It's not easy to make the decision to take out a loan—especially if you're intimidated by all of the paperwork involved in the application process. Sometimes, however, you really need access to more cash than you can manage to pull together—for whatever reason.
Going to a payday lender is often an ill-advised choice. Some states have barred these kinds of services altogether or capped the interest rates they can charge -- but their average annual percentage rate on a loan is about 400%. It can top 700% in some states. These can trap consumers in a cycle of debt that's hard to escape.
So, what are your other options for a personal loan? Here are the top few.
Banks have long been the first place consumers tend to think of when they want a personal loan. The biggest problem is that banks are increasingly less inclined to offer personal loans—which are unsecured—at all. When they do, they generally will only loan to existing customers with excellent credit. Even a few dings on your credit record—an unpaid medical bill or a couple of late credit card payments over the last few years—could nix your ability to get a loan.
A credit union, if you belong to one, will often be more accommodating of slightly tarnished credit. They tend to take explanations into account (the unpaid bill is one you're contesting and the last credit card payments occurred during a time when you were injured or sick and not working) when making lending decisions. Plus, they often offer small personal loans as an option, making the process much more accessible to consumers. Again, however, you generally have to be an existing member of a credit union to qualify.
Online lenders are taking a number of hassles out of the personal loan system by making it as convenient as possible for consumers to apply for—and get—personal loans. Many online lenders, like the Liberty Lending Group, work hard to take the pain out of the loan process. They broker loans through a variety of lenders in order to help consumers with tarnished or damaged credit qualify for a loan at a decent interest rate and repayment plan. Best of all, you can usually get a quick decision without a lot of time-consuming paperwork—and get access to the funds you need within as little as a day.
Now that you have some idea of your options—and the pros and cons of each—you can start to make an educated decision about where to seek a loan. For more information, get in touch with companies like Liberty Lending Group.