Personal loan pre-qualification is a way to estimate your chances of getting approved for a loan and the rates you would likely receive if approved before you apply. To get pre-qualified, you will have to provide some personal information to the lender so they can do a soft pull of your credit (which will not hurt your credit score).
You may hear pre-qualification and another term, pre-approval, used interchangeably, but they’re technically a bit different. Some lenders may send you notice that you’re “pre-approved” for a loan, which tells you that you’re likely to get approved if you apply. Pre-qualification, on the other hand, lets you estimate how much of a loan you can get and what your potential rates are, but you will have to initiate the pre-qualification process. Getting pre-qualified means you have very high approval odds, too.
4 Steps to Pre-Qualify for a Personal Loan
- Check If Lenders Offer Pre-Qualified Personal Loans
- Fill Out the Pre-Qualification Form
- Compare Pre-Qualified Offers
- Apply for the Loan
Check If Lenders Offer Pre-Qualified Personal Loans
To get pre-qualified by a lender, you need to make sure they offer this service in the first place. If the lender offers pre-qualification, they should advertise the service on their website. Some words you should look for on the lender’s website include “check your rates” or “view your rates.”
For your convenience, below is a list of popular lenders that offer pre-qualification. On that note, getting pre-qualified with multiple lenders at once may make choosing a loan much easier, and you can do this for free with WalletHub’s pre-qualification tool.
Popular Lenders with Personal Loan Pre-Qualification
Lender Online Pre-Qualification Check APR Credit Score Required Avant Check for Avant personal loan pre-qualification 9.95% - 35.99% 580 Best Egg Check for Best Egg personal loan pre-qualification 8.99% - 35.99% 640 Achieve Personal Loans Check for Achieve Personal Loans pre-qualification 7.99% - 29.99% 620 LendingClub Check for LendingClub personal loan pre-qualification 8.05% - 35.89% 600 - 640 LendingPoint Check for LendingPoint personal loan pre-qualification 7.99% - 35.99% 600 Happy Money Check for Payoff personal loan pre-qualification 11.25% - 24.5% 640 Prosper Check for Prosper personal loan pre-qualification 6.99% - 35.99% 640 SoFi Check for SoFi personal loan pre-qualification 8.99% - 25.81% 680
*According to multiple third-party sources.
Fill Out the Pre-Qualification Form
Once you find a lender’s pre-qualification tool, click on it and make sure the page is secure before you add any of your personal information. The form’s URL should begin with the letters “https.” The “s” stands for secure. Additionally, websites that are secure should have a small padlock before the URL. If the site is not secure, the words “Not secure” will show up in front of the URL.
A lender’s pre-qualification tool will require you to fill in some personal and financial information, including your name, date of birth and yearly income.
Common Information Required on Pre-Qualification Forms
- Date of birth
- Yearly income
- Loan amount requested
- Employment status
- Housing status
Compare Pre-Qualified Offers
Next, you’ll need to compare the loan offers you pre-qualified for. The most important things you need to compare are your estimated APRs, the repayment periods, the loan amounts and the fees. To calculate how much each offer will cost, check out the personal loan calculator on WalletHub.
Steps to Compare Pre-Qualified Offers
- Consider which offer has the lowest APR. If you have a number of offers available to you, you should usually choose the offer with the lowest APR. However, other factors may influence your choice.
- See how long the repayment periods are. You’ll need to consider how much you can afford to pay per month and choose the repayment period that best aligns with your needs.
- Compare how much money you qualify for. You should know how much of a loan you’ll need before considering your pre-qualified offers. The best offer will be the one that is closest to the amount of money you need.
- Look at the fees associated with the loan. Many loans have an origination fee, a fee to process the loan. You shouldn’t immediately reject an offer just because it has an origination fee, though. A low APR could make up for the fact that you’ll need to pay this fee.
Apply for the Loan
There’s really no reason not to take advantage of personal loan pre-qualification before applying, since it’s quick and doesn’t affect your credit. You should be able to apply for the loan right after you’re pre-qualified.
However, there is still a chance you could be denied even if you’re pre-qualified. If you get denied, it’s best to wait a few months to apply again. This gives you enough time to recover from the hard inquiry of the last loan application and build up your credit score.