There are legitimate loans that cost money to apply for, but they are typically large, like home loans (you might have to pay for a credit check or an appraisal), and those fees are clearly explained—often on official disclosure documents. If you’re getting a personal loan or an auto loan, upfront fees should be avoided. If you end up paying a fee, you can be sure they’ll keep trying to get “one last fee” out of you (over and over) until you catch on.
If you prefer a face-to-face experience, opt for a traditional brick-and-mortar bank. If you want fast funding and modern conveniences like mobile loan management, an online lender can make sense. Many financial technology companies offer personal loanme online. But whether an online or in-person loan is better for you depends on what you value most.