A personal loan can be used to pay for a variety of expenses, from home improvement projects to debt consolidation. Because these loans are not backed by collateral such as a car or a mortgage, they are generally available more quickly and easily than other types of credit. However, it’s important to understand the full process before you get a loan. These are 10 things to know before getting a loan:
1. Your credit score is an important factor.
Your credit score plays a significant role in the personal loan process, and your creditworthiness is usually determined by your credit report. Having a strong, healthy credit report can help you qualify for the best rates and terms on a personal loan. Checking your credit report regularly is a good way to keep it in tip-top shape and to nip problems in the bud before they become an issue.
2. Shop around for the best rate.
The best loan Important Things to Know Before Getting a Loan rate for you will depend on a number of factors, including your credit history and income. That’s why it’s important to look at many different lenders when shopping for a personal loan. In addition, be sure to consider the lender’s reputation and other fees, such as origination or prepayment penalties.
3. Know the difference between fixed and variable rates.
Some personal loans offer fixed interest rates that remain constant over the life of the loan, while others have a variable rate that may change throughout the term of the loan. Choosing a fixed rate may save you money in the long run. 4. Review the lender’s terms and conditions carefully.
A personal loan has specific terms and conditions that you’ll need to read through and agree to. Often, these terms will include the amount you’re borrowing, the monthly payment and how many months you have to pay back the loan. Lenders also typically provide a list of fees, such as the application fee and closing costs.
5. Be prepared to submit proof of income and identity.
Once you’ve submitted your loan application, the lender will verify the information you provided, such as through a copy of your government-issued ID or bank statements that support your stated income. They’ll also ask to see any other documents they may need to approve your loan, such as paystubs, W2s and 1099s.
6. Make sure you can afford the payments.
You should be able to afford the monthly payments on your personal loan, including any additional fees you’ll need to pay, before you accept it. If you’re not, it’s a good idea to explore other options, such as a credit card or home equity loan, instead.
7. Watch out for hidden fees.
It’s not uncommon for personal loan offers to contain a number of hidden fees that could increase the cost of your loan. For example, some lenders will charge a prepayment fee if you repay the loan ahead of schedule. Some will also charge insufficient funds fees if you miss a payment.