How Long It Really Takes to Get Approved for a Personal Loan

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Student Loan Hero Advertiser Disclosure

Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality and will make a positive impact in your life. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print understand what you are buying, and consult a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time. Please do your homework and let us know if you have any questions or concerns.

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Looking for a personal loan can be time-consuming. But if you need a loan fast, time spent researching might not feel helpful — especially if you don’t know how long getting a personal loan can take.

So how long does it take to get approved for a personal loan? That depends on where you go. Here are a few things to look out for when trying to get a personal loan fast.

What do you need to get a personal loan?

When you apply for a personal loan, you’ll need to check your credit score. Generally, a credit score of 700 or above is good. The better your credit score, the more likely you’ll get approved for a loan since it shows you’re responsible with credit.

Lenders often will do a soft credit check when pre-qualifying you for a loan. During that process, you’ll provide some personal information, such as income and employment verification. Check your credit report to make sure there aren’t many derogatory marks that might hurt your chances of getting approved.

It’s also good to have an idea of how much money you’ll need to take out. You don’t want to take out too little and risk going back for another loan. At the same time, you don’t want to take out more than you need and end up having to pay it back with interest.

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

When you’re looking for a place to take out a personal loan, you’ve got a few options. Nearby, you’ve got banks and credit unions. Online, there are many private lenders that offer personal loans. But not all lenders are equal when it comes to how much time they take to disburse your loan.

Banks and credit unions

If you’re looking to get a loan from a group you’re familiar with, you might try a bank or credit union near you. Richard A. Muskus Jr., president of Patriot Bank, said that if you have everything the bank requires, approval shouldn’t take long.

“When dealing with a highly automated lender, the approval process can be instantaneous,” he said. “Alternatively, some lenders may need to collect information and have a formal loan approval process that could take more time.”

Credit unions take about the same amount of time as banks, but you might be able to get a lower interest rate if you’ve been with a credit union for a while. If you’re looking for a fast loan, banks and credit unions might not be your best bet. Approval can take anywhere from a day or two to a couple of weeks.

Online lenders

There are a lot of online personal loan lenders, but it can be overwhelming to vet them all. Some of the best personal loan lenders offer low interest rates, minimal fees, and flexible repayment schedules.

Online lenders might be a good choice since approval time can be fast. Some lenders deposit money into your account within a day of your approval. Online lenders can be friendlier toward borrowers who have low credit scores. A few even offer personal loans if you’ve got bad credit.

Payday loans

When browsing for personal loans, you might look into payday loans. These are loans you take out and repay by your next paycheck. Usually, these loans are for small amounts, such as $500 or less.

But be cautious of these types of loans. If you can’t pay back a payday loan, you could be charged high fees on top of monstrous interest rates. With a payday loan, you could face an APR of up to 400%. To put that amount into perspective, the average APR for a personal loan ranges from 10.00% to 28.00%, according to ValuePenguin.

Prepare to get approved for a personal loan

So how long does it take to get approved for a personal loan? Muskus said the more you do to prepare yourself, the less time it’ll take to get approved. Here are a few of his recommended steps:

  1. Assess your personal need. Determine how much money you should request in your loan application.
  2. Understand the balance. Your approval rate is based on how much you’re requesting, your creditworthiness, and the personal information you provide.
  3. Check your credit history. Make sure it’s in tip-top shape before you apply for a loan.
  4. Determine what you can afford. Your income and employment history impact your monthly payment.
  5. See if you can make payments. Go over the projected interest rate and loan terms to make sure you can afford to make payments on time.

While you might need to get a personal loan as fast as possible, do your best to prioritize one that suits your needs. Loans that offer the lowest interest rates and friendly repayment terms are good places to start. Make sure you know what you’re applying for and what’s required of you before agreeing to a personal loan.

Interested in a personal loan?

Here are the top personal loan lenders of 2018!
LenderRates (APR)Loan Amount 
1 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

  1. Personal LoansFixed rates from 6.199% APR to 15.365% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 6.145% APR to 14.685% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of June 15, 2018 and are subject to change without notice. Not all rates and amounts available in all states. See Personal Loan eligibility details. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, to qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including evaluation of your credit worthiness, years of professional experience, income and other factors. See APR examples and terms. Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at 14.95%. Lowest variable rate of 6.145% APR assumes current 1-month LIBOR rate of 1.97% plus 4.175% margin minus 0.25% AutoPay discount. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account.
  2. Terms and Conditions Apply:SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet SoFi’s underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. To qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. If approved, your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, years of experience, income and other factors. Rates and Terms are subject to change at anytime without notice and are subject to state restrictions. SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Financing Law License No. 6054612. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp., NMLS # 1121636. (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org)

2 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.

