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CUNA’s Schenk Offers Savvy Tips for Personal Loans
Friday, February 12, 2016 6:40 AM

Personal loans are good tools to build credit habits, and it’s important for borrowers to think ahead before heading to the credit union to submit a credit application. The online personal loan marketplace PersonalLoanReports.com has listed the 11 lessons consumers need to learn before applying for a loan.

“If you walk into a lender, and you have some of the ammunition you know you’re going to need, the information they are looking for, at your fingertips, that sends a clear signal that you’re on your game and you’ve thought about how you’re going to pay this back,” said Mike Schenk, Credit Union National Association senior economist.

Schenk also suggested looking at credit unions, which, because of their smaller size and local decision-making ability, offer more flexibility and personal service.

For new borrowers, Schenk suggests applying for a credit-builder loan.

Also, ask the lender about setting your own due date for the payment so rent, utility, and loan payments aren’t due at the same time. “I think that’s a great piece of advice for a young person who maybe has not had credit in the past,” he said. “Their focus is going to be, ‘Oh my gosh, I just want to get this loan,’ and it may not even be on their radar screen [that some loan details are negotiable].”

Other tips from PersonalLoanReports.com:

  • Pay attention to details, such as including the account number on the check. Anything that delays processing could put you at risk for late fees;
  • Make pretend payments by putting aside the monthly requirements into a savings account before taking on a loan. This will give an idea of what will happen to your cash flow;
  • Learn what interest rates are and how they work;
  • Avoid very low, promotional teaser interest rates. Once a higher rate kicks in, it may make the payments more difficult to cover;
  • Think about what you’ll give up in exchange for the debt;
  • Understand spending habits before building a budget; and
  • Identify any pre-payment penalties.