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How long does it take to get a personal loan?

Online lenders are often the quickest — though your bank might be faster.

It can take anywhere from a few hours to over a month to get a personal loan. It depends on the type of lender and how easy it is to verify your personal information. Online lenders are usually the fastest, while banks and credit unions are known for being slow.

But there is one exception. If your bank or credit union already has all the information it needs to process your application, it can quickly approve your loan and instantly deposit the funds into your account.

While each application is different, the type of lender you borrow from tends to affect your turnaround time more than anything else.

How long it takes to get a loan

Provider typeTypical application timeTypical approval timeTypical funding timeTotal turnaround
Online direct lendersUnder 30 minutesA few minutes to a few business daysOne to two business daysOne business day to a week
Peer-to-peer platformsUnder 30 minutesA few minutes to a weekUp to one weekOne business day to two weeks
Banks and credit unions15 minutes to an hourA few business days to a few weeksUp to three weeksUp to six weeks

How long does it take to get approved for a personal loan?

Getting approved for a personal loan can take anywhere from a few minutes to several weeks, depending on the type of lender.

Online and peer-to-peer platforms can approve your loan in as fast as a few minutes, while banks and credit unions can take as long as a few weeks. This is because online lenders tend to use algorithms to process your application, while banks and credit unions typically rely on staff for underwriting new applicants.

Online direct lenders

  • Typically get approved in: A few minutes to a few business days.

Online direct lenders are generally the fastest option for getting a loan. Filling out the application often takes no more than 15 minutes if you have your information and documents on hand. With some lenders, you can get approved within a few minutes. Others might want to review your application before they request documentation.

Peer-to-peer platforms

  • Typically get approved in: A few minutes to a week.

Although they tend to take longer overall than online direct lenders, peer-to-peer platforms typically don’t involve anything extra. Like with direct online lenders, approval can take a few minutes if you have all of your information and documents ready. However, some lenders might require more time.

Banks and credit unions

  • Typically get approved in: A few business days to a few weeks.

One of the drawbacks of borrowing from a bank or credit union is that getting approved for a personal loan can take much longer. There are a couple reasons for this. For one, banks often have higher credit standards than online lenders and might take more time reviewing your application to make sure you meet their criteria.

Also, both banks and credit unions often don’t have the technology to process applications quickly. Many rely on staff to underwrite their loans, which generally takes more time.

How long does it take to receive the money after approval?

You can get your funds as soon as the same day or within a few weeks, depending on your lender. Here, online lenders are also often the fastest. But banks you already have an account with can deposit the funds instantly.

Online direct lenders

  • Typically get your money in: One to two business days.

Once you’re approved, online lenders just send the money to your bank account with an ACH transfer. Typically that kind of transfer takes around one business day, though some can get you your funds as soon as the same day if you’re approved that morning.

Some lenders with fast approval times might take longer, however. For example, Upgrade can process your application quickly, but it can take up to four business days to get your funds.

Peer-to-peer lenders

  • Typically get your money in: One business day to a week.

Since peer-to-peer lenders rely on investors to fund their loans, getting your money can take a little more time, sometimes as over a week. But it’s possible to find peer-to-peer options that don’t take as long. For example, LendingClub can get you your money within four business days.

Banks and credit unions

  • Typically get your money in: The next day to a few weeks.

Banks often rely on ACH transfers to deposit the funds, and in many cases it takes just as long as an online lender to receive the funds. But if it’s not initiated right away, it could take a few weeks after approval. It’s often much faster if you have an account, however. Banks and credit unions tend to prioritize current customers and don’t need to initiate a transfer. You may even be able to get your money as soon as the same day.

What affects the turnaround time on a personal loan?

Aside from the type of lender you apply with, how long it takes to complete the personal loan process depends on your:

  • Preparedness. The more information you have in place at the time you apply, the faster the application process typically takes.
  • Source of income. Some lenders might take longer to process your application if you’re self-employed, since it can be more difficult to verify your income.
  • Personal credit. Lenders might ask for more information or documents if your credit score is less-than-perfect or you have a short credit history.

5 tips to speed up the application process

To get through the process as fast as possible, make sure you follow these five tips.

  1. Check lender’s eligibility. Applying for a loan you don’t qualify for means you’ll spend more time trying to find a loan in the long run. Also, if your lender uses a hard credit check, it’ll temporarily lower your credit score.
  2. Gather your documents first. Find out what documents your lender typically asks for and compile them before starting the application.
  3. Have your information on hand. Having the exact numbers for your salary and monthly debt payments on hand can cut down on the time it takes to fill out the application.
  4. Ask questions. Not sure what details to include where? Asking a customer service rep can ensure you don’t make mistakes that could slow down your application. Some lenders even have a live-chat feature.
  5. Use a connection service if you have bad credit. Bad-credit borrowers might have a harder time finding a lender that they’re eligible for. Some online connection services can help you prequalify with multiple lenders even if you have a credit score as low as 580.

Bottom line

It can take anywhere from one day to a few weeks to get a personal loan from start to finish. Online direct lenders are typically the fastest overall, though you can sometimes find quick funding from even a credit union. Funding speed might not be the only factor to consider when getting a personal loan, however.

To learn more about how they work and compare lenders, read our comprehensive guide to personal loans.

Frequently asked questions

Common questions about personal loan turnaround times.

Can you get a personal loan the same day?

In some cases you can get a personal loan the same day you apply. Look for lenders that offer same-day funding like LightStream or Rocket Loans. Or, ask your bank or credit union if they offer same-day funding on personal loans for current customers.

How hard is it to get a personal loan?

It depends on the lender, but generally you need to be over 18, a US citizen or permanent resident and have a credit history to get a personal loan. But to qualify for the best options, you usually need a personal loan over 760, a full-time job and few personal debts. Factors like your monthly cashflow, career and level of education can also affect your ability to get approved for competitive interest rates and loan terms.

Which apps give loans instantly?

Pay advance apps like Earnin often offer instant approval and same-day funding — though often for a fee. Technically, these are not personal loans, however. They’re advances on the wages you’ve already earned at an hourly job, which you can receive in exchange for a monthly membership fee or optional tip.

Since your employer already owes you the money you receive through a pay advance app, it’s often easier to get approved quickly than a personal loan.

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Anna Serio was a lead editor at Finder, specializing in consumer and business financing. A trusted lending expert and former certified commercial loan officer, Anna's written and edited more than 1,000 articles on Finder to help Americans strengthen their financial literacy. Her expertise and analysis on personal, student, business and car loans has been featured in publications like Business Insider, CNBC and Nasdaq, and has appeared on NBC and KADN. Anna holds an MA in Middle Eastern studies from the American University of Beirut and a BA in Creative Writing from Macaulay Honors College at Hunter College, CUNY. See full bio

Anna's expertise
Anna has written 251 Finder guides across topics including:
  • Personal, business, student and car loans
  • Building credit
  • Paying off debt
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