A personal loan can be a financial lifesaver if you need to deal with an emergency, pay for a large household expense, or cover a temporary personal cash-flow issue.Here are 4 questions you should ask when trying to pinpoint the perfect loan to suit your specific needs.

1. What Type of Loan Do I Need?

The most common type of personal loan for emergencies and temporary issues is an unsecured short term loan. Why? Because it means you don’t have to put up anything as collateral against the loan. The advantage is that you don’t risk losing your possessions if you can’t make payments.

In addition, these loans are easy to apply for, allow you to get your funds quickly, and don’t require perfect credit. Online loan marketplaces, such as LendingTree​, link borrowers to a list of providers who offer such loans.

A secured loan, on the other hand, requires you to put something up as collateral like your house, your car, jewelry, or existing savings. These loans usually have lower interest rates, but it takes longer to get your money and it’s much harder to qualify for such a loan.

View Rates from LendingTree

2. What Type of Lender Do I Need?

If you’re considering a personal loan, your initial thought might be to go to your bank. While banks can often provide lower APRs and better terms, they tend to be slow at processing loan applications and have far higher eligibility requirements than online lenders.

LendingPoint is an excellent, newer online lender that provides loans to borrowers with lower credit standing.

Online lenders are flexible in their terms, but they generally have lower interest rates than credit cards, and certainly much lower rates than predatory payday loans.

View Rates from LendingPoint

3. How Will I Pay off the Loan?

A key consideration when seeking a personal loan is working out how you’ll be paying it back. Taking out a loan without making a viable repayment plan is asking for trouble.

Before you apply for a loan, work out how much you can reasonably expect to spend on repayments each month. If you’re relying on a future windfall like a promised bonus or your salary to pay off the debt in one lump sum, choose a lender that doesn’t charge any early prepayment fees.

4. What are the Right Repayment Terms?

Look beyond the monthly APRs to check what repayment terms each lender is offering, including loan origination fees.

AmOne ​​ is among the online lenders that don’t charge any origination fees and penalty charges, such as for missed payments or personal check processing fees.

Some lenders ask for weekly repayments while others expect monthly payments. Still other lenders have the flexibility to let you choose whether you’d rather pay off the loan in weekly or monthly installments.

Keep these tips in mind while deciding on which personal loan provider to go with. To learn more about personal loan providers, read our in-depth reviews.