Taking out a loan online many times can be quite challenging – what terms do I look for, how quickly can I get my loan, what type of information do I need to provide, my credit may not be that terrific, etc. It’s not always easy to understand what the most important things to look for are. We have compiled some important issues for you to address before you spend time looking for a lender.
Tip 1: Know how much you can afford to borrow
Spend the time to calculate exactly how much you can afford to borrow based on an analysis of both your monthly income and your monthly expenses. Too many individuals look at simply how much they NEED rather than how much they can AFFORD to pay back. If you use a credit or debit card, you can typically go online to manage your account and download your monthly expenses. Don’t forget to include all of your cash purchases. Typically a lender will lend to you based on a percentage of your monthly or bi-weekly, after tax take home pay.
Tip 2: Ensure that you can pay your loan back on time
Many loans allow individuals to pay back by either setting up an automatic payment by electronic bank draft, or by employer allotment. An allotment requires that you set up your loan with your employer and fill out all lender requirements. Typically, an allotment provides the lender with additional protection that you won’t simply forget to pay your required payment, which could result in penalty fees. Automatic payments allow you the security that all your payments will always be received be on time.
Tip 3: Know exactly how much your payments are each month or each pay period
There are many types of loans to choose from. If you would like consistent, even payments until your loan maturity, you might consider taking out an INSTALLMENT LOAN. An installment loan simply calculates exactly how much you owe in principal and total interest, and then breaks up the payments into equal “installments” to be paid back over time. This way you can know with complete certainty each month or pay period exactly how much you will be paying and what is left outstanding on your remaining loan. A line of credit has the benefit of allowing you to take out more or less during the month, and therefore owe varying amounts each period. However, these types of loans are more typically for borrowers with a strong credit profile.
Tip 4: If your circumstances change, make sure there are no penalties for paying off your loan early or that you can borrow more than the initial loan
Some lenders will allow you to pay off your loan early without paying a penalty, some will not. Many lenders may not allow you to refinance your loan until you pay it off completely, others may allow you to refinance what is outstanding at that time and potentially take out an even bigger loan. However, typically you can increase your loan amount only after making consistent and on time payments. Make sure when you take out a loan that you ask the lender if it would be possible to take out a larger loan if you make on time payments. Having a lender initiated direct withdrawal program or employer sponsored automatic allotment will allow you to be on time with your biweekly or monthly payments and therefore give you the greatest opportunity to increase your loan in the future if you ever have need to.
Tip 5: Know whether or not the lender requires a review of your credit history
Many lenders, including banks, carefully look at your credit bureau report to determine if they are willing to make you a loan, and exactly how much they are willing to lend to you. However, some non-bank lenders may not require a review of your credit bureau reports in order to make small dollar loans. However some will be concerned if you have recently declared bankruptcy. If you believe that you in fact might have a less than prime credit score, you may find it helpful to contact a lender that does not make their decision based on the requirement to pull your credit bureau reports.