A personal loan can be a great way to get the money you need for debt consolidation or an upcoming event (such as a wedding). However, your chances of qualifying will be greater if you can anticipate what’s needed by the lender. Here’s how to get a personal loan and increase your chances of getting accepted.
Determine Why You Need the Loan
One of the many questions a lender will ask an applicant is: “Why are you applying for this loan?” Although this may sound like a trivial query, please don’t take it lightly. If they don’t like your answer, you may get denied.
The most attractive borrowers are those who will use the funds responsibly and potentially even make money in this process, such as by starting a business or performing a home renovation that will increase their property value. This is why it’s essential to think about your answer and articulate it in a way that makes it appealing to the lender.
Check Your Credit Score
As with most loans, your credit rating (also known as your FICO Score) will be a significant factor in getting your application approved. Therefore, you can expect the lender to pull your credit and use it to judge your creditworthiness.
Finding out your FICO Score doesn’t have to be a surprise. You can check this before applying for the loan by signing up for a free account with Experian (one of the three major credit bureaus). The closer your number is to 850, the better your credit rating and the likelihood you’ll be approved for the loan.
If you believe your credit history might hold you back from getting approved, ask a trusted family member or friend to consider being a co-signer. Co-signers with excellent credit will instantly improve your application and increase your odds of getting approved.
Lower Your Debt-to-Income Ratio
Another metric that lenders will use to consider your financial viability is your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio. This is a simple comparison of your monthly debt payments to your gross monthly income. A DTI ratio of 40 percent or lower for most lenders will be enough to get you approved.
You can calculate this figure yourself by doing a simple review of your budget. If you find that you’ve got too many debts, try paying off the smallest ones first to decrease your DTI ratio.
Shop Around for the Right Lender
Not all lenders are the same; some are more eager to help than others. Therefore, it pays to go online and compare the terms from multiple vendors.
Look for qualifies like:
- Interest rate
- Origination fees
- Loan length
- If collateral is required (i.e., if the lender is offering a secured loan instead of an unsecured loan)
Apply for the Loan
Once you’ve found a reputable lender with terms you feel are favorable, then it’s time to apply for the loan. This can be done either online, by phone, or in person, depending on the lender you’ll work with.
Be sure to have your personal information, such as your social security number. You’ll also be asked to provide financial details about your income and debts. Once you have this information, you can submit your application.
The Bottom Line
Getting a personal loan is a straightforward process. After determining why you need to borrow the money, ensure your FICO Score and DTI ratio are in good standing. Compare offers from multiple lenders and go with the most reputable one.