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by Mike Vestil 

The Basics Of Personal Loans: What You Need To Know

A personal loan is a type of loan offered by a financial institution, such as a bank or credit union, that is used for a variety of purposes, including debt consolidation, financing a new purchase, starting a business, or covering unexpected expenses.

It is a secured loan, meaning that the lender requires some kind of collateral, such as a car title or a home equity loan, to provide assurance that the loan will be repaid.

While the terms of personal loans vary from lender to lender, they offer borrowers the advantage of fixed rates and a more manageable monthly payment.

Personal loans can provide significant relief when faced with financial challenges. They can be used to consolidate high-interest rate debt, cover medical emergencies, and can even fund college educations.

In this article, we will explore the different types of personal loans, the features that distinguish them, and the best strategies for utilizing them. We’ll also take a look at the Section Sub-Section of obtaining a personal loan.

What Is A Personal Loan?

Personal loans have become an increasingly popular way to access cash when families and individuals need a financial boost.

Personal loans offer the ability to borrow a set amount of money and pay it back in monthly installments, with interest, over an extended period of time, which makes them an appealing option for many borrowers.

Unlike other forms of credit, such as a credit card or line of credit, personal loans provide a fixed amount of money and a fixed, predetermined repayment schedule and interest rate that the borrower can rely on.

Therefore, personal loans can be a great option for individuals or families who may not qualify for other forms of credit, or who need to finance a large purchase.

When choosing a personal loan, it’s important to research all of the potential lenders and to compare rates, fees, repayment terms and interest rates.

It is also essential to read the fine print and make sure the borrower understands all of the terms before signing the agreement. Furthermore, borrowers should determine how long they will need to repay the loan and the best repayment option that fits their individual needs.

Finally, borrowers should be aware of the potential risks associated with personal loans, such as late payments and penalties if the loan is not repaid in full.

2 Types Of Personal Loans

Personal loans are an invaluable resource for individuals or businesses seeking extra financial leverage. Whether you’re looking to consolidate debt or finance major life events, there’s a specific type of loan tailored to your needs. In this article, we’ll explore the additional details and differences of two of the most common personal loan types: Unsecured and Secured.

1. Unsecured

Unsecured personal loans do not require the borrower to provide collateral. Instead, the loan is offered based on the borrower’s capacity to pay and the creditworthiness of the individual.

With unsecured loans, the lender takes on a greater risk as there is no asset to satisfy the loan in the event of a failure to repay.

This can make lenders hesitant to offer unsecured loans, so often the interest rates that come with this type of loan are higher than other types of personal loan. The upside of an unsecured loan is that there are often no upfront costs, fees, or costs to apply.

Additionally, unlike other forms of financing, unsecured loans are easier to get approved for due to not having to provide collateral. Because of this, it can be a great option for individuals just starting out in the world of financing or for those with bad credit.

2. Secured

Secured personal loans require some form of collateral to secure the loan, often in the form of personal assets such as a car or house. These types of loans offer advantages over unsecured loans, such as a higher borrowing amount and lower interest rates.

However, they can also be riskier, as personal assets could be recouped by the lender in the event of default. Borrowers should always use caution and assess the potential risks of a secured loan before agreeing to the terms and conditions.

Considerations that should be taken include the value of the collateral, how the loan will affect ownership of the collateral, and the borrowing capacity of the borrower.

Furthermore, the borrower should research the lender, including their reputation, financial stability, and credit history. Generally, those with a higher credit score will have better chances of approval and more desirable terms.

Secured personal loans may vary depending on the lender, making it important to compare different offers before making a decision.

Understanding The Essential Eligibility Criteria For Personal Loans

When exploring personal loans, it is important to understand the eligibility criteria. This includes factors like credit score, income, and employment status. In this section, we will discuss these eligibility criteria for personal loans in detail.

Credit Score

For those looking to take out a personal loan, having a good credit score is essential. It is important to remember that having a good credit score is a key factor in obtaining an advantageous rate or other qualifications from the lender.

A higher credit score will lead to better rates and terms, while a lower score will potentially cause lenders to deny a loan or offer unfavorable terms.

It is also important to understand that bad credit does not necessarily disqualify one from obtaining a personal loan, as many lenders offer loans for those with a less-than-ideal credit score.

So, even if an individual has a bad credit score, they should still research different personal loan options, as lenders have varying levels of risk tolerance when it comes to granting such loans.

