How To Apply For A Personal Loan: A Step by Step Guide

Across New Zealand, most banks and other lenders have a fairly standardised process for applying for a personal loan. Here’s what you can expect, and the steps you’ll need to take to apply.

If you want to apply for a personal loan, just follow these easy steps:

Step 1 – Research, research, research

Don’t even think of applying for anything before comparing what’s available on the market using our Canstar comparison tools for personal loans:

  • Compare personal loans for the amount for which you’re thinking of applying
  • Read our guide on what to think about when choosing a personal loan
  • Use our personal loans repayment calculator and work out what kind of repayments and interest rate you can afford on top of your normal budgetary expenses
  • Decide on whether you want a secured or unsecured loan
  • Get a copy of your credit rating to make sure you’re not going to be rejected for your loan application and get a black mark on your credit history


Step 2 – Online application, phone application or postal form application

Applying online or by phone is a simple process, and usually pretty quick, too. You’ll need to:

  • Be an adult
  • Have a good credit rating
  • Be a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident
  • Not currently an undischarged bankrupt
  • Have proof of a New Zealand home address
  • Provide proof of your income – usually payslips
  • If you’re buying a vehicle, provide details about the car you’re buying. This is often the registration number, price, and dealer or seller’s details
  • Provide details of any other loans or credit cards that you have – other debts, basically

If you’re not already a customer with your lender, you’ll also need to provide significant proof of your identity. Things you might need to provide include: a passport or driver’s licence, if you have one, birth certificate, and/or rates bill.

Step 3 – Verification and conditional approval

After your online application, you can expect to hear back from the bank – one way or the other – within a couple of business days. They will ask you to review their supporting documentation, such as the product disclosure statement for the loan. You will also need to send them copies of some documentation of your own. This includes:

  • Evidence of your income
  • Details of any other loans or credit cards you have
  • Proof of identity

You can usually post in copies of this documentation, or make a visit to a branch. Just make sure there is a branch near you!

Step 4 – Final approval and acceptance

The contract will be emailed or posted to you. Sign and return the loan contract paperwork by posting it or via scanning and emailing it. Your loan will be approved and accepted by the bank within 24 hours of them receiving the contract from you.


Step 5 – Drawdown

The funds are “drawn down” into your account, so they are accessible by you for the purpose of the loan. 

If things go wrong?

If you are having problems with your lender, eg unexpected fees, misleading information on interest rates, or think you should not have been given the loan, follow these steps. You might not need to do all three:

  • Contact the lender. Talk to the lender or broker as soon as possible. Many issues can be solved at this step.
  • Contact the lender’s dispute resolution scheme. If you and the lender can’t agree, get independent help to solve problems.
  • Report the lender to the Commerce Commission. This government agency gathers information to identify lenders who break the rules. It doesn’t take on individual cases, but acts against lenders who frequently break the rules.

You can also contact the Insurance & Financial Services Ombudsman Scheme. They resolve complaints about insurance and financial services, and their service is free and independent. MoneyTalks is a free NZ service that provides free and confidential financial advice.

Compare personal loans with Canstar


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