Best Places to Find Personal Loans Near Me
All different types of personal loans are available near me ranging from banks to credit unions and online lenders. The main difference between conducting my business online and in-person is the latter offers a more human and personalized touch. In any case, when I search for loans near me, I always compared offerings from multiple lenders to ensure the lowest interest rate is provided.
Borrowers with credit falling between good and excellent (above 690) have the most options regarding loans. Those with lower credit, average or bad, are viewed by borrowers as higher risks but there are loan options out there for every borrower. The three main options I search for a personal loan near me include:
Several large financial institutions and banks offer personal loans near me. However, at these larger institutions, borrowers require at least good credit to qualify for a loan. Nonetheless, as an established banking customer there are benefits like qualifying for a larger loan amount or applying without visiting a branch. Other banks offer loans without an origination fee or free credit scores.
The most common banks near me that offer personal loans (up to a specific amount) include:
- Citibank – Customers can borrow up to $12,500.
- Discover – Provides free FICO scores and focuses on debt consolidation.
- Marcus – A Goldman Sachs online lender that does not charge fees and features 12-month payment deferment after 12-months of on-time payments.
- Wells Fargo – Borrowers can have money sent directly to creditors to consolidate debt.
Some of the best-known and largest banks near me, like Chase and Bank of America, do not offer personal loans. Local community banks often offer personal loans so customers in good standing will have a great opportunity to get the lowest interest rates.
Credit unions near me are a great option for any customer with any credit level because they offer the benefit of working with borrowers. These small banks are non-profit financial organizations that service those working, living, studying, or worshipping in a specific area. Only members can apply for loans so having an account with the credit union is necessary. When searching for a small personal loan under $2,500, credit unions are the best option. Many lenders do not offer such small amounts. Two examples of credit unions near me are First Tech Federal and Navy Federal. Many credit unions will offer larger loans only for those making home improvements.
Online Lenders – Personal Loans Near Me
Many online lenders require a pre-qualification process following a soft credit check to quote terms and best rates. This is a simple inquiry that does not impact the borrower’s credit. On the other hand, a hard credit check occurs when a customer applies for credit. This will briefly ding even the best credit scores but only for a short time.
One of the greatest benefits of online personal loans is the competitiveness of the marketplace so lenders attempt to differentiate from traditional in-person loans near me with flexible payments, no fees, guidelines beyond traditional credit models, and other ways to lower interest rates. Unfortunately, to have this flexibility, borrowers must have strong credit scores who are borrowing large amounts at low rates.
Naturally, some online lenders cater to those with lower credit scores. To have access to these loans there are three considerations:
- Find a co-signer with better credit. Friends and relatives with good credit can help lower the interest rate or provide better chances of qualifying for the loan.
- Find an online lender that focuses on borrowers with below-average credit. Additional considerations like earning potential often help in their decision.
- Opt for a secured personal loan that requires collateral like a title for a car title loan or anything with value.
While one personal loan source is not better than the other, it depends on multiple factors including the amount of the loan, repayment plan, credit score, interest rate, relationship with the lender, and many other options.
How to Select a Lender
This raises the next question; how do I select a personal loan lender near me? Well, there are many considerations to factor into the decision, including:
Annual Percentage Rate (APR)
When shopping for personal loans near me, I first look at APRs, not only the monthly payment and interest rate. The APR includes all extra fees and the interest rate, so it is the best direct comparison between two loans.
Also, when I am reviewing personal loans near me, I shop for rates but not just rates. I also consider lenders with customer-friendly features. For instance, many debt consolidation loan lenders send money to creditors, eliminating this extra step. Other lenders may forgive a late fee or allow me to select the payment due date. Having the flexibility to select a payment due date could be the difference between missing a payment that results in a late fee while negatively impacting my credit score.
There are two types of interest rates offered by lenders, fixed and variable. Fixed interest rates will remain the same percentage throughout the life of the loan. On the other hand, variable interest rates fluctuate with the market. Variable rates are tied to the prime rate which is the interest rate banks lend to each other. Fixed rates are the most common type while variable rates have a lower starting APR.
The best lenders are those that offer flexible repayment terms that work with me on the best rates and the ability to select a re-payment date. The more customer-focused they are, the better rates, service, and flexibility I receive.
Reputation is extremely important when choosing a personal loan lender near me. Loan companies must stick to the contract. It is also important that they do not share my private information with advertisers, marketing firms, and other companies.
Ultimately, finding the best personal loans near me takes time, effort, and research to select the best options. I always start with my bank to determine the personal loan options they can offer and branch out to other lenders if I am unsatisfied. Shopping for a loan is like shopping for any type of product, I look for the best deals with the most reputable companies near me and go from there!
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