Are you in need of a large amount of money and you don’t have to time to save up? A personal loan is a great way to get the money you need in a fairly short amount of time. But not all personal loans are created equal. Here are the best ways to get one:
Banks and Credit Unions
Your bank or credit union is the first place you should look when you want a personal loan, because when you’ve been a customer at a financial institution, they’re more likely to trust you and want to keep your business.
Personal loans through a bank or a credit union tend to have the lowest interest rates, so you’ll pay the least for your loan. However, they also have the strictest application requirements. You’ll likely need a good credit score to get your application approved. Credit unions are non-profit organizations, so they are often a bit more flexible than banks in terms of their requirements.
Peer-to-Peer Loan Options
If you aren’t able to obtain a loan through a bank or credit union, peer-to-peer lending is a good alternative. For this type of loan, you post a request on a peer-to-peer lending site. Your request will include the amount of money that you want and how you intend to use it. The site will also include your credit score with your request. Investors who want to make money through interest can choose to loan you the money.
Peer loans usually have moderate interest rates, but they’re often easier to obtain than loans through a bank or credit union.
There are quite a few online lenders available, and the application process is similar to the process with a bank or credit union. Interest rates through online lenders are usually about the same or higher than interest rates with peer lenders. Like peer lenders, online lenders aren’t as strict on loan applicants as banks or credit unions.
The Alternate Option: 0-Percent APR Credit Cards
Personal loans aren’t your only option if you need money, and you may actually get the best deal by applying for a 0-percent APR credit card. That 0-percent APR is just an introductory rate, and after the introductory period the APR will go up. The length of the introductory period varies from credit card to credit card, but 12 months is a standard time frame.
Approval and your credit limit will depend on your credit score. If you know that you’ll be able to pay off what you borrow within that introductory period, then a 0-percent APR credit card is a smart choice because you won’t end up paying any interest. Since you’ll have a revolving line of credit, you will need to be disciplined and not put any unnecessary charges on the card while you’re paying off the balance.
The best personal loan option depends on how much you need, your plan for the loan and your credit score. Bank and credit union loans tend to be the best choice, but peer and online lenders can also be excellent options.