Checking one’s credit score is an important step before considering a personal loan, as this will provide an indication of what rates and terms a potential lender may offer.


When applying for a personal loan, potential borrowers must meet specific eligibility criteria beforehand. One such criterion is the borrower’s income.

Typically, lenders require a minimum level of income to be eligible. It is important to understand that a borrower’s income can come in various forms, ranging from traditional paycheck-based employment to pension payments and social security benefits.

Depending on the lender, a certain type of income might be required to qualify for a personal loan. Furthermore, lenders will verify the provided income with bank statements, salary slips, and other relevant documents.

The income level will also influence the size of the loan and the rates charged, with higher income persons typically granted better terms.

Employment Status

Employment status is a critical aspect for evaluating eligibility for personal loan applications. To be considered for a personal loan, applicants must have evidence of employment and a secure source of income.

This means applicants must have a full-time job or at least part-time job that allows them to make regular payments on the loan.

Furthermore, if applicants are self-employed, lenders may require additional information to prove that the applicant has a regular stream of income and that the applicant will be financially capable of making payments.

Applicants must typically provide proof of employment, such as recent pay stubs, in order to prove their employment status.

Additionally, lenders may also ask for proof of current and past address in order to track their applicant’s employment status over time. This type of evaluation is a key aspect of determining a loan applicant’s eligibility as it provides lenders with an assurance that loan will be paid back over time.

Interest Rates

Personal loans can be a useful tool for managing finances and meeting large financial obligations. However, it’s important to consider all relevant factors before making any final decisions about whether or not to acquire a personal loan.

Perhaps the most important factor to consider are interest rates, as this will affect the overall cost of the loan. In this article, we will discuss the different types of interest rates available when taking out a personal loan, including fixed and variable rates.


Fixed-term personal loans are loans that require the borrower to pay off their debt within a designated period of time, usually a few years.

Typically, fixed-term personal loans offer a lower interest rate compared to other types of loans and credit cards. Fixed-term loans also come with less risk, as the interest rates remain constant throughout the loan term, making it easier for borrowers to budget and plan for the future.

When taking out a fixed-term personal loan, it is important to understand the terms of the loan, such as the loan amount, the interest rate, the repayment period, and the total cost of the loan over time.

Knowing these terms can help the borrower make sure they are getting the best possible rate for their loan and can help them avoid unnecessary fees.

Additionally, borrowers should be aware that fixed-term loans may have stricter repayment requirements than other loan types, including prepayment penalties and late fee charges.


When considering a personal loan, one of the most important factors to consider is the interest rate associated with the loan.

Variable interest rates mean that the rate attached to the loan can change over time, usually based on the current economic conditions or interest rate trends.

Variable-rate personal loans are typically determined by one of two factors: creditworthiness or an index. Creditworthiness-based variable rates are directly correlated to an individual’s credit score and their overall financial situation.

An index-based variable rate is usually linked to an economic index such as the prime rate of interest. This can cause costs to fluctuate if the index goes up or down, generally leading to a higher or lower interest rate.

Loan Terms

Our article is all about personal loans, exploring their types, terms, and the best ways to get them. We’ll dive first into loan terms and specifically look into the amount, duration, and repayment schedule associated with personal loans.


The amount of a personal loan is an important factor to consider when taking out a loan. It can be scaled according to the borrower’s needs, with amounts ranging from as little as several hundred dollars to as much as $100,000.

The borrowed amount typically varies based on the borrower’s creditworthiness, income, and debt-to-income ratio. Loan amounts larger than $100,000 are available, but they require the borrower to have a solid credit score and substantial assets.

Additionally, depending on the lender, there may be limitations on the number of funds that can be borrowed or a predetermined cap on the loan amount.

Most lenders will require the borrower to put up some form of collateral as security to guarantee repayment of the loan, as well as to establish a ceiling limit for the loan. The lender’s terms and conditions, as well as applicable laws, will decide the maximum amount of the loan.


The loan duration, or the length of time through which a loan is valid, is an important factor to consider when getting a personal loan. The length of the loan can vary depending on the borrower’s needs and credit history, but are generally between two and five years.

Generally speaking, the longer the loan duration, the lower the monthly payments and the more interest paid over the life of the loan. It is important to note that loans with a longer duration may have more total interest paid, however, the monthly payments are typically lower.

