If you’re looking to apply for a personal loan, make sure you do it right.
Did you know that every time you apply for a personal loan, it shows up on your credit file? So when you find a personal loan and you want to apply, you want to make sure that you do so correctly, as multiple applications can look irresponsible to lenders. There are a few different types of personal loans available, and each loan has specific eligibility requirements and documents that will need to be submitted. When you familiarise yourself with these processes you can take the first step to finding the loan that’s right for you.
Types of personal loans
People need personal loans for a range of reasons, and as such, there are a range of personal loans to meet the different types of needs. Here are some of the different types of personal loans and the main purposes they’re used for:
- Secured personal loan. This type of loan is usually used to finance a car or purchase of another large asset, such as a boat or caravan. It involves you putting up an asset as a guarantee in case your default on your loan. The benefit of these loans is that as they are less of a risk for the lender the interest rate is usually lower.
- Unsecured personal loan. An unsecured personal loan is where a bank or lender agrees to loan you money without the need of a guarantee. The loan amount can be used to finance any type of purchase, pay for a holiday or even to consolidate existing debts.
- Car loan. This loan, as its name suggests, is specifically designed to finance a car purchase. These loans are similar to secured loans in that the car is usually used as a guarantee for the loan. Car loans are sometimes restricted to purchases of new cars as it ensures the security is a valuable asset.
- Payday loan. These loans are for small amounts, usually between $100 and $2,000, and are designed to cover you until your next pay day. The repayments are usually lined up with your pay frequency and the entire loan is meant to be repaid quite quickly, normally between 16 and 60 days.
Personal loan application process
- Decide what kind of loan you want - secured, unsecured, payday, etc.
- Compare your personal loan options to make sure you get the best deal
- Click ‘Go to Site’ when you find a product on finder.com.au that you’d like to apply for
- Fill out the lender’s online application form and submit it (see below for the documents you’ll need)
The turnaround time for personal loans differs between lenders, some will approve you within 60 seconds while some may take a few days or weeks
The lender will get in touch with you and tell you whether you have been approved, and how much they are willing to lend you.
Documents you need to apply
Different personal loans will require different documents to apply. Generally, these are the kind of documents that they will want to see:
- Personal details. You will need to provide your name, contact information and proof of your identity using a drivers license, passport, etc.
- Employment information. This includes where you work, what your income is, and the name and contact information of your employer.
- Details of your assets. This includes any properties or vehicles you own as well as any savings you have accumulated.
- Details of your liabilities. Liabilities refer to any open credit accounts, active credit and store cards and any debts you have owing on your mortgage or other loans.
Personal loan eligibility criteria
Eligibility criteria for personal loans is set by each individual lender and is different for each type of personal loan. Some criteria is more strict than others. Generally, for any type of personal loans, you will need to be over the age of 18 years and be receiving a regular income into your bank account. Here are some more specific requirements that you might find with these loans:
Secured personal loans and car loans
You will need to be over the age 18, you will generally need a good credit rating (especially if you are applying with the big banks) and you will need to be earning some sort of income. You may also need to be a permanent Australian resident or citizen. Some banks accept the pension or Centrelink payments as income for secured personal loans, such as Commonwealth Bank and Westpac. There may also be a minimum income you need to earn before you can be approved.
There are also eligibility requirements for the vehicle or other asset you are using as security. If it is for a car loan then the car generally needs to be new, or some lenders will finance a used car that is less than five years old. If you are using a different asset, such as a house or boat, then the lender will likely have eligibility requirements for that as well. Some lenders also accept things like jewellery as security, so shop around and see what’s available.
Unsecured personal loans
As these types of loans are generally more risky to the lender than other loans, such as secured loans, the eligibility criteria is generally stricter. As with secured loans, you will need to be over the age of 18 and be a permanent Australian resident or citizen. You will likely need to have a good credit rating and not have too many open credit accounts, as this may be seen as potential debt by a lender. There will usually be some sort of income requirements as well, and your personal finances may affect the loan amount you’re offered.
Payday lenders generally offer fast approval and are generally more flexible with their eligibility criteria. Most often you will just need to be receiving a regular income into your bank account, be over the age of 18 and be a permanent Australian resident. While they may check your credit file, they focus more on your ability to pay back the loan amount rather than any defaults or listings.
Compare personal loans
How to find the right personal loan
When you’re considering your personal loan options you need to consider your own personal needs and situation. As already mentioned, each time you apply for a loan the application will appear on your credit file. This means it’s very important to choose the right loan to save you from having to make multiple loan applications. These are some questions to ask yourself to help you find the right type of loan:
- What are you taking the loan out for? The purpose of your loan should help you narrow down your options. Some loans, such as car loan, are designed with a very specific purpose in mind, while others are more open.
- How much do you need to borrow Depending on the amount you need to borrow, you may find your options more restricted. Check the individual loan products and take a look at what the minimum and maximum loan amounts are.
- What repayments can you afford? When comparing your options you should ensure that you will be able to make your repayments. Take a look at the repayment options offered by the loan and check if the rate is fixed or variable. Then you can look at the rate and the amount you’re looking to borrow and then see if the repayments will be manageable on your budget.
- Do you have good credit history? Your credit history will also affect what loan product you will be able to apply for. If you have negative marks on your credit file a lender may be unwilling to approve a personal loan for you unless it is secured. If you have had defaults or a few negative listings on your file then you might want to consider a payday loan, as some payday lenders approve those with bad credit.
You’ve applied. Now what?
After you apply you might be eager to find out if you’ve been approved, and if you have, how much you are able to borrow. Depending on the loan you apply for, the turnaround time will be different. For the more traditional loans, such as secured personal loans, the lender may take a few days or even up to a few weeks to approve your loan.
For a payday loan or smaller size loans the turnaround time may be quicker. Some payday lenders offer approval within 60 seconds, and other banks and lenders may offer small loans of less than $2,000 within a quicker time frame. Before you apply you may be able to ask the lender what the typical turnaround time is, just to get an idea.
When applying for personal loans it’s important to be aware of the process to ensure that you apply correctly. All your applications will show up on your credit file and may affect your credit reputation, so you should compare your options and do your research to make sure you’re applying for the right loan. A loan is a serious undertaking, and should be considered as such when you apply.