How to get pre-approved for a personal loan

How to get pre-approved for a personal loan

What you’ll need to know to get the green light from a lender.

Chances are you’ve heard the term pre-approval before, but it often only comes up when talking about mortgages. You might not have seen it attached to personal loans, but receiving pre-approval for a loan is a vital part of the application process. Our guide will take you through what pre-approval means and how you may be able to get a sneak peak into how much you could be able to borrow.

Laurel Road Personal Loans

Laurel Road Personal Loans

Get a personalized rate offer through a quick online application. Recommended for people with annual income of $60K+ and debt of less than 40% of their income.

  • Min. Credit Score Required: 680
  • Min. Loan Amount: $1,000
  • Max. Loan Amount: $45,000
  • Starting APR: 5.5%
  • Loan Term: 3, 4 or 5 years
  • Rate discounts for autopay
  • No prepayment fees

    What is pre-approval?

    When a lender is willing to consider you for a personal loan, they’ll often notify you of your pre-approval. Most online applications will end with either a pre-approval offer or denial based on your financial situation and credit score. If you’ve been pre-approved, your lender will likely contact you to finalize the loan and determine if you’re officially approved.

    You may also receive an unsolicited offer from a lender in the mail or through an email. These are to encourage customers who may not have previously considered borrowing, but even though you receive a pre-approval notice, you still may not qualify for a loan.

    A pre-approved loan is an offer of a loan pending full approval. Pre-approvals are available with many types of loans, including personal loans, car loans and mortgages.

    Pre-approvals are notices that a lender may be able to approve your loan once you submit a full application. They usually remain valid for several months, but they won’t guarantee you funding.

    How the pre-approval process works

    1. Select a lender from the table below.
    2. Fill out a preliminary loan application.
    3. Wait while the lender reviews your application. This process is usually automated.
    4. Receive your pre-approval decision.
    5. Continue to the official application.

    It’s worth noting that in many cases, pre-approval takes place online within just a few minutes. This is because the lender and its underwriting team haven’t evaluated your application yet and are using software to analyze the information you supply. On-the-spot pre-approvals are often nothing more than indications that you may qualify for a loan.

    If you’ve received a letter from a lender that says you’re pre-approved, then this process doesn’t apply to you. The lender has used information available to them to determine that you may be eligible for one of their products.

    Your lender will likely contact you to confirm the information you’ve submitted if you’re pre-approved for a loan. Be sure everything is accurate. At this point, your lender may take a day or two to fully underwrite your loan application. You may still be denied. If you do receive an official approval, review your contract carefully and decide if you still want to move forward with the loan.

    Compare top personal loan providers

    Rates last updated April 25th, 2018

    Reveal your potential loan offers and rates

    Answer two quick questions to filter the loan offers and get the best one for you.

    Let's get started

    Select your credit score range

    I don't know my credit score

    Finally, select where you live.

    To get your credit score:

    Experian logo

    Experian is a leading provider of personal and business credit reporting. Find out your FICO score now for less than the cost of a cup of coffee.

    Unfortunately, none of the personal loan providers offer loans for that credit score. If you are in urgent need of a small loan, you might want to consider a short term loan.
    Name Product Product Description Min. Credit Score Max. Loan Amount APR
    Even Financial Personal Loans
    Get connected to competitive loan offers instantly from top online consumer lenders.
    4.99%–35.99% (fixed)
    Monevo Personal Loans
    Quickly compare multiple online lenders with competitive rates depending on your credit score.
    3.09%–35.99% (fixed)
    Upgrade Personal Loans*
    Affordable loans with two simple repayment terms and no prepayment penalties.
    5.96%–35.97% (fixed)
    Borrow only what you need for debt consolidation, home improvements and more — with APRs based on overall creditworthiness.
    5.99%–35.99% (fixed)
    LendingClub Personal Loan
    A peer-to-peer lender offering fair rates based on your credit score.
    5.98%–35.89% (fixed)
    CompareFirst Personal Loans
    An easy-to-use loan connection service geared toward introducing first-time borrowers to affordable personal loans.
    2.99%–36% (fixed)
    Best Egg Personal Loans
    A prime lender with multiple repayment methods.
    5.99%–29.99% (fixed)
    FreedomPlus Personal Loans
    Consolidate debt and more with these low-interest loans. Cosigners welcome.
    4.99%–29.99% (fixed)
    Laurel Road Personal Loans
    Get a personal loan with no application or origination fees and a rate discount for autopay.
    5.5%–11.74% (fixed)
    LendingPoint Personal Loans
    Get a personal loan with reasonable rates even if you have a fair credit score in the 600s.
    15.49%–34.99% (fixed)
    NetCredit Personal Loan
    Check eligibility in minutes and get a personalized quote without affecting your credit score.
    34%–155% (fixed)
    OneMain Financial Personal and Auto Loans
    An established online and in-store lender with quick turnaround times. Poor credit is OK.
    typically around 18.49%* (fixed)

