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How to apply for a loan

How to apply for a loan online

Applying for a loan online can be quick and straightforward when you break the process down into smaller stages and understand the facts before starting. Discover how it all works with our explainer guide. 

Am I eligible for a loan?

One of the first things to establish is whether or not a lender is likely to offer you the money you want to borrow.

All banks and lenders have loan eligibility requirements to meet before you start an application. For example, to be eligible for a loan with us, you must:

  • Be at least 18 years old and no older than 83 when the loan is repaid
  • Have a phone number 
  • Be in permanent paid employment, self-employed or retired with a pension
  • Have a gross annual income of over £7,500 
  • Be a UK resident (excluding the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man) 
  • Not have a history of County Court Judgements or bankruptcy

You should also note that there is usually a range of exclusions, covering things that you won’t be able to use a personal loan for. 

What do I need when applying for a loan online? 

If you want to apply online, make sure you have the following information to hand:

  • Details of your monthly income and spending 
  • Your residential address for the last three years
  • The address of your employer 
  • Details of any other credit you have including other loans, credit cards and store cards 
  • The account number and sort code of the account you’d like your loan paid in to 
  • To get access to Nectar rates, you must be a Nectar member - when you apply, remember to give your Nectar card number if you have one 

We may ask you to provide proof of your identity. For this you’ll need a passport or a driving license, and/or a bank statement or utility bill. You’ll also need a mobile phone with a working camera, to take a selfie as part of these checks. 

Things to consider before applying

Need help deciding if a personal loan is right for you? We’ve answered some of the most common questions our customers ask about taking out loans and the best ways to borrow money responsibly.

Is a loan the right choice? 

Loans can be a great way of borrowing money quickly, whether it's to complete a home improvement job or pay for your dream wedding.

That said, there are other ways to finance big buys and events, so you may not need to apply for a loan. For example, you could set yourself a saving goal and put money aside each month. Or you could explore other borrowing options with your bank and their competitors.

The best time to apply for a loan depends on your personal circumstances. If you’ve had recent issues with bad debt, borrowing might not be the right choice until you’ve had a chance to rebuild your credit score. Make sure to review your monthly expenses and think carefully about how your financial circumstances may change in the future as well. 

How much money should I borrow? 

You should always consider whether borrowing money is affordable for you. Use our loan calculator to get an idea of the total amount repayable, as well as the monthly payments you’d need to cover. This won’t affect your credit score.

The highest personal loan we offer is £40,000 for Nectar members and £25,000 for non-Nectar members. You can also increase your personal loan with Sainsbury’s bank if your current total borrowings are less than £40,000. 

See our banded loan pages for the total repayable amount, representative APR rate and monthly repayments. Note that credit is subject to status. And the rate you may be offered will depend on your personal circumstances, credit assessment procedures and other related factors. 

You can also make loan overpayments and pay off your loan early. This could save you money in the long run but watch out for early repayment charges. Contact your provider to find out more.


Is it safe to apply for a loan online? 

Yes, applying for a loan online is safe. Most lenders give you the option to revisit an online application that you haven’t submitted yet, completing it at your own pace. 

Check that your information is secure by looking for the padlock icon before the URL. This shows that the information on the page is encrypted. If anyone were to intercept the information, they wouldn’t be able to read it without the encryption code. 

Often when applying for a loan online, you’ll be logged out if you’re inactive for a while. This is an additional security measure. 

Can I only take out a loan with my current bank? 

No, you don’t have to take out a loan with a bank or building society where you’re already a customer. You can shop around and find the right match for your borrowing needs.

You can have multiple personal loans at once, but this may negatively impact your credit score and lead to financial difficulty. 

When shopping around for the best type of loan for you, compare the representative APR, look out for any initial set-up costs and check potential penalties for missed or late payments. Another thing to look out for is early repayment options. 

Interest rates for different types of loans 

The representative APR (annual percentage rate) allows you to compare different types of loans from various providers. The lower the APR, the less interest you’ll pay. 

Bear in mind that the actual rate offered to you will depend on your personal circumstances, credit history and other related factors. At least 51% of customers who receive a loan will get it at the advertised representative APR.

Understanding and checking credit scores

A credit score is used by lenders to assess the likelihood of a person's ability to repay their debts. This will influence whether your loan application is successful. Your provider will also use credit information to work out what interest rate to offer on a bank loan. 
You’re more likely to get accepted for a personal loan if you have a good credit history. While you can get a loan with a bad credit score, your options may be more limited and interest rates are often higher. You can check your credit rating before you apply for a loan to give you a better idea of what to expect and to correct any errors in your records. 

Applying for and being refused multiple loans at once (or in a short space of time) can signal financial trouble and negatively impact your credit score. So, it’s best to only apply for loans you believe you're likely to qualify for, based on your circumstances. For more information, read our guide to managing and improving your credit score.

Will I get an instant decision? 

Some lenders will give you an immediate decision when you reach the end of the application, while others might take a few days.

What happens if I can’t pay back my loan?

If you need a short-term break from your loan, your provider might be prepared to put your personal loan repayments on hold for a bit – but this will extend your loan term.

