Personal loans are a great way to get some extra cash when you need it.
Unlike mortgages or auto loans, which are designed for very specific purposes, personal loans are flexible.
You can use one to borrow money for just about anything, from covering an unexpected expense to paying for a small home improvement project.
The popularity of personal loans means that there are many lenders who offer these loans. If you live in Ohio and want to apply for a personal loan, here are some the best lenders to work with.
The Biggest Lenders in Ohio
The largest lenders in Ohio are:
- U.S. Bank
- Huntington Bank
- Fifth Third Bank
- PNC Bank
- Citizens Bank
- Peoples Bank
- Home Savings Bank
- Union Savings Bank
This list includes both national and local banks. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages.
Local Ohio Lenders
If you want to work with a bank that is local to Ohio, we recommend that you work with one of these banks:
- Dollar Bank
- Citizens Bank
- PNC Bank
Many people want to work with a local lender because they are easy to find. You should have no trouble locating a branch in your area.
Local lenders are also a good choice because they have experience working with the people in your area.
That means they’re familiar with the common problems that people face and are well equipped to help.
Dollar Bank offers personal loans with terms that range from 36 to 84 months. This makes the bank a good choice if you’re looking to keep your monthly payment as small as possible.
If you already bank with Dollar Bank, you’ll get a relationship discount of .25% off your loan’s interest rate.
Citizens Bank also offers a relationship discount. You’ll save .25% if you have a qualifying Citizens Bank account when you open the loan and an additional .25% when you sign up for automatic payments from any linked bank account.
If you opt for an unsecured loan, you can 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 of 6 to 60 months. You have to provide collateral for a secured loan, but they can be easier to qualify for than unsecured loans.
Can Online Lenders Be a Good Alternative?
Before you go to the closest bank to apply for a loan, you should consider working with an online lender. Online lenders tend to have lower fees and better interest rates because of their lower overhead costs.
Another reason to work with an online lender is that some of them use non-traditional methods to approve loans.
If you have less than perfect credit, this can help you qualify or get a lower interest rate.
One such lender is Upstart, which looks at your employment history and education when making its lending decisions.
Things to Look at When Comparing Lenders
If you’re thinking about applying for a personal loan, you shouldn’t just apply for a loan from the first lender you see. Take the time to compare multiple lenders to find the best deal.
The first thing to compare is the type of borrower that each lender likes to work with. Some lenders prefer to work only with people have great credit. Other lenders are more willing to work with people who have lower credit scores.
Try to focus on lenders who like to work with borrowers that have similar credit and financial profiles to yours.
Once you’ve compiled a list of lenders who are likely to approve your application, you should compare the following factors of each loan.
When it comes to borrowing money, you can’t get a loan for free. At a minimum, you’ll be paying interest but many lenders also charge fees for their loans.
One of the most common fees is the origination fee. This is a fee that is tacked onto the balance of your loan when the money is deposited to your checking account. Usually, the fee is a percentage of the amount that you borrow.
Another common fee is the late payment fee, which you’ll pay if you fail to make a payment before its due date.
The term of a loan is the amount of time that you will take to pay the loan back, assuming you follow the minimum payment schedule.
Different lenders offer different terms, with personal loans usually having terms of 1 to 5 years.
The longer the term of a loan, the lower the monthly payment will be. The shorter the term, the higher the monthly payment.
However, longer terms leave more time for interest to accrue, meaning you’ll pay more in the long run. Shorter terms result in lower overall costs.
The amount that you can borrow will vary from lender to lender.
Some lenders will let you borrow as little as $1,000 while others have minimums of $5,000. Similarly, some lenders won’t give you more than $25,000 and others may be willing to let people borrow $100,000 or more.
Make sure that the lender you’re working with is willing to offer loans of the appropriate size for your needs.
Fund disbursement periods
When you’re applying for a personal loan, sometimes you just need money quickly.
There are lenders that specialize in quick approval and fund disbursement. If you need cash now, look for a lender that can approve and fund 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.
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
Providing all this information at once can be difficult, but it’s 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.
How Can You Increase Your Chances of Qualifying for a Personal Loan?
Once you’ve decided that you’re going to apply for a personal loan, you should take steps to give yourself the best chance of qualifying for the loan.
Your credit score is one of the most important factors in whether a lender approves your loan. Building your credit can take years but there are some tricks that you can use to increase your score by a few points.
One of these tricks is to reduce your credit utilization ratio.
This ratio is calculated by dividing the total amount of money 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.
Another way to improve your chances is to reduce your debt-to-income ratio.
While this ratio doesn’t impact your credit score, it is a major factor in your ability to qualify for loans.
To reduce your debt-to-income ratio you can either pay down your debts or increase your income.
Paying down debts is the better strategy because it will also improve your credit score. If you decide to reduce the ratio by increasing your income, make sure that the income is documented. If you’re paid under the table, lenders won’t take that income into account.
Best Uses for a Personal Loan
One of the best aspects of personal loans is their flexibility. Here are some of the best ways to make use of a personal loan.
If you are in debt, especially if you have multiple debts, you can use a personal loan to consolidate multiple loans into one.
This can help you save money on interest and reduce your monthly payments.
If you have a medical emergency and cannot pay for health care, a personal loan can help you get the care that you need.
Maintaining your health is incredibly important and is worth borrowing money to do.
Other emergency expenses, like a repair bill for a broken-down car, are also a good reason to apply for a personal loan.
Home improvement projects
If you want to start a home improvement project but don’t have the money to get started, a personal loan can help you fund the project.
Using a personal loan instead of a home equity loan or line of credit means that you aren’t putting your house on the line and can reduce the amount of paperwork involved.