How long do personal loans take to process?

How long it takes to get a personal loan will vary depending on several factors. The lender you choose, their application process and whether any additional information is required will make a big difference to how quickly you’ll be able to receive the funds.

In this guide we’re sharing different parts of a loan application process that could impact how long it takes for you to borrow the money you need. ..

1. The application itself

A paperless application process could certainly speed things up. An online application can be completed in significantly less time than a process involving piles of paperwork.

2. Waiting for a decision

Once you’ve submitted your application, you’ll need to wait for your chosen lender to make a decision. Some lenders, like ourselves, will offer an instant decision so you’ll know straightaway if your application has been accepted, declined or referred.

3. Application referral

Your application may be referred, which just means a lender needs more information to help them make a decision. Sometimes this just means your application needs to be reviewed manually, using the data the lender already has.

In other cases, lenders will require supporting information, such as bank statements, to help them get a better understanding of how much you earn and the demands on your money.

However, more and more lenders are offering customers the option to use open banking. This allows lenders to see the information they need almost instantly, which speeds up the decision-making process significantly. If open banking authorisation is granted straightaway, your referral may only delay the loan application process by a matter of minutes.

4. Verifying your information

Once you submit your loan application, the lender will need to verify your information.

Some lenders may ask you to send hard, original copies of the documentation they require (such as your driving licence, bank statements or a utility bill). This may add days, weeks or even months to an application process depending on how quickly you can gather and send the required documentation and how long it takes the lender to review it once received.

However, at Novuna Personal Finance we pride ourselves on our quick and simple paperless application process. We ask applicants to share photographs of the documents we need to see via our secure online portal. This enables us to verify your information quickly and easily, causing next to no delay to your application process.

5. Signing your credit agreement

If you have been accepted for a loan, the next step is to sign your credit agreement. How quickly you return your signed agreement to the lender will determine how quickly your loan application can progress.

Some lenders send paper copies of their agreement out by post for you to sign and return. This will inevitably delay proceedings.

Here at Novuna, customers can sign the loan agreement online using our e-signature service. You will have up to 30 days to sign your agreement. After this point, your loan offer will expire, and you’ll need to go through the application process again.

6. Disbursement of funds

Once your credit agreement is signed, the funds should be disbursed to your bank account relatively quickly. Every lender is different but, at Novuna, we state that funds will be with you within two working days – though it is usually much sooner than that.

So, as you can see, a loan application process has many different stages. Remember that getting a personal loan is an important financial decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. While it’s great to get the money you need as soon as possible, you should never rush into applying for a loan. Make sure you understand how a personal loan works and what you should use a loan for before starting the process.

That said, we do understand that it’s important to know how long it will take to receive the funds you’ve applied for. Should everything go smoothly, you could apply for a personal loan and receive the funds within a few days.

Our swift and simple online application process is one of the many reasons our customers choose Novuna.  Apply online in minutes, get an instant decision and (if accepted, and your credit agreement signed) have the funds in your account ready to spend within two working days.

Top tips to help speed up the application process

As we’ve already mentioned, how quickly you’re able to get a personal loan will largely depend on the lender you choose and their application process.

However, there are some things you can do that could help move things along.

Do your research

You should compare personal loan providers before deciding which one to apply with. While it may seem like a good idea to simply apply with several lenders to see who’ll accept your application quickest (and at the most competitive rate), this could actually harm your chances of getting credit in the future. That’s because each hard credit check is recorded on your credit file, and too many in quick succession could be a red flag to lenders.

Not only that, but getting a loan quickly should not be your top priority. A loan is a long-term financial commitment, so you must make sure you are comfortable with the lender’s loan terms and rates before completing an application.

Make sure you're eligible

All reputable lenders will clearly state their eligibility criteria online or as part of their application process. Make sure you can confidently say you meet every requirement before applying. If you don’t, you stand a strong chance of your application being declined, putting you right back at square one. Read more about loan eligibility and our requirements.

Check your credit report

You should always make sure your credit report is up to date and free from errors before applying for a finance product such as a personal loan. If, for whatever reason, your application is denied due to misinformation on your report, this could set your application journey back significantly. It’s much better to ensure your report is accurate in advance.

If you’re concerned your credit history might hold you back, work to improve your credit score before applying. This could help increase your chances of being accepted, making the process much smoother.

Get your documentation ready

Most lenders will need to know information such as your address history, income, employment details and bank details – so try to have this to hand so you can get through the application with ease.

You should also get your verification documents, such as your passport or driving licence, ready. It’ll save time trying to find them later down the line.

Confirm your information is correct

Before pressing ‘submit’ on that application, have a quick double check to make sure all the information you’ve entered is correct. This will prevent your application from being delayed because of a manual error.


Written by

Luke Hilton

Luke Hilton is a Warrington-based email content writer and designer in the financial services industry. He enjoys mixing analytics and creativity and can usually be found with his head buried in stats, piecing together the patterns that make good content. In his spare time, the drive to figure things out continues with what can only be described as a love-hate relationship with DIY. With a keen love of the outdoors, Luke is usually up a mountain somewhere or in his garden growing his own oasis.

Wednesday 18th October 2023