Personal Loans for Physicians and Dentists
Physicians are in a unique financial situation that changes as their careers progress.
What a first-year practicing physician straight out of residency can afford will likely be different than that of a seasoned veteran, and their financial needs will also vary.
Luckily there are a variety of physician personal loans available for medical professionals to take advantage of, no matter if they are still medical residents or nearing retirement.
This article will provide an overview of what these personal loans entail, what they can be used for, and how to find the best physician personal loan for you.
What is a Physician Personal Loan?
Personal loans for physicians are smaller loans for a shorter loan term (or period of time to pay it off) than larger loans such as a home loan.
Personal loans generally have better interest rates than credit cards, but they are a little harder to qualify for credit approval than credit cards.
Most personal loans have fixed monthly payments until the full loan amount is paid back with interest, unlike credit cards, which will have a minimum payment depending on your balance and a revolving credit line.
Benefits of Physician Personal Loans
Why would a physician choose a personal loan from their various loan options to further their personal finance progress? There are many reasons, and each individual has a unique circumstance.
With that being said, the three main reasons are as follows:
Low Interest Rates
As we already established, a physician personal loan will have a much lower interest rate than credit cards, which can save them hundreds of dollars in interest over the span of the loan.
Also, most personal loans are fixed-rate loans, which means your low rate won’t rise with inflation, unlike credit cards which can fluctuate as could some variable-rate loans.
Simplify Your Payments
From medical school debt to various credit cards that might have stacked up through various medical student needs, a physician may begin their career feeling like their monthly finances are all over the place.
A personal doctor loan can help to simplify their payments through debt consolidation.
A personal loan can help to replace all other debt payments into one monthly payment, which keeps finances simple and easy to track.
This will reduce the chances of missing a payment which can quickly wreck your excellent credit and even reduce the amount paid each month in total.
Improve Your Credit Score
A personal loan can help to lower credit utilization by reducing the amount of money you owe on a revolving credit line.
It can also improve your credit profile by diversifying your credit. Lenders like to see a variety of credit types.
How to Use a Physician Personal Loan
Each lending company will have limitations on what you can use their loan for, but for the most part, physician personal loans can be used for these five reasons:
If you are dealing with high-interest credit card debt or have other unpaid debt that adds stress to your life, you can use a personal loan to take all your payment obligations and turn them into one monthly payment.
When you refinance high-interest debt to a fixed apr loan, you not only save money, but you can also simplify your finances and get out of debt faster.
It should be noted, however, that personal loans aren’t the best option for student loan refinancing. Most banks will have even better terms for student loans than personal loans.
Physicians moving to another area for work will need a lot of money in their bank account to pay for movers, new furniture, deposits for utilities, and any other expenses that come with relocating to another area.
Getting a new apartment isn’t cheap. Most complexes will require the first and last month’s rent as well as a deposit.
How is a new physician supposed to be able to afford these things before they are even in practice? No doubt they haven’t had enough time or income to compile such a healthy savings account.
That’s where a physician personal loan will come in very handy.
Doctors need medical attention at times too, and they don’t get it for free.
So, when a medical student has to go to the hospital for an emergency or needs some special medical procedures, those medical bills pile up, just like any other hard-working individual.
Personal loans can be a great way to pay off medical bills with large late fees before they get placed in collections.
Often, these loans can be deposited into your checking account within a few business days, ready to be used for any bills or debt that is draining your cash flow.
Major Home and Auto Repair
After practicing for some time, you may be in need of some home renovations that are larger than can be paid for with one paycheck.
These can include unexpected repairs, such as HVAC, plumbing, or electrical issues. While any homeowner can face these expenses, their cost can range from a few hundred to thousands of dollars.
Rather than waiting until they save up the money (and possibly allowing the issues to get worse and more expensive), many physicians will simply take out a personal loan to pay for these repairs.
The same goes for mechanic bills. Unfortunately, vehicles can break down at the most inconvenient times, and a personal loan can help to pay for the needed repairs to get your car back on the road.
Life happens to everyone, and some circumstances are out of our control.
Before an emergency fund is built up, a personal loan can help pay for any unexpected emergency.
