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How Long Does It Take To Get A Personal Loan?

Hanna Kielar3-Minute Read
UPDATED: June 28, 2023


Life inevitably brings about some costly inconveniences, which may include your car breaking down when you don’t have the funds to fix it right away. If this is the place you find yourself in, you can try to get a personal loan to cover the repairs, but how quickly will the funds come through, and will they arrive fast enough for you to avoid paying car rental fees?

Let’s take a look at how long it takes to get a personal loan, on average, and the factors that can affect the timeliness of this loan becoming cash in your pocket.

How Long Does It Take To Get A Personal Loan Approved?

A personal loan is an accessible financing option known for relatively quick loan disbursal that follows a typically straightforward and fast application process. With most banks and credit unions, you can expect to wait 1 – 7 business days for a personal loan to come through the approval process. Some lenders offer same-day financing to borrowers under special circumstances, however.

Approval for a personal loan through an online lender will generally take 1 – 3 business days, while disbursal will typically take 1 – 5 business days. It’s possible for a loan to take as long as 30 days to process, but this is generally a rare occurrence.

Before seeking a personal loan, you should contact several lenders and find out how long you can expect the process to take (for both approval and disbursal). You should also ask any lender the following questions before submitting an application:

Personal Loan Speed Based On Lender Type

Depending on the type of lender you use, the speed of the process could vary significantly – particularly between an online lender versus a bank or credit union.

Financial institution

Approval time

Funding time

Online lender

1 – 3 business days

1 – 5 business days

Traditional bank

1 – 7 business days

1 – 7 business days

Credit union

1 – 7 business days

1 – 7 business days

Online Lender

Online lenders typically have the fastest approval and funding times. Applications are submitted via the web and often take just a few minutes to complete. The approval process after submitting the application is typically completed shortly thereafter but could take up to 3 business days.

With most online lenders, you can expect to see your money within 5 business days of loan approval. However, some online platforms, such as Rocket Loans℠, offer same-day funding to personal loan applicants with competitive interest rates and fair repayment terms.*

Traditional Banks

Traditional banks tend to have a longer approval and distribution process than online lenders. The application process will vary depending on your bank, but the application will either be submitted by paper in their office or online. Your bank’s lender will then need to review your application to determine whether you qualify and how much you potentially qualify for. This can take a few days.

If you have an existing relationship with your bank or credit union, that relationship could make the process go faster. However, you may have to wait up to 7 business days to receive funds after loan approval, which itself can take up to 7 business days.

Credit Unions

Credit unions are not-for-profit financial institutions that require membership for their services as well as access to special deals and rates. Like banks, credit unions can take up to 7 business days to process a loan application, and another 7 business days may pass before they disburse your funds.

As mentioned, having a long-term relationship with your credit union could expedite the approval and funding process.

How To Get A Personal Loan Fast

Here are a few tips on how you can speed the personal loan process up.

1. Check Your Credit Report

Besides helping you determine whether your credit score is high enough to qualify for a personal loan, getting a credit report will help you determine whether the report has errors or problems you can quickly resolve. An error on your credit report can impact your ability to qualify for a personal loan and slow down the process.

2. Know How Much Money You Need

Knowing the loan amount you need to borrow and the monthly payments you can afford can be useful in processing your application smoothly. If you change this amount after the process is underway, it may take longer to qualify and receive your funds.

3. Get Prequalified

Prequalification doesn’t guarantee approval, but it’s a good sign. It’s also usually faster and won’t affect your credit score. Just enter your information into a prequalification form and get your result. If you’re denied, it might be discouraging, but it’ll help you understand financial areas you’ll need to improve in before applying again.

4. Apply Online

Online applications typically allow for faster processing, with a loan application only taking a few minutes to complete. Most lenders also allow you to track your application online.

5. Double-Check Your Application

Mistakes can slow down the process considerably. Be especially careful when typing in your Social Security number.

Getting a personal loan has never been easier.

The Rocket LoansSM application process makes borrowing simple.

Fast Loans You Should Avoid

It’s best to think carefully about sacrificing advantageous loan terms in favor of a more rapid loan disbursal. Ideally, you’ll find a lender who can get your loan to you quickly – without charging an unreasonable interest rate. You should also look at origination fees and repayment schedule requirements when making your decision.

The predatory loans we’ll discuss next can be faster than others but may come at a higher price than you bargained for. You should avoid them at all costs.

Payday Loans

Your interest rate or APR for a payday loan will usually hover around 400%. Borrowing $500 for just 2 weeks could mean you have to repay more than $600.

Pawn Shop Loans

Pawn shop loans, like payday loans, offer same-day funding without a credit history check. Unlike payday or personal loans, pawn shop loans are secured by an item of value that you own. The pawnbroker loaning you the funds holds onto this item until you’ve fully repaid the loan. If you can’t repay the loan, the pawnbroker can sell the item to regain the money lost.

Aside from the potential to lose a personal item of value, pawn shop loans charge financing fees that can equal a triple-digit APR.

Car Title Loans

A title loan is another type of loan secured by an item of value, in this case the title to your vehicle. You can borrow up to 50% of your vehicle’s value, but you’ll lose your vehicle to the lender if you can’t repay the loan. APR for title loans can reach 300% after interest, fees and other charges, so you run a high risk of losing your vehicle or getting stuck in a debt cycle.

Final Thoughts

A personal loan can be a smart way to get out of a pinch, and personal loans are readily accessible to those who qualify. Although you may be feeling the pressure, you should carefully research your options and compare lenders because that time and effort will likely pay off down the line. Don’t be tempted by faster loans, either. Otherwise, you could find yourself in a worse financial situation than before.

If you’re ready to start discovering your options, apply for a personal loan through Rocket Loans today.

*Same day funding is available for clients completing the loan process and signing the Promissory Note by 1:00 p.m. ET on a business day. Also note, the ACH credit will be submitted to your bank the same business day. This may result in same day funding, but results may vary, and your bank may have rules that limit our ability to credit your account. We are not responsible for delays that may occur due to an incorrect routing number, an incorrect account number or errors of your financial institution.

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Hanna Kielar

Hanna Kielar is a Section Editor for Rocket Auto℠, RocketHQ℠, and Rocket Loans® with a focus on personal finance, automotive, and personal loans. She has a B.A. in Professional Writing from Michigan State University.