What Is a Personal Loan?
Most of us, at some time or another, will need a personal loan. Specific reasons will differ from medical emergencies, home improvement projects to business start-ups, or a new car. There is no one size fits all when it comes to financing.
When you apply for a personal loan, you are asking a lending organization, such as a bank or credit union, to lend you a particular sum of money.
A mortgage must be used to pay for a home, and an auto loan must be used to finance a vehicle purchase, but a personal loan may be used for a number of purposes.
You could use a personal loan to help pay for tuition or medical costs, to buy a large household item like a new furnace or appliance, or to consolidate debt.
Personal loan repayment differs from credit card debt repayment. A personal loan requires you to make fixed-amount payments for a set period of time before the debt is fully repaid.
Before you apply for a personal loan online, you should known a few common loan terms.
What Is APR?
APR or annual percentage rate takes into account both the interest rate and any lender fees to provide a more accurate view of the total cost of your loan.
APR comparison is a good way to compare the affordability and reliability of various personal loans.
Unsecured Personal Loans
Personal loans are typically loans that are not secured. Meaning that there is no collateral for someone to collect upon should you fail to meet payments.
Your loan repayment terms are based on factors like trustworthiness, your credit history, and your debt to income ratio.
You don’t need to own a home, or offer up other forms of collateral (like your car title) in order to get a loan. You will still need to qualify for the loan based on your income and credit profile though.
Since these loans aren’t tied to your personal property, in the unlikely event that you can’t repay the loan and go into default, you don’t run the risk of foreclosure or repossession.
A personal loan is characteristically defined as a loan that is not secured by any form of collateral.
What is Collateral?
Collateral is defined as something you own that can be collected upon should you find yourself unable to meet the payment agreements you initially agreed to.
For example, if your car was used as collateral for a loan and you did not pay your loan, the lender could repossess your vehicle and sell it to pay back the money you owe them.
So in this context, understand that a personal loan is not a home loan or a typical auto loan. These loans have their own benefits for these specific situations. They can often be more beneficial than a traditional loan for their purpose.
- Important: If you fail to meet payments, you can expect to incur late payment charges.
Long-lasting outstanding delinquency will likely get reported to the credit bureaus and sent into collections. You can be sued for the money you owe or face much steeper consequences than just owing a lender on what you owe, such as prison time.
As a responsible borrower, you’re likely never to find yourself in such a catastrophic situation where you will be facing aggressive collectors. Personal loans are typically designed and agreed upon in a way that makes them highly manageable for borrowers to repay.
Personal loans typically involve a fixed interest rate, with a term that can vary based on the loan amount. However, some personal loans can be spaced out for as long as 84 months (7 years) or more. Long term loans make monthly payments more affordable, which is more manageable for many.
People don’t know who to trust or what to look for when trying to find the right loan. The last thing they want to do is find themselves in a situation where they inflict more harm on their personal finances than helping their situation.
Click here to read about the 3 best places to get a personal loan.
Fortunately, the good news is that we at Financer.com have taken the time to connect you with some of the most trusted lenders in the market.
Lenders with a long history of successful lending at fair rates, reliable customer service, and vetted to be tested over the years. Hence, the last thing you have to worry about is, “are my lenders transparent with me?”
If you’re new to the world of lending, give this article a read to help understand the fine details anyone would want to know before making this commitment.
If you are familiar with the idea of how personal loans work, feel free to use our loan comparison tool to explore our highly reputable lenders.
Tip: Read more about other loan types
How to Qualify for a Personal Loan
Great, you’ve made the decision to apply for a personal loan! But now you need to know just whether or not you qualify.
There really isn’t a specific and precise qualification guideline among all personal lenders. Still, there are a lot of factors that lenders generally have in common.
However, you can rest assured that the lenders we at Financer.com provide are of the utmost integrity and quality you could possibly want when searching for an online loan.
Tip: Find out how to improve your chances of getting approved for a personal loan here.
You’re also less likely to be judged harshly for having a sub-optimal credit score if you borrow smaller amounts under $10,000.
That said, because you are applying for a personal loan unsecured, you will likely be judged heavily upon your credit score. Your credit score, in a nutshell, is the history you have between managing and borrowing money.
You can learn everything you need to know about your credit score by reading our article about it if you’re interested in learning more.
Mistakes can happen from time to time. If you only have a couple of marks here and there, like a late payment, a collection you paid off years ago, you’re likely to still get the approval you’re searching for.
- Important: Remember that rates and terms may vary, sometimes considerably, among lenders, so it’s a good idea to shop around and obtain quotes from multiple lenders to find the best loan rates and terms. Use the personal loan comparison above.
Tips for Applying for Personal Loans
Before applying for a personal loan, it’s a good idea to make sure you have gathered all of the necessary information you may need for your loan application. Such information may include:
- your income as well as your expenses
- name of your employer
- length of your employment
Having this information readily available may help to speed up the application process and assist in having your application for a personal loan approved more quickly.
Lenders typically consider your credit scores when evaluating your application, and a higher score typically qualifies you for better interest rates and loan conditions on any loans you seek.
The lender would also most likely consider your debt-to-income ratio (DTI), which compares the total amount you owe per month to the total amount you receive.
To calculate your DTI, add up your revolving monthly debt (credit cards, mortgage, auto loan, student loan, and so on) and divide it by your overall gross monthly income (what you receive before taxes, withholdings, and expenses).
You’ll get a decimal result, which you can then convert to a percentage to get your DTI. Lenders prefer DTIs of less than 36%, but many will make loans to borrowers with higher ratios.
The Advantages of Online Personal Loans
Applying for personal loans online can provide you with several benefits.