Before choosing a personal loan, it is important to carefully consider the loan duration to find the best financial option. A loan with a longer duration has the potential to result in more interest paid, while a shorter duration may have higher monthly payments.

Furthermore, the repayment terms and requirements of the loan must also be considered to ensure a borrower can actually meet the obligations of the loan.

Repayment Schedule

When considering a personal loan, an important factor to consider is the repayment schedule. A repayment schedule outlines the total amount of money that is to be paid back and the due dates for each of the installments.

Generally, personal loans are split into a series of payments spanning a fixed period of time, such as six months or three years. Depending on the lender and the loan terms, the repayment schedule can be structured to fit an individual’s budget and needs.

Payment options are usually flexible, allowing monthly or biweekly installments. However, with some lenders, repayment in full might be an option.

It is important to note that the repayment schedule will likely include relevant information such as penalties for late payments and prepayment fees. It is in the borrower’s best interest to understand their rights and obligations regarding repayment.


Personal loans can be used for various purposes. They can help you purchase a car, consolidate debt, fund a home improvement, and more.

However, before taking out one of these loans, it is important to understand the potential fees involved. In this section, we will talk about origination, prepayment, and late payment fees associated with personal loans.


Personal loans are forms of unsecured debt typically used for short-term financing. Origination fees are an often-overlooked expense incurred when taking out a personal loan. This fee is generally a percentage of the total loan amount; usually anywhere from 0.5% to 6%, with exceptions.

Origination fees are used to cover the cost of analyzing a borrower’s credit risk and confirming that they are a good candidate for a loan. The origination fee is typically taken out of the total loan amount, resulting in a slightly reduced loan amount relative to the initial request.

Furthermore, since origination fees are nearly always fixed costs, it is important to consider them when determining the final loan terms and balance.

The impact of origination fees may vary based on factors such as the lender, the borrower’s credit score, and other considerations.

On the one hand, having a good credit score can often result in a lower origination fee, while those with lower credit scores may have to pay higher than average origination fees. All in all, origination fees must be taken into account when considering the overall cost of a personal loan.


Paying off a personal loan before the end of the agreed term is known as prepayment. The prepayment of a personal loan gives the debtor an option to save money by reducing the interest that must be paid. Prepayments incur five or six types of fees, depending on the lender and loan agreement.

The most common are exit fees, administrative fees, early termination fees, or interest rate savings. In some cases, lenders may even reduce the early termination fee when the borrower pays a certain amount of the loan early.

It is important to note that prepayment is not applicable to every type of personal loan. Some lenders do not accept prepayment plans, while others offer additional benefits if the loan is paid in full before the agreed upon deadline.

It is important to research the lender’s prepayment policy before signing a loan agreement to avoid any unexpected fees. Also, it is advisable to compare the prepayment terms among different lenders to get the best deal.

Late Payment

Late payments on a personal loan can incur fines and other fees that can add to the total cost of a loan. The amount charged for late payment will depend on the bank or lending institution, as each lender has its own terms and penalties.

Depending on this lender, the penalty may be a percentage of the amount owed, a set amount, or a combination of both. If a borrower defaults on a loan for an extended period of time, the lender will sometimes report the debt to one or more credit bureaus.

This can adversely affect a borrower’s credit score and also reduce their chances of securing financing from other lenders in the future.

It is important to pay personal loans on time or as soon as possible after the payment deadline to avoid any unexpected fees and interest charges. Doing so also reduces the risk of damaging a credit history.

Application Process For A Personal Loan

Applying for a personal loan can be a time consuming and intimidating process. Fortunately, there are a range of options available to help you determine which loan and lender best suits your needs.

Many lenders offer online and in-person application processes and it is important to understand the differences between them. In this section, we will discuss the online and in-person application processes for personal loans.


Applying for a personal loan online can be a convenient way to obtain a loan. Most lenders offer digital applications or an online form which makes the process fast, simple and transparent. Before submitting an application, it is important to check what kind of laptop is available and compare rates from different lenders.

During the loan application process, borrowers are typically asked to provide the lender with personal and financial details. This includes their name, contact information, social security number, employment information, and bank account information.

To remain secure, applicants should be sure to double check the security settings and encryption of their chosen lender before providing any sensitive information.


