If you’re struggling to stay afloat, you’re not alone. Did you know that the typical American home has over $6,000 in credit card debt? With credit card debt, student loans, and mortgages, you might need some financial help.

Read on to learn how to apply for a personal loan online — and what mistakes to avoid!

Get Your Credit Score in Better Shape

Do you think you’re ready to apply for a loan? You should check your credit score first. You’ll have access to more types of personal loans if you approach an application with solid credit.

Aim for a score above 670 on the 850-point scale. Make a point of paying bills on time, avoiding unnecessary debt, and closing old accounts. Check your score periodically, and it should go up.

Shop Around for the Best Rates

When searching, you should look for online lenders with clear and comprehensive websites. Online loans should offer an easy process and quicker turnaround time than in-person loans. For a fast way to access the money you need, turn to financefixup.com.

Look at personal loan rates, too, before signing any online paperwork. A better credit score can help you get an interest rate that’s lower, like 5%. A lender that offers anything higher would mean bigger repayments.

Know What Length of Loan You Need

Before applying for a personal loan online, make sure you know how long you’ll need to pay it back. Opting for a longer repayment time may sound appealing since you could score a lower monthly payment.

But the downside is that you’ll be paying interest every month. In other words, if you pay back a loan over 24 months, you’ll pay an interest rate for 24 months. If you pay back a loan in 12 months, however, you’re stuck paying interest for those 12 months.

Be clear on the terms of the repayment, too. Get the repayment amount in writing, and confirm that the interest rate is fixed. And check to see whether you can sign up for auto payments online.

Don’t Skim Over the Penalties and Fees

You know you’ll need to pay back the loan plus interest. But are you aware of the other hidden costs that go into securing different types of personal loans? As one example, you could be stuck paying an application fee before the loan even is enacted.

And even if you have the money to pay down the loan early, you may get slapped with a penalty. On the other side of the spectrum, you’ll almost certainly have a late payment fee if you’re not on time. Be clear on whether there is a grace period, and what the late fee looks like.

Learn How to Apply for a Personal Loan Online

When you know how to apply for a personal loan online, you can get the money you need — and quickly. Make sure you have a solid credit score and take the time to shop around. And before you sign anything, know the terms of the agreement.

Get more financial tips when you need them most. Check back soon for new articles!