How long does it take to get approved for a loan?

how long to get a loan approved

The amount of time it takes to get a personal loan approved depends on several factors, including, the lender (banks, credit unions, online lenders, etc.), the specific loan type (payday loans, car title loans, unsecured loans, etc.), as well as the borrower’s credit score, income, and general financial history. 

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 Does Loan Approval Take?

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.   

A Breakdown of Personal Loan Approval 

Lender TypeAverage Approval TimeFactors Influencing Approval Time
Peer-to-Peer Lenders 1 – 3 days– Number of investors interested in the loan. – Loan amount.
Online Fintech Lenders Few hours – 1 day – Automated algorithms. – Digital verification processes. 
Retail Finance Companies 1 – 7 days – In-store verification. – Promotional offers. 
Private Lenders 1 – 14 days – Personal relationship with the borrower. – Loan terms. 
Employer-Backed Loans1 – 5 days – Employment verification. – Company policies. 
Home Equity Loans 14 – 28 days – Property appraisals. – Existing mortgages. 

Disclaimer: The data presented in the table above is based on general industry standards and may not reflect the specific practices of all lenders in each category. Actual approval times can vary based on individual circumstances, specific lender policies, and other external factors. Consumers are advised to consult directly with potential lenders for the most accurate and up-to-date information regarding loan approval times.

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 funding like a  weekend payday loan

A personal loan, on the other hand, is 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, including tier 2 credit scores
  • Convenient refinancing options available with some lenders 

How Long Does it Take to Get a Personal Loan?

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. Currently, the average credit score for Americans is 714.1  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. 

Research 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 whether 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 may ask you for a few personal loan documents to confirm the information you have 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 pay stub, bank statement, or tax returns if you are self-employed.

NOTE: Some lenders will use Instant Bank Verification (IBV) to confirm your income. IBV involves giving your lender your basic bank information so they can view what types of income you receive on a regular basis. Furthermore, once the lender has your bank information, they can deliver your approved loan funds via direct deposit

  • 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. 

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! 

Personal Loan: FAQ

How do financial institutions determine the eligibility required to get a personal loan?

Most financial institutions determine eligibility based on a combination of income and credit score. A stable income and a good credit score generally increase the chances of loan approval.

Can I get a personal loan faster if I have a high income?

While a high income can be favorable, the speed of personal loan approval also depends on other factors like credit score, existing debts, and the lender’s policies. However, a stable income can certainly enhance your credibility.

How do pawn shop loans differ from personal loans in terms of approval time?

Pawn shop loans typically offer immediate approval since they are secured against a physical asset. In contrast, personal loans might take longer as they often require a review of income, credit score, and other financial factors.

Do all financial institutions have the same approval time for personal loans?

No, the approval time can vary based on the financial institution’s policies, the type of loan, and the borrower’s financial profile.

How can I make the process of getting a personal loan faster?

To expedite the process, ensure all required documents are ready, maintain a good credit score, and consider online applications. Some lenders also offer pre-qualification, which can speed up the approval.

Are there any specific financial institutions known for quicker personal loan approvals?

Online lenders and fintech companies often have streamlined processes, making the approval of personal loans faster compared to traditional banks.

Does maintaining a good balance in my savings account improve my chances of getting a personal loan faster?

While a healthy savings account balance can reflect financial stability, lenders primarily focus on income, credit score, and existing debts. However, a good savings balance can be an added advantage.

Can I use a personal loan to pay off my pawn shop loans?

Yes, you can use a personal loan to consolidate or pay off other debts, including pawn shop loans. This can be a strategy to manage high-interest debts.

Do online financial institutions offer faster personal loan approvals compared to brick-and-mortar banks?

Generally, online financial institutions have a quicker turnaround due to their digital processes, making personal loan approvals faster. However, the exact time can vary based on the borrower’s profile and the institution’s policies.

How does a credit union differ from other financial institutions in terms of personal loan approval times?

Credit unions are member-owned, not-for-profit organizations, which often means they have a more personalized approach to lending. While credit unions might take into consideration the same factors as other lenders, such as income and credit score, they might also consider the member’s relationship with the credit union. This can sometimes lead to faster approval times compared to traditional banks, but it’s essential to note that approval times can vary among different credit unions.

CreditNinja’s Thoughts on How Long it Takes to Get a Personal Loan

If you are looking for an online lender specializing in bad credit loans, you should consider CreditNinja. With CreditNinja, you could get a personal loan in as little as 24 hours.* Furthermore, borrowers may also enjoy benefits such as: 

  • Easy online application 
  • Flexible repayment terms
  • Top-notch customer service (just check out our online reviews!)
  • Special refinancing options 

Ready to start your journey towards financial success and get your budget back on track once and for all? Start our simple application online to see how much cash you could get today! 


  1. Average Credit Score in America: 2023 Report | The Motley Fool
  2. How Long Does It Take To Get A Personal Loan? | Forbes Advisor
  3. How Long Does It Take to Get a Personal Loan? | Experian

*Not all loan requests are approved. Approval and loan terms vary based on credit determination and state law. Applications approved before 10:30 a.m. CT Monday – Friday are generally funded the same business day. Applications approved after this time are generally funded the next business day. Some applications may require additional verification, in which case, the loan if approved, will be funded the business day after such additional verification is completed.

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