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As you might suspect, it's much more difficult to take out a personal loan if you have poor credit. Many lenders can be quick to turn you away if they don't like your credit score or what's in your credit report.

But it's not hopeless! Here are four steps for landing a personal loan with your less-than-perfect credit.

1. Get your credit reports and scores

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Step one is to get your hands on your credit report and scores.

First, you need to find out: Do you really have bad credit? Maybe the negative stuff on your record is erroneous, or too old to matter.

See what the major credit reporting agencies — Equifax, TransUnion and Experian — have on you. Obtain free credit reports from the big three by going to AnnualCreditReport.com. Every year, you're entitled to one free copy from each. 

The reports won't include credit scores. You may need to pay a fee for those; myFICO is one place where you can obtain them. Many credit cards will provide you with a credit score.

2. Understand your reports and scores

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Review your credit reports.

Review your credit reports and look for the sorts of things that concern lenders, such as any late payments you made within the past two years, and whether you're using too much of your available credit.

Credit scores range from 300 to 850, and a score below 700 is considered fair or poor. If yours is under 600, you can expect a very high interest rate — if you can get a personal loan at all.