You can take out a personal loan for a range of different reasons. While one person might need a personal loan to buy a car, another might take one out to renovate a home or consolidate debt. There are a large number of personal loans available, so how do you find the best one for you?
Must read: Looking for the best personal loan?
There’s no single loan that’s best for everyone as all our needs are different – and what’s best for you might not be best for someone else.
Gem Personal Loan - Unsecured
- Fixed rates from 8.99% p.a. to 24.99% p.a.
- Weekly, fortnightly or monthly repayment options
- No early repayment fees
Gem Personal Loan - Unsecured
Check your loan rate in 3 minutes.
Unsecured Personal Loan from $2,000 to $70,000.
- Loan term: 6 months to 7 years
- Fees: Establishment fee of $240
- Minimum loan amount: $2,000
- Maximum loan amount: $70,000
- Personalised rates based on your circumstances
- Eligibility: Be 18+, a permanent NZ resident or hold a valid work visa allowing you to reside in New Zealand, employed and earning a stable income.
1. Match the loan type with the reason why you’re borrowing
Why are you taking out a personal loan? Are you consolidating debt, buying something or investing? Different types of personal loans are suited to different loan purposes. For example, a secured personal loan may be a good way to finance a used car and an unsecured personal loan is suitable to consolidate debt. Find the loan that will work for your loan purpose.
2. Compare loans to get features that matter to you
Think about the features that you want in your loan. Do you want to be able to repay the loan early without penalty? Do you want to be able to make additional repayments? How much do you want to borrow and how long do you want to repay? Then compare your loan options to find a loan with the features you want.
3. Get the most affordable loan that meets your needs
You need to find a loan you can afford. Compare the interest rate that you will be charged as well as the upfront and ongoing fees. Make sure you compare your options to get the most affordable loan with all the features you want. Choosing a loan that allows you to make extra repayments means you can pay it back faster.
When you want to apply for a loan, you should first compare multiple personal loan offerings so you can track down the right product. Pay attention to the following features and you could enjoy considerable savings:
- Secured or unsecured? Both of these loans suit different purposes. If you’re looking at buying something like a car or you already own an asset like a car, you can consider a secured personal loan. You will benefit from a lower interest rate personal loan by using the asset as security, but you risk losing it if you default on the loan. An unsecured personal loan may come with a slightly higher interest rate, but it doesn’t require security and allows you to use the funds however you want.
- What is the interest rate? The interest of a fixed rate loan will not change for the life of the loan, so you can compare the rates of similar loans. Even a small difference in interest rate can save you hundreds of dollars over the life of your loan.
- What fees are charged? Don’t forget to check the fees you will be charged, to give you an idea of the true cost of the loan. Consider both upfront and ongoing fees. For example, upfront fees may include application or establishment fees and ongoing fees can include monthly or annual fees.
- How much can you borrow? The amount you can borrow should also factor into your decision. You will not find out how much you will be approved for before you apply, but lenders will have a set minimum and maximum borrowing amount. Ensure how much you want to borrow falls within these limits.
- What restrictions apply to the loan? Are there restrictions on additional repayments or repaying the loan early? Are there restrictions on how you can use the loan amount? Is the loan limited to borrowers with excellent credit? Find out what restrictions apply with the loan.
- What will the term of your loan be? Work out how much you can afford to repay and what repayment terms you will need. Then, make sure the loan you are applying for offers these terms.
- Have you considered all your options? A personal loan isn’t always the best option depending on what you’re using the loan for. It’s important to check that using a personal loan is the cheapest option before submitting your application.
Yes, and no. Finding the lowest interest rate is definitely a good indication of a competitive personal loan. And obviously, finding the lowest interest rate possible for your circumstances is often in your best interests when it comes to saving money. However, as outlined above, interest rates are not the only feature worth considering when it comes to finding the best personal loan cost-wise. It’s also important to consider other fees and features involved.
As well as considering the costs and features involved with a personal loan, it’s important to be aware of your circumstances and have a good idea of what you can qualify for. Applying for the lowest interest rate loan you can find when you have a poor credit score will usually see your application rejected and can negatively affect your credit rating. Therefore, it’s a good idea to know your credit score before you apply for any form of finance.
While personal loans are helpful in many scenarios, it’s in your best interest to avoid certain traps and pitfalls.
- Read the fine print. Scrutinise all your options carefully right from the start and remember to look for ongoing account-keeping fees, early repayment fees and late payment fees. Read the terms and conditions document from start to finish and ensure you are aware of all fees and restrictions.
- Don’t take on a loan you can’t afford. When borrowing money, it is always important to use a personal loan calculator to find out what your repayments will be. If you can comfortably afford a loan, don’t feel tempted to consider borrowing more in the event that you can’t afford it.
Before you apply for a personal loan, establish how much you want to borrow and your monthly repayment ability. You should find out how long it might take for you to pay the loan off completely, remembering that you can usually choose between making weekly, fortnightly or monthly payments.
Read through the eligibility criteria set by the lender and then ensure you meet them. Also make sure you have the required documents – usually your driver’s licence, financial and employment documents and bank details – on hand. If you’re applying for a secured loan you will need details of the asset.
Once you find a loan you wish to apply for in the table above, proceed to the lender’s website by clicking “Go to Site” and start the application process.
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