The loan process

Applying for a loan? Your coaches have some advice for you. Then click on each point to learn more.


Instructional Text

If you’re planning to apply for a loan, remember to shop for your lender – and your loan. Interview lenders. Ask them questions about the choices they offer and what they will cost you. Image Description
Click on these points to learn more about the loan process. Then click the Next button to learn more about selecting a responsible lender. Image Description

Key Points

Comparison shop

Take some time to comparison shop for your loan. When you compare loans, it can be hard to see which one will cost you the least. To make it easier, lenders are required to tell you a loan’s annual percentage rate, or APR. The APR is a number that combines the interest rate, the term, and the fees to show you the total cost of the loan. The lower the APR, the lower the total cost. Remember, the loan with the smallest monthly payment may not have the lowest cost overall.

Discuss the costs and options

Discuss the costs and the options with your lender. Carefully study the monthly payment and the APR. Then decide if you can really afford the loan. You want to be sure the monthly loan payment is an amount you can afford, but minimize the total cost of your loan if you can.

Understand before you sign

Before you sign any loan agreement, be sure to read it, including the fine print. Make sure you understand the terms and the costs.

Unsure? Don’t sign!

It’s very important to be comfortable with your lender and make sure you fully understand everything about your loan before you sign. If you’re unsure, don’t sign – and seek advice.

How long before they decide?

It often takes a few days for a decision to be made about your loan application. However, a bank legally has up to 30 days to respond.

You have legal rights

If you decide to apply for a loan, remember that you have legal rights as a borrower. The U.S. government passed the Equal Credit Opportunity Act to promote the availability of credit to all applicants who qualify for credit without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, gender, marital status, or age.

Click the Next button to continue.
The basics of loans Compare the terms Compare interest rates The loan process Choose a lender the smart way Warning signs to watch out for You’re at risk Scenario: Choosing a lender If the lender says no… Scenario: Managing a loan