Updated: Apr 01, 2024

How Long Does it Take to Get Approved for a Personal Loan?

Read all about the personal loan application process to understand how long it will take to get approved, as well as tips for speeding up the process.
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If you’re looking for a personal loan it’s probably because you’re in a financial bind and need cash quickly. You may find yourself asking “how long does it take to get a personal loan?”

The answer varies widely by the lender you choose, the type of lender, and how much information you provide in your application.

Learn about the different types of lenders, how long to get a loan from each type, and how you can speed the process up.

How Long It Takes at a Bank

Banks are one of the first places that people turn when they need a personal loan. Most banks offer other loans, like mortgages, home equity lines of credit, or car loans, so why not personal loans?

One of the main benefits of getting a personal loan from a bank is that you can always walk into a branch with any questions you may have.

Getting in-person service

Another benefit is that banks are capable of quick turnaround times, especially if you have need of the money now.

By walking into a branch and submitting your application in person, you’ll know it’s been received. From there, you’ll have to wait for the bank to approve the loan. Then, you’ll need to wait for the funds to become available to you.

So, how long does it take to get a loan approved at a bank? The answer is that it depends. Some banks have longer processes than others, but it should not take more than one or two business days.

Once your loan has been approved, you’ll need to wait for the funds to become available.

Some banks can make the funds available the same day, but others take longer.

Where you’re sending the money also affects this. If you’re applying for a loan from the bank you have your checking account at, it’ll be quicker.

From start to finish, the process can take a few days to a couple of weeks.

Online Banks/Lenders Process Loans Much Faster

Many people have turned to online banks and lenders because of the convenience of being able to bank from anywhere.

Some even specialize in fast approval personal loans, making them a popular choice for borrowers.

The process with an online bank or lender is similar to a traditional bank.

You’ll have to submit your application online to begin the process. Once the bank receives the application, the bank will need to review the application and make a decision.

Save time by applying online

One of the major benefits of applying online is that you can submit your paperwork electronically.

You don’t need to gather a lot of paper documents or print out long tax returns. You just need to upload them to the lender’s website.

If you have detailed electronic records of your finances, applying for a loan online can save a lot of time.

How long does it take to get loan approval from an online bank or lender? Online companies that specialize in personal loans can process applications very quickly. Some can approve a loan the same day that you apply!

Once your loan has been approved, you’ll have to wait for the funds to arrive in your account.

This can take a few days, especially if you’re getting a loan from a bank that you don’t have other accounts at.

In an ideal situation, you can get access to the money in just days, making online lenders a good choice if you need cash fast.

Here are some of the best online lenders you can choose from:

Credit Unions Take as Long as Bank to Approve Personal Loans

One major benefit of credit unions is that they tend to be smaller and more community based than other banks.

That means you get the advantage of the relationship you’ve built with the credit union.

If you’ve been a loyal, reliable customer for a long time, the credit union might be able to expedite the application or help you out in another way.

Because credit unions are community-driven, you might be able to get a better interest rate.

You might also be able to access service designed to help people with financial difficulties.

No matter what assistance the credit union can offer, they tend to offer the best customer service. The customer service experience alone can make it worth applying for a loan from your local credit union, even if the process takes longer.

In the end, credit unions are like other banks in that loan approval and funding can be a short or long process.

It all depends on the credit union. In general, credit unions should be quicker than since they process fewer loans than big banks. That lets them get your loan application more quickly and also spend more time examining the application.

What You Need When Applying for a Loan

Getting approved for a personal loan requires proving that you are both able to make payments, and likely to do so.
The first thing that lenders will look at is the application that you submit.

When you apply, you’ll be asked for information such as:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Date of birth
  • Proof of identity, such as a driver’s license
  • Social Security number
  • Annual income
  • Proof of income, such as bank statements or pay stubs
  • Verification of employment

By making sure your application includes all this information and is as accurate as possible, you can improve your chances of qualifying for the loan.

Another major aspect of lending decisions is your credit score. Your credit score is a number that indicates your trustworthiness and how likely you are to actually pay off your debts.

The number is determined by a formula that incorporates multiple factors:

FICO Credit Score Factors and Their Percentages

FICO credit score factors Percentage weight on credit score: What it means:
Payment history 35% Your track record when it comes to making (at least) the minimum payment by the due date.
Amounts owed 30% How much of your borrowing potential is actually being used. Determined by dividing total debt by total credit limits.
Length of credit history 15% The average age of your active credit lines. Longer histories tend to show responsibility with credit.
Credit mix 10% The different types of active credit lines that you handle (e.g., mortgage, credit cards, students loans, etc.)
New credit 10% The new lines of credit that you've requested. New credit applications tend to hurt you score temporarily. Learn more about FICO credit score

Improving your credit score can improve your chances of getting approved for a loan. You can improve your credit score by:

  • Paying down your credit card balances
  • Avoid applying for a lot of loans or credit cards
  • Using credit responsibly for a long time
  • Negotiating a pay-for-delete agreement

A pay-for-delete agreement is when you contact a lender that you’ve failed to pay on time.

You offer to pay the debt in full if they remove the mark indicating your failure to pay from your credit report.

Most often, collections agencies are willing to negotiate these agreements. Collections agencies buy your debt from your original lender at a discount. Collecting then becomes their job.

They specialize in getting paid for debts they’ve purchased and pay-for-delete agreements are among the many tools they use.

The final part of getting approved for a loan is your debt-to-income ratio.

The whole point of the loan approval process is for the bank to determine how likely you are to pay your monthly payments.

The more debt you have when compared to your income, the less money you have available to make payments on a new loan. You can better your chances of getting approved by paying down your existing loans or increasing your income.

Personal Loan Calculator

How to Speed Up the Approval Time

Getting a loan takes time, but there are some things that you can do to speed the process up. Some of the steps you can take include:

  • Borrowing from a lender that you’ve banked with/borrowed from before
  • Borrowing from a lender that is known for quick approvals
  • Making sure that you provide all supporting information requested with your application
  • Ensuring that your application is clear, accurate, and free from errors
  • Answering any questions from the lender in a timely manner

One common mistake that people make is expecting to hand in the loan paperwork and get an answer with no other interaction with the bank.

There’s usually a back and forth between you and the lender. If the lender needs you to clarify any aspect of your application, they’ll contact you. It’s also possible that the lender will ask for additional documentation.

The need for additional documentation is especially common for people who are self-employed. It can be difficult to show your income since you don’t have a regular pay stub if you’re self-employed or freelancing. You might have to provide tax returns, bank statements, or other documents.

You can reduce the difficulty of this process by borrowing from a lender that you’ve banked with before. If you already have an account at the bank, they’ll have a lot of the necessary information already.

You can also apply for a loan from a lender known for quick approvals.

The caveat is that you’ll need to make sure your application is up to date. These lenders may be less likely to contact you to clarify a portion of your application, instead just denying your loan.


It is impossible to say, with 100% certainty, when you'll receive the borrowed funds from a personal loan. Even though a lender may be known for processing loans incredibly quick, each case is unique.

It can also depend greatly on your information and application. Before applying, you should ask the lender to provide an estimated timeline of when your loan would be approved.