If you’re considering applying for a loan, the options can be overwhelming. “Does it really matter which loan provider I choose?” Keep in mind that not all loan providers are equal, and only the most responsible lenders have your best interests at heart.

It’s important therefore to choose the right lender for your specific needs, and one you can trust.

Here’s what to take into consideration when choosing a loan provider:

1. Interest rates, fees, and charges

The first thing you want to assess are interest rates, service fees, and any other administration charges that might apply. As consumers, it’s natural to assume the lower the interest rate on a loan, the less money you’ll have to pay back in total. At least it seems that way at first. Some lenders will attract customers by advertising the lowest interest rates, but profit from a myriad of additional charges and fees that must be disclosed clearly.

Key takeaway

Before choosing a loan provider, always do your due diligence to find out what additional charges and fees you may incur on top of your loan amount.

Keep this in mind and be sure you understand when comparing personal loan providers.

Tip: If you know the loan amount you may need, consider using a personal loan calculator to help estimate what your loan repayments may look like.

At Instant Finance we believe in full disclosure. Your loan agreement will fully disclose the amount borrowed together with a full breakdown of fees. It will also fully disclose that whilst the establishment fee and payment protection insurance are interest bearing, the administration fee is not. Our helpful staff will take as long as is necessary to explain your loan agreement with you.

2. Customer service and support

Customer service may not seem like a big deal in comparison to interest rates and fees. However, consider that loan repayment term may take months or years depending on the amount you’ve borrowed. That’s a long time to be dealing with a company, especially a lender that provides substandard customer service and support.

Having the comfort of being able to talk to someone at any stage throughout the loan term, whether that be help with establishing a household budget, or support during financial hardship, can be a significantly underrated factor in the decision-making process of choosing a loan lender. Friendly, knowledgeable and supportive staff will listen to you, and go that extra mile to ensure you receive the best customer service.

Key takeaway

Assess the level of customer service and support on offer. Can you pick up the phone and speak with someone easily? Do they have good customer service ratings? Are the actively responsive to customer feedback on Social Media? Do customer service representatives genuinely take the time to understand your current financial situation and need for a loan?

3. Good ol’ T&C’s

The terms and conditions of a loan should fully disclose all aspects of your loan, from repayment schedules to due dates, early or lump-sum payments and everything in between. Your own individual circumstances may determine what sort of repayment schedule is best suited for you, and your ability to repay the loan within the loan term.

When considering a loan provider, it is vital to ensure that you fully understand the terms and conditions associated with payments and payment schedules.

Key takeaway

The fine print within a loan agreement should fully disclose everything you need to know, so always set aside some time to read them. If you have any questions, or a need for clarification, then simply ask. The response you get should be clear, understandable and helpful.

4. Trustworthiness and transparency

Some loan providers pride themselves on clever marketing tactics and flash advertisements, which can be challenging as a consumer to find the right loan that’s best suited for you. Choose a lender that will genuinely support you throughout the entire loan process and beyond, and work closely with you if times are tough.

It can be very enticing, and convenient, to have a desired amount of money in your bank account within a few minutes of applying, but what happens when life takes a turn for the worse?

Remember, start by asking questions about the loan agreement and its terms and conditions. If a loan provider is vague, hesitant or evasive, reconsider your position. Your loan provider should be transparent and open with all information relating to your loan. The most trustworthy lenders will not compromise their integrity of being a responsible lender if they believe a loan may not be the best option for your current situation, or may lead to financial hardship.

Key takeaway

Determine the trustworthiness of a loan provider by simply asking around. Talk to family and friends, take a little time to review Social Media channels, or read reviews online for impartial opinions from past or present customers.

At Instant Finance, we pride ourselves on our strong commitment as one of New Zealand’s most responsible lenders, having serviced everyday Kiwi’s for nearly 50 years. We are an active member of the Financial Services Federation, a non-profit organisation representing New Zealand's responsible, non-bank financial institutions. Their work includes setting industry standards for responsible lending, promoting compliance, consumer awareness, and working with Government towards fair and enforced legislation.

We’re happy to answer any of your questions and provide sound advice on understanding interest rates and fees, repayment schedules and loan terms, or how the loan process works.

If you have any questions about loans, how the loan process works, or would simply like to talk with someone, then give us a call on 0800 760 000 or visit your nearest Instant Finance branch.