What is a signature loan and how does it work?

Signature loans are without a doubt one of the most popular types of loans available. An average percentage of 56.2% of Americans use signature loans borrowed from banks. A signature loan may be a suitable alternative if you’re searching for a loan that doesn’t need you to put up any collateral, such as your vehicle or home.

A signature loan is one of the most popular types of loan since it allows you to get an unsecured loan by only presenting your income, credit history, and signature to a lender.

For this sort of loan, having a strong credit history is a common requirement.

Are you interested in finding out what a signature loan is and how it works? This article reviews everything you need to know about signature loans and the exact methodology for how they function.

Also read: TD Bank Personal Loans Review: Everything You Need to Know

What is a signature loan?

A signature loan is popularly referred to as a ‘good faith loan’. It is a faith loan since the lender depends on your character and good faith (together with your credit score and income verification) to ensure that you will repay the loan.

So keep in mind that before defining the loan conditions and handing over the paperwork for signing, lenders will collect personal information about you and your income as well as your credit history.

A signature loan is frequently accompanied by an installment loan. This implies that you make regular monthly payments on the loan until it’s complete.

Typically, the payment amount is the same for all installments made during the term of the loan.

If you fail to make payments on an unsecured loan, the lender cannot seize your house or other assets.

Instead, the only significant expense is harm to your credit history and credit ratings. Negative information, such as loan default, can remain on your credit reports for up to seven years.

Bankruptcies can appear on your credit records for up to ten years. This may prevent you from receiving future loan approvals and may result in higher interest rates.

While a signature loan puts your credit at risk, you should take your pledge to repay the debt carefully. If you don’t, you may have to cope with the financial consequences for a long time.

Signature loan VS a line of credit

A personal line of credit resembles a credit card more than a personal loan. When you apply for a line of credit, the lender approves you for a certain amount, which is usually up to $100,000. Instead of getting the funds in one flat payment, you can withdraw funds as needed.

You are to pay interest on the amount borrowed, and your balance is repaid in predetermined monthly amounts.

While your signature loan Interest rates and monthly payments remain fixed throughout the life of the loan, a line of credit has variable interest rates that fluctuate with the prime rate.

How to get a signature loan?

Applying for a signature loan is typically simple and faster than applying for other types of quick loans, although approval may be difficult depending on your credit situation.

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Many lenders provide an online loan application that allows you to apply for a signature loan in a matter of minutes. We have carefully outlined the process for getting a signature loan below.

Evaluate your credit score

It’s a good idea to verify your credit score and review your credit record before beginning the process of applying for a signature loan.

This might help you figure out whether you’re in a good position to acquire favorable loan conditions before you apply.

If you find any inconsistencies in your credit report, use this opportunity to correct them, and if your credit score isn’t where you’d like it to be, evaluate if you can improve it before applying for a loan.

For example, you may concentrate on paying off some debt to reduce your debt-to-income ratio or on maintaining a string of on-time payments to improve your credit score.

Shop around

You’ll want to shop around and compare rates from a few different lenders to ensure that you get the best loan conditions possible.

Take a look at the requirements of the lenders you’re considering to determine whether you can fulfill them.

Using lender prequalification to obtain a better understanding of what loan conditions you could qualify for is a good idea.

Prequalification does not necessitate a hard credit draw, so you may learn more about your chances of acceptance without putting your credit score at risk.

Choose a lender and apply

It’s time to fill out a formal loan application once you’ve limited it down to lenders. This is when all of the information you gathered before will come in helpful, speeding up the application process.

The lender will do a rigorous credit check at this point to assess how much money they will grant you and the terms of the loan. This will reduce your credit score, but only by a few points in most cases.

Provide Documents

Next, become organized by gathering all the documentation that lenders typically want. You must gather all relevant information on hand in order to help make the process smooth. You are to give the following information:

  • Name
  • Contact information
  • Contact information for the employer
  •  Social Security Administration number
  • Identity proof (driver’s license or passport)
  • Proof of earnings (tax returns, pay stubs, or bank account statements)
  • Address evidence (a recent utility bill, your lease, or proof of home or renters insurance)

Vital information about the loan you want, such as the amount and purpose of the loan, as well as the period you want might be required.

Sign the agreement

Sign the signature loan agreement: Now that your lender accepts your proposal, it’s time to put your “signature” on the phrase “signature loan.”

Make sure you read the agreement thoroughly to ensure you understand what you’re agreeing to. If your lender approves your agreement, you’ll receive funding within a few days.

Repay your loan

Make sure you pay back your signature loan on time. If you miss a payment, lenders charge a late fee and this affects your credit score, making it more difficult to get future loans. To keep on top of your due date, enroll in autopay or utilize a spreadsheet.

Factors to consider before taking a signature loan

When thinking of collecting a signature loan, there are certain factors you should consider. Putting these factors into consideration will enable you to get an overview of what the loan you’re taking entails. Important factors to consider include:


The cost of any borrowing is the most significant disadvantage. Borrowers with strong credit may be eligible for better rates and terms, but those with less-than-perfect credit histories may have fewer options and pay higher interest rates.

Credit history

In some situations, negative credit history may result in a signature loan with a 30 percent or greater interest rate. Before taking out a loan, make sure you understand all of the conditions, including the costs. Here are a few key points to which you should pay close attention.

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Interest rate

Aside from the loan amount, this is most likely the most expensive part of the loan. The determining factors for your total interest cost are the interest rate, the amount borrowed, and the loan period.

