What is the maximum personal loan amount?
While the exact amount you can borrow will depend both on your personal circumstances and the lender you’re using, the maximum personal loan amount is around the £15,000 mark.
However, in many cases, any loan over £10,000 will require some form of security (such as your home), to reduces the risk to the lender. With a secured loan, if you fall behind with your payments, the lender could sell your property to claw back owed funds (in the worst-case scenario).
This is not the case with personal loans, as no collateral is needed for smaller amounts.
How much can I afford to borrow?
While in some cases it’s possible to borrow up to £15,000 with a personal loan, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be eligible to do so.
The amount you can borrow will depend on a variety of factors personal to you, including your credit score and financial history, for example.
People with a high credit score and good credit history are more likely to be approved for larger loan amounts than those with bad credit. That’s not to say if your credit score is poor you won’t be approved for a loan at all (though there are no guarantees). It may just mean that you’ll be approved for a lower amount or offered less competitive interest rates.
How to qualify for a personal loan
While different lenders will have slightly different criteria, there are some common factors that they consider when reviewing a loan application. These include your:
- credit score and credit history
- affordability (income and outgoings)
- debt-to-income ratio
Here are some tips on how you can improve your eligibility in each of these areas.
1. Credit score and credit history
Credit scores are one of the main things lenders look at when you apply for a loan. If you have a high credit score, it’s generally a good indication that you’ve managed your money well and you’re a reliable borrower.
Here are some ways you can boost your score and your chances of approval:
- make sure all the information on your credit report is accurate and up to date
- register on the electoral roll (if you haven’t already) - this boosts your score and helps lenders to carry out an identity check on you
- don’t make lots of credit applications at once - this can show up as a red flag to lenders. Instead, use an eligibility checker before you apply, which won’t appear on your credit report
- always pay your bills on time to build up a good credit history
Read on for more ways you can improve your credit score.
Your affordability is essentially whether you can afford to borrow on a loan, or not. Do you have enough money left over each month to make your loan repayments after all your outgoings have been paid?
It sounds obvious, but make sure you can afford to take out a loan. Create a budget, including everything that comes into and out of your accounts every month (no amount is too small!). If you don’t have enough to make your repayments, then getting a loan isn’t a good idea.
Cut back on things you don’t need, whether it’s that extra streaming subscription of your morning coffee, reducing your outgoings will increase your affordability.
3. Debt-to-income ratio
Your debt-to-income compares how much you earn with how much debt you have. It’s illustrated as the percentage of your monthly earnings that goes towards debt repayments.
Lenders look at this to assess your ability to manage monthly loan repayments. The lower your debt-to-income ratio, the more likely you are to be approved for finance. So, getting it as low as possible is an important step.
The only way to lower your level of debt, of course, is to repay it. Check your budget to see if there’s scope to increase your repayments to reduce your existing debt faster.
4. Repayment history
Having existing credit certainly doesn’t mean you won’t be approved for a loan. In some cases, it can aid your eligibility - if it proves your ability to make repayments. Your repayment history on your current and previous credit is something lenders look at too. Make sure you send the right message by:
- always making your repayments on time and in full
- never taking out more credit than you can afford to repay
What if I need to borrow more?
If you need to borrow more than you can get with a personal loan, there are other options, but these will only be suitable if you’re a homeowner.
If you’re looking to borrow upwards of £10,000, you could consider a secured loan. You can borrow larger amounts with this kind of loan, as the lender offsets some of the risk to themselves by securing the loan against an asset, such as your home.
However, if you fail to make your repayments against a secured loan, the asset could end up being repossessed by the lender, but this is usually only as a last resort.
Another option is to remortgage your home. Remortgaging is where you switch your current mortgage to a new deal (usually to get better interest rates). You can either stay with the same lender or move to a new one.
As part of this process, you could consider borrowing more money against your property, instead of taking out a personal loan. However, you’ll most likely end up with higher mortgage repayments each month, or you’ll need to extend your mortgage term. Either way, you’ll probably pay more in interest overall by remortgaging.
If you fail to keep up with your mortgage repayments, the lender could repossess your home to claw back funds. You may also incur early repayment charges if you switch before your existing deal ends.
Read our guide ‘Is remortgaging the right choice for you?’ for more information.
Borrow more on an existing loan
If you already have a loan in place, but you’re in need of some extra funds, you could consider borrowing more on an existing loan, rather than getting a new one. This is something you can ask your lender about. However, it’s important to consider this option carefully, as increasing your loan will mean you pay more interest overall.
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Intelligent Lending Ltd is a credit broker working with a panel of lenders.