Personal loans are a great way to address unexpected costs or to deal with other obligations when you don't have the cash flow to do so otherwise. While many personal loans are easier to get when you have some form of collateral that you can use to secure it, there are a variety of unsecured loans that you can explore if you don't have anything of value to put up in exchange. If you've never applied for an unsecured personal loan, there are a few things that you can do to help improve your chances of approval.
Optimize Your Credit Score
Most everyone understands that their credit score is an important factor in loan approvals. What you may not know, however, is how to improve that score for a better chance of approval. Start by requesting your one free copy of each credit bureau's report for the year. You can usually request them online or through a credit monitoring service. Review each report thoroughly and highlight any errors. You'll also want to identify any open accounts that you might be able to pay off, such as those with small balances.
Address any errors directly with the credit bureau that published them. Use the dispute resolution process detailed by the bureau to be sure that you're doing it properly. If you have any accounts that you can pay off, make sure that you ask them to update your credit account right away.
Also, avoid opening or closing any credit accounts. This kind of activity can reflect poorly on your score or your available credit ratio. Another mistake you'll want to avoid is shopping around to many different lenders over any period of time. Every hit on your credit report can lower your score, because each credit check is the potential for another open credit account. Choose a small number of lenders to apply to, then wait a while before applying to any more if you're not approved by one of your first choices.
Consider Peer-to-Peer Personal Loans
Another great way to improve your chances of getting the loan you need is to consider working with a service or lender that offers peer-to-peer loans. Peer-to-peer loans are those offered by other individuals to those in need of financing. The lender serves as a facilitator for these loans. In many cases, the application process is more relaxed and you're more likely to find someone willing to work with you even if your credit isn't perfect.
Just make sure that you understand the loan details before you finalize your application. You need to understand the payment schedule and the expectations in the event that you default. This ensures that you'll be able to meet what the lender wants. The last thing you want is to have a problem arise because you missed a detail or misread the payment schedule.
With these tips, you'll be able to better improve your chances of being approved for that loan even without collateral.