What Is an Online Loan?


An online loan is a personal loan obtained through an online lender. These loans are typically unsecured, meaning they do not require collateral to secure the loan. This benefit makes them a popular option for those who may not have access to traditional lending sources, such as banks or credit unions.

If you are considering applying for an online loan, it’s helpful to understand how they work and the pros and cons of online loan offers. Explore the basics of choosing an online loan and what elements to consider when applying.


How do Online Loans Work? 

If you need a loan, you may be wondering if an online loan is a good option. Online loans are becoming increasingly popular, as they offer several advantages over traditional loans. 

Online lenders typically have looser qualification criteria, so getting approved for an online loan is more accessible. This is because online lenders usually have lower credit score requirements

Additionally, online loans can be processed much faster than traditional loans, so you can get the money you need more quickly, sometimes in as little as 24 hours. Applying for a loan online is a quick and convenient way to get the money you need. 

Online loans work like traditional lender loans in some ways. You apply with a lender that assesses your credit report and credit score and offers you a loan with a specific term and interest rate. However, they tend to have higher interest rates than traditional loans. 

You’ll need to make sure you can afford the payments before taking out an online loan. Some online lenders are less reputable than others, so research is essential before selecting a lender.


How to Get an Online Loan?

If you’re interested in getting an online loan, there are a few things you’ll need to do. First, you must research different online lenders to find one that’s reputable and has favorable terms. You can find online loans through lending platforms like LendingTree, Upstart, or LightTree. 

Typically, you fill out basic information regarding the purpose of the loan, the amount, and when you want to receive the funds, then receive several possible loan options. This approach helps you compare different terms, rates, and loan amounts at a glance to help you choose a lender that fits your needs. 

Once you choose an online lender offer, you go through the standard loan application process with the lender, including:

  • Filling out an online application. This will include personal information such as your name, address, and Social Security number. 
  • Providing financial information such as your income, expenses, checking account balance, and debt.
  • The lender will review your application and determine whether you are eligible for a loan. This hard inquiry into your credit may impact your credit score.
  • Agree to the loan terms if you are approved. This will include the interest rate, repayment schedule, and other conditions.
  • Once you have agreed to the terms, the money will be deposited into your bank account sometimes in as little as a few business days. You will then be responsible for paying the loan according to the schedule.


Pros and Cons of Online Loans 

You may consider taking out a loan when you require extra cash, but with so many kinds of loans available, it can be tough to know which one is right for you. Comparing the pros and cons of online loans can help you make your decision. 



The pros of online loans include:

  • They are convenient and offer a streamlined application process
  • In some cases, you can get great deals on interest rates and fees, depending on your credit
  • You get instant rate quotes, which can help you decide between lenders
  • Online loans have a fast turnaround time, allowing you access to funds within 24 hours; in some cases
  • User-friendly websites and lending platforms make loan comparison easy
  • Small loan amounts mean higher approval chances and less debt to pay back in the long run



As with any type of loan, there are potential risks associated with an online loan. These include: 

  • You may face security issues when entering your personal financial and identification information, like your social security number, into an online platform
  • It may feel overwhelming to try and choose a lender from so many options
  • It may be more difficult to judge the safety and reliability of an online company you aren’t familiar with
  • Online applications and lenders don’t offer the same customer service as working with an in-person loan specialist
  • You may struggle to find an online lender willing to fund a larger loan
  • Online lenders often hike up the interest rate for convenient, fast loans so that you may have better rates with a brick-and-mortar lender


Who Should Consider Getting an Online Loan?

Not all online lenders are created equal, and some may be unsuitable for all borrowers. The following criteria highlight the characteristics of a good candidate for online loans: 


  • You Have Good Credit

Online loans are best suited for borrowers who have good credit. If you have bad credit, you may still be able to get an online loan, but your interest rate may be higher. 


  • You Need the Funds for Short-Term Expenses

Online loans are best for short-term needs, such as emergency repairs or unexpected bills. You may also find that some lenders only allow you to borrow to pay for specific expenses, such as debt consolidation or home repairs. If you need money for a longer-term goal, like starting a business or buying a car, you may be better off with an installment loan with longer terms or lower interest rates. 

Consider factors like interest rates, repayment terms, and fees before deciding. Take your time shopping to ensure you’re getting the best possible deal on your online loan.


Alternatives to Getting an Online Loan

If you’re unsure if an online loan is right for you, consider the following alternatives to help you get the funds you need: 


  • Personal Loans from a Bank or Credit Union

If you have good credit, you may be able to get a personal loan from your bank or credit union. These loans typically have lower interest rates than online loans, and you may have the option to choose between a fixed or variable interest rate.


  • Credit Cards

Using a credit card can be a good option if you need money for a short-term expense. Just be sure to pay off your balance in full and on time to avoid accruing interest. You can easily apply for a credit card through the company’s website, such as Discover or Capital One. 


  • Home Equity Loans

If you own your home and have built-up equity, you may be able to get a home equity loan. These loans usually have lower interest rates than online loans, but they also use your home as collateral.


Learn More About Personal Loans with Finance is us

Online loans are a great option for most people. For more information and helpful loan tips, explore our blog. Finance is us is an online resource that assists consumers in making financial decisions regarding loans, insurance, and investing. Whether evaluating an auto loan or opening a savings account, Finance is us has the information you need to make the most informed choices.


Disclaimer: All content on this site is information of a general nature and does not address the circumstances of any particular entity or individual, nor is the information a substitute for professional financial advice and services.

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