Applying for a loan can seem like a daunting task; a lot of planning and information goes into the application and the loan processes. Because it’s a big decision, you’ll want to ensure you’ve checked all of the boxes. Here, we’ve listed three steps that you should take before you submit your loan application. They’ll help you prepare and make sure your new loan gets you exactly what you need in the best way possible. Research Isn’t Only for School Even at one credit union, there are many different loan products offered to borrowers. There can be personal loans, vehicle loans, student loans, revolving loans, fixed-term loans and much more. Whatever your financial needs may be, chances are that you will find a loan product to suit you. While you will most likely have options, it is important to remember that each loan will have different benefits. Depending upon what you need, you might find a better deal with a loan that you did not initially consider. For example, if you’re looking to pay off credit card debt, you’ll likely first think of a debt consolidation loan. However, if you have available equity in a vehicle, you could refinance that equity with an auto loan at a much lower interest rate and save yourself money in interest overall. Do your due diligence and review each loan product and what it can offer to you. If you are uncertain what loans will work for you, contact a representative at your local credit union. Together, you will find a loan that best suits your needs and your lifestyle. Dust off Those Math Skills Who knew applying for a loan was similar to being a student? When you get a loan, you are borrowing money from a credit union or other financial institution with interest. Before submitting the application, make sure you calculate the amount of interest that you will end up paying while you have the loan. If math isn’t your strong suit, don’t worry. There are plenty of loan calculators available for you to use at no cost or membership obligation. Try the calculators on our website at msufcu.org/calculators. After inputting a little information about the loan you are considering, you will be able to determine how much your loan payment will be, how much you can actually afford with your income, compare two different loans to see which one will save you the most money and more. Look at Your Financial Report Card You wouldn’t buy a car without first making sure it runs properly, and the same goes for loans. Now that you’ve done your research and determined the best loan for you and your budget, it’s time to check out your credit report. We call it your financial report card because it shows how well you’ve managed your current and previous loans. If you’ve paid your loan payments by their due dates, your credit score will reflect that positively. A higher credit score means that you will receive a lower interest rate and pay less in interest on your new loan. Additionally, you’ll want to make sure that the items listed on your credit report are reported correctly and actually belong to you. If there are any inaccuracies on your credit report, it could affect your score and, consequently, your chances of getting a loan with an affordable interest rate. Try using annualcreditreport.com. This website allows you to view your report for free without harming your score.