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Christine Tait

Last updated: 4/2020

Find the Best Personal Loan for Your Needs


How to Apply for Personal Loan

apply personal loan

Personal loans are one of the most common forms of loan available to consumers in the United States. They’re used by millions of Americans to finance a range of different things. If you’ve decided that you want to apply for personal loan, then you’re probably well aware of many of the key features.

But the application process can still seem daunting. Many people are worried about choosing the right lender to work with. Others are scared that they might get rejected and further create financial problems for themselves. Whatever your concerns are, they’re legitimate. You should always approach any financial arrangement you make with as much caution as possible. You don’t want to rush into a decision that ends up costing you in the long run.

This guide will give you a complete walkthrough the application for personal loans. It will also provide you with advice on how to best prepare yourself for your application. Make sure to read this entire guide before you apply for a personal loan.

Secured Vs. Unsecured

The first step you should take in the application process is to decide whether you want a secured or unsecured loan. When you apply for personal loan, it can’t be stressed enough how important the difference between these two forms of finance is. We will explore each of the loans in more detail below. Make sure you’re extremely aware of the different details of each of these types of loan.

Secured Loans

Secured loans are loans that are secured against the value of an asset. For example, you might use your home to secure a loan. If you end up defaulting on the loan, the lender will be able to seize the asset you have secured it with to try and get back their money. The major downside to this type of loan is that you can end up losing valuable assets if you default on the loan that you get. On the other hand, interest rates on this type of loan are much lower than with unsecured loans. Banks are more likely to give out cheap finance if they know that they have something to secure the loan. These loans are also easier to get as banks know they have less risk.

Unsecured Loans

Unsecured loans are the most common form of personal loans. These loans are not secured against anything. If you are to default on the loan, the bank will not be able to reclaim your house or any of your other assets. The major downside to this is that interest rates are much higher. Banks don’t want to take risks on people who they aren’t secured against. If you’re someone who worries you might not be able to pay back the money you borrow, this is definitely the better option of the two. You’re not putting your home or other possessions at risk.

Find the Right Lender

The next step you should take involves finding the right lender to use. When you apply for personal loan, you might think that it doesn’t matter which lender you use, but this is not the case. Just because someone has lower interest rates, doesn’t mean they are the best option. You should be willing to pay a bit more to work with a better lender.

To find the right lender, you should start by making a short list of the best lenders you have access to. You can find great lenders online without having to make too much effort. After you do this, you should begin to cross reference your research with consumer watchdog groups. These watchdog groups review companies and allow previous clients to review the way that they experienced their services. It’s a great way to get a recent update on the performance of a company.

The best websites for this type of service are Consumer Affairs and the Better Business Bureau. They both do an awesome job of keeping up to date with companies and how they are performing with customers. You should truly value the feedback of past customers. If a company has a lot of dissatisfied borrowers, there’s a high chance you will be one of them in the future if you opt to work with them!

Compare Interest Rates

You should then begin to compare the different rates that each lender is offering. The one problem with this is that these interest rates are often given in ranges, meaning you don’t know the exact rate until you’ve already applied for the loan. This is a massive pain considering it damages your credit score every time you apply for finance. Nonetheless, you need to make sure you have a reasonable understanding of what the interest rate will be before you apply for personal loan.

Differences in interest rates seem small when you view them without context. But when you’re paying back a loan over multiple years, it can really add up. But it’s not just interest rates that determine the true cost of your loan. There are plenty of other fees and charges that lenders attempt to neglect to tell you. That’s why it’s important to ask lenders for a full breakdown of costs prior to making any decisions. In fact, we recommend that you ask your lender for a total cost of the loan. It makes it much easier to understand the true burden that you have.

Prepare Your Credit Score

Another step that you should ensure to take before you apply for personal loan is to prepare your credit score so that it is the best it can be. You want to approach the loan application process with the intention of being accepted the first time you apply. Each time you apply for a loan or credit card, points are taken off your credit score. This means that the more times you’re rejected, the more likely you are to continue to be rejected.