Applying for a personal loan in-person is an attractive option for many borrowers. It offers the privacy of speaking directly to a loan officer and potentially avoiding the risks associated with an online loan application.

When choosing to apply for a loan in-person, prospective borrowers should expect to provide documents to prove their identity, income, residency and other personal details.

These documents may include identification such as a driver’s license, tax or pay stubs, credit statements, or statements from past or current lenders. Having this information on-hand can help speed-up the in-person loan application process.

Additionally, the loan officer may request additional documents depending on the type and amount of the loan being applied for. Once the documents have been submitted, the loan officer will review them, assess the borrower’s credit score, and approve or deny the loan based on their individual assessment.


Personal loans are a popular financial tool for those looking to cover large expenses without breaking the bank. From banks to credit unions to online lenders, the range of institutions offering personal loans is wide and varied.

In this article, we will be exploring the different lenders that offer personal loans, as well as their pros and cons. From banks to credit unions to online lenders, we will take a deep dive into each of these options.


Banks can be a valuable lender for those looking for personal loans. While the terms may be more stringent than other types of lenders, banks still offer a wide range of options for those seeking a loan.

Through banks, customers can look for low interest rates, long repayment terms, and other benefits such as minimal fees.

Additionally, some banks will even provide special assistance to customers who have a lower credit score or who are in need of additional funds.

Banks also have the ability to negotiate with customers to make sure both parties are satisfied with the outcome of the loan.

Many banks have their own online applications, allowing customers to quickly and conveniently apply for a loan. Customers should check with their individual bank to see what kind of personal loan options they may be eligible for.

Credit Unions

Credit Unions are not-for-profit membership organizations that provide personal loans to their members. Generally, credit unions have lower interest rates than other lenders, as well as lower fees, flexible repayment terms, and fewer restrictive conditions on eligibility.

Credit unions may also be more willing to consider the personal circumstances of the borrower, such as the need for loan consolidation, rather than just the credit score and payment history of the individual. Credit Unions provide members with a safe and secure long-term loan solution.

Their members may also benefit from loan products like bridge loans, and lines of credit, designed to facilitate large purchases or consolidate multiple existing loans into one.

Credit Unions typically require members to be a part of the organization for a certain period of time before they can take advantage of certain loan products, but for those with the required standing, a Credit Union provides a unique, flexible way to borrow.

Online Lenders

Online lenders provide an accessible and convenient way to get the personal loan you need without having to visit a branch.

These companies operate entirely online, making it very easy to apply for a loan. In addition, online lenders typically have more competitive rates than banks and other traditional lenders, so you can save money.

For example, due to their streamlined application process and reduced overhead, online lenders may offer better rates than a traditional bank.

To further simplify the loan process, online lenders often require minimal documents to apply for a loan. As such, the entire process can be secured quickly and conveniently, right from the comfort of your own home.

There are a variety of loan products available, so you can find a loan product that fits your specific situation. Additionally, most online lenders offer customer service lines that are available to answer your questions if you have any.

Personal Loan: FAQ

What Is A Personal Loan?

A personal loan is a loan designed for individual use. Rather than securing it against an asset, the loan is unsecured, meaning that the borrower does not have to put up any collateral.

How Do I Qualify For A Personal Loan?

In order to qualify for a personal loan, you must demonstrate responsible financial behavior and have a good credit score. Your credit score will determine the interest rate and loan terms available to you.

What Can I Use A Personal Loan For?

A personal loan can be used for a range of different purposes, such as debt consolidation, home improvement, financing a large purchase, and more.

What Is The Difference Between A Secured And Unsecured Loan?

A secured loan requires the borrower to put up some form of collateral, such as a vehicle or home, as a guarantee for repayment of the loan. An unsecured loan does not require any form of collateral from the borrower.

What Are The Repayment Terms Of A Personal Loan?

The repayment terms of a personal loan will depend on the amount of the loan, the lender and the terms you agree to. Generally speaking, most personal loan repayment terms range from 1-7 years.

What Are The Different Types Of Personal Loans?

The most common types of personal loans are unsecured fixed interest rate loans, variable-rate loans, debt consolidation loans, and peer-to-peer loans. Each type of loan offers different terms, interest rates, and repayment options.

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About the author 

Mike Vestil

Mike Vestil is an author, investor, and speaker known for building a business from zero to $1.5 million in 12 months while traveling the world.

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