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Ask Savvy: Should I Apply For a Personal Loan?


Dear Savvy,

I've been meaning to take a $5,000 personal loan. However, as you may know, my bank WaMu was bought by JP Morgan Chase. I'm not sure what kind of effects this would have on me or my bank. Should I hold off or go to different banks? Also, since we are in economic crisis, will it harm me in the future if I do consider going through with this?

See my answer when you read more.

The fact that you've been meaning to take out the loan, and aren't in desperate need of the money, tells me that a personal loan might not be the best option for you. Also, there is one major detail that hangs unanswered: It isn't guaranteed that you will be approved for the loan. Banks have been tightening their credit and have heightened their lending standards, meaning they are lending less and only to borrowers with excellent credit.

Borrowing money affects your personal credit, no matter the state of the economy. The loan will appear on your credit report and any late payments will negatively affect your credit score. You only want to take out a loan if it's absolutely necessary because you are paying interest on the loan — $5,000 is only the principal loan amount and does not take in to account any interest owed.

If you decide to pursue a loan of any kind, it's necessary that you shop around to make sure you're getting the best interest rate. The fact that JP Morgan bought WaMu simply means that JP Morgan would be your lender, not WaMu. Instead of borrowing the money, I would recommend saving up for whatever it is you need. Open a high-yield savings account and put away as much as you can each month.

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