What do I need to consider when comparing personal loan providers?

If you’re a New Zealander currently looking to take out a personal loan, then you’re in luck. From banks to Credit Unions and everything in between, Kiwis like you are spoiled for choice when it comes to choosing a loan provider.

A wealth of choices is great for you, as it invites competition and even more competitive rates. But it also comes at a cost: time. Finding enough time to compare all of your options can be difficult, but it’s something you’ll want to do. Why? Because a loan, no matter how big or small, is a critical financial decision that shouldn’t be made lightly.

Pick the right provider, and you’ll be jetting off on your holiday, consolidating your debts or rolling around in a new set of wheels in next to no time. Choose poorly, though, and you could be dealing with the consequences for months if not years to come.

You need to choose the right loan, for the right amount, from the right provider. But how do you know which is which? When making your decision, consider the following factors:

Here’s 5 things to look for when choosing a personal loan provider

1. Compile a list of providers

It helps to stay informed, so make a list of the New Zealand loan providers available to you. Many providers also now offer online loan application forms, so you don’t have to limit yourself to local providers.

Keep in mind that the bigger the list, the better the chance you’ll find a provider that’s right for you. When you’re writing this list, don’t forget to consider the following:

  • Credit Unions
  • Banks
  • Peer-to-Peer Lenders
  • Loan Shops

2. Find the best interest rate

The lower the interest rate, the less you’ll pay over the life of the loan. It’s that simple. What’s less simple is that every provider will offer varying rates depending on the type (unsecured or secured) and size of the loan.

The easiest way to compare interest rates is via the provider’s personal loan calculator, or to check interest rates online at interest.co.nz. You’ll be surprised at just how big the differences between providers can be.

3. Compare fees and charges

Slick advertising and low interest rates are often used to draw you in, so before you sign on the dotted line check the fine print. Hidden closing fees, commissions or late charges all add up.

Some personal loans, for example, charge for changing the repayment terms, while others will hit you with additional fees and charges if you miss a payment. If these are rolled into your loan, you’ll also end up paying interest on them, too.

Keep this in mind when comparing providers. Great rates don’t count for much if the provider makes their money back in hidden extras, so check their rates as well as fees and charges. If it sounds too good to be true, it often is.

4. Consider the terms and conditions

Terms and conditions cover everything from the payment period, due date, as well as early or lump-sum payments. The exact payment period that’s best for you depends on your own financial circumstances, and your capacity to pay, so look for a provider that best matches your needs.

Similarly, check if you’re able to make lump-sum payments towards your loan or pay it off early. A bonus, rebate or extra cash might let you make those early payments, but some providers may charge early exit fees.

5. Ask questions

If in doubt, always ask for clarification from a loan provider. Send them an email, pick up the phone or sit down with them and discuss how long the process will take, what they offer, as well as any other specifics you want to know about.

Are you interested in a personal loan from NZCU Steelsands? Use our personal loan calculator and apply online for your personal loan today.