When it comes to taking out a personal loan with a company for the first time, it’s imperative you choose the right company. Otherwise, you could find yourself attracting unfair penalties and dealing with bad customer service. If you’re thinking of getting a personal loan for whatever reason, make sure you do your research first by following the below points.
Is the Company Licensed & Regulated?
It’s important you check whether a company is first licensed and regulated (there are those out there that are not). You can get more information on the regulations they need by clicking here. Such information should be easily findable on their website, which is usually situated at the bottom of the page. This is your first point of call – it ensures the business is legit for a start, but it also ensures you’re protected should anything go wrong.
Have You Checked How Long They’ve Been in Business?
The length a business has been established for is another research point to consider, especially if you’re looking for a company that has helped thousands of customers just like you. A simple Google search is needed here. If you’re looking for a company that provides short-term money loans simply type their name into Google and it’ll let you know when they first start serving and how many customers they’ve dealt with over the years.
Use Websites Like Trust Pilot to Research Testimonials
If a personal loan company has been established for a while, they’ll have a host of testimonials on websites like Trust Pilot. Such testimonials will give you a good indicator of how well they’ve served past and present customers. If you’ve found more negative reviews than positive, you may want to look elsewhere for your loan requirements.
Have You Checked the Small Print?
The small print is yet another crucial point to research to cover yourself once you’ve agreed on a loan amount. The small print will give you a chance to look at the penalties and charges for late payments, and you’ll also discover the process they take if you don’t pay at all. Of course, other important information is available in the small print, and although it’s a painstaking process to sieve through all the information, it’s still a step that should be strongly considered so you’re covered.
Are They a Responsible Lender?
As part of the consumer license act, personal loan businesses now need to be responsible lenders as part of their regulation agreements. This ensures that they only lend money to those they feel can pay it back, rather than to those who are just going to fall further down the financial spiral. If lenders loan money to consumers who they haven’t credit checked or undertaken the other necessary checks in terms of affordability, they’re not following regulations and should be avoided.
What Are the Penalties for Late Payments?
Some lenders go over the top when it comes to charging their customers, so you’ll want a responsible lender that’s going to limit the fees they charge you. Obviously, you’re only going to want to get out a loan that you can afford but, if the inevitable happens and you lose your job, you need to rely on the lender to help you out. Penalties range greatly from lender to lender and some will even just carry on charging you the original interest while you get back on your feet.
What Support Methods Are Available?
When it comes to customer service, you’ll want the best there is, especially when it comes to taking out a loan. Go to their site and see what support methods they have available for their customers. As standard, they should at least offer phone and email support. However, some lenders go the extra mile as far as customer service is concerned and they’ll even have live chat features you can connect to and discuss your account. The more methods they have available, the more likely they are to be a reputable company that serves their customers as well as possible.
Research Their Online Calculators
Many lenders have calculator features on their sites these days so potential customers can get an idea of how much a personal loan is going to cost them. If the lender doesn’t have a calculator, however, then the chances are there are hidden fees within their small print. Always be careful with a lender that you can’t get a final cost of the loan from.
How Much Can You Borrow?
As stated above, lenders need to be responsible with the latest regulations in place so they can never offer too much to first-time borrowers. Therefore, if a loan total sounds too good to be true, it probably is, and you should probably continue your search elsewhere.
There’s plenty you can do in the research process when you’re looking to take out a loan. Whether you’re desperate or not, don’t just choose a lender because they’ve said you’re accepted for a loan in principle. Go with a lender you can trust and one that isn’t going to stitch up your financial situation even further.