Whether you need money for home renovations, medical bills, or other personal expenses, a personal loan could be a helpful option. To qualify for a personal loan, you will generally need good to excellent credit, verifiable income, and a low debt-to-income ratio (DTI).
Cleaning up your credit and paying off any outstanding debt could help your personal loan application get approved.
If you’re ready to take out a personal loan, here are four tips to improve your personal loan application:
1. Check your credit report
Your credit score is one of the main factors that lenders consider when deciding whether to approve you for a loan. Personal loan. You will generally need good to excellent credit to qualify – a good credit score is generally considered to be 700 or above.
Remember that your credit will also affect the interest rates offered to you. In general, the higher your credit score, the better your rate will be.
For this reason, it’s a good idea to check your credit report before applying to see what state your credit is in. You can use a site like AnnualCreditReport.com to view your credit reports for free. If you find any errors, be sure to dispute them with the appropriate credit bureau online, in writing, or over the phone to potentially boost your credit score.
Pay all your bills on time to create a positive payment history
Pay off your credit card balances to reduce your credit usage.
Keep credit accounts open to continue increasing the length of your credit history.
Avoid taking out new loans when possible to keep difficult credit applications to a minimum.
Learn more: How to create credit quickly and efficiently
2. Don’t ask for the highest loan amount you can get
When you apply for a personal loan, the lender will measure the risk of lending to you. This includes determining whether you are reasonably able to afford an additional monthly payment on top of your current obligations.
If you try to borrow a large sum of money that would stretch your budget too much, lenders might consider you too much of a risk, which means they probably won’t approve your application.
To calculate your DTI:
Add up your total monthly debt payments, including your housing payment (mortgage or rent) plus any payments reported to credit bureaus (like credit cards).
Calculate your monthly gross income – this is your monthly net pay before taxes or deductions.
Divide your total monthly payments by your gross monthly income, then multiply that number by 100 to get a percentage. This is your DTI ratio.
Before applying for a personal loan, be sure to determine how much you can afford to pay each month for the loan. This can help you determine a loan amount that will fit comfortably into your budget, which will likely make approval easier.
You can use our personal loan calculator below to estimate your monthly payment and overall loan cost with different loan amounts.
Enter your loan information to calculate how much you could pay
Enter the total amount borrowed
Enter your annual interest rate
Enter the time you have to repay your loan
ready, you will pay
monthly and a total of
interest over the term of your loan. You will pay a total of
over the lifetime of
3. Consider applying with a co-signer
If you have less than perfect credit, applying to a creditworthy co-signer could help you get approved for a personal loan. Not all lenders allow co-signers on personal loans, but some do.
Tip: Although you don’t need a co-signer to qualify, having one could get you a better interest rate than you would get yourself.
A co-signer can be anyone with good credit — such as a parent, other relative, or trusted friend — who is willing to share the responsibility for the loan. But before someone co-signs a loan for you, it’s important that you both understand the risks involved, such as:
Responsibility for payment: If you do not repay your loan, your co-signer will be responsible.
Credit damage: Missing payments on your loan will cause damage to your credit as well as that of your co-signer.
Strained Relationships: If you’re unable to manage your loan repayments and hurt your co-signer’s credit, you could end up straining your relationship with your co-signer.
It’s also a good idea to create a plan with your co-signer detailing what you’ll do if you’re unable to make a payment on time.
To verify: How to get a personal loan
4. Find the right lender
There are a wide variety of lenders that offer personal loans, including online lenders as well as traditional banks and credit unions.
Before applying, it is important to shop around and compare your options from as many personal lenders as possible. This way, it will be easier for you to find an optimal loan for your situation with an advantageous interest rate.
Loan amounts: Personal loans typically range from $600 to $100,000 or more, depending on the lender.
Repayment terms: You will typically have one to seven years to repay a personal loan, depending on the lender. While choosing a longer term may result in a lower monthly payment, it’s generally best to choose the shortest term you can afford to keep your interest charges as low as possible. Many lenders also offer better rates to borrowers who opt for shorter terms.
Fees: Some lenders charge fees on personal loans, such as origination fees or late fees. These can increase the overall cost of your loan. Keep in mind that if you take out a loan with one of Credible’s partner lenders, you won’t have to worry about prepayment penalties.
If you’re ready to start looking for a personal loan, Credible can help: you can compare your pre-qualified rates from multiple lenders in two minutes. Note that this only requires light credit which will not affect your credit.
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