How long does it take for a personal loan to go through?

The time it takes from submitting your loan application to the money landing in your bank account varies depending on the lender, the application method, and if you need to provide additional information to support your application. In some cases, you can get the money the same day, but it can take up to a couple of weeks.

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How long does a personal loan application take to complete? 

How long it takes to fill out a personal loan application varies depending on the lender. For instance, if you apply online it should only take a matter of minutes. Also, if you use a lender you already have an account with, they may automatically fill in some of the details for you, to speed up the process. Whereas going into a branch to make an application could take longer.

Having said that, it’s important not to rush into making financial decisions. You need to think carefully about what you can afford to borrow before you apply. Missing just one loan repayment can affect your credit score and your ability to get approved for finance in the future.

Tip: Try using an eligibility checker before you apply for a loan. This will instantly show you the likelihood of being accepted – without affecting your credit score.

How long does it take to get approved for a personal loan? 

As a rough guide, it can take a lender anywhere between a few hours and a week to check your application and notify you of the outcome. The timescale varies depending on several factors, such as:

  • the lender
  • how quick their internal processes are
  • if you already have an account open with them
  • if you need to provide them with extra information to support your application (such as wage slips, for example)

How long does it take to get my loan money? 

If approved, the earliest you could get your money is the same day or the following business day. This is more likely to be the case if you get a loan from a bank you already have an account open with, or you apply via an online-only lender. At the other end of the scale, it could take up to two weeks to receive a personal loan from a credit union after approval.

The timeframe largely depends on which lender you use - and how quickly your bank can process the payment.

Bear in mind, some lenders have the capacity to transfer funds on weekends, whereas others can only make payments on regular business days.

Here are some estimated timings for different types of lenders. For exact timescales, please contact your lender directly.

Online direct lender 

Online lenders have designed their processes to be competitively fast and use this as one of their selling points. As such, you could expect to receive the loan either the same day or one business day after approval.


Getting a loan from a bank that you already have an account with can be quicker than you might think. As the bank will have verified many of your details before, the loan could be approved on the day you make your application. The money could hit your account the same day, or the following business day.

However, if you apply for a loan from a bank you don’t currently hold an account with, it could take around two to five business days for you to receive the funds. This is because the bank will need to carry out more checks (with you being a new customer).

Guarantor loan lender

Applications for guarantor loans almost always need to be checked by a human underwriter (rather than a computer algorithm), to assess the risk involved. This underwriter effectively assesses two applicants – the borrower and the guarantor.

As a result, it can take longer to get a guarantor loan compared with other types of unsecured loans. On average, it can take anywhere between one business day and two weeks to receive the money in your account.

Credit Union

With credit unions, you can apply online or in a branch. It could take anything from one to five days for your application to be approved. Then up to a couple of weeks to receive the loan.

How to speed up the application process

Whichever lender you use, here are five nifty tricks to help the application process move along swiftly.

1. Check the lenders’ criteria before applying

It may sound obvious but checking the lender’s criteria in detail before applying is the best way to start the process. If you don’t meet the lender’s criteria, then this won’t just slow down the application, it could stop it altogether and potentially damage your credit score in the process.

2. Make sure your credit report is accurate

Errors on your credit report won’t only lower your credit score, they’ll also slow down the process whilst the lender investigates them.

It’s essential that the details on your application match those listed on your credit report. If they don’t, your application could potentially be rejected, or at the very least slowed down. So, use an online tool to check your credit report before you apply, and be sure to fix any errors by reporting them to the relevant credit reference agency.

3. Boost your credit score

The better your credit score, the more chance you have of being approved for a loan. In theory, the easier it is to approve your application, the quicker it should go through.

Check out our guide on how to improve your credit score to get some tips on how to boost it before you apply for a loan.

4. Get your paperwork ready beforehand

It’s simple but effective – getting everything ready beforehand will help make sure that any delays in the process are as short as possible (and it’ll make filling out your application easier too). 

Make a list of all the documents you might need or could be asked for. Then start compiling them before you apply. This could be bank statements, P60s, payslips – all the important bits and pieces that are all too easy to lose track of.

5. Apply online

Believe it or not, you can still apply for loans in the post (it’s rare, but some lenders require this). Where possible, though, applying online is best as it saves time on both sides. 

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Intelligent Lending Ltd is a credit broker working with a panel of lenders.

Disclaimer: All information and links are correct at the time of publishing.

Adele Kitchen, Personal Finance Writer

Adele Kitchen

Personal Finance Writer

Adele is a personal finance writer with more than 10 years in the finance industry behind her. She writes clear and engaging guides on all things loans for Ocean, as well as contributing blogs to help people understand their options when it comes to money.