Personal loans are a widely available source of funding — and it doesn’t take long at all to complete an application or receive your loan. Almost every online lender, as well as most banks, can fund personal loans within five to seven business days. And in some cases, lenders may even offer same-day funding.

Key takeaways

  • Each lender will have different funding timelines.
  • Some lenders offer same-day funding, but most will fund personal loans within a week of applying.
  • Prequalify before applying to accelerate the process.

How long each step takes

There are three main steps when it comes to getting a personal loan: the application, getting approved and getting funded. Each of these steps takes a different amount of time depending on the lender you’re working with.


While each lender has its own requirements for approval, nearly every application will request the same types of information. Because of this, you should be able to apply for a personal loan within just a few minutes. To speed things up, have personal and financial documents like your W-2s, identification and bank statements on hand when you apply.


Approval decisions may take longer than the application, depending on the lender or institution. Some online lenders will immediately let you know of your approval status, while others may take a few days to notify you. Lenders that offer prequalification usually let you know your status immediately but will require you to submit additional information to confirm that you qualify, which may add a day or two to the process.


If you are approved, funding generally takes between two to five business days. Smaller banks and credit unions may take longer, but most should be able to fund your loan within a week of applying if you opt for direct deposit into a bank account.

How long it takes to get a personal loan

Most loan applications only take a few minutes to complete, and funding can be delivered electronically to your bank account within two to three days. But the exact timeline depends on the type of lender you work with.

Online lender

  • Approval time: One to two business days.
  • Funding time: As soon as one to three business days.

Most lenders will fund your loan within one to three business days of approval. That means your application is submitted and all of the documents have been reviewed, which may take more than one day if there’s anything missing. 

Next-day funding is commonly advertised — although this relies on when you apply and how your bank processes deposits. Even if you are approved and funds are sent the next business day, you may not see the personal loan in your account for two or three more business days.

Credit union

  • Approval time: One to three business days.
  • Funding time: Three or more business days.

Federal credit unions are the most common source of personal loans, but there are smaller local and regional credit unions that also offer them. Like with banks, funding is not as quick as online lenders.

Despite that, a credit union can still be relatively quick if you already have an account and can receive a direct deposit. Otherwise, picking up a check and signing loan documents in person can add a few days to the process.


  • Approval time: One to three business days.
  • Funding time: Three or more business days.

There are many banks that now offer personal loans with quick prequalification and funding. It generally takes longer than with an online lender, but you may have access to better interest rates — especially if you already have a checking or savings account.

However, banks take longer to process applications and fund loans. They also require better credit than online lenders, which will make it harder for you to qualify.

How to get approved quickly

Most lenders will provide a list of documents required to apply before you start your application. However, there are some standard pieces of information every lender will need, so have these prepped ahead of time.

  • Driver’s license or other photo ID.
  • Social Security number.
  • Proof of income, like check stubs or bank statements.
  • Proof of address, like a utility bill or mortgage payment.
  • Proof of employment, like W-2s or tax returns.

The more information you have on hand when you apply, the better. Submitting an accurate application will be the best way to get funded quickly. And since lenders frequently have a prequalification process, you can fill out a few applications at once without impacting your credit. Ultimately, this will save time and help you find the best rates.

Personal loan requirements

Personal loans are typically unsecured, meaning they do not require you to put up collateral — like a vehicle or house — in order to qualify. Because of this, lenders will look for potential borrowers who meet a few basic requirements.

  • Good to excellent credit.
  • Steady source of income.
  • Low debt-to-income (DTI) ratio.

However, many lenders will also consider your education, industry and other factors when evaluating your application. There are even loans available for people with bad credit, although these will have higher rates and less generous repayment terms.

In general, personal loans are a fast way to receive funding. For lenders that offer prequalification, most can let you know if you qualify within minutes of submitting an application. And while it does vary from lender to lender, you will likely be able to apply and receive your loan within a week.