When you need money for a large purchase, a personal loan might be the answer. Whether you have an important purchase to make that can’t wait, want to consolidate your debt, or even need to schedule an emergency health procedure, you often need the money quickly. The amount of time you have to wait to get the loan can be crucial.
Although there is no quick answer to the question of how long it takes to get a personal loan, it usually takes at least a few days. However, it can vary depending on the lender. Here is some information about the process and how long it might take.
What Is a Personal Loan?
A personal loan is money that an individual person borrows from a financial institution. When you get a personal loan, it is up to your discretion how you use the money. Approval for the loan is based on a borrower’s creditworthiness, which shows how well a person manages money and how likely they are to pay it back. A high credit score will get a borrower the best terms and lower interest rates, and it could also speed up the process.
Most personal loans are unsecured, which means they are not backed by collateral. Instead, if a borrower does not make their payments on time, it will affect their credit score.
How Long Does It Take To Get a Personal Loan?
The length of time it takes to get a personal loan depends on the lender and your credit score. Here are some of the different types of lenders and what you can expect:
Traditional banks often have the longest approval process. You can submit an application on paper, in person, or online. The bank will then have to review the application to determine if you qualify for a loan and how much you qualify to borrow. This usually takes a few days.
If you already have an account with the bank or have a history of other loans, it can help speed up the process, and you might even get approved in just a day. However, it can still take up to seven business days to get funds after you’ve been approved.
Credit unions are similar to traditional banks, although they cater to people who are part of a specific community. It can also take up to seven days to get the funds after you’ve been approved.
Online lenders often have the quickest approval and distribution process. You submit your application online, which only takes a few minutes. After submission, the approval process doesn’t take long. With many online lenders, the entire process takes less than five days.
Payday Loans and Title Loans
Payday loans and car title loans are an option if you don’t have good credit and need money fast. Getting loans with these types of lenders is quick and easy, but they come with extremely high interest rates. Some are as high as 300%-500%.
What Information Do I Need To Apply for a Personal Loan?
The best way to ensure that the process goes smoothly is to prepare before you fill out the application. You’ll need to provide your:
- Social Security number
- Phone number
- Annual income
- Proof of identity, such as a driver’s license
- Proof of income, such as a pay stub or W-2 tax form
How Can I Make the Process Faster?
You don’t have any control over how fast a bank or credit union will take to approve you and disperse the funds, but you can take some steps to make sure it goes smoothly, which could speed up the process. Here are some tips to make the process go smoothly:
- Check your credit score before filling out the application. Banks, online lenders, and credit unions will run a credit check to determine how likely you are to repay a loan. Check your credit report before applying for a loan and take care of any errors to ensure it doesn’t hold up the process.
- Apply online. Online applications allow faster processing. You also have the convenience of tracking the process online, so you know where you stand.
- Gather necessary documents. Documents such as proof of income, current debt, and other personal information are often required. Have all these ready to upload or bring to the bank.
- Check to make sure your application is correct. Errors in your application will slow the process down. Double- and triple-check your application before submitting it.
- Get pre-qualified first. Pre-qualification is an unofficial approval that some lenders offer. It lets you know if you will get approved for a loan without a hard credit check. If you get pre-qualified, the final approval and dispersion of funds go quickly. If you’re denied, this step will give you the opportunity to find out what you need to improve on your credit report.
- Run the numbers. Determine how much you need to borrow and make sure you can make the monthly payments.
Do I Need a Certain Credit Score To Get a Personal Loan?
Your credit score will affect how quickly you get approved for a loan, and it can also affect the term and interest rate of your loan. While it’s possible to get a personal loan with a lower score, the higher interest rate will end up costing you more over the life of the loan.
Some lenders have higher credit score requirements. In most cases, those with a FICO score of 670 or higher have the most options. If your score is lower than this, you can still get a loan, but you may be limited to certain lenders that work with borrowers with fair credit.
It’s also important to note that lenders look at more than just your credit score. They will also look at your debt-to-income ratio, which shows how much of your gross monthly income is already going toward debt payments.
There is no one-size-fits-all answer for how long it takes to get a personal loan. It depends on your financial situation, your credit score, and the type of lender you decide to use, but you can count on at least a few days with traditional personal loans.
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