For instance, a physician may become unable to work due to an accident or sickness.
A personal loan can help to pay for their daily expenses until they can get back to work.
This will only work for a limited time, however. That is why we always advise physicians and other high earners to invest in a comprehensive disability insurance policy to protect their finances should tragedy strike.
When Not to Use a Physician Personal Loan
We’ve discussed the best uses of personal loans for physicians. Are there any circumstances when getting a personal loan is not in their best interest?
Below we’ll highlight some of those very circumstances:
If You Plan on Purchasing a Home
Taking out a personal loan right before you apply for a home loan will raise your debt-to-income ratio.
This could make it more difficult to secure a mortgage since this ratio is a large proponent of whether you qualify for a home loan.
Don’t take out a personal loan to pay for a down payment on real estate, either. Most equal housing lenders don’t allow this anyway.
Instead, get a physician mortgage loan if you don’t have the money for a down payment. Many lenders offering these special mortgages for physicians offer 100% financing as an option.
On Impulse Buys
Personal loans should be reserved for needs, not wants.
There will always be things you want but don’t necessarily need, such as the newest model of a gadget you already have or a vacation to the Maldives, but that doesn’t mean you should take out a personal loan for every impulse buy.
With that idea in mind, it is also advised that when you get a personal loan, only borrow as much as you need. Don’t be tempted to get a larger loan, even when a lender offers more.
Just because getting a personal loan is easy, repayment may not be as easy as you think.
When You Know You Can’t Afford the Payments
No matter how bad your financial situation is, defaulting on a loan will make it worse.
So, before you take out a personal loan, make sure the payments will fit your budget.
Types of Personal Loans for Physicians
All personal loans are not equal. Let’s discuss some of the most common types of personal loans you could encounter in your personal loan shopping endeavor.
These loans are the most common personal loans and the most simple.
No collateral is needed for these loans. Most lenders will simply take credit scores and income into consideration.
Since the lender takes on more risk, interest rates for these are higher.
These loans are secured by some type of collateral. This could be your home, land, or some other high-value asset.
If the borrower does not pay the loan, the lender is legally entitled to seize the asset or collateral.
These are loans with an interest rate that does not fluctuate. These loans keep the payments the same throughout the life of the loan.
The interest rate can change with prevailing interest rates in the market. Since the interest will change, so will the monthly payments.
Variable rates usually start out lower than fixed but will continuously increase.
If your credit isn’t great, you can take out loans secured with the help of another individual.
It can be anyone, but it is usually a parent or family member.
These cosigners, however, take on some of the risks. If you don’t make the payments, your cosigner will be liable for them.
Lines of Credit
A line of credit provides access to a certain amount of money, but you don’t need to take it all at once. You can borrow it as you need it.
You will only pay interest on what you borrow.
You can get a personal loan by borrowing from other physicians with a title like MD, DDS, or DMD.
Mistakes to Avoid When Securing a Personal Loan
Although medical professionals spend many years in higher education, none of their training is in finance, which sometimes leaves them unequipped to make the best financial decisions.
To help physicians from making any mistakes when it comes to securing a personal loan, we’ve compiled this list of common mistakes to avoid:
Falling for Bad Lending Practices
Lenders may be practicing some shifty business. As you shop around for loans, look for warning signs of these bad lending practices:
- Pre-payment penalties
- Guaranteed financing
- Pre-compute interest
- Large origination fees
- Hidden fees
- Loan insurance
Always make sure that your bank is a Member FDIC and always ask questions.
Banks can be sneaky and slip a fee in without you knowing.
Not Getting Prequalified
It’s always the best practice to shop around at various lenders before signing any papers.
Ask each lender to take a soft credit pull and give you a prequalification offer. Get the rates and terms and compare them before you make a final decision.
Although the exact rates may vary slightly after underwriting is completely finished, there shouldn’t be any drastic changes.
Not Reading the Fine Print
As doctors and dentists, you are probably very tired of doing paperwork. However, when it comes to your finances, you should always read the fine print.
Always read the entire contract, any disclaimers, and any side notes.
Most just check the interest rates and the monthly payment, but you should also be looking for hidden fees and penalties.