It’s really important that you make as much effort as possible to nail your first loan application. Fortunately, there are a few simple things you can do to make sure that your credit score is as high as possible before you apply for personal loan. Below are the steps you can take.

Check Your Credit Report

This may seem obvious, but you should always check your credit report before you start your loan application. Even if you know your credit score, you might not know what’s on your credit report. There are millions of Americans that have false or mistaken issues on their credit reports. Misreporting is a lot bigger of an issue than you think. If you have a sub-par credit score, there’s a high chance there’s something on there that you may be able to fix. 500 credit score personal loans are not unheard of though so you can just apply and see what happens.

If you find that there are problems with your report, request to the reporting body that they remove any of the items that you find problematic. If they aren’t willing to do so, then contact a credit repair agency and ask them if you think they would be able to help you. Remember, credit reporting bodies are required by U.S. law to give you at least one free copy of your credit report every year – don’t hesitate to ask them for it.

Pay Off Credit Card Debt

One of the major contributing factors to your credit score is how much outstanding revolving credit you have on file. In fact, in some cases this makes up to 30% of your score. The good news is that this data is updated every month. Credit reporting bodies typically look at your outstanding debt as a ratio. Meaning the hire your credit limits, the better your debt ratio is in most cases. It’s a percentage of how much debt you have compared to your limits.

Paying down these debts can help you improve your score drastically. If you can afford to pay off some of your credit card debt before you make a loan application, it can greatly increase your chances of being approved for a large loan. You should not underestimate how much this can change your score – depending on how much you can payoff, you might see an increase of over 80 points.

Be Realistic

At the end of the day, it’s always important to be realistic. Don’t apply for personal loan from a company that is obviously not going to lend money to you. Most lenders will advertise the types of credit scores they’re looking for. If you’re way out of this range, there’s no point in applying – it will only damage your chance of being accepted in the future.

If you can’t find a lender’s range online, head to some different finance forums. Many borrowers will post what credit scores they were approved with from different lenders. It can be a good way to get your finger on the pulse of the lender.

Get Your Cash and Make Your Payments

Once your loan is approved, you will typically get your cash transferred to you within 24 hours. This means that you’ll have direct access to the capital you need in less than a day. It truly is amazing how fast modern lenders can get you the money that you need. Most personal loans do not require you to spend the money in any particular way – this is not a mortgage. This is why it’s very important to make sure that you are disciplined with the money you receive. It can be very easy to end up spending it for the wrong reasons.

In addition, you should also make sure to be fully aware of when your payments are. If you miss a payment, you will most likely have to pay a late fee. In addition, it will be marked as a missed payment on your credit report which will lower your score. Personal loans are great because they’re term loans – this means that they’re much easier to pay off. This is a good form of loan for someone who typically struggles to keep financial commitments. It forces you to be disciplined with your payments.

Apply for Personal Loan Online

We suggest that all our readers use online applications to apply for their personal loans. You can still apply for personal loans through bank branches and lending stores, but this process is much more complicated and takes significantly more time. If you want to avoid waiting days or weeks for a lending decision, there’s no point applying in a physical branch. Online applications only take a matter of minutes, and they’re perfect for someone who doesn’t want to waste their time having to drive to a bank to get the financing they need.

You can input all your personal information online directly through a secure portal. This also greatly reduces the amount of risk you have for being a victim of fraudulent behavior. Many individuals have their social security numbers and other personal details stolen when they fill out paper applications. Using an online server is much safer – many large lenders use encryption software to make sure that all your information is safe.

While it is extremely easy to apply online, remember that each application will damage your credit score. Don’t apply for multiple loans at once. This will damage your score and result in you most likely being rejected for any type of finance in the near future.


Applying for personal loans has never been easier for American borrowers. You can head online, apply for a loan, and have money in your account within 24 hours. But the entire process should still be approached with caution. If you’re going to apply for personal loan, you need to make sure you’re ready. You don’t want to get rejected if you don’t have to.

Use the tips that we’ve provided in this article if you decide to apply for personal loan online. If you follow the steps we’ve provided, you’ll be in great shape to receive an approval for your personal loan.

