How to apply for a personal loan (with pictures)

Information verified correct on February 22nd, 2017

Step-by-step walkthrough of a personal loan application

Whether you need to repair your vehicle, move across the country, or simply buy some extra gifts for the holidays, a personal loan can help you deal with these expenses without putting you in a financial hard spot. Review this checklist to make sure you know everything you need to apply for a personal loan.

What you need to apply

While applying for a personal loan is usually a fairly quick and straightforward process, you just need to make sure you’re eligible and you have the necessary information you need documents you will need. These include:

Minimum Requirements:

  • Credit Rating: Varies, but on average the lowest score accepted is 640.
  • Annual Income: Typically $25,000 or more.
  • Credit History: Usually you will need a credit history, sometimes of several years, to be able to qualify.
  • Debt-to-income ratio: 45%, not including your mortgage.

Eligibility criteria:

  • You have an active checking or savings bank account.
  • You are over 18 years of age.
  • You are a resident of the United States.
  • You have a regular source of income.

Required documents:

  • Personal details like your complete name, date of birth, social security number, and driver’s license number or state ID number
  • Contact details like your home address, home phone number, and email address
  • Employer’s name and time employed
  • Bank account information

Before you apply…

Decide how much money you need

One of the first things you’ll need to do is decide how much money you need. Carefully calculate your debt or the size of the purchase you need to pay for. Taking out a loan that’s too small would leave you with remaining financial needs. On the other hand, if you take out a loan that’s too large, you will be stuck paying interest back on a larger amount than necessary.

Find the right loan

Shop around and compare all of your options. Make sure to check interest rates, fees, loan terms, and payment options before signing any documents. You can check out our comparison tables to find a loan that’s right for you. Need more info? Read the Personal Loan Guide in full so you can make an informed decision. Once you decide which type of loan and lender fits your financial situation, it’s time to apply.

Ready to apply? Steps to completing the application process

Step 1: Go to the lender’s website and click on the application for the loan. Fill out the basic information, such as your zip code and whether you’ll be filing for a joint or individual application. step 1   Step 2: As you hit continue, you will be prompted to fill out more pages detailing your personal information and financial situation. step 2 Step 3: The next step is to input the loan information, such as the amount you will be needing and how long you want to take to pay it back. The sooner you pay it back, the less you will pay in interest. step 3 Step 4: Once everything is filled out, verify that the information is correct, hit submit, and you will receive a decision on your loan application shortly. Sometimes you can receive a decision on your loan in one business day depending on the lender.

What happens next?

If your loan application is approved, you will receive instructions from the lender on how to finalize and sign the loan documentation.

Receiving your money

Many lenders and banks require that you have a checking account to receive your money via direct deposit, but that’s not always the only option. Some lenders will be able to send you a check, or load your money onto a prepaid debit card.

Time to spend it

If you took out a loan for something specific, such as an auto loan or a debt consolidation loan, you should spend it on that. But if you take out a personal loan with no restrictions on what you can purchase, you are free to spend that on whatever you’d like.

Make your payments on time

It’s very important to make your payments on time so you don’t end up paying extra in fees. Be sure to verify how you will be required to make payments. Can you pay by phone with a credit card or account number, or do you need to mail in a check? Is there an automatic payment option? The application process may vary slightly from lender to lender, but generally they all follow a format similar to the one above.

Find A Loan

Rates last updated February 22nd, 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
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 Same rates
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. Same rates
Go to site More
LightStream Personal Loans
You could borrow up to $100,000 with rates starting from 2.19% fixed.
$100,000 680 Varies You must have a good or excellent FICO and be an American citizen or a permanent resident of the US. Same rates
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. Same rates
Go to site More
Upstart Personal Loans
You are not required to have a specific minimum annual gross income, or credit history. That easy.
$50,000 660 1-2 business days 18+. US citizen or permanent resident. 660 credit score or higher. Same rates
Go to site More
SoFi Personal Loan
Borrow up to $100,000 with a competitive APR and no fees.
$100,000 660 Varies You must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident 18 years or older. Same rates
Go to site More
SWIFT Personal Loans
With a 5 minute simple application, SWIFT connects you with lenders that will offer you terms that are reasonable, affordable, and trustworthy.
$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 Same rates
Go to site More

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US Personal Loans Offers

Learn about our information service

An online loan matching service that connects you with lenders.

Avant - Personal Loan

Borrow up to $35,000 with APRs ranging from 9.95% – 36.00% Personal Loan

Trusted Loans give you flexibility to pay for your credit, once or twice each month.

NetCredit Personal Loan

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