Business & Students Loans

Applying for a Loan Online or In-Person: Which Should You Go for?

For borrowers who are unfamiliar with the borrowing procedure, deciding whether to apply for a loan online or in person might be challenging. Online loan applications are typically easier to complete and may have more flexible eligibility restrictions. However, engaging with a loan officer at a physical lender’s location can be more personal than applying for a loan online.

What you should know about applying for a loan online as opposed to in person is as follows:

What Online Loan is

It is possible for potential borrowers to apply for loans online without doing so through a conventional bank branch. This makes it possible for candidates to prequalify with a number of lenders online without having their credit report subjected to hard credit inquiries, which can harm their credit scores.

Online loans could also have more flexible qualifying standards, simplified application procedures, and quicker approval and funding times. Additionally, a lot of internet lenders provide a fee-free framework, which can lower the total cost of borrowing.

When to Apply for a Loan Online

Although applying for a personal loan might be difficult, internet lenders try to make the process as simple as possible. Online loan applications are more advantageous in some circumstances than in-person due to their convenience. An online loan is for you if any of the following apply to you:

  • Prior to applying, you want to prequalify: based on their credit score and borrowing requirements, several online lenders allow prospective borrowers to prequalify for a loan with just a mild credit check. Choose an online lender that offers prequalification if you’re unsure of how much money you’ll be eligible for or whether you’ll be eligible for a fair rate.
  • You don’t already have a connection with a bank: Some conventional banks reward existing clients with higher interest rates or additional benefits. If you don’t already have a banking relationship, you might be able to get better rates from an internet lender.
  • Need to get the money sooner: Online lenders typically offer quicker funding and approval timeframes than banks and credit unions. In fact, borrowers who apply online can get their money the very same day.
  • Either you have no credit history or a low credit score: Many internet lenders base their lending judgments on alternative credit information, such as utility payment history. As a result, candidates with less favorable credit may be accepted.

Read: How to Apply for Cash App Loan

Advantages and Disadvantages of Applying Online

There are benefits and drawbacks to applying for a loan online, Therefore, before requesting a loan online, weigh the advantages and disadvantages listed below:

Advantages of Applying Online

  • Prospective borrowers can prequalify with many internet lenders.
  • Online loan calculators are frequently accessible through lending networks.
  • In comparison to conventional, in-person loans, the application process is simpler.
  • The benefits of quicker funding and approval times may accrue to borrowers.

Disadvantages of Applying Online

  • Personal data must be submitted online as part of the application procedure.
  • The likelihood of online loan fraud is higher for borrowers.
  • Rates of interest could be greater than those offered by lenders in person.
  • Prequalification may not be available.

Are loans from online lenders safe?

If the internet lender has a good reputation, loans obtained from them are just as secure as loans obtained from major banks.

A professional lender, whether online or offline, will normally examine your credit, reveal the charges and terms of the loan, and make sure the loan won’t negatively impact your finances.

Borrowers can apply for loans securely online if they restrict their search to reliable lenders. Leading online lenders secure their websites and safeguard borrower data with encryption. Watch out for warning signs like upfront application costs, anomalies in terms and conditions, and promises that seem too good to be true to avoid predatory lenders and fraud.

What is an In-person Loan?

An in-person loan is a sort of financing where you must go to a lender’s physical location to apply rather than doing it all online. 

Typically, banks and credit unions—traditional financial institutions—offer these loans.

Some people find the in-person application procedure tedious and annoying, but other potential borrowers value the chance to speak with a loan officer in person. Additionally, borrowers who have a long-standing relationship with a local bank may be eligible for more affordable rates or face lower costs than they would with an internet lender.

When to Apply for a Loan In-Person

Some people find that filling out a loan application in person can streamline the process and result in lower rates and costs. Applying for a loan in person can be the best option if:

  • Sharing your personal information online makes you uncomfortable: To protect the privacy of borrowers’ personal information, online lenders take a variety of security precautions. It might be advisable to apply for a loan in person if you’re still hesitant to provide information like your Social Security number (SSN) through an online application site.
  • Have a current banking connection: Applying in person could be preferred by borrowers who already have a relationship with a neighborhood bank or other physical financial institution nearby. In addition to facilitating the application process, a loan officer who is familiar with your circumstances may be able to offer you a larger loan at a lower interest rate than online rivals.
  • Has access to cheaper fees or rates: Even if a borrower doesn’t already have a banking relationship, it may still be feasible to get approved for a loan from an in-person lender at a more favorable interest rate. Choose the lender in this situation whose overall borrowing costs are the lowest.
  • prefer to do your financing in person. Although online lending has numerous benefits, it does not allow applicants to personally meet with a loan officer. Prospective borrowers can provide context regarding their financial history, need for finances, and other pertinent details by applying for a loan in person. Additionally, applying in person makes it simpler to ask questions and receive immediate responses.
  • Do not feel pressed for time: It may take longer to fill out a loan application in person than it does online. Additionally, traditional lenders could require more time to process applications, approve borrowers, and disperse loan cash. If you don’t require the speedier funding times frequently offered by internet lenders, think about getting a loan in person.

Pros & Cons of Applying In-person

Like online lenders, there are also advantages and disadvantages to applying for loans in-person:

Pros of Applying In Person

  • It could be possible to get better rates and reduced fees if you already have a banking relationship.
  • The chance exists for applicants to interact personally with loan officers.
  • When completing the application, it could be simpler to ask the loan officer questions.

Cons of Applying In Person

  • There might be no prequalification available.
  • To submit the required paperwork, applicants must physically visit a branch.
  • Compared to internet loans, approval and funding times are frequently longer.

Where can you get the best loan?

Depending on the borrower’s demands and trustworthiness, several places offer the finest personal loans. However, consumers can typically obtain a personal loan from a conventional bank, credit union, or online lender.

Prospective borrowers should prequalify at several lenders to find the best deal because qualification standards, loan amounts, and conditions vary between them. Similar to how interest rates and costs vary among financial institutions, it is best to study potential lenders before filing a formal application.

Is it easier to get a loan in person than online?

The likelihood of receiving a loan ultimately depends on the applicant’s creditworthiness, but many internet loans have less stringent eligibility standards than those offered by conventional lenders. Additionally, applications for online lenders are typically easier to complete than those that must be presented in person.

However, submitting a loan application in person may allow a borrower to take advantage of an existing banking relationship or provide a chance for a potential borrower to more thoroughly go over their application with a loan officer.

Bonus: Online vs. Bank Loan

Online loansUsually provide pre-qualification without affecting your credit. A loan’s approval and distribution take place more quickly—often on the same day.Consumers must feel comfortable submitting forms and personal financial information online with little to no human interaction in order for the loan application and approval processes to be fully online.
Bank loansExisting relationships may increase the likelihood of approval, result in reduced rates, or result in more favourable terms. Personalized face-to-face assistance with the application and loan management processes.There is typically no pre-qualification procedure that would allow you to view loan rates and terms without having an impact on your credit. It could take several days or longer for a loan to be approved and disbursed.

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Oladoyin Falana

Oladoyin Falana, a graduate of OAU, is an SEO Specialist, and IT business developer. He is the owner and content editor of, a platform that focuses on providing information on career, recruitment updates, exams, and admission updates, including general (How-to) information.
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