When getting a personal loan, consider using a credit union. Ninety-six percent of credit unions offer short-term unsecured loans — and more than half (60 percent) will make loans for amounts less than $500. The average amount borrowed is roughly $2,300. If you’re looking for a personal loan, here’s a quick list:
1. Look at the total cost of the credit — not just the monthly payments. A lower monthly payment is not always better.
2. Look for hidden charges. Study all the associated fees. Things to look for: credit insurance, buying clubs and any other extra fees. If you don’t understand it, have the loan officer explain the charge. Look at each of the itemized charges and ask about them.
3. And finally, if what you’re being told by the loan officer is different from what’s in your contract – walk out. Once you sign, promises from a loan officer, who may or may not be working at the institution next week, are meaningless. What counts is what’s in writing.