asset up as collateral helps ensure the bank that they will get their money even if you default on the loan, which can make them more likely to approve your application.

Finally, if all else fails, you may want to look into taking out a payday loan. These short-term loans are ideal for covering unexpected emergencies. Usually, qualifying for a payday loan involves proving your identity, along with showing that you have a job and a bank account. The only drawbacks to these loans are their high-interest rates, as well as the fact that they have to be paid back quickly.

Although getting a personal loan with bad credit can be challenging, it is definitely possible.  Just remember that you may need to apply at several different places before you get approved.