It happens to everyone. You work, you take care of your family, you live your life. All of a sudden, an unexpected situation has you searching for emergency funds and after reviewing your options, you decide to take a loan online.
When it comes to dealing with sensitive issues such as money and loans, you want to make sure everything is clear and transparent and of course avoid doing business with fraudulent companies.
So, if you’ve decided to take a loan online, there are some precautionary measures you can take to make sure the service you’re considering is legit. Here is a short list of what you need to look out for when you want to learn how to avoid fraudulent loans on the internet.
Read the loan’s terms and conditions extra carefully
Like every online service, especially a financial one, it comes with a legal document called ‘Terms and Conditions.’ We don’t need to stress how incredibly crucial it is that you fully understand the agreement you are entering into and get all of the information before you give your consent to use a financial service.
It’s important that your extremely private loan-related information is entrusted with a brand you know and trust. Sometimes, two companies would join forces in order to provide customers with extended services. In this case, if you trust one company, it’s likely that its partner was carefully vetted before the company you trust offers its partner’s services to you. And if by any chance you encounter an issue, you already know who to talk to.
Look into real customer reviews
In the end, people are the users of online services. If they’re happy with the service, they’ll praise the brand, the product, and the people they encountered on the other side of the screen. But, if they had a negative experience, they will dish online.
While most positive reviews will say the same thing, it’s important to know that not all negative reviews reflect on the service. When looking at bad reviews, make sure to check for three important components:
- Consistency. Take a look at several reviews. If all of the reviews point at the same specific issue, it means that there might be something there. Moreover, think about what is important to you and check to see if there is consistent feedback on it.
- Brand reply. Most companies don’t bother replying to public customer reviews. But, when it comes to money matters, you want to get the company’s perspective, especially on negative reviews and various accusations. The company’s reply will reflect the level of service and commitment to customer care, which are extremely important factors to consider.
- Timing. Make sure to check several reviews from a wide range of dates. Sometimes there’s a technical issue that causes temporary problems in online platforms, which does not necessarily indicate that the product is flawed. But if you see that the feedback is repetitive, you’ll know it’s probably an issue to keep in mind.
Google the service you’re considering
Nowadays, a quick Google search will tell you everything you need to know about a particular service. But other than making sure there’s an actual website and looking into customer reviews, it’s important to see the company’s numbers.
No, we don’t mean internal, confidential numbers. We mean social media and news coverage.
Why are these important?
In this particular case, where you want to investigate a brand’s validity, social media channels have the same importance as customer review websites. Hence, you’ll want to check the number of followers on each platform, what type of content is posted by the company, and what type of comments do customers (or simply followers) leave on posts. You’ll be surprised at what you can learn by taking a quick look into a company’s Facebook profile.
Looking into news coverage can tell you a lot as well. Did the company appear in any renowned news publications such as Forbes or VentureBeat? Is the coverage positive or negative?
These are important questions to take in mind as the answers will tell you whether this is a trustworthy company or not. Note that most large financial services get covered in the news once in a while. If the company isn’t mentioned in any news publication at all, it could be an indication to be extra careful.
Taking a loan is an extremely important financial decision that should not be taken lightly. Before you decide, make sure you have all of the information. Research the company, make sure you fully understand the conditions of your loan, and that you have a plan that details how you’ll pay it back.