Applying for a Loan: Should you go Online or In-Branch?

Applying for a Loan: Should you go Online or In-Branch?

May 28, 2019 0 By Edward H. Howard

We’ve heard a number of stories of South African consumers applying for loans online and having their applications refused, only to go in-branch and be accepted for a loan on the same terms. Similarly, sometimes, the reverse can be true, and consumers are accepted online after being refused in-branch. So that got us thinking: what is the best way to apply for a loan these days, online or in-branch?

These are some of the pros and cons of each approach to help you find the best deal.

Loan amounts

The amount you’ll be able to borrow depends on a number of factors. That includes the loan provider, the repayment term, and your credit history. But could the way you apply for the loan also make a difference?

It is possible that going in-branch to discuss the loan face-to-face and explaining why you need the money could allow you to access a higher loan amount. As we’ve said, other factors such as your financial circumstances, the purpose of the loan and your credit score will be considered but getting to know you a bit better in person could potentially increase your options. That said, you should never borrow more than is necessary simply because you can.

Applying for a Loan Should you go Online or In-Branch


Loan speed

One of the primary reasons why people choose to apply for loans online is the speed and convenience of the process. You can apply for a loan from the comfort of your own home and if approved, the money can be in your account the same day. Some established lenders like Wonga advertise a product called ‘instant loans’, where the money can be in your account within hours, and in some cases, even minutes of approval.

If you choose to apply in-branch, then the process is likely to take slightly longer. Your best bet would usually be to book an appointment to discuss the loan, and you may have to wait a few days before the person you need to see is available. However, even in-branch, the loan application can take just 30 minutes, and the money could be in your account just a few hours later.

Loan rate

When it comes to finding the best loan rate, if the loan provider has both an online and in-branch facility, you might be better served by popping into the branch. The are numerous factors that determine the annual percentage rate (APR) you’ll be offered. That includes the loan amount, the loan period, and your credit score. With all those factors being equal, taking the time to speak to the loan provider in person could improve the APR. However, always make sure you know what the loan provider is offering online for comparison purposes.

Applying for a Loan: Should you go Online or In-Branch


Loan repayments

Whether you apply for the loan online or in-branch, the repayment terms will be fully explained to you as part of the application process. If you have any questions about the repayments, either ask in-branch or call the contact number online. Repayments on all loans will be made via debit order. However, should you wish to make extra payments, with an in-branch loan, you can simply pop into the branch and make a payment. With an online loan, you’ll have to log into your account and make any additional repayments through that system.

What are your experiences of applying for a loan online and in-branch and which would you recommend to our readers? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.