Santander Bank Personal Loan Review: Best for Applicants with a Santander Checking Account

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We think a personal loan or line of credit from Santander Bank is best suited to those who have an existing checking account with the bank. This is because applying for a personal loan requires applicants to make a branch visit to complete paperwork, meaning applicants who don’t live in an area in which Santander has local branches will be unable to apply, practically speaking. And while you don’t need to be an existing customer to apply, applicants with Santander checking accounts can receive APR discounts and fee reductions depending on what type of checking account they have.

Santander Bank Personal Loan Review: Should You Apply?

If you’re already a customer of Santander Bank, and are looking for a personal loan, you can’t go far wrong with the bank’s offerings. However, because Santander requires a branch visit to complete the application process, and because the bank only has branches in a handful of states, it’s not ideal choice for most potential applicants.

ProsCons
  • Santander customers with qualifying checking accounts can receive APR and fee discounts.
  • Santander can only make loans to applicants who live in the Northeast.
  • You will be required to make a branch visit if you’re approved for a loan.
  • You cannot check your rate before you apply.
  • You cannot borrow less than $5,000.

We recommend a personal loan or line of credit from Santander mostly if you're an existing checking account customer at the bank. This is because a branch visit is required to sign your loan agreement, and for the fact that the bank provides discounts to customers with qualifying checking accounts. Santander only has locations in the Northeast, so the required visit will make this option a non-starter for many prospective applicants. Furthermore, customers with a Santander checking account will qualify for a 0.25% APR discount if they enroll in automatic repayment (“ePay”) from that account. In addition, certain checking account customers can reduce or waive the annual fee charges for a personal line of credit. Customers with a Santander Select, Premier, or Premier Plus checking account can waive the annual fee entirely. Customers with a Preferred checking account can reduce the fee from $50 to $25.

The APRs on unsecured personal loans at Santander aren’t the lowest we've seen, but the bank does have lower maximum rates than many of its competitors. That means that if you have an average or below average credit score, the bank could offer you a lower rate than other lenders might. However, because Santander does not have strict credit score cutoffs, it’s hard to know if an applicant with fair or poor credit would even qualify for a loan. Moreover, applicants cannot check their rate before they apply, meaning they will need to consent to a hard credit check to get a loan offer. A hard credit check can negatively impact your credit score.

Finally, provided you pay your loan on time, you won’t have to pay any fees on the loan, although this is not necessarily the case with a line of credit. Santander does not charge any origination, prepayment, or check processing fees for personal loans or lines of credit. When we asked Santander about late payment and non-sufficient funds fees, a representative from the bank told us those would be disclosed in the loan agreement.

Eligibility Criteria

Santander doesn’t have specific credit criteria or cutoffs for its personal loans and lines of credit. We still advise applicants to meet the recommended criteria listed below, which should improve their chances of qualifying for a loan.

  • At least 18 years old
  • Must live in an area Santander Bank serves

Santander currently only serves customers in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, Delaware, Maine, Vermont and Washington, D.C. If you live outside of these areas, you will not be able to apply for a loan or line of credit.

Santander Bank Personal Loan Rates, Terms and Fees

Santander
Santander

The bank offers both unsecured loans and lines of credit.

Unsecured Personal Loan

Santander Bank makes unsecured personal loans of up to $50,000, with repayment terms of up to 5 years.

Loan Amount Range$5,000 - $50,000
APR Range6.99% - 16.99% with ePay
Fees
  • No origination fee
  • Late payment fee: Not provided
  • NSF/returned payment fee: Not provided
  • No check processing fee
  • No prepayment penalty
Loan Terms2 to 5 years
Repayment OptionsMonthly
Direct Payment to CreditorsYes

Unsecured Line of Credit

The bank also issues a personal line of credit. The main differences between the loan and the line of credit lie in interest rates, which are variable for the lines of credit; and the repayment terms, which are revolving for the line of credit.

