Check the small print Before you apply for a loan, check the small print to see if you’re eligible. Sainsbury’s Bank offers a loan rate of 5.6 per cent, for example, but applicants must have a Nectar Card and have used it at Sainsbury’s in the past six months.Natwest and RBS only offer their best loan rates to current account customers.3.Think about early repayment charges It might seem unlikely at the time when you take out a personal loan – but don’t forget that it’s possible you will be able to pay off your debt early.

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This week Derbyshire Building Society has thrown down the gauntlet to rival providers by launching a rate of 5.6 per cent on loans between £7,500 and £14,999.

According to analysts at price comparison site Moneysupermarket, this is the lowest headline rate since November 2006.

Although the Bank of England base rate has been at an all-time low of 0.5 per cent for three-and-a-half years now, loan rates have remained stubbornly high – until now.

With rates falling, we’ve put together 10 top tips for taking out a personal loan.1.

If you think there is a good chance you will want to settle your loan early, it may be worth searching for a deal that comes without any early repayment charges.4.

Shop around for PPIPayment protection insurance (PPI) has had some bad press but it’s still a useful product for some people.It’s designed to cover your monthly loan or credit card repayments if you are unable to meet them due to sickness or unemployment.Shop around As with any financial product, when it comes to taking out a personal loan it pays to shop around and compare APRs.The APR (annual percentage rate) tells the true cost of a loan taking into account the interest payable, any other charges, and when the payments fall due.Your bank may say it offers preferential rates to its current account customers but you might still find there are cheaper loans available elsewhere.For example, existing Natwest customers are offered a rate of 7.9 per cent - 2.3 per cent above the rate offered by Derbyshire BS.2.