If you’re like most people today, you don’t borrow a short-term personal loan before reading online reviews first. These reviews are chock-full of information you can’t find on a lender’s website. Insider information can help you avoid a lender with a terrible online reputation for another one that has an impressive 5-star rating.
But is checking their overall score all that you need to get a good grasp on a lender’s virtual reputation? If you want to find short term loans online that work for you, you’ll want to compare reviews carefully. Here’s how:
Narrow Your Search
Hunting for reviews starts with finding lenders over the Internet. Whether you prefer Google, Bing, or Ecosia, any search engine delivers an astronomical number of results in less than a second.
This speed is part of their appeal, but a broad selection can interfere with your search. Many of the hits that come back are for loans that aren’t available depending on your location or if you have bad credit.
If you’re looking for personal loans, you’re likely smack-dab in the middle of a financial emergency. You don’t have time to go through millions of possible options only to find out you can’t qualify for half of them.
To avoid wasting your time, narrow your search by location and financial profile. You can start with this phrase: online loans near me. Add the phrase “bad credit” if you’re borrowing with a subprime score.
Compare Reviews from Multiple Sources
Once you know the name of a few online direct lenders, you can switch gears to look for reviews on their products. This next step is as simple as inputting a lender’s name + reviews in your search engine.
If Google is your search engine of choice, the ABC company has made it easy to compare Google reviews right there in your search for online loans near you. Once you’re done reading those, however, you’ll want to compare reviews from multiple sources to get the best perspective.
Make sure you check out these third-party websites to round out your search:
- Better Business Bureau
- Site Jabber
Keep an Eye on Numbers
An individual review can give you a lot of information about a single borrower’s experience, but it’s easy to get lost in the weeds this way. To get a sense of the big picture, pay attention to the number of reviews and averages.
Large Amounts of Reviews
Hundreds of reviews averaging a 3-star rating are more insightful than a handful of 5-star reviews.
The more reviews a lender has, the better. It tells you a lot of people have tried their services, and their experiences were good (or bad) enough to warrant a review.
It also reduces the risk you’re reading fake reviews. While some lenders use this trick to boost their reputation, it’s unlikely they falsified hundreds of reviews dating back several years.
In addition to the number of reviews, you’ll want to compare the overall average rating a lender has earned. This number summarizes every review to produce a single grade representing the most common experience, and you shouldn’t go below a 4-star average.
An average can be helpful if a lender has a lot of 1-star and 5-star reviews in the mix. These extremes may not provide the most reliable insight into a lender’s process if there are an equal number of 1s and 5s.
Read Reviews with Discernment
Use these guidelines to help you compare reviews critically. While they won’t replace the need to compare interest rates and terms, they can help you round out your research when you’re stuck between two seemingly identical options.