Remember, if finance is used responsibly, it has the ability to improve your life dramatically. As long as you know what you’re doing with the money you’re borrowing, it can help you plan for the future or fix current problems. So, what are you waiting for? Apply for a personal loan online today!


Being in a position where you need a personal loan can be stressful enough. Things like bad credit, previous debt and low income can add onto your frustration. Thankfully, we can help you better understand what your options are when it comes to personal loans. In this section, we attempt to answer as many of your questions as we can.

Applying for a Personal Loan

A personal loan can be the answer to your financial problems. We can help you find the answers you need when it comes to applying and getting your personal loan.

How to apply for a personal loan?
You can apply for a personal loan at most banks or credit unions. Now you can even apply for personal loans online through online lenders.
How to apply for a personal loan with bad credit?
If you have bad credit, you may be approved at the cost of higher interest rates and lower loan amounts. Credit Unions usually give better options for people with bad credit.
What do I need to apply for personal loan?
In most cases, all you need is a form of identification (driver’s license, social security, etc.), a proof of address and proof of income.
How to apply for a personal loan at a bank?
You can apply for a personal loan at a bank by making an appointment to talk with a personal banker. Make sure to bring a form of identification, proof of address and proof of income.
Does applying for personal loans affect your credit score?
Since a credit check is always done with your loan application, your credit score lowers. If you’re approved, your credit score lowers further due to your increased debt-to-income ratio.
What to bring when applying for a personal loan?
When applying for a personal loan, you should bring a form of identification, proof of address and proof of income (such as paychecks or bank statements).
Is it better to apply for a loan in person?
Applying for a loan in person or online has similar outcomes. Even online banks have customer service representatives to help answer all your questions. It’s best to gather quotes to see who can provide the best rates.
How to apply for a small personal loan?
You can apply for a small personal loan by going to your local bank, credit union or even online lender to apply for a personal loan.
How to apply for a personal loan with no credit?
Lenders usually require previous credit to be established before you apply for your personal loan. However, some new online vendors are accepting people with no credit.
Can I apply for multiple personal loans?
Yes, you can apply for multiple loans. However, each time you apply, the lender will assess your situation and take into consideration any loans you already have.
How can I apply for a personal loan online?
Applying for a personal loan online is much like applying in person. You can start the application process by going to your lender’s website and finding their online loan application.
How to apply for a personal loan with poor credit?
People with poor credit will have a harder time applying for a loan. However, you may be able to get a loan with higher interest rates. Credit unions also offer better rates for people with low rates.
How often does a person apply for a loan?
You can apply for a loan as often as you’d like. Each time you apply, your previous loan history and credit are considered before being approved.
How to apply for personal loan consolidation?
There are a variety of uses for a personal loan, one of them being debt consolidation. You can apply for a consolidation loan at your bank, credit union or online lender.
Can I apply for 2 personal loans?
Yes, you can apply for 2 personal loans. However, keep in mind your credit goes down and your debt-to-ratio increases with each loan, lowering your credit score.
Where can I apply for a secured personal loan?
You can apply for a secured personal loan at banks, credit unions and online lenders. Compare estimates between each to find the best deal.
How can I apply for a small personal loan?
You can apply for a small personal loan at most banks, credit unions or online lenders. Smaller loans are also easier to be approved for.
How to apply personal loan in USA?
In the USA, you can apply for a personal loan at your local bank, credit union, or online lender. Call or visit their website to learn how you can apply for a personal loan today.
Where can I apply for a small personal loan?
You can apply at your local bank or credit union. Now you can even apply for personal loans online through online lenders.
How to apply for 2,000 personal loan?
You can apply for a small personal loan of $2,000 at most banks, credit unions and online lenders.
Does applying for multiple personal loan affect credit?
Yes, your credit score will lower as credit checks and higher debt-to-income ratios will lower your credit score. However, with on-time payments, your credit score will go back up.
How does applying for a personal loan affect credit score?
Applying for a personal loan does affect your credit score, as the lender will have to do a credit check. It typically lowers your credit score only by a few points.