    Compare up to 4 providers

    How might a personal loan pre-approval benefit you?

    If you seek out pre-approval, it can help you feel more confident when making a decision between different loans. You’ll know that a lender is likely to lend you the funds you need, and you’ll have an estimate of how much the loan will cost you. Choosing the right loan can be difficult, but already knowing your potential interest rate and the fees attached to the loan can help you make the right choice for your finances.

    Is there a difference between conditional approval and pre-approval?

    Both terms are used often and may be confusing for people not used to industry jargon.

    Pre-approval is a quick scan of your application to confirm your credit score, income and personal details align with the lender’s qualification criteria.

    Conditional approval is given to applicants who may have to supply extra information to the lender. Pay stubs, bills and employment records may be asked for at this point. It means that the lender is likely going to approve your loan, but it still needs to gather specific information for its underwriting team.

    Some personal loan lenders will use the terms interchangeably. If you’re still confused after receiving pre-approval or conditional approval, don’t hesitate to contact your lender and clear up any questions you may have.

    How do lenders identify customers to offer pre-approved loans to?

    Banks and lenders possess quite a bit of information about their customers and will use this knowledge to promote various products.

    For instance, you might have an account with a particular bank. Consequently, the bank has a lot of information about you, from your earnings to your expenses. The bank will be aware of your interests and spending habits. Based on this information, it can be easy for the bank to make enticing offers to catch your attention. This is why banks and lenders often send letters, emails or even phone calls regarding new products and conditional pre-approvals.

    They make this decision based off your credit score and the personal information you’ve supplied to other lenders.

    Find out if that pre-approved loan offer you received is legit

    What do I need to submit for a pre-approval application?

    • Your name, date of birth and Social Security number
    • Your contact details, including your address, phone number and email
    • Your employment details, including your current employer and income
    • Your financial details, including your expenses and debts

    Lenders provide pre-approvals based on your application. If it’s inaccurate or missing details, a lender won’t be able to offer you pre-approval. Be sure to take the time to gather the necessary documents so that your application is as accurate as possible before you begin.

    How to avoid denial of a pre-approval application

    Lenders may decline pre-approval applications for any reason. Some common ones are

    • You haven’t supplied the proper documents for validating your income
    • You have a low credit score
    • You have too many inquiries on your credit report

    Just because you’ve been pre-approved before doesn’t mean you will be again. Lenders have strict eligibility criteria, and you aren’t guaranteed to receive a loan even if you’ve been pre-approved.

    What to watch out for

    Always be wary of a lender’s reputation. Check customer reviews and the lender’s website, and never agree to a loan from a lender that you don’t trust. It may seem obvious, but there are scams out there that look legitimate. Some disreputable lenders will even send postcards in the mail or forward an email that mimics a real lender. Confirm that these pre-approval offers are real before proceeding with a loan application–especially if it asks for your personal information.

    Frequently asked questions

    Was this content helpful to you? No  Yes

    Ask an Expert

    You are about to post a question on

    • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
    • is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
    • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
    • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

    Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.

    US Personal Loans Offers

    Important Information*
    Even Financial Personal Loans

    Get connected to competitive loan offers instantly from top online consumer lenders.


    Borrow only what you need for debt consolidation, home improvements and more — with APRs based on overall creditworthiness.

    LendingClub Personal Loan

    A peer-to-peer lender offering fair rates based on your credit score.

    SoFi Personal Loan Fixed Rate (with Autopay)

    Borrow up to $100,000 with a competitive APR and no fees.

    Go to site