Although this fee is not charged on all signature loans, some lenders need it to complete a new loan. Because the charge is usually a percentage of your loan amount, it might reduce the amount you get.

Prepayment penalty

 Some lenders impose an additional cost if you pay off your loan before the term ends, commonly known as an early payout fee. You can prevent paying this sort of fee by avoiding loans that impose it.

Late payment fines

You can prevent late payment fees and the resulting mark on your credit reports by paying on time. Most lenders impose a late payment fee if you pay late.

Also read: Best banks for personal loans

Where to find signature loans?

Interested in getting your signature loan? These are a few of the places where you can easily get your signature loan:

Online lenders

Shopping for and applying for online signature loans is typically a simple procedure. These companies are frequently highly automated, and there is no need to visit a physical place.

The ability to pre-qualify with an online lender to examine your anticipated rates and conditions without hurting your credit score is one of the benefits of applying with one.

Banks and credit unions

For banks, you may be able to apply for a signature loan entirely online, or you may need to visit a branch, depending on the policies. Credit unions frequently offer lower rates than banks, but you must first complete specific membership requirements before applying for an account.

Payday lenders

A Payday loan is a signature loan since they are not secured by collateral. We don’t encourage them, though, because they’re prohibitively costly, don’t help you develop credit, and frequently engage in dubious business activities.

What are the Pros and Cons of signature loans?

It’s very important to weigh the Pros and cons of signature loans before deciding to get one. Having an overview of the pros and cons of signature loans will aid you in making a decision.


Quickly available funds

Are you in desperate need of cash? Following loan approval, some lenders may provide loan money the same business day or within a few business days. Signature loans have the advantage of being quick and easy.

There is no requirement for collateral.

The lack of a requirement for collateral is a primary benefit of this sort of loan. You don’t have to worry about a lender repossessing your car or foreclosing on your property because all signature loans are unsecured (unless a court awards a judgment to the lender).

Interest rates are lower than credit cards

The average interest rate on a personal loan is often lower than the average interest rate on a credit card.

For example, the estimate of the average personal loan rate is 10.28%. Because the lender is taking on greater risk, the interest rates charged by lenders will normally be higher than secured-loan rates. Nevertheless, they will still be cheaper than another unsecured option, the payday loan.


Extra fees

Some lenders charge fees like origination fees, late fees, and prepayment penalties. These fees can significantly increase the cost of borrowing.

Potentially high-interest rates

High-interest rates are a possibility. A lender may charge you a high-interest rate if you have terrible credit. Some lenders offer maximum advertised interest rates of more than 30%.

Credit score

Of course, there are drawbacks. Signature loans are not suitable for everyone. For starters, they include credit checks, which means that if your credit score isn’t great, you won’t get a good interest rate – and you could lose the loan. Late payments might hurt your credit score. If you miss a payment by more than 30 days, it can negatively impact your credit score, making it more challenging to qualify for future loans.

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Short term

Signature loans are often for a short period, sometimes just a few months, and seldom for over four or five years. You’re definitely out of luck if you need a $50,000 or $100,000 loan, as most of them are for amounts between $3,000 and $35,000.

This is because the loan is unsecured and the lender is taking a big risk. Some lenders might require you to have a cosigner on the loan. This lowers the lender’s risk because the cosigner will be responsible if you default on the loan.

How does a signature loan work?

There are two sorts of loans: secured and unsecured. Secured loans receive their name from the fact that they’re “secured” by some form of collateral, such as a car or a savings account, which the lender may seize if you don’t pay. Unsecured loans, by definition, have no collateral.

They’re referred to as signature loans since they’re “secured” just by your signature on the loan agreement.

Your lender will pay you the whole lump sum in a single payment once you sign your name on the dotted line, either by depositing it into your account or by giving you a check.

Signature loans provide a wide range of loan amounts, ranging from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars.

To pay off your debt, You’ll make consistent, equal monthly payments. Signature loans can range in length from one to seven years, with three to five years being the most typical. Your credit and income determine the fixed interest rate of your signature loan.

It’s vital to keep in mind that because there are no assets or security involved, your interest rate may be greater than a similar loan of a different sort.

The period of a signature loan might range from a few months to five years, but most lenders provide signature loans with shorter terms.

Also read: Best personal loans with a cosigner

Frequently asked questions

What credit score is needed for a signature credit loan?

Getting a signature loan usually depends on your credit score. A basic rule is having a credit score of at least 660+.

Are signature loans legit?

Signature loans are very legit. A signature loan is a no-collateral loan made in good faith. Collateral is a piece of property or an item that you pledge to a lender as security for a loan if you default on payments.

Does a signature loan affect your credit score?

Yes, the amount and duration of your loan can affect your credit. You can prevent this by always making your point on time.

Do you need collateral for a signature loan?

No, the signature loan is a type of unsecured loan and as such doesn’t require any collateral.

Do banks offer signature loans?

Yes, most financial institutions offer signature loans including Banks.

What happens if I get approved for a loan but don't use it?

It will cause your credit score to sink, but your cosigner will be legally responsible for taking over the debt.


If you need money right away, a signature loan can be the best alternative. But make sure you think about your whole financial situation and why you’re short on cash.

If you live paycheck to paycheck, assess your budget and recurrent monthly spending to ensure that your money is going toward the things you need or value the most.

A signature loan may be appropriate for your requirements, but it can be costly, especially if you have bad credit.

If you determine that a signature loan is correct for you, do your homework and shop around to discover the best rates and costs.



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