How to Get Pre-qualified for a Personal Loan?
Everyone comes to a point in their lives when he or she needs a loan. It is impossible to own things without having to borrow money in some way. That may be a mortgage for a house, a loan for a car, or credit cards. These are all basically loans. I know finances can be a difficult subject. Often times, people do not want to talk about money. However, you cannot hide from it. The more you understand about loans and finances, the better you are. Once you know all the information, consumer loan options are not the scary. Keep reading to become more informed about loans and getting pre-qualified for a personal loan.
What Are Personal Loans?
If you think you are interested in obtaining one, it is important first to understand how personal loans work. You probably have a basic understanding, but when it comes to obtaining a loan, the more information you have, the better. Let us start with the basic information. A personal loan is when a lender allows you to borrow money. You then agree to repay the loan with regular, scheduled monthly payments for a set amount of time. The length of time is typically anywhere from three to five years. You are given the money in one lump sum. Most of the time, it is deposited directly into your bank account. Personal loans can be secured or unsecured. Sometimes, you can be pre-qualified for a personal loan.
There are typically fees associated with personal loans. The fees that you might see are an application fee, an origination fee, and an early termination fee. There also may be administrative fees and late fees. Be sure to read the fine print of any documents you sign. The loan documents outline all the fee associated with your loan. Of all the fees, the one you should avoid is an early termination fee. This fee is applied if you choose to pay off your loan early. Not all lenders add on this fee, but some do, so be aware. Lenders make money on a loan when they collect interest from you. If you pay off the loan early, the lender will losses all the money they would get from your interest.
How Can I Use A Personal Loan?
There are many reasons why you might need a personal loan. In reality, you can use a personal loan for anything of your choice. The bank deposits the money directly in your bank account or gives you a check. Even though a personal loan can be used for just about anything, the lender always asks what you intend to do with the loan. There are some typical reasons why people apply for personal loans. A personal loan can be used to consolidate debt. This helps you combine all of your debts, including credit cards, into one payment per month. The keeps your payment each month the same because it is a fixed rate.
Another common reason for a personal loan is to pay for an emergency. It can be a medical emergency, or some other emergency that causes an unexpected expense requiring money fast. You can also use a personal loan to purchase a vehicle. This helps you purchase a car without having to pay for it all at one time. You may also use the money to make improvements to your house that ultimately increase the value of your house. You could use the money to pay for a wedding. Regardless of your reason for getting one, you can always get pre-qualified for a personal loan.
Ok, now that you have the basics, let’s talk about Pre-qualification for a personal loan.
Let’s start with a very common question (we’ve even written an entire blog on that question)
What Is The Difference Between Pre-Approved and Pre-Qualified?
You have probably heard the terms pre-approved and pre-qualified and wonder what in the world is the difference. Well, there is not always a difference. Depending on the lender, some of them use the two terms interchangeably and they mean the same thing. You should make sure that you understand what the lender means by either of those terms if the lender is using them. Do not just think you know, make sure you know. You do not want to go into any loan process with assumptions about how it will work. Ask questions and get the answers you need before you sign a contract.
Typically, either term can mean that a lender has done a soft hit to your credit and done a cursory look at what is on there. One of the major differences between and soft hit and a hard pull is the details that the lender can see. When they have done a soft hit to your credit, it does not impact your credit score and they cannot see all the details that are listed on it. When they do a hard pull of your credit report, they must have your permission and it could impact your credit score slightly. More importantly, they lender can see all the details of the items that are listed on your credit report.
Another thing to keep in mind is just because you have pre-qualified for a loan does not mean you will be approved for that loan. The lender still reserves the right to deny your loan. Make sure you read and understand all of the fine print before you sign any contracts. While it is nice to be pre-qualified for a personal loan, you do not have to be for approval.
Why Should I Get Pre-Qualified?
Now you know the terminology, you may be asking yourself why should I get pre-qualified for a personal loan? Well, there are a few good reasons why you should considered getting pre-qualified. One of the obvious ones is that it can help you understand what options are available to you. While it is not a guarantee, it can give you some direction as to which loans you may qualify. This can all happen without any impact to your credit score. As we become more technologically advanced, the tools lenders use to pre-qualify someone are becoming more spot on.
This means that you can have a little more faith in the pre-qualification you receive. As with any potential loan, be sure to read the fine print. You should always know what you are getting yourself into. Be sure that you understand all of the information contained in the contract. You do not want to put yourself in a worse financial position by obtaining a loan that has loop holes. You also do not want to get a loan that you cannot afford to pay back.
How Can I Get Pre-Qualified?
