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Popular Bank Personal Loans Review: Should You Apply?

Use this review of Popular Bank personal loans to see if the fees, interest rates, borrowing amounts, and loan periods fit your borrowing needs.
(3 out of 5) MyBankTracker Editor's Rating

Whether you plan to use a personal loan for debt consolidation, home improvement, or any other reason, you want the best deal around.

As you go on your search for the cheapest personal loan, you might come across Popular Bank as an option.

It has no origination fees or prepayment penalties.

Find out more about Popular Bank personal loans from the review to see if it is worth your consideration.

Loan Size and Term

When you’re looking to apply for a personal loan, you’re probably applying for the loan for a reason.

Whether you have a bill you have to pay or a project you’re trying to finance, you have an idea of how much you need to borrow.

That means that you have to start by finding a lender that is willing to let you borrow the right amount to meet your needs.

Now:

You don’t want to be borrowing more than you have to because of the costs associated with borrowing money. There’s little point in borrowing less than you need either.

Popular Bank offers personal loans that range from $5,000 to $50,000.

The relatively high minimum means that Popular Bank’s loans are best suited for people who need a moderate amount of money. If you only need a small amount, look for another lender that offers smaller loans. 

Loan term

After you know how much you need to borrow, you’ll need to figure out how long it’s going to take you to pay the loan back. This is called the term of the loan.

For example, if you get a loan with a 5-year term, you’ll make 60 equal monthly payments. After the 60th payment, the loan will be paid off.

Popular Bank is very flexible when it comes to choosing a loan term. You can choose from terms that range from 12 to 84 months. That gives you plenty of flexibility when it comes to customizing your monthly payment.

Long-term loans have the advantage of lower minimum payments.

That can make them easier to handle if your budget is tight.

The downside:

They tend to have higher interest rates and leave longer for interest to accrue, so they cost more overall.

Short-term loans have higher monthly payments but are cheaper in the long run.

Your goal should be to strike a balance between manageable monthly payments and the lowest possible total cost for the loan.

Application Requirements

Popular Bank doesn’t list any specific application requirements on its website.

Of course, your odds of approval will depend on your financial situation and your credit score.

Having a good credit score improves your odds of getting the loan.

Popular Bank accepts applications online and in physical branches.

Fees and How Long It Takes to Get the Money

When you’re comparing different lenders, you’re likely to find that different lenders specialize in different things.

For example, some lenders, like Popular Bank, are good for people who want to customize their loan’s term to get their monthly payment to the right number.

Other banks specialize in offering loans for very small amounts. Others aim to have low fees and low rates.

The best part:

Popular Bank does not charge any origination fees or prepayment fees, which makes it a good choice for people who want a fee-free lending experience.

They’re also good for people who need money fast.

The bank offers same-day approval, so if you can visit a branch without much trouble, you can get approved for the loan relatively quickly.

Interest Rates

For personal loans, interest rates should drive the decision on which one you choose.

The fact is:

Popular Bank's interest rates on personal loans are slightly higher than what you'll find with other lenders.

Especially for a long-term loan, the higher interest rate could lead to an increase in the total cost.

There is a possible rate discount:

Popular Bank offers a benefit for loan customers who also bank with Popular Bank.

If you sign up for automatic payments from your Popular Bank checking account, you’ll get a 0.50% interest rate discount on your personal loan.

This rate discount can cut the cost of the loan drastically.

How to Get Approved for a Personal Loan

Once you’ve decided to apply for a personal loan, you should do whatever you need to do to improve the chances of your loan application getting approved.

When you apply for the loan, the lender will ask you to provide some information so it can make a decision on your application.

The information that you’re asked for will often include:

  • 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

Gathering so much information and submitting so much paperwork might seem difficult, but it’s important that you take the process seriously. If you don’t provide sufficient or clear information with your application, it can have a negative effect on the application’s chances.

In the best-case scenario, it will take the lender longer to approve your application and they may contact you to ask additional questions. In the worst-case, your application might be rejected completely.

Increase Chances of Approval

Before submitting your application for a personal loan, try these tips to improve your chances of getting the loan.

Boost your credit score

The primary factor in determining whether you qualify for a personal loan is your credit score.

If you have a good credit score, lenders will be comfortable lending to you because you’ve shown that you are good at paying your debts.

If you have a bad credit score, lenders will worry that you might miss payments or default on the loan.

Maintaining a good credit score is an essential part of everyone’s financial life. It makes it easier and cheaper to borrow money.

Your payment history is the most important portion of your credit score.

The most effective, albeit slowest, way to improve your credit score it to pay all of your bills on or before its due date. A single missed payment can have a significant negative effect on your credit score, undoing months or years of good payments.

The amount that you owe has the next largest effect, so avoid taking out loans that you don’t need.

In the short-term, the easiest way to improve your credit score is to avoid applying for loans and credit cards in the months before applying for an important loan.

Each time you apply for a loan, credit bureaus note this in your credit file and reduce your score by a few points.

If you apply for loans and credit cards you don’t really need, you’ll have a worse score when you apply for your personal loan.

Each month, the credit bureaus also take note of your card balances. Lower balances are good for your credit score, so avoid using your cards in the month or two before you apply for a loan to get a small bump.

Reduce your debt-to-income ratio

Your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio also plays a major role in your application’s success. This ratio is the percentage of your monthly income that goes towards required bill payments.

You can calculate your debt to income ratio by dividing your monthly income by the sum of your monthly minimum payments on your debts and your rent bill.

So, if you make $5,000 a month and your rent and bill payments add up to $2,50, your debt-to-income ratio is 50%.

The best way to improve this ratio is to pay off your existing debts.

This will also boost your credit score, giving your chances of getting a loan an extra boost.

Increasing your income is another way to improve the ratio, but it’s more difficult.

If you do take this path, make sure the income is documented. If you’re paid under-the-table, lenders won’t consider that income when looking at your application.

How Does It Compare?

Popular Bank is just one personal lender. There are many banks and other companies that specialize in offering personal loans out there. You should take the time to consider your options before committing to a specific lender.

You should start by comparing the interest rates offered by each lender. All else equal, always opt for the lowest rate.

Also, check the fees of any loan you’re considering. Even if one loan has a great rate, the fees might make it more expensive than another loan at a higher rate.

The Final Verdict

Overall, Popular Bank offers higher interest rates compared to online personal loan providers, even after factoring in any discounts and the absence of fees.

The bank can be a good choice for people who need a flexible term or who already bank with Popular Bank, but otherwise, you should look for other personal loan lenders for lower interest rates.