If you need quick access to cash due to a sudden job loss, medical emergency, or car repair, you might be considering online loans as an option. Taking out an online loan can be an easy way to get money fast. Plus, there’s the benefit of being able to complete the loan application process from the comfort of your home. Here are 4 things to consider before you decide to take out an online loan.
1. How Much You Need to Borrow
As a rule of thumb, you should only seek to borrow as much money as you need, and an amount that you can repay within a reasonable timeframe. While it can be tempting to take more than you need to cover other expenses, it may end up costing you significantly more in interest over time.
2. Your Credit Score
Since online personal loans aren’t secured by any collateral, like your car or home, lenders may review your credit score to determine if you’re eligible to borrow money and how much. Luckily, there are many lenders that have more lenient requirements and consider other factors in addition to your credit score, like your income and debt-to-income ratio. You may want to consider these types of lenders if you have a poor credit score or don’t have an established credit history. As long as you have a steady income and relatively low existing debt, you may find yourself in a good position for loan approval.
3. Loan Options and Lenders
Shopping around to compare online loans and available lenders can help you find great loan terms. Be sure to research the lender and make sure any companies you want to borrow from are reputable. Check to make sure that their site is secure, the company lists a physical address, and there are existing customer reviews from real people, not bots.
There are different types of online loans, and some may be better for specific needs, like debt consolidation or covering an emergency. Depending on how soon you need money, you’ll want to make sure the loan you choose has a fast approval process and lets you receive funds in your bank account quickly.
4. Interest Rates and Fees
Interest rates are the more obvious expense that will cost you money over the life of the loan. But sometimes hidden fees can add up too. Before you sign up for any online loan, be sure to read the fine print to understand how much it’ll cost you to borrow, including principal, interest, and fees.
Remember that interest rates will impact the loan differently depending on the payment term. Opting for shorter payment terms and fixed interest rates, if possible, can save you more money. You’ll also want to ask the lender questions as needed to make sure you fully understand the interest rate, initiation fees, prepayment penalties, and repayment terms.
The Bottom Line
An online loan can support you in times of financial stress. Just make sure you consider the right amount to borrow, available lenders, your credit score, and any interest rates and fees before you commit. Finding the right lender, getting favorable loan terms, and paying back the loan on time will ensure you have a good experience overall.