Not Making Payments on Time
Not only will late payments negatively affect your credit score, but you could accrue late fees, which can add up quickly, making it even harder to pay off your loan.
Best Companies for Physician Personal Loans
At LeverageRx, we help doctors cut through the noise to make smart, swift financial decisions. That means giving you the resources you need to effectively comparison shop.
As the name suggests, Doc2Doc lending is committed to solving the financial needs of doctors in America. When searching for a bank to provide you with a loan that best suits your needs, it would make sense to go with the one who knows your needs best.
Doc2Doc Lending specializes in providing financial solutions to physicians just like you. That said, if you took a loan out with Doc2Doc Lending, it would actually be serviced by the Bank of Lake Mills.
This bank ticks off all the major factors to look for in a personal loan. No co-signer is needed, you can get a loan with a fixed interest rate and, according to their website, be approved and funded within days.
This bank ranks at the top of our list for physician personal loans.
Panacea Financial is banking built for doctors, by doctors. They offer physician personal loans and state on their website they can provide funding in less than 24 hours, with no co-signer needed, no hidden fees, and 100% digital.
Visit Panacea Financial to learn more.
Hippo Lending doesn’t necessarily offer physician personal loans; instead, they provide physicians with loans designed to be used in their medical office or place of employment. This is sometimes a blurry line, so we included them in the list.
TowneBank offers specialized private banking services for the healthcare industry.
Similar to Hippo Lending, TowneBank places emphasis on the physician having his own practice in order to receive financing, but these lines can be blurry. They offer doctors lines of credit, equipment financing, and construction loans.
Visit TowneBank’s website to learn more.
If you live in Florida, Georgia, or Alabama, then Ameris Bank offers doctors an exclusive line of credit.
The minimum amount you can borrow is $10k, and the maximum is $150k. There are no origination fees, and the principal can be repaid at any time.
Visit Ameris Bank’s website to learn more about their Doctor Line of Credit.
PNC Bank has a financing product called the Medical Residency Loan. If you are a current resident or can remember your residency days, money is usually tight, and a cash cushion can easily take away the stress.
PNC’s residency loans come with zero origination or application fees, and you can choose a fixed or variable rate.
Click here to learn more on PNC’s website.
Bankers Healthcare Group (BHG)
BHG is fully dedicated to the financing needs of medical professionals. The company is well known for its practice financing product (that’s if you want to acquire or open your own medical practice), as well as personal loans.
A personal loan from BHG can be used to renovate a home, buy a car or go on vacation. The company prides itself on being available 24/7 to accommodate the hectic schedules doctors often carry.
By now, we hope to have answered most of your questions regarding personal loans for physicians. However, you may still have one or more lingering questions you're not quite sure about.
To secure a personal loan, you will need to fill out the entire loan application and provide documents to support your statements, such as pay stubs, employment contracts, and identification.
The lender will send that information to an underwriter to determine your eligibility.
Each lender will vary in the length of time before they release funds to you. Most traditional banks will take around 5-7 business days, but some online lenders can do same-day funding.
There is no limit to the number of personal loans you can have. With that being said, it will get more difficult to find a lender that will approve a loan if you already have several.
Most loans range between 12-84 months. The larger loans will usually have longer repayment terms.
Of course, the quicker you pay off the loan, the less interest you will pay, so it’s always best to pay it off as fast as you can.
You can get a personal loan if you aren’t a citizen but it may be more difficult. Many lenders will require a cosigner for residents or immigrants.
The choice is totally yours to make.
Fixed-rate loans are much more predictable. The monthly payment and interest will remain the same throughout your loan, but you may be missing out on the best rates.
Variable-rate loans can fluctuate and are usually lower interest but that can change quickly.
When you first apply for a loan, your credit shouldn’t be affected at all since they will do a soft credit pull.
When you sign for the loan, they will do a hard inquiry, which will be on your credit but it shouldn’t affect your score unless you have too many hard inquiries in a short time.
There are many benefits physicians can gain from using a personal loan when the situation calls for it. The trick is to find the best loan for your unique circumstances.
LeverageRx can help you acquire a loan for any of your life needs. Contact us today!