How long does it take to have a loan approved

By Matt Mayerle
Modified on June 6, 2023
how long to get a loan approved

Wondering how long it takes to have a loan approved? Depending on factors like your credit score and income, you may be surprised at what type of funding products are available to you and how quickly you may gain access to them!  

How Long To Get a Loan Approved? 

Whether it be through a direct lender, bank, or credit union, borrowers have plenty of options to pick from when it comes to fast and efficient loan funding. But, depending on factors like your credit history, existing debts, and income, you may see the approval time vary amongst the different lenders and loan types available to you.   

Approval Time for Online Lenders

If you are looking for loan approval in just a few minutes, your best bet is to go with an online lender. Online lenders offer a virtual application process you can start whenever it’s most convenient for you, even if you don’t adhere to a traditional nine-to-five schedule. You can also send in your documents, work with a loan agent, and even receive funding without ever having to leave your home. 

Loan Approval From a Traditional Bank

Unfortunately, you may be looking at a longer wait time when it comes to approval on a bank loan. Some banks may take a few business days or even several weeks until they give applicants an official approval decision. 

However, if you have a credit score on the higher side, you may be able to receive instant approval on bank loans. Since banks are traditional lenders, they typically only work with borrowers who have a clean credit history free of delinquencies. 

Loan Approval Time for a Local Credit Union 

Credit unions are not-for-profit organizations that grant loans to members. To become a credit union member, you may need to meet certain criteria, like living in a specific area or working in a particular field. Also, since credit unions are usually small local financial institutions, an online process may not be available. Meaning you may have to visit a brick-and-mortar location in order to apply and receive funding from a credit union. In situations like this, it may take a few days or more until borrowers can get funding approval. 

Loan Approval Process for Payday Loans, Title Pawn Shops, and Car Title Loans

While payday loans, title pawns, and car title loans are different financing products, they share many similarities. For example, all of these types of funding are known for having high-interest rates, brief payback terms, and the potential to leave borrowers in more debt. While the approval time for these loan products is quick, they come with many potential disadvantages you want to avoid. 

Personal Loans vs. Payday Loans: What’s the Difference?

As two of the most common types of funding, it’s important to understand the difference between payday loans vs. personal installment loans. Payday loans are a high-interest type of bad credit loan meant for people looking for extra cash while they wait for their next paycheck. Since payday loans were designed to assist people when in between paychecks, many online lenders expect borrowers to pay back their balance in full within two weeks or less. These unrealistic expectations are what causes many borrowers to fall deeper into debt when they get a payday loan. 

Personal loans, on the other hand, are a more versatile type of funding that can come with benefits like: 

  • Competitive rates. 
  • Flexible payback terms. 
  • Available to a wide variety of credit tiers.
  • Convenient refinancing options available with some lenders! 

How Long Does the Entire Personal Loan Process Take?

Approval for a personal loan depends on several factors, such as the applicant’s income and basic credit history. But, since these requirements are so flexible, just about anybody can meet the approval criteria for a personal loan product. Once you know which lender you want to go with, the entire funding process can take a business day or just a few hours! Here’s how it works. 

To start, head over to the lender’s website and fill out an online application. You can most likely apply over the phone or in person, but online will be the fastest way to get approved and funded. 

Once your lender pre-approves your application, they will reach out to discuss loan details like your interest rate and monthly payment, as well as request a few documents. After your lender reviews your documentation, they will draw up a loan contract for you to sign. Make sure you read your agreement thoroughly and ask questions if you have any. Then, you can sign your contract and get your money. You may receive funds via direct deposit or check, but a direct deposit will be the faster option. 

How Long Do I Have To Pay Back Personal Loan Funds?

Before you sign your loan contract and receive your funding, you and your lender will agree upon a payback schedule. At this point, you can work with your lender to come up with a payment plan that works for your budget. If you want your monthly payments spaced out, tell your lender you want a long-term financing plan. Keep in mind that with most personal loan lenders, you can pay back your loan early with no consequence, so it may be a good idea to go with a long-term plan and pay more often when you can.

Tips for Getting Fast Approval on a Loan

Taking a few preparatory steps before applying for a loan can make a huge difference in speeding up the approval process. Check out some tips below for getting fast funding! 

Check Your Credit Score and Credit Reports 

Credit scores play a major role in determining what types of loan products you may qualify for. If your credit history is compiled of behaviors like missing payments, frequent credit applications, or loan defaults, creditors will see this reflected in your credit report and credit score. Since low credit scores are often associated with borrowers who are a high lending risk, lenders may be less willing to approve borrowers with poor credit for certain loan products.

Knowing what type of financial aid your credit score may grant you access to can help save time when it comes to loan approval. For example, if your credit score is currently on the lower side, you probably won’t even want to waste your time on the application process for a loan with traditional banks. Instead, you are more likely better off with a bad credit personal loan from a direct lender. 

Reserach Potential Lenders

Before diving into any application process, research and compare loans to make sure you go with the right lender. Most online lenders have product pages containing information on the different loan types they offer, which can help you determine loans may work for you or not. 

You can also call lenders to speak with a loan agent in person. This is a great chance to talk about your personal financial situation and your budgeting goals. You may even find that the loan agent is able to give you some helpful advice about what type of loan may be best suited for you. 

Clear up Any Errors on Your Credit Report 

When reviewing your credit report during your initial loan research, make sure everything is current and accurate. If you happen to come across any incorrect information, contact a credit bureau immediately and explain the error. Correcting any mistakes on your credit report can help give your score the boost it needs to qualify for a wider variety of loan products! 

Know How Much Money You Need

Think about why you are taking out a loan. Are you looking to just pay for a few monthly expenses, or are you trying to fund a larger project like home repairs or student loan refinancing? These questions will help you decide how much money you need to apply for in total. From there, you can determine if short-term or long-term financing is the best option for you. Smaller loans may be well suited for a short-term loan plan, while you may want to opt for long-term financing if you are looking for a larger loan amount. You can even use a personal loan calculator to compare loan amounts, interest rates, and payback schedules. 

Gather Your Basic Documents

During the approval process, lenders will ask you for a few basic documents to confirm the information you gave on your initial application. The sooner you give your lender these documents, the sooner you can get your money. It may be a good idea to gather your documents before you even start a loan application. Here’s what you will most likely need:

  • Proof of Income – You can use a paystub, bank statement, or tax returns if you are self-employed.
  • Proof of Residency – You can prove where you live by providing a lease agreement, mortgage statement, or a piece of important mail with your name and address on it. 
  • Photo ID – Your ID must be government-issued, such as a driver’s license or passport. 
  • Bank Account Information – Many lenders require your routing and account numbers so they may distribute your funds via direct deposit. 

If your lender requires any further information from you, they will let you know early on during the approval process. 


Depending on your credit score and general financial situation, you may qualify for loan pre-approval. When you pre-qualify for a loan, lenders don’t need to spend time vetting your credit reports because they already have most of the approval information they need. Pre-qualifying can help you skip a few steps in the application process so you can get approved and receive your money even faster.  

Take Advantage of the Online Funding Process and Apply Online 

Applying online for a loan is by far the most efficient way to get cash quickly. You can begin the process any time of the day or night, and rest assured that your application will immediately be delivered to your lender. No need to waste time or worry about your application getting lost in the mail! 

How Long Does It Take To Get A Personal Loan? | Forbes Advisor
How Long Does It Take to Get a Personal Loan? | Experian

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