Loan Amount Range$5,000 - $35,000
APR Range9.74% - 18.00% variable rate with ePay
Fees
  • Annual fee: $50 (can be reduced or waived)
  • Late payment fee: Not provided
  • NSF/returned payment fee: Not provided
  • No check processing fee
  • No prepayment penalty
Loan Terms5 year draw period followed by 5 year repayment period
Repayment OptionsMonthly
Direct Payment to CreditorsYes

Application Process

You can apply for an unsecured loan or line of credit online, by phone or at a branch. According to the bank, an online application takes approximately 10 to 15 minutes to complete. When you apply, you will need to furnish the bank with your Social Security Number, employment information and income information. You will also need to agree to a hard credit check, which can affect your credit score. Unlike when applying to an online lender, you cannot check your rate at Santander before applying.

Application ProcessOnline, by phone or in person with a required branch visit (unsecured loans) and by phone or in-person (secured loans)
Time to Get Funds2+ days
Credit CheckHard credit check when you apply
Credit ReportingYes
Cosigners/Co-borrowers Allowed?Yes

A representative from Santander told us the bank will inform you of its credit decision within 24 to 48 hours after you submit your application. If you are approved, you will be required to visit a bank branch to sign your loan agreement. Your loan funds can be disbursed to any checking account you choose, but the money will arrive more rapidly if you choose to disburse funds to a Santander checking account. Either way, funds can then be available as quickly as the same or next business day.

How Does Santander Bank Compare to Other Lenders?

When it comes to getting a personal loan, it’s a good idea to compare several options before committing to one lender. We take a look at some other options available on the market.

Santander Bank vs. TD Bank

TD Bank
TD Bank

Similarly to Santander Bank, you don’t need to be an existing customer of TD Bank to apply for an unsecured personal loan. However, it’s better for applicants to already have a deposit account with TD Bank and have a good credit score. Customers with existing checking or savings accounts can receive a 0.25% APR discount on their personal loan if they enroll in automatic repayment from that account. Even existing customers of TD Bank will need a FICO credit score of at least 680 to qualify for an unsecured loan. For applicants who don’t meet the credit score cutoff, the bank also offers a secured loan option (and you will need to be a TD Bank customer to apply for this loan).

Highlights (unsecured loan)

  • APRs: 6.99% - 18.99% with AutoPay
  • Amounts: $2,000 - $50,000
  • Terms: 1 to 5 years
  • Origination fee: None

Santander Bank vs. Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo

You need to be an existing Wells Fargo customer to get a loan or line of credit from the bank. That said, the bank offers fairly competitive terms and rates to its customers on both secured and unsecured loans and lines of credit. In fact, one of the main advantages of using Wells Fargo is the bank's high loan amounts: up to $100,000 for unsecured loans and up to $250,000 for secured loans. The unsecured loan amount is much higher than what is offered by at Santander. And even when compared to all other banks, these loan amounts are quite high. Funding is also fast at Wells Fargo. Most applicants receive a credit decision within two hours, and if they are approved, funds are available by the next business day.

Highlights (unsecured loan)

  • APRs: 5.49% - 22.99%
  • Amounts: $3,000 - $100,000
  • Terms: 1 to 5 years
  • Origination fee: None

Santander Bank vs. Citizens Bank

Citizens Bank
Citizens Bank

Citizens Bank offers comparable personal loans to those from Santander, with two main differences. You can borrow up to $50,000 and you don’t need to live in a certain state to practically apply. Citizens Bank doesn’t require you to be an existing customer to apply for a loan, and the interest rates and loan terms are similar to those at Santander. What’s more, the application process is entirely online, meaning you won’t need to make a branch visit to complete paperwork, and you can check your rate before you apply without impacting your credit score. One downside is that Citizens Bank doesn’t offer as many products as Santander; you’ll only be able to get an unsecured loan through this bank.

Highlights

  • APRs: 6.80% - 20.91% with AutoPay
  • Amounts: $5,000 - $50,000
  • Terms: 3 to 7 years
  • Origination fee: None

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