You should be aware that there could be serious financial consequences if you don’t pay back your personal loan. To start with, you’ll most likely be charged a fee plus interest on any missed payments. Your credit score could also take a serious hit. And if you default on a secured loan, you risk losing any belongings or properties listed as security.

For more information, check out our guide on what to do if you are worried about defaulting on loan repayments.

How to apply for a loan

Here’s how you can apply for a loan online and begin your application.

Find out if your loan application may be successful

A loan isn’t suitable for everyone, and some people’s applications might not be successful. Find out if you are likely to be accepted for a loan before you apply by performing a soft search. A soft credit check gives you an idea of your eligibility for a loan without affecting your credit score.  

Use a loan calculator before applying

Applying for a loan online is only half the journey. It’s important to use a loan calculator beforehand.

This can help to let you know what your monthly payments could be and how much you may need to pay back in full. A loan calculator estimates the annual interest rate, annual percentage rate (APR) – which is the total cost of your borrowing over a year – and more.

With a loan calculator, you can get an idea of how much you will need to pay back if your loan application    is successful. It may also help you decide if a loan is right for you.

Start your application online

If you’re happy to proceed with your application, you’ll be given the chance to read through a few things to consider before starting.

This may include:

  • What the lender doesn’t offer loans for   
  • How to get support with your application
  • How you may be contacted by the lender about your loan
  • What to do if you have a change of circumstance during your loan agreement
  • Eligibility criteria you need to be aware of before starting
  • What to have to hand before starting your application

Submit your personal details

You’ll normally be asked to submit   your personal information to start with. This can include your:

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Email address
  • Mobile number
  • Purpose of your loan    
  • Current address
  • Nationality

You’ll then be prompted to fill in information about your current circumstances, such as your:

Marital status
Number of co-dependents
Residential and employment status
Occupation and employer name

Provide financial information

Lenders will then ask for information about your income and monthly outgoings. This can include details about your gross annual income and any monthly mortgage or rental payments.

You’ll then need to provide your banking details. This may include your account number, sort code and when you opened the account you would like your loan money paid into, if your application is successful.

At this point, you’ll have the chance to check all the information you’ve entered is correct before submitting your application to the lender.   

What happens after I apply?

Once you’ve submitted your application, there are a few things that can happen before you get a decision from the lender.

Lender checks

When applying for a loan online, the lender decides if you’re suitable based on the following information:

  • Your application details
  • Your credit report
  • The lender’s own criteria

Lenders use a credit reference agency to work out your credit score. The higher your score is, the better your chances could be of being approved for a loan. 

If you’re accepted for a loan, the lender will explain the terms and the interest rate they’re willing to offer you.

Will I get an instant decision?

Some providers may give you an immediate decision when you reach the end of the application, while others might take a few days. 

You usually have 14 days to change your mind and decide you don’t want to take the loan. If you do change your mind, contact the provider directly.

When will money appear in my account if I’m successful?

If your online loan application is successful, the time it takes for money to enter your account depends on a few factors, including:

  • The type of loan you’ve been approved for
  • Which lender you’re using
  • If you’re an existing customer 

Some lenders may be able to transfer you money on the same day, while others may take a week or more. 

With Sainsbury’s Bank, you will receive your loan amount once the Loan Agreement has been signed by both you and us, and all checks have been completed. You could get your money in as little as 2 hours, or the next business day, if you’ve been accepted. 

Useful guides

Looking for more information? We have a range of helpful loans tools and guides.

Credit reports

Find out how to check your credit report and how it may affect your application.

Can I afford a loan?

If you’re unsure if you can afford the repayments of a loan, our guide can help.

More tools & guides

Everything you need to know from planning your financial future to switching loans.

Frequently asked questions

Will a loan application appear on my credit report?

When you apply for a loan online, the application may be listed on your credit report, as lenders do a ‘hard credit check’ when you apply. This involves a thorough look into your credit report and can appear on your records when creditors come to review it in future for any other credit applications.

Can I apply for a loan if I have bad credit?

You may still be able to get a loan online if you have low or bad credit. While your credit score is an important factor, lenders may also consider your income, debts and credit history for a loan. However, it could mean getting a lower loan amount and a higher rate.

How can I raise my chances of being approved for a loan?

You can improve your chances of being approved for a loan by boosting your credit score. This includes:

  • Making regular credit or debt repayments on time   
  • Clearing unpaid debts
  • Enrolling on the electoral register
  • Avoiding multiple credit applications

If I apply for a loan, can I cancel it?

Most lenders will have a cooling off period after you apply for a loan. At Sainsbury’s Bank, we allow 14 days to change your mind if you decide you don’t want the loan after all.

How do I manage my loan if my application is successful?

If your online loan application is successful,   it’s important to have a plan in place to manage your loan efficiently. This means understanding the full terms of your loan, making timely payments and being mindful of your expenses. 

If you have a loan with Sainsbury’s Bank, you can manage your loan by logging in to your online banking account.


Need more help

Check our FAQs, where we’ve answered our customers’ most commonly asked questions about loans and the advantages of borrowing money with us. You can also get in touch if you need to talk to our friendly team. 

We treat all our customers and their applications on an individual basis. The APR we offer is determined by the details you supply and the loan you are applying for, along with an independent verification of your credit and repayment. 

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