What is a Personal Loan?
A personal loan is money you borrow from a lender for your own private use. The lending institution can be a bank, investment broker, or private lending company. You can apply for such a loan in your home town or on the internet. Personal loans can be used for a variety of needs including a vacation, vehicle repairs, education, medical expenses, home repairs or remodeling, legal bills, and debt consolidation.
The average personal loan maximum is $15,000. The amount you are eligible for will depend on the lending institutions guidelines for such loans, your income, and your overall credit rating. A personal loan is often confused with a line of credit. The major difference between the two is that a personal loan is a lump sum amount of money issued to you by the lender. A line of credit is similar, but you have access to funds up to your credit line that you can access all at once or just what you need, when you need it.
Personal loans can be either secured or unsecured. Secured loans mean you will offer the lender some type of collateral that they can claim in the event you don't repay the loan. This can be a vehicle, land, or other asset you own. Unsecured personal loans mean there is no collateral. The interest rates for unsecured loans are higher because there is a greater risk of non-payment.
The terms of a personal loan are generally one to five years. The terms of your loan will depend on the lender and the amount of money you borrow. It is important that you understand the loan terms prior to accepting the funds. While a longer loan term will result in lower payments, you will end up paying more for the loan over the life of it due to the amount of interest. Keeping that in mind, only borrow the amount you need for your specific purpose and pay it back as quickly as you can. Make sure the set monthly payment is something within your reach on a regular basis so you are not likely to default on the loan.
The most common use of a personal loan is to consolidate other debts. This is a great way to have one monthly payment and reduce your monthly expenses. However, this scenario only works if you are willing to set a budget and life within the boundaries of it. Too often, a person who gets a personal loan to consolidate their debt racks up huge debt again quickly. Then they not only have that debt to pay again, but now they have a personal loan payment to meet each month as well. It is wise to enroll in a debt management course if you feel you may be at risk to continue the cycle of accumulating more debt. These can be taken for free at many non-profit credit counseling centers around the Nation.
Personal loans are a great way to access the money you need quickly. The application process is simple. You will generally need to verify employment, income, and residence. The lender will pull a credit check. You will likely still qualify for a personal loan if you have bad credit or no established credit. However, be prepared to pay a higher interest rate and have some type of collateral to offer.