Citizens Bank is an established financial institution that has a strong online presence in addition to its physical branches. You don’t need to be a bank member to apply for a personal loan and their rates are competitive with other online lenders, even those who don’t have any brick and mortar establishments.

Applying online is easy and you can receive a decision on funding in a matter of minutes. Read on to find out more about Citizens Bank and if their personal loans are right for you.

Citizens Bank Personal Loans

You can apply for a loan from $5,000 all the way up to $50,000 with Citizens Bank, one of the higher ranges you’ll find amongst online lenders. Expect to see APRs ranging between 5.99% and 16.24%, or perhaps even higher depending on your loan type and individual credit history.

Citizens Bank offers both fixed and variable rates that last between three and seven years. This gives you a little more flexibility in your loan options, particularly your monthly payment amount.

Just be sure you fully understand your loan terms if you decide on an adjustable rate because your payment amount can change after a certain period of time. Depending on what has happened to interest rates since you took out the loan, you could pay less or potentially a lot more.

Citizen Bank loans don’t come with any charges for origination, application, or disbursement fees so the interest rate you see is pretty straightforward, especially for fixed rates.

So exactly what kind of personal loan can you get with Citizens Bank? Loan funds can be used for debt consolidation, vacations, special occasions, adoption, or major purchases. If you have a question on the eligibility of what you’d like to fund using a personal loan, Citizens Bank offers a customer service number so you can chat with a representative.

Borrower Profile

There are not too many hard requirements associated with getting a personal loan from Citizens Bank. The lender states that borrowers should have a “reasonably strong credit history” though there are no details citing exactly what that means. You must, however, have a minimum income of at least $24,000 to qualify.

Since there are a variety of factors that go into determining a person’s creditworthiness, it seems like Citizens Bank keeps the door open on minimal requirements to better assess each applicant individually.

It does not, however, offer a pre-approval process, so you can’t gauge your eligibility without submitting a full application and receiving a hard inquiry on your credit report. This may not be significant to you if you’re not shopping around for many loans or already have a high credit score.

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Application Process

Start off the application by filling out your personal information, including your social security number. You’ll also be asked to provide income and employment information, as well as your requested loan amount and intended use for the money. At this point, Citizens Bank pulls your credit information, causing an inquiry to appear on your credit report.

Based on this information, you’ll receive an instant response of whether or not you’re approved for a loan. From there, you may be asked to provide additional documentation to verify your information and you’ll then receive your proposed loan terms. If one of the options works for you and your budget, you can accept it by providing an electronic signature on the loan agreement.

Once You’re Approved

After your loan application has been approved and you’ve signed your loan agreement online, your funds may be transferred to your account as early as the next business day. Your first loan payment is due between 30 and 45 days after your funds are disbursed. You can also set up automatic payments so you don’t have to worry about remembering your payment each month.

Keep in mind that making on-time payments consistently every month can be helpful in building your credit score. Like most other lenders, another perk offered by Citizens Bank is that there’s no prepayment penalty if you decide to pay off any or all of your loan ahead of schedule.

Special Features

Citizens Bank allows borrowers to apply for joint loans as co-applicants. Simply select that option at the beginning of the application process. If your co-applicant has started an application already, you can logon separately to submit your own information.

Active military members may also receive special benefits when taking out a personal loan with Citizens Bank. To see what kind of perks you might qualify for, call Citizens Bank directly and ask to speak to a customer service representative.

Citizens Bank’s History

Unlike many online personal lenders, Citizens bank is a traditional financial institution that opened its doors in 1828. Its online interface might not be as modern as those of newer competitors but it’s an old institution that has a long-term reputation. It’s also a large bank, currently holding the place of 13th largest retail bank in the U.S.

The company is headquartered in Providence, Rhode Island, but has more than 1,200 branches located throughout 11 states. That may seem like a lot, but Citizens Bank has actually been downsizing its branch business to focus more on their online efforts. You don’t have to live near a branch to qualify for a personal loan.

Is a Personal Loan from Citizens Bank right for you?

Before sitting down at your laptop to fill out an online application, make sure a personal loan is the best fit for your needs. From qualifying to repaying the amount owed, there is a lot of information to consider throughout the entire process. Here are a few things to think about when figuring out if a Citizens Bank loan is the best choice.

What do lenders look for in a borrower?

To get the lowest rates possible on your personal loan, you’ll need excellent credit, a lengthy credit history, and low levels of debt. But in reality, few people fit this description. In fact, the average American’s credit score is a 687, which (unsurprisingly) is considered “average” — not “excellent,” or even “good.” So don’t throw in the towel just yet if you don’t have a perfect credit history.

One of the most important things lenders want to see is a strong history of paying your bills on time. Missed payments listed on your credit report raise a red flag because it indicates that you may not pay your new loan on time. They might think you’re either unable to pay, or simply unwilling to keep up with your obligations.

The old saying holds true: actions speak louder than words. Demonstrate your creditworthiness by acting creditworthy with your current financial responsibilities. Your payment history affects 35% of your credit score, which is actually the largest scoring category. Take full advantage of those points by paying all of your bills on time.

What if you don’t qualify for a personal loan?

If your personal loan application gets denied at Citizens Bank or any other lender, first start off by finding out why. Lenders are required to inform you of the exact reason your application is rejected.

This is helpful because it pinpoints exactly what you need to work on in order to get approved for a loan in the future. They should also give you a copy of any credit reports and credit scores they used in reference to your application.

Review all of this information together to create an action plan to get your credit where it needs to be. It’s by no means an impossible process, although it might take some time depending on what your issues are. Now that you know the importance of paying your bills on time, make that a priority.

You can make it easy on yourself by setting up automatic bill pay through your bank or individual creditors. Have your payments scheduled for your payday even if they’re not due until a few days later. That way, you’re not tempted to spend that cash before your bills are covered.

Another big way to influence your credit report and qualify for a loan is to pay down existing debts. Yes, you’re trying to borrow more money, but most lenders won’t lend money to anyone whose debt to income ratio is too high. Ask the lender if they have a cutoff ratio to find out how close you are.

If you can pay down just a few thousand or even a few hundred dollars to get within an acceptable range, it might not actually take that long to get approved for the loan amount you really need.

This may not be realistic if you’re having trouble keeping up with your payments and want to borrow for emergency funds. But if you do have buffer cash in your budget and are taking out a personal loan for something like a vacation or wedding, it might be a worthwhile option to consider.