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One of the main perks of getting a personal loan is that they’re funded relatively quickly. Many lenders can deliver money to your account within a week of receiving your loan application.
Some lenders can fund a loan the same or the next day after approval, but you may need to wait one or two days for the deposit to clear your bank account.
Here’s how long it typically takes to get a personal loan, plus tips to hasten the process.
How long does it take to get a personal loan?
Typically, funds for a personal loan arrive within a week, but your loan may be funded faster, depending on the type of lender and how quickly you move through the application steps.
There are three main steps to getting a personal loan: application, approval and loan disbursement.
Applying for a loan can take minutes. Many lenders let you pre-qualify online first to check rates. You’ll enter your personal and financial information, plus the reason for the loan and your desired amount. If approved, you’ll submit a formal application.
Several lenders make same-day approvals, but this process may take longer if the lender requests more documents. You’ll undergo a hard credit check so the lender can determine your creditworthiness.
Once approved, the lender will send funds to your bank account, which can take up to a few days.
» MORE: Compare the best personal loans
Personal loan funding time by lender
Online lenders generally provide the fastest turnaround, disbursing funds within a couple of days. Banks and credit unions can take longer to process loans, especially if you’re applying in person rather than online.
» MORE: Best lenders for quick cash
Approval and funding time
Within a week.
Within a week.
Personal loans from online lenders
If you’re looking for a fast loan, an online lender will probably be your best bet. Many online lenders can process a loan application and disburse funds within a few days — some even offer same-day funding. Getting a loan online could be faster than borrowing from a bank or credit union, which may require an in-person visit.
» MORE: Best online loans
Personal loans from banks
Banks can take up to a week to process a loan application and deliver funds, but some banks can approve and fund a loan more quickly if you’re an existing customer. While many banks let you apply online, your local bank may require an in-person visit to apply or close the loan.
Banks typically require borrowers to have good credit scores (690 and above) for personal loans and may offer lower interest rates or special discounts to customers in good standing.
» MORE: Best bank loans
Personal loans from credit unions
Similar to banks, credit unions could take up to a week to approve your loan application and send your money. Borrowers must already be a member to apply for a personal loan.
Many credit unions have online loan applications, but applying in person could add time to the application process. Credit unions may be more likely to approve borrowers with fair or bad credit (scores below 690) because they consider an applicant’s membership history when evaluating a loan application.
5 tips to get a personal loan fast
Speed up the process of getting your money by avoiding missteps that can delay your loan approval.
1. Review your credit and finances
Each lender has its own requirements for approving personal loans, but your credit history, debt and income are major factors in the decision-making process. Check your credit score and debt-to-income ratio before applying to determine your likelihood of approval.
Some online lenders offer bad credit loans, but if you suspect your score is too low to qualify, consider taking time to build your credit or pay down debt to increase your chances of approval or getting a lower interest rate.
» MORE: How to build credit
2. Get pre-qualified
Pre-qualifying for a personal loan shows you whether you’ll be approved as well as your potential annual percentage rate and monthly payments — all without a hard credit check. Pre-qualify for loans from a few lenders, choose the best offer and submit a shorter, formal application. You may have to send in documents like pay stubs, bank statements or tax returns to confirm the information you provided is correct.
3. Gather necessary documents before you apply
Lenders typically ask for the following information on a personal loan application:
Proof of address.
Social Security number.
Information about debts, if using the loan for debt consolidation.
Gather the necessary documents ahead of time to speed up the application process.
4. Apply online
Many lenders allow borrowers to apply for loans online. Doing so speeds up the approval process because you don’t have to visit the lender and wait for a loan officer to submit your application.
If you run into issues when applying for a loan online, contact the lender’s customer service department via phone, email or chat.
5. Avoid errors on your loan application
Having incorrect information, including typos, on your loan application can slow down the approval process. Double-check that everything is correct before submitting your application, so the lender doesn’t have to ask you to fix any mistakes.
Types of loans to avoid
Payday, pawnshop and car title loans can provide immediate access to cash, but their high fees and short repayment periods can make it difficult to repay on time. Consumer advocates caution against using these quick-cash, no-credit-check loans.
A payday loan lets you borrow a small amount, typically $500 or less, with the intention of repaying the loan plus a fee, by your next payday. Fees generally range from $10 to $30 per $100 borrowed over a short two-week term, pushing the APR for this type of loan into the triple digits.
With a pawnshop loan, you offer a personal item as collateral for a loan that’s a percentage of the pawned item’s estimated value. Fees vary, but borrowers could end up paying around 200% APR. Those who cannot repay their loan risk losing their collateral.
Car title loans
Borrowers who take out car title loans put their car’s title up as collateral in exchange for a loan that represents a portion of the car’s value. Finance fees can equate to around 300% APR, and you could wind up losing your vehicle if you aren’t able to repay the loan on time.
Fast alternatives to personal loans
If you don’t qualify for a personal loan or need even faster cash, here are some low- and no-interest fast-cash options to consider.
Sell belongings for quick cash. Sites like Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist and OfferUp make it easy to list your belongings for sale if you need to make money fast.
Take on a quick side gig. Earn money from a side gig with a low barrier to entry, such as food delivery, dog walking or completing jobs on TaskRabbit.
Break up large bills with payment plans. Doctor’s offices, utility companies and other billing agencies may allow you to split a large bill into smaller monthly payments with an interest-free payment plan.
Choose “buy now, pay later” options. Many retailers offer buy now, pay later plans, which can take some stress out of paying for an expensive necessity, like a mattress, appliance or computer. With this option, you put down an initial payment and make additional payments over time.
Access part of your paycheck in advance. Cash advance apps like Empower, EarnIn and Dave lend you up to a couple of hundred dollars, which you’ll repay by your next payday. They typically request tips or charge fees for quick access to cash.