How to Apply for Personal Loans

by Contributor ; Updated September 11, 2015
Apply for Personal Loans

How to Apply for Personal Loans. If you need money for anything from debt consolidation to a new car, you can apply for personal loans to cover the amount of money you need. For most loan types, you'll need to be in solid financial standing with a good credit history, though there are alternatives available to you if you don't qualify for regular bank loans.

Apply for Personal Loans

Find out your credit score. If it's low, spend some time improving it before you go after a loan. Even if you're able to get a loan with bad credit, the interest rates will be very high and the terms will be restrictive and disadvantageous.

Learn about the different loan types available to you. If you want to offer collateral, you can get a secured loan at a lower interest rate. If you want to avoid handing collateral to a lender, you'll need to seek an unsecured loan at a higher interest rate, something that is generally available only to people with impeccable credit.

Ask your employer to write you a letter stating the length of your current employment and the long-term viability of your position with the company.

Collect pay stubs, earnings statements and income tax filings. Proof of earnings is needed for virtually any kind of loan you can get, even loans that don't require you to submit to a credit check.

Determine how much money you need. If it's a relatively modest amount, say $10,000 or less, you'll have more options available to you online, since online lenders specialize in mid-sized loans and approving borrowers that banks might reject. If you have outstanding credit and are in good standing with your bank, you might even qualify for a short-term loan, which can really take the bite off the interest your loan accrues.

Contact your regular bank or credit union. Make preliminary inquiries about the types of loans that are offered and what you need to apply.

Go online to investigate your options further. Many online lenders can pre-approve you for a loan within minutes. The majority of them also offer free quotes, so you can shop around to find a lender offering the best terms.

Find an individual in strong financial standing who can serve as a cosigner if you have little credit history or none at all. With the help of a cosigner, you might be able to secure a loan at a lower interest rate than you would normally get.

Compare personal loan terms before you apply. Keep in mind that the interest rate on the loaned money is only one of several options you must consider. You'll also want to see a schedule of fees and understand any penalties that apply to missed payments or loan defaults.