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If you don’t have the cash saved in the bank to cover a major cost, taking out a personal loan can be a good idea.

Here’s how long it takes to get a loan and what you need to know about the different personal loan options available.

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It usually takes 1-7 business days to get a loan

In general, you’ll get the money you requested within one to seven business days once you’re approved. But how long it takes for a personal loan to be disbursed is dependent on the type of lender you’re working with and the individual company.

It’s important to shop around and compare offers from multiple personal loan lenders. Disbursement time can vary from lender to lender, so some may be able to disburse the loan faster than others.

There are three main options when it comes to taking out personal loans:

Online lenders: Typically less than 5 business days

If you need money right away, working with an online lender to take out a personal loan is likely your best option.

Online lenders allow you to complete a loan application in as little as five minutes. In most cases, you’ll receive a decision instantly. If approved, your money can be disbursed quickly — often in as little as one business day. But there are some lenders that are even faster. For example, Lightstream may be able to disburse your loan as soon as the same business day.

However, not all online lenders can send your money that quickly. Some online lenders, such as LendingClub, can take up to seven days to disburse your loan, so keep that in mind when comparing lenders.

LenderTime to Fund
avantAs soon as the next business day (if approved by 4:30 p.m. CT on a weekday)
best eggAs soon as 1 - 3 business days after successful verification
freedomplusAs soon as 2 business days
lendingclubUsually takes about 7 days
lendingpointAs soon as the next business day
lightstreamAs soon as the same business day
marcusAbout 1 - 4 business days, given approval and bank account verification
payoffAs soon as 2 - 5 business days after verification
prosperOn average, within 5 days of accepting your offer
upgradeWithin a day of clearing necessary verifications
upstartAs soon as 1 - 3 business days
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All APRs reflect autopay and loyalty discounts where available | LightStream payment example | Read more about Rates and Terms

Banks: Typically 1-7 business days

Going through a traditional bank like Wells Fargo or Citizens Bank is a popular option for personal loan borrowers. If you already have a checking or savings account with the bank, the application process can be completed quickly. And, you may be able to borrow more than you could with an online lender. You can often apply for a loan online or in-person at a branch location.

The application process is typically simple. However, banks can take the longest to disburse your loan. While you can get you your money in one business day, some lenders have a more rigorous review process, and it may take up to seven days for your loan to be disbursed.

Credit unions: Typically 1-7 business days

Taking out a personal loan from a credit union can be a good idea. They are nonprofit organizations, so they often offer lower interest rates than traditional banks. They might also have less stringent requirements, so you’re more likely to qualify for a loan from a credit union than from another lender, but you’ll need to be a member to get a loan from a credit union.

Like banks, the disbursement time for a personal loan from a credit union can range from one to seven business days.

You can visit MyCreditUnion.gov to find a credit union near you.

What you need to apply for a loan

To speed up the application process, it’s a good idea to prepare ahead of time. Lenders will ask you for basic information, so be ready to provide them with the following:

  • Name
  • Social Security number
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Proof of identity, like a driver’s license or passport
  • Annual income
  • Proof of income, like a pay stub or W-2 form

Getting a personal loan from an online lender is the fastest way

If you’re facing a financial emergency like an unexpected car repair, you don’t have much time to wait to get the money you need. However, don’t let the time crunch cause you to make a costly decision. While payday loans and quick-access loans exist, their interest rates are astronomical, forcing you to pay back far more than you originally borrowed.

Instead, it may be a better idea to take out a personal loan from a reputable online lender. You could get the money you need in as little as one business day, so you can handle the emergency and move on with your life.

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About Rates and Terms: Rates for personal loans provided by lenders on the Credible platform range between 3.99% - 35.99% APR with terms from 24 to 84 months. Rates presented include lender discounts for enrolling in autopay and loyalty programs, where applicable. Actual rates may be different from the rates advertised and/or shown and will be based on the lender’s eligibility criteria, which include factors such as credit score, loan amount, loan term, credit usage and history, and vary based on loan purpose. The lowest rates available typically require excellent credit, and for some lenders, may be reserved for specific loan purposes and/or shorter loan terms. The origination fee charged by the lenders on our platform ranges from 0% to 8%. Each lender has their own qualification criteria with respect to their autopay and loyalty discounts (e.g., some lenders require the borrower to elect autopay prior to loan funding in order to qualify for the autopay discount). All rates are determined by the lender and must be agreed upon between the borrower and the borrower’s chosen lender. For a loan of $10,000 with a three year repayment period, an interest rate of 7.99%, a $350 origination fee and an APR of 11.51%, the borrower will receive $9,650 at the time of loan funding and will make 36 monthly payments of $313.32. Assuming all on-time payments, and full performance of all terms and conditions of the loan contract and any discount programs enrolled in included in the APR/interest rate throughout the life of the loan, the borrower will pay a total of $11,279.43. As of March 12, 2019, none of the lenders on our platform require a down payment nor do they charge any prepayment penalties.

About the author
Kat Tretina
Kat Tretina

Kat Tretina is an authority on student loans and a contributor to Credible. Her work has appeared in publications like the Huffington Post, Money Magazine, MarketWatch, Business Insider, and more.

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