A newer version of your browser is available. Older versions may limit your ability to access some of this site's functionality. Citizens Bank recommends upgrading your browser.

Learn More

Download the newest version of Microsoft Internet Explorer

Clear Search

How to Get a Personal Loan

Key Takeaways

  • 1. Check your credit
  • 2. Get prequalified
  • 3. Compare lenders
  • 4. Read the fine print
  • 5. Apply

By Stephen Sellner | Citizens Bank Staff

Personal loans provide quick access to cash. These unsecured loans could come in handy when you’re consolidating credit card debt, financing home improvements, funding your dream wedding, making a large purchase, or adopting a child. 

So, what’s the application process to get a personal loan? Follow these simple steps.

1. Check your credit

The better your credit score, the better your chances of being approved for a personal loan. Check yours before applying to see how it compares to lenders’ credit requirements.

Does your credit need improvement? Get a copy of your credit report to discover your detractors, then either improve in those areas or contest anything that’s incorrect.

2. Get prequalified

Once your credit is in good shape, go out and see what terms you could get through prequalification. To get prequalified, lenders conduct a soft credit check (your credit score is not impacted) and gather your personal information, like your name, address, phone number, email address, and Social Security number. In return, you get a sample of what loan terms you could get through that lender.

Note: This is not the same as submitting an application. That happens later.

3. Compare lenders

Hopefully you prequalified for loans with multiple lenders, whether through banks, credit unions, or online lenders. Now you can pick your best option.

Research all available lenders to find the right option for your needs.

Look for the best combination of the following factors when making your decision:

  • Interest rate
  • Repayment terms
  • Loan amount

Also, if you plan to apply for a personal loan with a cosigner, make sure your lenders allow for that option. Some don’t.

4. Read the fine print

The first thing you’ll notice about a loan is the interest rate. However, there’s other information you need to pay attention to, such as:

  • Origination fees
  • Prepayment penalties
  • Late fees

Now you should have all the information you need to make your decision.

5. Apply

Once you pick your lender, take the final step and apply.

The lender will do a hard check on your credit, which will temporarily drop your credit score a few points. Plus, you’ll need to provide documentation to prove your identification, address, income, housing, and employment status. Essentially, you’re confirming the information you provided during prequalification.

Once approved, you should receive the funds within a few business days or a week.

More information

Interested in a personal loan with Citizens Bank? Get more details here.

Not seeing what you're looking for?

#Json=Label_Lookup|Brand=citizensbank|ApplyToParentElement=|TargetElementType=|TargetElementId=|Key=Personalize your experience.#

May We Suggest

New to Citizens Bank? Here are some of our most requested products and most popular areas of interest.