How to Ask for a Loan

It can be difficult to ask someone for a loan, whether that someone is a family member or a friend. The emotional strain of asking to borrow money is almost as great as the financial difficulties you are facing. While it is never easy, there are some things you can do to smooth the way when you ask for a loan.

Practice disclosure when asking for a loan. While you do not need to share all the details of your financial life, it can help to share the reason you are asking for a loan. Without disclosing too many details, you can let your friends or family know what you plan to use the money for and the steps you are taking to provide as much of the funds as you can on your own.

Ask in a timely manner. No one likes to be approached for a loan the day before you need the money. It puts stress on everyone involved. If you know that a shortfall is inevitable, ask for the loan well ahead of time. Give your lender time to arrange his or her finances so that you can be helped. When you ask in advance, you show that you are trying to be responsible and that you are planning ahead.

Set up a repayment plan when you ask for the loan. If appropriate, you might consider paying interest. Usually, though, when you ask for a loan from friends or family, interest is not charged. Determine when you will start repaying and how many payments--and in what frequency--you can make to discharge the entire obligation.

Record the terms of the loan and repayment plan. You should write down the borrowed amount, who borrowed it and who lent it. You should also outline the repayment schedule. All parties should sign the document and receive a copy. This will dispel any confusion about the loan and the expectations that accompany it. There are loan agreement templates available that can help you properly format the agreement (see Resources section).


  • Before you ask for a loan, make sure you know the other person's financial situation. You do not want to ask a loan of someone who is already having financial difficulties.