You may also find that personal loans online offer greater convenience than other types of loans. When you become unexpectedly stressed financially, some people, unfortunately, maybe much more pressed on time than others. Some people need funding fast because these situations do occur from time.
When you find yourself needing a fast decision on approval times for loans, an online lender often time can give you a decision instantly depending on the loan amount. Online lending is becoming very popular with consumers as many lenders offer same-day approvals one to seven-day payouts.
When you compare the online lenders to that of banks and credit unions where you have to apply during business hours, and it can take up to two weeks to finalize your application. You can see why the online industry is booming.
The convenience of being able to apply online gives you the power right at your fingertips. With all the time in the world, you personally need to understand, compare, and read your agreements and terms.
Online lending has you covered whether you’re looking to reconcile debt, buy a vehicle, purchase equipment for your business, or take out a loan for a wedding and honeymoon. Our free loan comparison tool can help you get started!
Online lenders typically will get enough information from you once approved to help you set up automatic payments from your bank account. Just set it and forget it, and your payments will automatically be sent to your lender.
5 Things to Know About Personal Loans
Loan amounts can range from $1,000 to $50,000
Whether you need to borrow a little for an unforeseen expense like a car repair or vet bill, or a lot to consolidate all of your other debts, personal loans offer you flexibility. These loans aren’t open-ended though, so you’ll need to borrow the entire amount you need in a single transaction.
Shorter repayment periods get you out of debt sooner
With fully-amortized* repayment periods of one to five years or so, you’ll be able to pinpoint exactly when you’ll be out of debt.
If you’re struggling with paying off credit card balances only to charge them back up again, having a close-ended account like a personal loan can help you to finally get free of your debts.
*This means your balance is paid down in equal installments over time until it’s paid off
Personal loans aren’t revolving debt
Rather, personal loans are considered an installment debt. When reporting on your credit, they won’t show up the same way a maxed out credit card would. They also contribute to your account type mix, showing creditors that you can responsibly manage different types of debt.
In fact, having an installment loan is a great way to build or re-build your credit because the monthly payments and interest rates are fixed and therefore lower risk.
One-time expenses won’t derail your finances
For large, one-time expenses like paying for a wedding, or remodeling your kitchen you can finance the costs upfront with a personal loan, rather than wait until you can save up and pay for them in full.
The finance charges you incur should factor into your decision, but they could be worth it under the right circumstances.
Interest rates on personal loans are very competitive
In fact, compared with credit cards, personal loan interest rates are often quite a bit lower. The underwriting process is simpler than mortgages and home equity loans and lines of credit as well, so you can be approved in a matter of days.
To compare personal loan offers and read company reviews from actual clients check out our personal loan comparison tool.
Why Choose a Personal Loan?
As of 2019, the Federal Reserve has cut the interest rates to some of the lowest loans have ever been in the United States. Because of this, lenders alike have followed suit to stay competitive. Candidly, this is actually among the best times to ever take out a loan in American history.
Furthermore, the economic recession experienced in 2008 still has left aftermath within the marketplace. Because of the recession, stringent but highly needed restrictions have been created to ensure that the loans you are approved for are well calculated.
Meaning that bank loans are harder to get approved for than they once were. Many people are finding it easier to get approval for a loan through online lenders. They get to forgo the scrutiny of the bank’s new and current underwriting process.
With most lenders, there typically isn’t a penalty early loan repayment, which would also technically save you interest fees associated with your term length.
Because your loan is at a fixed rate with a predictable term rate, you typically will find that your loan is much easier to manage than credit card debt.
We hope to be your financial friend! And when you are fully prepared to take action and make some financial decisions, we hope you think of us too!
Financer.com is on a focused mission to help connect fellow Americans with options they deserve to get transparent and affordable terms on their loans.
Candidly we look for lenders that have not only the full transparency you should expect, but also have a long track record of successful lending, and satisfied customers. We are always growing, pruning, and developing our list, but are confident in what we can bring to market, and we know you will be as well.
You can use our free loan comparison tool above to see what we can possibly do for you today, and take the guesswork and comparison out of doing all the legwork by yourself!
Personal Loan FAQs
Where can I get a personal loan ASAP?
You can search our online lenders and apply directly through their websites from the comfort of your own home.
How old do I have to be to get a personal loan?
In most states, you have to be 18 years old. But in Nebraska and Alabama, the legal age for a personal loan is 19 years old.
Do you check my credit score?
No. At financer.com we do not do a credit check for you to use our comparison tools.
Can I get a personal loan with bad credit?
Having bad credit will affect your online personal loan approval chances. However, some online lenders do offer lending services to customers with low credit scores.
Can I get a personal loan with no credit check?
You might see lenders online that offer loans without a credit check, and this is true- there are lenders online that won’t do what is called a “hard pull” of your credit score.
A hard pull is when the credit bureaus receive a request for your credit history from a potential lender. People generally want to avoid credit checks because a hard credit check will reduce their credit score. Other reasons are that they already have bad credit or they owe a lot of money already.
Lenders will do a soft pull of your credit score and base their ability to lend to you on whatever shows up. A soft pull is a check that isn’t reported to credit bureaus so it won’t affect your credit score.
So while there are lenders on the market that will advertise “no credit checks on your personal loan”, this doesn’t mean “no checks whatsoever”.
What happens if I get a $10,000 loan?
Let’s assume you are approved for a standard online personal loan of $10,000 over 5 years with an APR rate of 12%.
So quite simply you would have 60 months to make loan payments to your lender. Over these 60 months, you would pay $222.44 a month, which is quite manageable.