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Back in your parents day, if they needed a loan it meant a trip to the local bank. Nowadays, your lender can be located on the other side of the country. Thanks to the Internet, you can compare fees, rates, and loan terms online. You can check with the Better Business Bureau to see if there are any complaints against a certain lender. You can apply for personal loans online and get pre-approved in a matter of minutes.
Many traditional, bricks-and-sticks banks have Web sites and entire departments devoted to processing online applications. There are also many non-traditional banks that only offer services online. The Bancorp Bank is an example of such a bank. If you do your research and know the lender is legitimate and reputable, there is no reason not to apply for loans online. Just make sure you are dealing with a legitimate financial institution.
There are many, many online lenders that charge exorbitant fees and outrageous interest. If you want to find out what fees are reasonable and what the going rates are, check out Bankrate.com's rate monitor. You can plug in your zip code to find rates for lenders that serve your area.