A personal loan is ‘a way of borrowing money from a bank, building society or other financial service provider’, and you normally have a set period of time (called the loan term) in which to pay the loan off.
I make this point as some of the other answers to this question have contained suggestions such as ‘put the money on your credit card’. That might indeed be an alternative (if rather expensive) way to raise the money for a purchase. However, it is not a personal loan!
So, what should I do if I want to secure a personal loan fast?
The first step is to do some research on which bank and which loan product you want to apply for. You can either visit or phone a few banks to get quotes or you can check out their websites. Alternatively, you could visit a money comparison site.
Having decided upon which bank to approach, your next step is to make a loan application.
Most banks will offer an instant decision on whether they are prepared to lend you money. This is called an Agreement in Principle. However, typically, before the money can be released (the bank term is ‘drawndown’), they require you to confirm your identity by providing passport or driving licence, bank statements, etc. If you apply via a branch, you will be able to supply this information there and then which should speed things up. If you apply online, you may need to post the documents to the bank which would impact how quickly the loan funds can be released to you.
However, for some online applications, some banks are now promising to have the money in your account almost instantaneously, where existing customers apply for the loan via their online banking service. By logging into online banking (going through the security logon credentials), that constitutes as having verified your identity and they will then get you to tick a box to confirm that you have read and accept the loan agreement. Not all banks currently offer this but it is becoming more common (in the UK at least).
It’s also important to stress the urgency of getting the loan funds, and ask how quickly the bank can deliver the funds. (This depends not only on how quickly they can verify that you are who you say you are but also on their underwriting process)
So the main things you should check are:
1. What verification documents will you need to supply, and can they verify you instantly? Bringing the right documents to the account opening interview will help greatly.
2. Will the process be quicker if I apply for a loan with my existing bank, having applied via their online banking site? (Note: You are more likely to be approved for a loan if you apply with a bank that you already have a connection with)
3. Do they promise to have the funds in customers’ accounts within a certain timeframe?
It should be possible to get a loan pretty quickly, and hopefully the process will be fairly painless.