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Of the best banks in Jacksonville, Fla., Wells Fargo Bank offers some of the lowest possible interest rates, with 15% of approved applicants qualifying for an APR of 5.74%. If you have a qualifying Wells Fargo Bank checking account and make automatic payments from a deposit account, you’ll also be eligible for a relationship discount of 0.25% off the APR.
Wells Fargo Bank doesn’t charge an origination fee or prepayment penalty, so there are no hidden costs to worry about. What’s more, you can have as many loans as you want from Wells Fargo Bank at a time; you just have to apply. And Wells Fargo Bank has a much higher borrowing cap than many other lenders in Jacksonville, though it’s minimum borrowing limit is much higher than for the other lenders in this roundup.
Wells Fargo Bank is thin on qualification requirements for their personal loan:
VyStar Credit Union offers personal loans with low APRs, flexible terms and an impressively wide range of borrowing amounts. But to be eligible to apply, you’ll need to be a member. (More on that below.)
One drawback to working with VyStar Credit Union is that the starting APR increases to a high of 12.49% depending on your loan’s term length. Although this isn’t an uncommon practice, it can make your loan significantly more expensive. Granted, there is no origination fee or prepayment penalty for any of VyStar Credit Union’s loan products.
A common perk of working with a credit union, though, is that they can be more willing to work with members who have damaged credit. VyStar Credit Union is no exception here. If you have bad credit and can’t get a traditional personal loan, you can apply for a savings secured or certificate secured loan with an APR that is 2% above your current earnings rate. That is much more affordable than other types of bad credit loans, like payday loans.
Community First Credit Union offers similar APRs and terms to VyStar Credit Union. It also requires that you be a member to qualify for a personal loan.
Once you’re a member, you can apply for a personal loan of up to $50,000 with APRs that start at just 7.99% and flexible terms as long as 84 months. Community First even offers financial wellness programs that can help you stay on track, in addition to secured loans for people who need help building their credit. And there’s no origination fee or other account fees associated with loans from Community First.
Debt consolidation and refinancing are the most common reasons for personal loan inquiries. Debt consolidation is when you take out a personal loan or other debt in order to pay off other existing debts. Refinancing, meanwhile, is when you take out a new debt to pay off an old one.
In both cases, the main benefits include:
You don’t need to take out a personal loan to consolidate or refinance debt. You can choose from any number of other financial products, such as balance transfer credit cards and secured loans.
Some home improvement needs, from roof repairs to HVAC repairs, can cost thousands. Worse, these types of repairs can crop up unexpectedly. While it’s typically best to pay for these expenses with an emergency fund, the truth is many Americans don’t have those kinds of savings.
Depending on your credit, a personal loan can be an affordable way to cover these types of costs when you can’t or don’t feel comfortable paying with cash.
A small segment of consumers seek out personal loans to make a major purchase or pay for wedding or vacation expenses. For many consumers, doing so can be cheaper than using a credit card. However, it’s usually best to avoid taking out unnecessary debt. But if you have a clear plan for repayment, a personal loan can be an easy way to break up these big costs over time.
Some people use personal loans to finance the purchase of a new or used automobile rather than an auto loan. Although auto loans generally come with lower APRs and are easier to qualify for, that’s in large part due to the fact that they are secured, meaning they are backed by collateral. (In these cases, your car is the collateral.) If you’re risk-averse, taking out a personal loan with a potentially higher APR may be worthwhile.
To find loan offers that are catered to you, you’ll need to have an idea of what you’re bringing to the table, including:
Most personal loan lenders will allow you to prequalify with a soft credit check by filling out a simple online application. However, you could also use a lending marketplace like LendingTree to potentially see loan offers from multiple lenders at once.
Although qualification isn’t guaranteed, prequalifying with several lenders at once can help you determine the kinds of loan terms you may receive when you formally apply with one.
See personalized offers
It’s easy to fill out LendingTree’s form. You’ll start by entering the reason you’re inquiring about a personal loan, whether that’s a major expense, debt consolidation or something else entirely. After that, you’ll need to enter basic information, such as: the amount you want to borrow, your location and personal information, employment status and estimated credit score.
Once you’ve filled out all the necessary information, LendingTree uses a soft credit check to deliver your results. If you prequalify, you’ll be able to compare terms from up to five lenders, which can help you decide which lenders, if any, you want to do a deeper dive on.
For example, if you find two lenders you prefer, you can hop onto their websites to compare each lender’s array of fees, among other factors.
Once you’re ready to move forward with a lender, you’ll submit a formal application. The lender will run a hard credit check, which will cause a small and temporary dip in your credit score. You may also be asked to submit supporting documentation, like pay stubs.
Depending on the lender, you can receive a formal decision as soon as the same day you apply. If you’re approved, you may receive your money within 48 hours, or sooner or later depending on how fast the lender is.
To select personal loan lenders for this roundup, we used Google Maps to search for “personal loan lenders” with local branches in Jacksonville, Fla. We then researched the first 40 lenders that appeared in our results on the week of March 9, and selected three to feature based on 1) lowest minimum APR, 2) lowest maximum APR, 3) lowest origination fee, 4) widest range of borrowing limits and 5) widest range of term length. Lenders that did not offer information on at least three of the five factors listed above were not considered.