Personal loans can serve multiple purposes, such as debt consolidation or paying an emergency bill.
For borrowers in New Jersey, there are plenty of local lenders that offer personal loans to residents.
But, not all personal loans are the same.
From interest rates to fees to borrowing terms, you have to evaluate the personal loan to see if it offers what you need.
To make it easier for you, we've analyzed the personal loans offered by the largest personal loan lenders in New Jersey to pick the ones worth your consideration.
Biggest Personal Loan Lenders in New Jersey
The largest lenders in New Jersey are:
- TD Bank
- Wells Fargo
- PNC Bank
- Investors Bank
- Santander Bank
- M&T Bank
- Lakeland Bank
- Fulton Bank of New Jersey
This list includes both national and local banks. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages.
Best New Jersey Lenders for Personal Loans
If you want to work with a bank that is local to New Jersey, we recommend the following banks:
- M&T Bank
- Santander Bank
- PNC Bank
You might want to work with a local lender for a number of reasons.
One is that they’re easy to find. Just drive around town and you’re sure to find a few local banks that have branches near you.
Local banks also tend to know the needs of local customers. That means that they’ll be able to cater their services to you and will understand the issues that you’re facing.
Secured loans are often easier to qualify for, but you have to provide some collateral. In this case, you can use the balance of your M&T savings account or CD. M&T’s secured loans can range from $2,000 to $100,000 with a term up to 10 years.
M&T’s unsecured loans max out at $25,000 with interest rates that are higher than the secured loans’ rates. You’ll also be limited to a maximum term of 5 years.
Santander offers personal loans ranging from $5,000 to $50,000 with terms between 24 and 60 months. The loans have a fixed interest rate and no application or annual fees to worry about.
One perk of Santander’s personal loans is that current Santander customers can take advantage of a relationship discount.
If you sign up for automatic payments from your checking account, you’ll automatically receive an interest rate discount.
The bank’s unsecured loans let you borrow between $1,000 and $35,000 with a term of 6 to 60 months.
For a secured personal loan, you can borrow as little as $2,000 or as much as $100,000 with a term between 6 and 60 months.
Online Personal Loans Worth Considering
Before you run to the closest bank to apply for a personal loan, you should think about your other options. Many online lenders offer lower fees and lower interest rates.
Saving money isn’t the only reason you might want to work with an online lender.
Some companies will specialize in using non-traditional methods to determine whether to offer loans.
If you have less than perfect credit, this can help you qualify for a loan or secure a lower interest rate.
What to Look at When Comparing Lenders
When you’re applying for any loan, you shouldn’t just take the first option that presents itself. Shopping around for the best deal can help you save a lot of money.
The first thing to look for when you’re comparing lenders is whether the lender likes to work with borrowers like you.
Some lenders tend to work with people with great credit.
Others target customers whose credit scores are lower.
By focusing on lenders who target their service toward people like you, you can get a better deal.
This can also help you find the lender who is most likely to approve your application.
Once you’ve compiled a list of lenders who are likely to approve your application, you should compare the following factors of each loan.
Nothing in life is free, and that includes personal loans. On top of the interest that you’ll have to pay, many personal loan lenders charge fees.
The most common personal loan fee is the origination fee. This fee is added to the balance of your loan when the loan is initially funded. Generally, the fee is a percentage of the amount that you borrowed.
Like most loans, personal loans also carry late payment fees, which you’ll have to pay if you miss a payment due date.
When you borrow money, you have to pay it back.
Usually, the lender will give you a set schedule of minimum payments that you’ll have to make. The term of a loan is how long this payment plan lasts.
Different lenders offer different loan terms, but most personal loans have a term ranging from 1 to 5 years.
- The longer the term of a loan, the lower the monthly payment will be. Longer terms leave more time for interest to accrue, meaning you’ll pay more in the long run.
- The shorter the term, the higher the monthly payment. Shorter terms result in lower overall costs.
Do your best to strike a balance between a low total cost and a manageable monthly payment.
Borrowing maximums and minimums
Different lenders are willing to lend different amounts.
Some won’t bat an eye at letting someone borrow $100,000.
Others won’t give anyone more than $25,000, no matter how good their credit is.
There’s no point in borrowing money unless you can borrow enough to fully meet your need. Make sure that any lender you work with offers loans of the correct size.
Fund disbursement periods
Sometimes, you just need cash quickly.
There are many lenders that specialize in reviewing your application, making a decision, and depositing the funds to your account as quickly as possible.
If you need cash now, look for a lender who can approve your loan quickly.
Before you work with another bank, check to see if your current bank offers personal loans.
Many lenders that offer deposit accounts will give existing customers a relationship discount.
What Do You Need to Apply for a Personal Loan?
When you apply for a personal loan, you have to provide some identifying information that the lender can use to check your credit and make a lending decision.
Expect to provide some or all of the following information:
- 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 paystubs.
- Verification of employment
It might sound daunting to provide all of this information but taking the application process seriously is important.
If you leave your lender with questions, it will slow down the lending process. In the worst-case scenario, the lender will simply deny your application.
Increase Your Chances of Qualifying for a Personal Loan
Once you’ve settled on a lender, you should do your best to give yourself a good chance of qualifying for a loan.
With most loans, your credit score is one of the most important factors in determining whether your application is approved.
It can take years to build good credit, but there are some quick fixes that can boost your score by a few points.
One trick is to reduce your credit utilization ratio.
You can find this ratio by dividing the total amount that you owe by the total credit limits of your credit cards. Paying down your debts and not using your cards for a month or two can help boost your score by a few points.
You can also give yourself a better shot at qualifying by reducing your debt-to-income ratio.
This ratio isn’t used when calculating your credit score, but it does play a role in your ability to qualify for loans.
There are two ways to reduce your debt-to-income ratio: pay down your debts or increase your income.
Paying down debts is the better strategy because it will also boost your credit score.
If you decide to reduce the ratio by increasing your income, make sure that the income is documented.
Best Uses for a Personal Loan
One of the many reasons that personal loans are popular is their flexibility. Here are some of the best ways to use a personal loan.
If you have any sort of high-interest debt, you can use a personal loan to consolidate your debts at a lower interest rate.
This will leave you with one payment instead of multiple monthly payments.
It can also help reduce your monthly payment and the amount of interest that you pay.
Unexpected or medical expenses
If you have a financial emergency, especially a medical one, you need to find a way to pay your bills and get your feet back on the ground.
Applying for a personal loan can help you avoid more expensive credit card debt or allowing unpaid bills to go to collections.
Rather than dealing with all of the paperwork to open a HELOC or a home equity loan, you can use a personal loan to help you fund a home improvement project.
As a bonus, you won’t be using your home as collateral for the debt.