If you are shopping for a loan, ask yourself these questions to help you find the right loan:
What do I hope to accomplish?
If you want to consolidate or refinance existing debt, for example, then it is important that your new loan is at a lower interest rate than your current loan(s) so you save money in the long run. If you are shopping for a new loan, you will want to make sure the payments on your new loan are affordable.
How much will it cost?
Compare interest rates, but don't forget to check out fees as well. Also make sure you are comparing loans of a similar length. With a car loan, for example, the shorter the term, the lower the interest rate.
How will you pay it off?
Before you borrow, make sure your payment is affordable and that you have room in your budget to make that payment each month.
Typically, unsecured loans (such as personal loans and debt consolidation loans) carry higher interest rates than secured loans (such as car or mortgage loans). The interest rate you'll pay will depend in part on your credit scores. But that doesn't mean you can't get a loan if you have poor credit. Some lenders offer financing to consumers with bad credit, though the interest rate will be higher.
What is my credit score?
It's a good idea to check your credit score before you apply so you'll have an idea where you stand. Then try to avoid applying for loans you aren't likely to get. With Credit.com's Free Credit Report Card, you will get your credit score for free, and be matched with offers from lenders.
Once you get you get your loan, make sure you make your payments on time to avoid late fees and to keep your credit rating strong.