Getting the Best Deal On your Personal Loan

If you’re aiming to get the best deal, there’s a few details you should pay close attention to before you apply for your loan. Read the following frequently asked questions to see how you can get the best deal.

What to look for when applying for a personal loan?

When applying for a personal loan, you should take into consideration the interest rates and the fees that come with the loan as well as how much they’re willing to lend you.

How to prepare to apply for a personal loan?

You can prepare yourself by paying off any existing debts (to lower your debt-to-income ratio) and staying away from credit-lowering activities, such as getting a new credit card.

When to apply for a personal loan?

To get the best deal, you should apply for a personal loan when you have a steady income, a good credit score, and your debt is low.

How to apply for personal loans with ok credit?

With OK credit, you can expect to have high interest rates and lower loan amounts. Credit unions usually give better rates for people with lower credit scores.

What questions to ask before applying for a personal loan?

Before applying, you should ask about the loan’s interest rates, fees, and payment terms.

Does applying for multiple personal loan affect credit score in 2018?

Yes, your credit score is lowered each time a lender checks your credit score, and it’s best to get estimates before applying for loans.

Can I apply for home loan and personal loan together?

It’s possible. To be approved for both, you’ll need to have a high credit score and a low debt-to-income ratio.

What's better applying for a personal loan or second mortgage?

It depends on your needs. Personal loans will give you smaller amounts of money. A mortgage will give you a higher loan amount, but your house will be taken if you can’t pay it off.

Should I apply for a loan online or in person?

Sometimes online lenders can offer you lower rates due to lower operating costs, but it’s not always true. It’s best to get multiple estimates (online and offline) and go with the best offer.

How much personal loan should I apply for?

You should apply only for the amount you need to avoid paying interest on money you don’t need. Ask your lender if they can work with your desired loan amount.

Other Topics

There are a few other frequently asked questions when it comes to applying for personal loans, including questions on cosigners, veterans and applying online:

Can a retired person apply for a personal loan?

If you have Social Security benefits, a pension or retirement fund, you can still apply for a personal loan since you have money coming in to pay it back.

Where to apply for minority loan for personal property?

Minority loans are usually aimed towards business owners, but minorities can apply for personal loans and be approved if they have good credit, a steady income and a low debt-to-income ratio.

How to dress when applying for a personal loan?

Your eligibility for a personal loan is based on your credit and other financial factors, not how you dress. However, it wouldn’t hurt to dress well to set a good impression.

Where to apply for a personal loan online?

There are a number of websites you can apply for personal loans through. To find the best rates, you can search “Best online personal loan rates”.

How to apply for a personal loan with a cosigner?

Applying for a loan with a cosigner is similar to applying to a normal personal loan. The only difference is you bring a cosigner to improve your chances of getting the loan.

Can a housewife apply for personal loan?

Housewives will likely be turned down for their lack of income. Instead, housewives can try to apply with a cosigner to increase their chances of getting their loan accepted.

Can you apply for a personal loan without a job?

Most lenders require a steady income to approve your loan (to ensure you pay them back) and will turn you down if you have no job.

When applying for a loan, do you use personal household income?

When applying for a loan, you use your own income. If there is a cosigner to the loan, their income is considered as well.

How to apply for a VA personal loan?

If you are a veteran, you can apply for a VA personal loan even with a lower credit score. Some banks, credit unions and online lenders offer VA personal loans.

How often can you apply for a personal loan?

You can apply for a personal loan as often as you’re approved. Keep in mind your credit score goes down with each credit check as well as how much debt you have.

Can you apply for a personal loan over the phone?

Yes, you can apply for a personal loan over the phone. Now online lenders even allow you to apply online, without the need to come into an office.

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Christine has a solid background in personal finance as she spent the last eight years working at one of the biggest banks in the US. She managed her own team of financial advisors that helped hundreds of people with their financing needs. Her innate understanding of different financial products and loans helped her move up the ranks quickly after graduating with a degree in Business Administration.