Now you want to know how to get pre-qualified for a personal loan. I am sure that you would like some magical answer that makes everything simpler. I do not have one for you. The best thing you can do for yourself when it comes to getting pre-qualified for a personal loan is take care of your credit score. Keep your credit score in good shape and you will not have any lending worries. That is honestly the best thing you can do for yourself. You do that by pulling your credit report on a regular basis. You should do it once a year to check for errors. This also allows you to see your credit score, so you know where it is.
Pay your bills on time and in full. Whatever the amount is that you owe, pay it and pay it on time. Reduce the amount of debt that you have. Make sure your debt to income ratio is not off the charts. I know these tips are not setting the world on fire. But, these tried and true ways are the best way to protect your credit score. You can also get some stability in your life, if you do not have it. Do not bounce around from address to address. Make sure you have some stability in your job. I know many millennials try not to stay in one job for a long period of time, but that can hurt your credit.
Pre-qualification Steps for a personal loan
Getting prequalified is not a difficult process. Lenders do different things, but here’s are common practice.
Step 1. Find one or more lenders. You can find a lender here.
Step 2. Give the lender some basic information, which may include contact info and other information
Step 3. Make sure it’s a soft inquiry. The lender can perform a soft credit inquiry (sometimes they will want to do a hard inquiry and this will effect your credit score). Then you can decide if you want the loan.
If I Am Pre-Qualified, Can I Get A Lower Interest Rate?
So, you may be asking what does getting pre-qualified for a personal loan do for me? The truth is getting pre-qualified for a personal loan in and of itself may not get your a lower interest rate. However, your good credit score that got you pre-qualified for a personal loan may help you get a lower interest rate. Hopefully, you know by now that the lower your interest rate, the less money you pay back for your loan.
You want to get the lowest interest rate that you possibly can. I have mentioned it a few times, but knowing what is on your credit report goes a long way to helping you. Once you know what is there, you can work to do a few things. You can get rid of anything that is incorrect. Working hard to pay off some of your debt and decrease your debt to income ratio is another solution. You can also be prepared to explain the questionable items on your credit report. Sometimes, if you can provide an adequate answer to a lender about something that is on your credit report, that is helpful for you to get a better rate.
What Does My Credit Score Have To Do With It?
Your credit score has everything to do with it. Credit score is one of the major things a lender will use to determine if you should be approved. Your credit score is a history of your payments, what you owe, and how long you have had a credit history. Missed and late payments are the most common reasons for a low credit score. It only takes a few of those before your credit score plummets. The good news is there are steps you can take to improve your credit score.
You credit score can dictate getting or not getting many things in your life, a house, a car, even a job. You want to protect your credit as much as you can. If something does happen and your credit is negatively impacted, there are some things you can do to improve it. The first thing you should do is credit shop. You want to look your credit report to look for any errors. You should always make sure the negative items that are reported are actually yours. If not, you should dispute them and have them removed.
Make sure you pay all your bills on time. Avoid late and missed payments for they always decrease your credit score. You should also work hard to pay down the debt that you have. Decreasing the amount of debt that you have on your credit report is one of your top priority. You also want to decrease your debt to income ratio to increase your chances of getting approved for a loan. Decreasing your debt can help you get pre-qualified for a personal loan.
Can I Get A Personal Loan With Bad Credit?
Yes, even with bad credit, you can still get a loan. However, it may be a little more difficult to get approved for a loan. First, you should know what your credit score is, so you know where you stand with lenders. When you do not have the best credit, you should shop around for the best loan for you. You could use a loan checker to search the top loan for which you qualify. Another thing you should know about bad credit is that usually means a higher interest rate.
Lenders see those with bad credit as a risk. Sometimes, a lender will not want to give you an unsecured loan and they want you to have collateral. When you have collateral, you are providing some type of property as a promise that you will pay back the loan. If you default on the loan, the property becomes the ownership of the lender. You can also get a co-signer, if your credit is bad. A co-signer promises that you will pay back the loan. If you do not, your co-signer is responsible for paying the loan.
Are There Different Types of Lender?
There are many different types of lenders. The most common lender that has been around forever is a typical bank. There are also credit unions. They are similar to banks, but they tend to be less rigid. Plus, they are more willing to loan money to someone that has bad credit. They are more like a neighborhood bank and want to help people get back on their feet.
Then there are online lenders. It is possible to get a personal loan online with bad credit. There are some other types of more non traditional lenders available, also. Also consider peer to peer lending. There are organizations that is set up online where individuals or investors can loan money to you. Everything goes through the organization. The investor gives the money to the organization and you pay the money back through the organization. Typically, the interest rates are lower than you might find at a traditional bank. They do look at your credit but small marks are not as important to these types of lenders. You can also borrow money from your family and friends. Most of the time, they will let you borrow money with little to no interest.
