Applying for a personal loan online is a safe option when you follow the right precautions.
When it comes to managing your finances and handling unexpected expenses, personal loans can be a real lifesaver.
But the big question is, should you get a personal loan online in the first place?
It's a common concern, and you're not alone in wondering about the safety of online lending.
Below, we’ll reveal why online personal loans are generally safe as using a lender that operates from a traditional “brick and mortar” establishment, and help you ensure you're dealing with a trustworthy online lender.
- Online personal loans offer several advantages that you should consider when conducting your research in applying for a loan.
- Online lenders must follow the same strict lending regulations as brick-and-mortar institutions.
- There are tried and true methods of determining a lender’s credibility and certain red flags to watch out for that we’ll share below.
Is An Online Loan The Right Choice For You?
Online personal loans come with some clear advantages, making them a tempting option for many folks. Here's a closer look at the pros and cons to help you decide if they're the right fit for you.
The Pros of Online Personal Loans
Convenience: Picture this – you can apply for a loan right from your cozy couch. No need to rush to a bank or credit union. It's all at your fingertips.
No Impact on Your Credit: Online lenders often let you check if you're pre-approved with a soft credit inquiry. This means you can explore your options without worrying about your credit score taking a hit.
Speedy Processing: Traditional lenders can drag their feet when it comes to approval and fund disbursement. But online loans often have automated processes, which means faster approvals. In fact, some lenders, like Credit9, can get you your funds in as few as 1-2 business days after final approval.
Competitive Rates and Lower Fees: Thanks to their lower overhead costs, online lenders can offer attractive interest rates and lower fees, especially if you meet their criteria.
Two Important Considerations For Online Personal Loans
- Data Submission: Since the entire process happens online, you'll need to feel comfortable sharing your personal and financial info electronically.
- Limited Face-to-Face Interaction: Online lenders can often provide top-notch customer service, but if you prefer that in-person touch, it's something to think about. Of course, with many lenders, they have loan specialists you can speak to over the phone to answer your questions and help you through the process.
Is It Safe To Apply For A Loan Online?
Online personal loans are generally safe to use.
Reputable online lenders must follow the same strict lending regulations as brick-and-mortar institutions. And while there are some scam artists out there, with a bit of caution, you can spot them and move on to other reputable lenders.
How To Confirm An Online Lender's Credibility
Before you get started with your online personal loan application, here's how to conduct your due diligence and make sure the lenders you’re considering are all the real deal.
- Licensing and Credentials: Start by checking out the lender's website. Does it look professionally created versus having an amateur look? Does it provide contact information on most, if not all web pages? Legit lenders also prominently display their licenses and credentials. If you can't find this info, it is something to be concerned about.
- Internet Reviews: Places like the Better Business Bureau, Google Reviews, and Trustpilot can be goldmines of information. Check how long the lender has been in business. The longer, the better! Also, look for reviews, weigh the number of 5-star reviews versus 1-star reviews along with the comments, and watch out for mentions of "scam" or "fraud" in multiple reviews.
- Ask for Referrals: Sometimes the best advice comes from friends, family, or co-workers who've been through this process. They can offer honest opinions and recommendations about what lender they may have used.
Four Red Flags To Watch Out For With Online Lenders
While there are several ways to spot and avoid a personal loan scam, here are some warning signs that should raise your suspicions as you investigate online lenders.
Lack of Interest in Your Financial History: Reputable lenders always want to know your financial history, like your credit score, income, and payment history. After all, they won’t be in business long if they make loans to people who can’t pay them back! So if they don't ask about all of your financial history and numbers, be cautious.
Too Demanding: If a lender starts pushing you too hard, especially with tactics like pressuring you to act immediately or insisting on prepaid credit cards, be wary. There are rarely any reasons why you would have to act quickly aside from the Fed raising rates and the interest rate on your potential loan going up in response to the Federal rate.
No Physical Address: Legitimate lenders have a physical address listed on their website. If you can't find one or it seems fishy, be cautious. In fact, you should utilize Google Maps to see if the address given is an actual physical address and not a parking lot or a type of building that doesn’t look like where a lending company would operate, like a personal residence.
Not Transparent About Their Fees: Trustworthy lenders are upfront about fees. If they're not disclosing fees or demanding payment immediately after loan approval, that's a definite red flag.
Final Thoughts About The Safety Of Online Loans
While there are scam artists posing as online lenders out there, arming yourself with knowledge and staying vigilant can protect you from falling into their traps.
Once you've verified that your online lender is legit, getting an online personal loan can be as safe as dealing with a traditional lender, allowing you to confidently access the financial help you need without worry.
At Credit9, we offer loan options that could provide you with the financial solution that works best for you.
How Credit9 Can Help You
Since 2018, Credit9 has provided over $300 Million in loans to over 25,000 of our customers, and we’re confident we can help you too. For more information about Credit9’s unique debt consolidation services, contact us today to see how we can help you consolidate your debts and receive a free, no-obligation, and fully-customized Credit9 loan solution!