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How to Apply for a Personal Loan (& Get Approved)

A personal loan could be your ticket to an easier, less stressful life. Whether you use the funds to pay for something you need or to consolidate debt, a personal loan means you can take care of business right now.

If you're not sure if you qualify, be sure to read this handy guide to find out how to apply for a personal loan so that you have the best chance of being approved.

Check Your Credit Score

Before you apply for your personal loan, it's a good idea to get your credit report as your credit score plays a big part in whether or not you are approved. Once you know your score, you can take steps to improve your credit, if it's not so great at the moment. 

There are two main reasons why your credit score matters:

  • Higher scores are more likely to be approved.
  • Higher scores will get a lower annual percentage rate (APR) so the loan costs less.

Note that when you apply for a personal loan from your local credit union, they will do more than just run a credit check. They'll look into your financial background and get to know you so they can help you get your credit into shape or find you another way forward. 

Shop Around for the Best Personal Loan Offer

You have a range of options when it comes to choosing a lender for your personal loan. Start with Best Reward. You'll likely find credit unions can offer more competitive loans with more personalized service than banks and other institutions.

Interest Rates and APR

At Best Reward, what you see is what you get. The interest rate you get will be the same as your annual percentage rate (APR). This isn't the case for all financial institutions. Often, the interest rate is lower than the APR because the APR may include fees and other hidden charges.

So when you're shopping around for your personal loan, be sure to ask for both figures and learn exactly what's going into your annual percentage rate (APR).


Look for a personal loan that comes with minimal fees. For example, you should try to avoid these common charges:

  • Application Fee
  • Origination Fee
  • Monthly Fee
  • Annual Fee
  • Prepayment Penalty - If you pay your loan off sooner than expected.

Be sure to always pay on time to avoid late payment fees or returned check fees. You might want to look into a payment protection plan in case you can't make payments. Missing payments will hurt your credit score.


The term is how long you have to pay your loan back. You can use a personal loan calculator to experiment with different loan amounts, rates, and monthly payments to find the right term for you. Here's what you need to know:

  • A shorter term means a higher monthly payment – but lower APR.
  • A longer term means a lower monthly payment – but higher APR.

How to Apply for Your Personal Loan

Now that you're up to speed on what to look for in a great personal loan, it's time to get ready to apply. Just gather all of the information and evidence you need and Apply Online today!

Documents You Might Need

Be sure to have all your documents ready to upload to your computer or give to your loan officer if you're applying in person.

  • Proof of Identity: such as your Driver's License or Birth Certificate, or Social Security Card.
  • Proof of Address: such as a utility bill, bank statement, mortgage statement, or lease agreement.
  • Proof of Employer and Income: including pay stubs, tax returns, or bank statements.

Questions You Might Need to Answer

A personal loan is a flexible tool you can use for just about anything. Even so, be prepared to explain your financial situation and why you need the money. Here's a sample of common questions in a personal loan application:

  • What do you plan to use the personal loan funds for?
  • What monthly payment can you afford?
  • Can you explain this information on your credit report?

Note that your local credit union may be more understanding if you have gaps in your employment history or blips on your credit report. In this case, a member service representative may be willing to work with you and find a way to approve your loan.

Know That You Know How to Apply for a Personal Loan, Read the Fine Print! 

Before you sign on the dotted line, make sure you read all of the terms and conditions of your preferred personal loan. Check the APR, the range of terms on offer, and the full list of fees.

Also, be sure you've worked out your monthly budget so you borrow the right amount to meet your wants and needs. Click below to find out about Best Reward's personal loan options!

See Our Personal Loans