You can use personal loans for whatever you deem necessary. Typical uses include big-ticket expenses, home renovations, and debt consolidation. You aren’t limited in how you use the money. But the type of lender you use can determine how fast you receive the funds. You can get personal loans from banks and credit unions or online lenders.
Here’s how the process works with most lenders: Get pre-approved, complete the application, accept the offer, and receive the funds.
After you’re approved, getting the money might take several days. The lender disburses the funds once the loan is approved and signed. Some lenders tout same-day funding, which can have different meanings based on the lender. The entire process can take a few minutes or a few days.
In this guide:
- How long does it take to get a personal loan?
- Does the type of lender affect how long it takes to get a personal loan?
- How to ensure a smooth personal loan approval process
- How long it takes to get a personal loan from popular lenders
How long does it take to get a personal loan?
The specific application requirements vary by lender, but the general process is the same: application, approval, and funding. Depending on the lender, the process can take several minutes to a week.
We’ve broken down the smaller steps within that framework.
- Get preapproved: With preapproval, you can view the loan rate, terms, and amount you qualify for without completing the entire application. Most lenders offer it as an option, and it won’t affect your credit score. This part of the process takes only a few minutes to complete.
- Finalize your application: Once you are sure you want to move forward with the loan, you’ll finalize your application and upload all necessary information and documents. This part of the process only takes a few minutes, but it might take extra time to gather your paperwork.
- The lender decides: Now that you’ve applied, it’s time for the lender to approve it. The lender will reach out if it needs additional documentation.
- Sign the paperwork: Once approved, you’ll sign the paperwork to make it official.
- The lender disburses funds: As soon as you sign the paperwork, the lender disburses, or sends the funds to your account.
- You receive the funds: There may be a delay between the previous step and this one due to bank processing. But at this stage, the funds arrive.
Keep reading to find out how long each step takes.
How long does it take to apply for a personal loan?
Getting preapproved is unnecessary, but seeing your options before completing an entire application can be helpful. The estimated time frame for this step includes the preapproval and the application. Gathering the necessary paperwork and information can be the most time-consuming part.
Average time: 10 to 20 minutes
How long does it take to get approved for a personal loan?
Once you’ve submitted your application, it’s time for the lender to approve it. During this step, the lender reviews your documentation and other details.
Some lenders offer automatic approval processes that occur in minutes. Others require at least one day to approve the application. In cases where your application is unclear or is missing documentation, the lender will follow up for clarification, which can lead to delays in your application.
Average time: One minute to three days
How long does it take to get personal loan funds?
Once the lender approves your application, you must sign the paperwork to finalize the agreement. From there, the lender disburses the funds to your account.
The lender might disburse the funds immediately, but it can take one to three days to arrive in your account due to bank processing times. For specific lenders, it can take up to 10 days.
Average time: One minute (with Navy Federal Credit Union, for example) to three days
Does the type of lender affect how long it takes to get a personal loan?
You can get personal loans from three types of lenders:
- Credit unions
- Online lenders
Each type of lender has potential pros and cons, but the approval process is similar. If you’re already a customer with active accounts, banks and credit unions might be able to disburse funds faster.
How long does it take to get a personal loan from a credit union?
Like other lenders, the processing time can vary by credit union and range from instantaneous to multiple business days. But the perk of getting a personal loan from a credit union is that you have an account there, which can cut down on bank processing times.
Once you’re approved, for example, Navy Federal Credit Union can instantly disburse funds to your account. You just need to log out of your account and refresh the webpage.
How long does it take to get a personal loan from a bank?
Personal loans from a bank can have various processing times depending on the lender. Discover, for example, can approve loan applications instantly if you include all the necessary documentation and information.
It disburses the funds the following business day, and it can take up to 10 days for the money to arrive in your account.
How long does getting a personal loan from an online lender take?
Online lenders have varying processing times for personal loan applications. Like the other lender types, the process can take a few minutes or days.
SoFi, for example, offers same-day disbursements once it approves an application. But the approval process takes one to three days, and it can take an additional three days for the funds to arrive in your account.
How to ensure a smooth personal loan approval process
You can’t always control how long your personal loan application takes. But to get your funds as fast as possible, you can do the following.
- Make sure your application is complete: It might sound obvious, but always check the accuracy and completeness of your application. During the review process, requests for more information can cause a delay.
- Check whether you can get preapproved: If you can get preapproved for the personal loan, it can help the application move faster. The lenders will already have your preliminary information and can finalize it more quickly.
- Ask about the quickest way to apply: Online applications are the fastest with most lenders. But some lenders encourage applicants to apply via phone or even in person. Check with your lender about its preferred method.
How long it takes to get a personal loan from popular lenders
We researched 10 lenders’ processes.
|Lender||Type||Approval time||Funding time|
|SoFi||Online lender||1 – 3 days||1 – 3 days|
|Navy Federal Credit Union||Credit union||Instant or up to 1 day||Instant|
|Discover||Bank||Instant or up to 3 days||Funds are sent the next business day; up to 10 days to arrive in your account|
|Axos||Online lender||1 – 2 days||1 – 3 business days|
|TD Bank||Bank||Up to 1 day||Funds are sent the next business day; up to 3 days to arrive in your account|
|PenFed Credit Union||Credit union||Instant or up to 2 days||Checks are mailed within 24 – 48 hours; can take up to 10 days to arrive|
|Rocket Loans||Online lender||1 – 2 business days||1 – 3 business days|
|OppLoans||Online lender||Instant or up to 2 business days||Funds are sent the next business day|
|Digital Credit Union||Credit union||Instant||1 business day|
|Wells Fargo||Bank||Instant or up to 1 business day||Direct deposit to a Wells Fargo account in 1 – 3 business days; Cashier’s check at signing if you go to a branch|
The loan funding timeline can be confusing, so it’s wise to understand how it works. Here are the answers to common questions
Does approval time differ from funding time?
Approval and funding times are different, and the timelines are different too. Depending on the lender, application approval can be instantaneous or take multiple days. From there, you must sign the loan agreement. Once it’s signed, the lender can disburse your funds, which can be instantaneous or take several days.
After the lender pays the funds, it can take another one to three days for the money to arrive in your account. Funding time is the total time it takes to get the money.
What are the best options if I need a quick personal loan?
If speed is your top priority, you might start by contacting your current bank or credit union. Because you already have an account with the lender, it might reduce the loan processing time. If that isn’t an option, try working with a reputable online lender with a fast funding timeline.
As you shop, review the interest rates, calculate your payments, and check other loan terms before you sign. Payday and title loans often offer quick funding, but they come at a cost—the interest rates and fees can equal almost 400% of the loan’s value.