How to Apply for a Personal Loan if You’re Self-Employed

Be prepared with past tax returns, bank statements and other documents that prove your income.

Sara RathnerOctober 29, 2020
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A personal loan could be an option if you want to consolidate high-interest debts in one monthly payment or finance a large project like a home renovation. But qualifying for a personal loan can be a bit more complicated if you’re self-employed. That’s because the lender may ask you for documents proving your income during the application process.

For many applicants, that means providing W-2s from their employers. If you’re self-employed, you don’t have W-2s. Still, applying for a personal loan if you’re self-employed is absolutely possible. You’ll just need to have different documents ready to send if the lender asks for them.

Information to provide when you first apply for a personal loan

A personal loan application typically asks for:

  • Personal information including your home contact information, birthdate, Social Security number and citizenship status.

  • Financial information including annual income, income sources, and monthly housing expenses and debt obligations.

  • Employment information including your employment status, current employer and length of time working there.

  • Loan request information including the reason for the loan and the amount you seek to borrow.

Some lenders allow you to pre-qualify for a personal loan, meaning you can see what loan terms you’d qualify for without a hard credit inquiry. That can spare you a temporary ding to your credit scores while you weigh your options.

How to prove self-employment income

As the lender evaluates your loan application, it will request additional proof of the income information you shared with them. This is where it pays to be prepared, especially if you’re self-employed.

Have these documents on hand to prove your self-employment income:

These documents are also helpful if your income comes from more than one source, like contract or freelance work for multiple clients.

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