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Whether you’re looking to renovate your home, consolidate debt, or pay for another big expense, you may be looking for a personal loan. Many lenders offer $20,000 personal loans that you can use for almost any purpose; some lend up to $100,000. However, to borrow such a large sum, you may need good credit and a stable income.
Follow these five steps to get a $20,000 personal loan.
1. Consider qualification requirements
Before applying for a loan, it helps to understand the terms of the loan. Here are some factors that lenders typically consider when evaluating your $20,000 personal loan application:
- credit history. Personal lenders review your credit history before approving you for a loan. Your credit history reveals your past and present accounts, including loans and credit cards. If you have negative ratings, a lender may consider you a subprime borrower and reject your application. You can view your credit reports for free through AnnualCreditReport.com. If you see any errors, try to dispute them before applying.
- Credit score. A lender also considers your credit score, which is a numerical representation of your credit history. Credit scores range from 300 to 850, with good scores starting at 670. Requirements vary by lender for personal loans, with some requiring a score of 560 and others looking for 660 or higher. You can check your credit score for free with a credit monitoring service or with some credit card providers.
- Revenue. Lenders look at your income to make sure you’ll be able to repay the loan on time and in full. When you apply, you’ll likely need to upload pay stubs, W-2 forms, or bank statements for the lender to review.
- Debt-to-income ratio (DTI). Lenders are also concerned about your DTI ratio, or how your monthly debt compares to your monthly income. If your DTI is high, you can reduce it by paying off debt or increasing your income.
- Collateral. Personal loans are generally unsecured, which means they do not require collateral. However, a secured, collateral-backed personal loan may be an option if you cannot qualify for an unsecured loan. Lenders often offer higher loan amounts and lower interest rates on secured loans. Some common types of collateral are your car title or a savings account. The risk of a secured loan is that you could lose your asset if you default on payment.
2. Prequalify with multiple lenders
A $20,000 personal loan is a significant sum of money, so it’s worth comparing several lenders before deciding on a loan. Many lenders allow you to check your rates online through prequalification. This allows you to view loan offers without any impact on your credit score. After providing a few personal details, you will be able to see what fares you may qualify for.
Note that prequalifying for a loan does not guarantee rates and terms. A lender will still need to review your documentation and perform a credit check. After you apply, your rates and terms may differ from what you initially saw. However, prequalifying can still give you a good idea of what your rates might be and whether or not you will qualify for a $20,000 loan.
3. Compare your offers
Once you’ve researched rates from multiple lenders, take the time to compare the details of each loan offer. Use a personal loan calculator to estimate your monthly payment and long-term interest charges.
Don’t forget to consider monthly payments, interest rates and fees. Some ongoing fees include origination fees, disbursement fees and a prepayment penalty. High fees could offset the savings you get from a low interest rate.
The annual percentage rate (APR) measures both the interest rate and the fees, so it is a more inclusive rate than the interest rate alone. Focusing on the APR can therefore help you compare your loan offers on an apples-to-apples basis when looking for the most affordable.
4. Complete and submit your application
If you want to go ahead with a loan offer, complete and submit an application. The application will be more detailed than the pre-qualification form.
It will ask you for your personal details, including the amount and purpose of your loan. You will also need to upload verification documents, such as payslips or W-2s.
Finally, the lender will perform a rigorous credit check, which could temporarily reduce your credit score by a few points. As long as you make on-time payments on your loan, your score should recover within a few months.
5. Manage and repay your loan
Once you submit your application, you will wait for your $20,000 personal loan to be approved. Some lenders can approve loans in as little as one business day, while others take days or weeks.
Once your loan is approved, you will sign and submit your final loan agreement. Pay close attention to the terms of your loan, including how long you have to repay the loan and when your monthly payment is due.
The lender will deposit the loan proceeds into your bank account. Once you have the loan, you can use it to pay for home renovations, debt consolidation, or whatever else you need it for.
You’ll likely start making your monthly payment on the loan right away. Consider setting up automatic payment from your bank account to ensure you don’t miss any payments.
How to get a $20,000 loan with bad credit
Qualifying for a $20,000 loan with bad credit could be difficult. Lenders generally require good credit to borrow such a large sum.
However, every lender is different, so it’s worth shopping around to see if they’re willing to work with you. You can try checking with your bank or credit union, who may be more flexible with existing customers.
Some lenders allow you to apply with a cosigner, whose good credit might offset your limited credit and help you qualify or get better rates. You can also opt for a secured personal loan rather than an unsecured loan, which may have lower credit requirements. Make sure you don’t fall behind on your payments, though, or you risk losing your guarantee.
You can also look into peer-to-peer (P2P) lending, which is funded by individual investors rather than financial institutions and tends to have more flexible borrowing criteria. Another option for borrowers with bad credit is alternative borrower payday loans, although borrowing limits are set at $1,000 or $2,000.
If you don’t need a $20,000 personal loan right away, consider improving your credit before applying. Paying off your debts, making timely payments on your loans, and disputing errors on your credit report can all help. Reducing your credit utilization ratio, or the amount of credit you use compared to what’s available to you, can also increase your score.
Improving your credit score before you start the loan search process could make it easier to qualify and help you get better rates.
Where to get a $20,000 loan
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Long term costs of a $20,000 loan
When you borrow a $20,000 personal loan, you end up paying a larger amount due to interest and fees. Your long-term costs will depend on your interest rate, fees, and repayment term. A lower rate and fewer (or no) fees can save you money, which is why comparing with multiple lenders is essential.
Opting for a shorter term can also save you money on interest, but it will mean higher monthly payments. On the other hand, a longer repayment term will seem more affordable from month to month, but will incur higher interest charges in the long run. Most lenders offer repayment terms between one and seven years.
Say, for example, you take out a $20,000 personal loan with an APR of 10%. This chart compares your monthly payment and long-term interest charges under various loan terms.
Our personal loan calculator can help you estimate your monthly payment and the cost of borrowing. When choosing a loan term, try to strike a balance between getting an affordable monthly payment and keeping interest charges to a minimum.
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