Apply for a loan guide

How to Get a Loan

Information verified correct on April 26th, 2017

Knowing about the process before you apply for your loan can help you on your road to finance. Find out how to get a personal loan with our guide.

Personal loans can help you buy a new vehicle, pay for home renovations, or get out of debt. You can even cover adoption costs with a personal loan. But what is the process of getting a personal loan?

  • Decide what you need

Finding the right loan starts with you knowing what you need and what your current circumstances are. Say you’re looking to purchase a car. If you have a good credit rating, a secured personal loan might give you a lower annual percentage rate (APR)., However, if you have bad credit, you may need to consider an auto title loan (where the vehicle itself acts as security for the loan).

Get your credit score here

You also need to think about how much you need to borrow, how long you’ll need to repay it and what kind of payments you can afford. Any additional features you’d like from your loan (such as the ability to pay it off early) should also be noted.

  • Find the right loan type

There are various loan types available: Secured loans, unsecured personal loans, payday loans, auto title loans, installment loans for bad credit, and so on. Once you’ve decided what you need from your loan, have a look at the different loan types and decide what features best match your needs.

A selection of personal loans you can apply for today

Rates last updated April 26th, 2017
Unfortunately, none of the personal loan providers have a loan for that credit score. It you are urgent need of a small loan, you might want to check out a short term loan.
Max. Loan Amount Minimum Credit Score Turnaround Time Requirements
SWIFT Personal Loans
Access multiple lenders with a 5-minute application for a cash advance on your paycheck.
$10,000 1-2 days You have a valid bank account, You have a job or regular source of income, You are a resident of the United States and You are 18 years of age or older Go to site More
NetCredit Personal Loan
You could borrow up to $10,000 and get an interest rate personalized to your credit score
$10,000 300 1 business day Varies based upon state of application Go to site More
Lending Club Personal Loan
Borrow up to $40,000 with rates from 5.99% to 35.89% APR based on your credit score.
$40,000 660 Varies You must be over 18 years of age, a permanent resident of the US or an American citizen and have a steady source of income. Go to site More
Prosper Personal Loan
Loans made simple.
$35,000 640 1-3 business days You are over 18 years of age, you are an American citizen or a permanent resident of the US, and you don’t have bad credit history. Go to site More
Avant - Personal Loan
Borrow up to $35,000 with APRs ranging from 9.95% – 36.00%
$35,000 660 1-2 business days You must have at least a fair credit score (580 or more). Showing proof of a steady income. You must be a US Resident over 18 years old. Go to site More

Have we missed anything in the comparison table? Tell us

  • If the provider quotes a different rate to the one above please let us know
  • See what lenders are offering

Different lenders have varying loan types on offer. For instance, a bank will offer a range of personal loan and credit card products but is less likely to have solutions for you if your credit score is low, or may only be able to offer you a higher APR. Other lenders may only have products for bad credit borrowers, such as payday and installment loans.

  • Find out about eligibility and APR

This is one of the most important steps to take before applying. Lenders list basic eligibility criteria that needs to be met before you can apply for the loan. They also list an APR range that the personal loan can fall in.

Depending on your credit history, you may get an APR anywhere in that range. Bad credit loans such as payday loans come with a standard APR that is offered to all borrowers. Some lenders, such as peer-to-peer lenders, let you get a rate estimate without it affecting your credit score. It’s important to know what your credit score is and have a fair idea of what APR you may be eligible for before you apply.

  • Compare your options

The way to find the best personal loan is to decide what you want and then to compare all of your options to make sure you’re getting a competitive loan. How much is the lender charging in fees? How does this compare to other similar loans? It can also help to compare the additional features offered by lenders. Remember to keep in mind the eligibility criteria of loans and the APR you may be offered.

  • Gather what you need to apply

The information you need to apply will depend on the lender and the type of loan you’re applying for. For most loans you will need documents to confirm your identity, to prove your address, to verify your income and other financials, and you will also need information regarding your employment. If you’re applying for a secured loan you will need additional documentation regarding the security.

  • Submit your application

Once you’ve settled on the right loan, it’s time to apply. The majority of lenders offer a convenient online application, but you may also be able to apply in-branch or over the phone. You usually won’t have to fax over any documents if you apply online but you should check this before you apply. Turnaround time for approval and receiving your funds differs – timeframes fluctuate from a few hours to a few weeks.

7 tips to increase your chances of getting approved for a personal loan

Personal loans can be an option to consider when you’re in need of funds. Understanding the ins and outs of the process can help you confidently decide on the right loan and apply.

Elizabeth Barry

As a writer for, Elizabeth specializes in personal finance, with her passion centring on helping people find better for whatever they're looking for.

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Disclaimer: At we provide factual information and general advice. Before you make any decision about a product read the Product Disclosure Statement and consider your own circumstances to decide whether it is appropriate for you.
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US Personal Loans Offers

Learn about our information service
Lending Club Personal Loan

Borrow up to $40,000 with rates from 5.99% to 35.89% APR based on your credit score.

SWIFT Personal Loans

Access multiple lenders with a 5-minute application for a cash advance on your paycheck.

An online loan matching service that connects you with lenders.

NetCredit Personal Loan

You could borrow up to $10,000 and get an interest rate personalized to your credit score