You can use a third party to set up a loan agreement, so that it all remains legal. You can even borrow money from yourself. If you have a business that is making money, or vice versa and it is your business that needs the money. You can lend yourself the money and pay yourself back with regular payments. The best thing about these types of loans is that you do not need to be pre-qualified for a personal loan.
Are Online Lenders Safe?
Typically, online lenders are safe and you can feel confident when borrowing money from them. However, there are always people looking to scam others, so you need to aware and research any online lender you are considering. The benefits to an online lender is the application form is shorter and the approval time takes much less time. You can typically get an answer in 24 hours.
If you are approved, the money is in your account within 24 hours of approval. Traditional lenders have a lot more paperwork for you to fill out. They always want you to go into the branch and talk to them in person. Online lenders require much less documentation, as well. Many times, online lenders send you letters stating you are pre-qualified for a personal loan. When considering an online lender, you must understand that your interest rate is probably going to be a little higher than if you went to a traditional bank.
When obtaining a loan from an online lender, the fees tend to be a little lower than with a traditional bank. However, remember, the interest rate is definitely going to be higher. When looking for an online lender, be sure to do your homework and research. Make sure the lender is reputable and authorized to lend money in your state. You can use a loan broker or aggregator to help you find the best and right loan for you. If something does not feel right about the deal you are getting, then you should walk away.
Too good to be true?
If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Getting yourself into a messy situation could take years for you to correct, so make sure you know everything about the lender before you give them any access to your information. Also know that you do not have to be pre-qualified for a personal loan.
What Should I Look For In A Lender?
You know you want to get a personal loan. You would even like to be pre-qualified for a personal loan. But, now you are trying to determine which is the right lender for you. There are some things in which you should look to determine if a lender is right for you. You want to make sure that whichever lender you choose, they give you the money you need.
If you are approved for a loan, but it is for $5,000 than what you need, it is not going to do you much good. You need to find a reliable company that has the backing to give you the money you seek. You need a lender that is flexible. Sometimes, traditional banks are a little too rigid. However, credit unions and online lenders are a little more flexible to whom they will lend money. Lending institutions are governed by federal laws.
Do not take a lender who is going to break the rules!
You do not want a lender that is going to break the rules. However, you do want one that can work with you. You want a lender that has excellent customer service and can be responsive to your needs. You want a lender that is approachable and you can ask any question you have. Someone that will sit and explain the entire loan and processing to you. You do not want to have the fine print hidden.
But take one that is upfront with the details of the loan
You want them to be upfront with the details of the loan. A lender with a solid reputation. You want to feel like you can trust the lender. The last thing you want is to borrow money from a lender that seems to have shady business practices. Doing a little bit of research about the lender goes a long way to help you get the best loan from the best company that will meet your needs.
What Can I Do To Improve My Chances Of Getting A Personal Loan?
The answer is quite simple, although you may not like it. It should not come as a surprise to you, as I have said it before. You need to reduce your current debt and increase your credit score. You need to work hard to repair any damage that you have done to your credit score. It is not always easy. Plus, it takes consistent and hard work. It is possible to improve your credit score. You need to take a look at your credit report and understand what is on there. Look at you late or missed payments. Is that information correct?
If it is not, you need to fix it. Making any corrections you can to the information on your credit report will help you drastically. If you cannot make corrections because all of the information is correct, you can try to contact the lender. Sometimes, if you make good on any late payments, or accounts that are in default, the lender will remove the late payments from your credit report. You must work to pay down your debt and reduce your debt to income ratio. While this things may seem tedious, they all will go a long way to help improve your credit score. This improvement does not happen overnight. It takes consistent effort on your part. But, it is possible to see improvement.
If you begin to correct all of these items, you begin to see your credit score increase. While you credit score increases, the possibility for a lower interest rate increases.
So, now you are pretty certain that you understand the details of being pre-qualified for a personal loan. Now, it is for you to decide if a personal loan is right for you. Just because you can get one, does not mean that you should. You need to make sure that getting a personal loan will help to improve your financial position. Do not put yourself in a worse place financially. You must ask yourself if you can afford to pay back the loan. Yes, it is nice to get a large sum of money directly deposited into your bank account. Remember, you have to pay back that money.
You have to pay it back with regular monthly payments. If you cannot afford those regular monthly payments, then you should not get a loan. Before taking on more debt, you should take a hard look at your current debt situation. You should understand your debt to income ratio and work hard to improve it. Do not forget that you are the only one that can decide if a personal loan is right for you. You need to understand your situation and if you can pay back the loan.
Julia Peoples is a long-time business manager focused on providing decision making assistance to the public. She works with people at key points of their lives who are making important retirement and financial decisions. She has had many articles published that educate the public on sound financial decision making.
Julia writes for those who are working towards financial freedom or a better understanding of how finances work. She has shared her financial insights with individuals on a one on one basis for years.