Citizens Bank Disclosures

  1. Personal Loan Rate DisclosureFixed interest rates from 6.49% – 19.49% (6.49% – 19.49% APR) based on applicable terms. Lowest rates range from 5.99%-18.99% (5.99%-18.99% APR), are for eligible applicants, require a 3-year repayment term, and include our Loyalty and Automatic Payment Discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty Discount and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. Subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change.
  2. Loyalty Discount: The borrower will be eligible for a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their loan if the borrower has a qualifying account in existence with us at the time the borrower has submitted a completed application authorizing us to review their credit request for the loan. The following are qualifying accounts: any checking account, savings account, money market account, certificate of deposit, automobile loan, home equity loan, home equity line of credit, mortgage, credit card account, student loans or other personal loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. Please note, our checking and savings account options are only available in the following states: CT, DE, MA, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI and VT. This discount will be reflected in the interest rate and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) disclosed in the Truth-In-Lending Disclosure that will be provided to the borrower once the loan is approved. Limit of one Loyalty Discount per loan, and discount will not be applied to prior loans. The Loyalty Discount will remain in effect for the life of the loan.
  3. Automatic Payment Discount: Borrowers will be eligible to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their Citizens Bank Personal Loan during such time as payments are required to be made and our loan servicer is authorized to automatically deduct payments each month from any bank account the borrower designates. If our loan servicer is unable to successfully withdraw the automatic deductions from the designated account two or more times within any 12-month period, the borrower will no longer be eligible for this discount.

* Important Disclosures for Upgrade Bank.

Upgrade Bank Disclosures

  1. Personal Loan Rate DisclosureFixed interest rates from 6.49% – 19.49% (6.49% – 19.49% APR) based on applicable terms. Lowest rates range from 5.99%-18.99% (5.99%-18.99% APR), are for eligible applicants, require a 3-year repayment term, and include our Loyalty and Automatic Payment Discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty Discount and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. Subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change.
  2. Loyalty Discount: The borrower will be eligible for a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their loan if the borrower has a qualifying account in existence with us at the time the borrower has submitted a completed application authorizing us to review their credit request for the loan. The following are qualifying accounts: any checking account, savings account, money market account, certificate of deposit, automobile loan, home equity loan, home equity line of credit, mortgage, credit card account, student loans or other personal loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. Please note, our checking and savings account options are only available in the following states: CT, DE, MA, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI and VT. This discount will be reflected in the interest rate and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) disclosed in the Truth-In-Lending Disclosure that will be provided to the borrower once the loan is approved. Limit of one Loyalty Discount per loan, and discount will not be applied to prior loans. The Loyalty Discount will remain in effect for the life of the loan.
  3. Automatic Payment Discount: Borrowers will be eligible to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their Citizens Bank Personal Loan during such time as payments are required to be made and our loan servicer is authorized to automatically deduct payments each month from any bank account the borrower designates. If our loan servicer is unable to successfully withdraw the automatic deductions from the designated account two or more times within any 12-month period, the borrower will no longer be eligible for this discount.
7.73% – 29.99%$1,000 - $50,000
Check rate nowon SLH's secure site
6.15% – 15.37%1$5,000 - $100,000
Check rate nowon SLH's secure site
6.87% – 35.97%*$1,000 - $50,000Visit Upgrade
8.00% – 25.00%$5,000 - $35,000
Check rate nowon SLH's secure site
4.99% – 29.99%$10,000 - $35,000Visit FreedomPlus
5.99% – 18.99%2$5,000 - $50,000Visit Citizens
15.49% – 34.49%$2,000 - $25,000Visit LendingPoint
5.99% – 35.89%$1,000 - $40,000Visit LendingClub
5.49% – 18.24%$5,000 - $75,000Visit Earnest
9.95% – 35.99%$2,000 - $35,000Visit Avant
Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality and will make a positive impact in your life. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print understand what you are buying, and consult a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time. Please do your homework and let us know if you have any questions or concerns.