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Applying for a loan often feels daunting to many – but have no fear. You can employ several strategies to improve your chances of loan approval. Whether you’re looking to:

preparing your finances beforehand can make all the difference.

Here are some tips to help you increase your likelihood of being approved for your next loan – and how to secure more favorable loan terms.

Determine What You Can Afford

Knowing how much you can afford to borrow before applying for a loan is essential. Financial calculators are a great starting point. You can use these tools to estimate monthly payments based on the loan amount, interest rate, and loan term. Then, you can adjust the different variables to fine-tune your loan and obtain a realistic monthly payment.

Once you know how much the payments will be, determine if they will work within your current budget. Overborrowing can put other financial obligations, such as other loans or monthly bills, at risk. Use this step to tweak your budget and eliminate unnecessary expenses or frivolous spending habits.

Boost Your Credit Score

Your credit score is one of the most critical factors in the loan approval process. Lenders evaluate your score to assess your creditworthiness and likelihood of repaying the loan. The higher your credit score, the better your chances of being approved. Plus, a higher credit score can often lower your rate, resulting in lower payments.

Here are some tips to help you boost your credit score in advance of applying for your next loan:

Pay Your Bills on Time:

Late payments can drastically damage your credit score, especially if it’s a consistent habit. Set up automatic payments to ensure you never miss another due date.

Reduce Debt:

Before applying, focus on paying down unsecured debt like credit cards. This strategy will lower your unsecured debt ratio and improve your credit utilization ratio – two figures that lenders review regularly. Lowering your debt also increases your credit score, thus enhancing your loan approval odds.

Check for Errors:

Regularly review your credit report for any mistakes or fraudulent accounts. You can obtain a free copy of your credit report from Clearing up any errors can give your credit score a quick boost.

Limit New Credit Applications:

Every time you apply for credit, there’s a hard inquiry on your credit report, which can temporarily ding your score. Only apply for new credit when necessary to preserve your score.

Maintain Job Security

Your loan approval chances aren’t solely tied to your credit score. Lenders want to see that you have a steady job and income. Displaying consistency and longevity in your employment history demonstrates your ability to repay your loan now and well into the future.

Consider a Cosigner or Co-borrower

If you are a young adult just starting your credit journey, having a cosigner or co-borrower can improve your chances of loan approval. For example, you could consider adding your parents to the loan.

However, use this option with caution because it places the burden of responsibility and credit impacts on both you and your cosigner. If you are late on your payments or cannot repay your loan for any reason, this will shift the responsibility to your parents, and it could harm their credit score and finances.

How to Secure More Favorable Loan Terms

Applying and being approved for the loan you need is only half the equation. You also want to ensure that the loan terms are favorable and fit nicely within your budget. If someone worries about loan approval odds, they often seek financing at the last minute.

For example, visiting a dealership and going with the lender the dealer recommends rarely works in your favor because the dealer will likely send you to the lender that is giving them kickbacks or other incentives.

To secure more favorable loan terms, consider these tips:

Compare Rates & Terms:

Not all lenders are the same. Even with excellent credit, the loan rates, fees, and terms can vary significantly from one lender to another. Instead, do your research beforehand. For instance, United Texas Credit Union is a not-for-profit financial institution. That means that our loan rates and terms are consistently some of the lowest in town, and you can apply confidently, knowing we won’t try to pad the loan with hidden fees or charges.

Obtain a Pre-Approval:

If you wait to obtain financing in the last step, such as when financing a car at the dealership, you’re at the mercy of the dealer regarding your loan terms. That could result in unfavorable terms or costly monthly payments.

Instead, pre-approval is the process of applying for your loan ahead of time with the credit union. Our team will work with you one-on-one, review your financials, and approve you for a loan that fits within your budget. No surprises. Then, you can take your pre-approval document to the dealership to buy a new car (or however you plan to spend your loan funds).

We’re Here to Help!

Improving your loan approval odds requires a combination of healthy financial habits, careful planning and budgeting, and strategic use of resources available to you. By incorporating these, you can enhance your likelihood of securing a loan that meets your needs.

If you’d like to learn more about the pre-approval process and how we can help you secure a loan, we’re here to help. We offer a variety of loan options for all your borrowing needs. Please stop by any of our convenient branch locations or call us at 1-800-531-8456 to speak with a team member today.

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Each individual’s financial situation is unique. We encourage you to contact United Texas Credit Union when seeking financial advice on the products and services discussed. This article is for educational purposes only; the authors assume no legal responsibility for the completeness or accuracy of the contents.

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