If you’re looking for a personal loan, why not look online?
Online lenders are often able to offer a quick and easy application process as well as competitive rates and fees. This is because having no physical branch saves online lenders money, letting them pass the savings on to you.
What are online personal loans?
Online personal loans are a form of credit that can be applied for and managed online. These loans can be offered from a lender who operates solely online, or from a lender with physical branches who offers an online loan option to help you save on fees and rates.
Are online loans are better than loans from branch-only institutions?
Both online loans and loans from bricks-and-mortar lenders have certain benefits.
- Online-only lenders may be able to offer better rates because they have fewer overheads
- It's more convenient to apply for a personal loan online
- You can compare online loans side-by-side more easily
- Customer service reps can help you through the loan process
- If applying with your current bank you may find out about discounts in-branch
- If the lender has branch locations as well as letting you apply online you have a choice of how to apply
Compare personal loans you can apply for online
What types of loans can you apply for online?
- Secured personal loan
A secured personal loan is usually used to finance a car and involves you attaching an asset to your loan that the bank can use as security in case of a default. There are some restrictions with these type of loans, including the requirement that you use the full loan amount to finance the nominated asset. Familiarise yourself with the terms and conditions of the loan before you apply.
- Unsecured personal loan
This type of loan does not have the same restrictions as a secured personal loan as it does not require you to attach an asset as a guarantee. These loans usually have higher fees and rates as the lender is taking on more of a risk. The advantage is that you get to use the loan amount any way you choose.
- Short term loan
A payday loan is a small loan that is lent for a short period of time, usually between 16 days and one year. The loan is meant to cover unexpected expenses which arise before payday, and your repayments are usually set up to coincide with the amount and frequency at which you are paid. These loans also offer flexible lending criteria and may be an option for people with bad credit.
How to compare online personal loans
When comparing online personal loans there are a few different features to keep in mind. Here are some things to look at when weighing up your options:
- Fees. The fees charged on online personal loans are generally lower than other types of loans. This is mainly because an online lender has less overheads than lenders with physical branches. Consider the upfront fees of the loan that are charged to cover the costs of setting up your loan, as well as any ongoing fees that may be charged monthly or annually.
- Interest rates. When comparing interest rates on personal loans you should check whether the rate is variable or fixed, and whether the advertised rate is only applicable for an introductory offer period. Remember, low rates do not automatically mean a better loan, so consider the rates along with all the other features offered by the loan.
- Loan terms. The loan terms for online personal loans can range from as little as 16 days to as long as seven years depending on the type of loan you opt for. Be sure to choose a lender who offers loan terms that will be manageable for you.
- Loan amount. Remember to check whether the lender can offer you the amount you want to borrow. Some lenders may not be able to offer you the full advertised loan amount due to your credit history, which is the case with some payday providers, or over the value of your asset for a secured personal loan.
- Loan purpose. The reason you are applying for a personal loan should also help to inform your decision as to which lender to choose. For instance, if you are looking to finance a car then you might want to look at a secured personal loan, or if you have bad credit then you may want to consider a payday loan.
- Additional features. When comparing your online loan options you may notice that some lenders offer extra features with their loan, such as the option to bundle other financial products to receive a discount. Make yourself aware of all possible features so you can take advantage of the ones that appeal to you.
The benefits and drawbacks of online loans
- Applying and managing your loan online is a convenient way to keep track of your repayments
- An online lender may be able to offer you a loan with lower fees and rates
- There is no physical branch to discuss your loan options in person
- Disreputable lenders are sometimes harder to identify when they operate online
How to apply for a personal loan online
Online personal loan applications are relatively simple and can be completed in as little as 15 minutes. You will usually need your driver's licence details, information regarding your income and employment and details of any assets and liabilities you have.
If you are filling out an online application and don't have all the required information, most lenders will give you the option of saving the application and coming back to it later. Once you've completed the application you'll usually be given a way to track your application's progress, such as by providing you with an application number. You may be conditionally approved instantly or you might be contacted for more information.