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How Long Does It Take to Get Approved for a Personal Loan?
Getting a personal loan is something you might consider if you need money to cover an emergency or any other type of expense. One of your biggest questions about personal loans might be how long it actually takes to get approved and have your loan funded.
The short answer is that the timeline for getting approved for a personal loan can vary from lender to lender. These tips can offer some insight into how long you might wait to get approved and receive funds if you’re planning to apply for a personal loan.
How long do personal loan approvals usually take?
Getting approved for a personal loan can take just a few minutes or a few weeks, depending on the lender. Here’s a closer look at how the speed at which you’re able to be approved for a personal loan can vary.
- Online personal loan lenders: Some lenders can approve you in minutes, though others may require a few business days to completely review your application.
- Peer to peer personal loan lenders: Similar to online lenders, P2P personal loan lenders can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few days to approve you for a personal loan.
- Bank and credit union loans: Getting a personal loan through your bank or credit union could take several business days — or in some cases, weeks — to get approved.
So what accounts for the differences in approval times?
Online lenders and peer to peer lenders tend to streamline the personal loan application process, which can save time. You can complete an application for a personal loan, upload your documents and submit your information in the span of a few minutes. From there, the lender may use a software program to verify your information and approve you on the spot.
Applying for a personal loan at a bank or credit union, on the other hand, may require you to provide hard copies of documentation that’s needed for the loan. Applications may be reviewed manually by multiple people versus, being reviewed by an online software program. For those reasons, you may be looking at a longer wait to get approved for a personal loan through a bank.
How quickly can a personal loan be funded?
Once your personal loan is approved, the next step is getting the loan funds. Again, how long this takes can depend on your choice of lender.
- Online personal loan lenders: It’s typical to see a loan funding speed of one to two business days for personal loans from online lenders.
- Peer to peer personal loan lenders: Depending on the lender, loan funding can go through in one to two business days but it can take as long as one week.
- Bank and credit union loans: You may be able to get personal loan funds in one or two business days if you’re getting the loan from your current bank. But it may take a week or even two to get loan funding if you’re approved at a bank you don’t already have an account with.
Taking into account loan approval and loan funding speed matters if you have a pressing need for the money.
Factors affecting personal loan approval times
Different things can influence how quickly or how slowly it takes for you to be approved for a personal loan, beyond your choice of lender.
For example, any of the following could have an impact on the time frame for personal loan approvals:
Application method. As mentioned, applying for personal loans online versus in-person can save time and potentially speed up your approval.
Credit scores. Your credit score plays an important part in the loan approval process. A higher credit score could lead to a faster approval if the lender sees you as being creditworthy.
Debt to income ratio. Debt to income ratio is another factor that influences lending decisions. A lower debt to income ratio versus a higher one could work in your favor for getting approved.
The amount of prepwork you do in advance of applying for a personal loan can also make a difference. If you’re planning to apply for a personal loan, this checklist can help accelerate the process:
- Check your credit scores so you have an idea of which lenders are most likely to approve you for a personal loan.
- Compare interest rates from multiple lenders to find the best rate for your financial profile.
- Get your loan documentation together, including pay stubs, bank statements and any other documents a lender requires.
- Apply online versus in-person.
- Double-check your application for errors before hitting submit.
Also, have your bank account information, including your routing number and account number on hand. If your lender approves you, they’ll need this to deposit loan funds into your account so having it at the ready can help avoid funding delays.
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Rebecca Lake is a freelance writer specializing in personal finance, credit and debt. She’s a contributor to U.S. News and World Report, Forbes Advisor and The Balance and her work has appeared online at CreditCards.com, MyBankTracker, Money-Rates.com and dozens of other top publications.