Document your income
Any income you receive could help you qualify for an unsecured loan. You will need to provide documents, such as a recent statement. Lenders may consider:
- A pension or annuity
- Social Security
- Required minimum distributions from your retirement accounts
- Spouse’s income
Being able to document some type of income could mean the difference between getting an unsecured loan and a secured loan.
Document your assets
If you don’t have enough income to qualify for the loan, you may instead qualify for a secured loan based on your assets. Here are examples of assets a lender might consider:
If you plan to use jewelry, artwork, or collectibles as collateral, the lender will require a professional appraisal and may require physical possession of the item until the loan is repaid.
Ask your bank
Credit unions and banks usually have secured loan options. Virtually everyone will consider different sources of income for an unsecured loan. Only credit unions offer payday loan (PAL) alternatives.
Check online lenders
An online loan is similar to a loan from your local bank. They will generally consider sources of income other than employment. Many popular online lenders only offer unsecured loans, but you will find some that specialize in secured loans.
Avoid predatory lending
Title lenders make loans using your vehicle as collateral. Payday loans charge huge fees. These are considered predatory loans. They are very expensive and you may end up repaying the loan amount several times over.
If you default on a title loan, the lender can take your vehicle (but risking your collateral is true for any secured loan). For some payday loans, you can’t miss a payment because the lender will automatically take the money from your bank account on payday, even if you need it for other expenses.
Check rates and fees. Depending on your situation, not having a job could make you look like a riskier borrower. This could cause them to charge you higher rates and fees for an installment loan.
What to do if you are not approved
If you are not approved, you can try to reduce your loan amount or talk to the lender to find out how you might qualify. Be careful when applying to multiple lenders, as each application can hurt your credit score. Many lenders offer information based on a soft pull, which does not affect your score. Take advantage of it when you can.
If you don’t have any income or assets, you’ll have a hard time getting a personal loan. In this case, you will need to reassess your needs and consider other strategies.
In addition to asking a family member or friend for a loan, you can also ask someone to be your co-signer. This means that you are asking this person to take responsibility for your debt and pay it off. You could inadvertently give someone you love a new financial problem if you are unable to repay your loan.