Decoding personal loans can be a bit of a challenge, especially for new borrowers. It’s easy to be intimidated by loans, given the reputation it has in financial horror stories and depictions of loan sharks in the media. That said, the truth is a lot more mundane than those wise guys on TV with slicked hair and leather jackets.
Personal loans are a handy tool for people who need something paid immediately, and there are plenty of ways to do that safely. However, too many people underestimate the high interest rates and find themselves in even more debt than before. On the other hand, some people get scared of those high interest rates, and end up having no progress on their problems.
That’s why it’s important to understand the pros and cons of personal loans and how they can best help you.
Table of Contents
The Advantages of Personal Loans
Personal loans wouldn’t exist if they didn’t provide some value. Here are some reasons why loans are an attractive option for paying off debt.
Getting a lump sum means you receive all the money you borrow at once. This is particularly useful when there’s a purchase or debt you need to pay in one fell swoop. Lump sum also means you have the freedom to parcel out those funds in whatever way you want, without having to wait for the rest.
Lump sump is great for small businesses in particular that need a quick startup. It’s also good for people who need to pay off debt which is closing in on a deadline. That said, it’s easy to overestimate one’s ability to pay off lump debt, so make sure you have the financials in place to pay for it in the future.
When you borrow money and pay it back on time, it shows lenders that you’re responsible. This can improve your credit score, which is like your financial report card. A good score can help you get better loan terms in the future, like lower interest rates or higher loan amounts.
It cannot be overstated just how important credit score is for loans. Building good credit on personal loans will make bigger loans easier in the long run, and it’s also something far more manageable.
Sometimes, you need money urgently. Whether it’s a leaky roof or a sudden medical expense, knowing you have the means to sort it out quickly provides a sense of relief. It’s like having a safety net that ensures you can handle unexpected financial bumps in the road without getting stuck in a waiting game.
This is because personal loans can be approved pretty quickly compared to other types of loans. You can apply online or at a bank, and if approved, the money can be in your account within a few days, helping you handle the situation faster. That kind of rapid help can be a game-changer when you’re in a pinch and need to tackle things ASAP.
Personal loans typically don’t ask for collateral, which makes them very attractive for people who don’t want the complications of that. No need to put one’s house or car in jeopardy over an unpaid loan. This setup allows individuals to pursue their financial goals without risking their most treasured assets.
For those who have a clear strategy to pay off the debt responsibly, this lack of collateral requirement is a welcome safety net that lets them borrow without the fear of putting their possessions at stake. The security offered by this loan makes it attractive to people who prefer cash only when it comes to debt payment.
Loans typically have a complicated number of interest rates and payments. With a personal loan, most of that debt can be consolidated, simplifying the process significantly. An underrated aspect of personal loans is how much easier it is to handle debt, provided you plan accordingly.
Think about it like this: You might have a bunch of bills—credit cards, student loans, and who knows what else—with their own due dates and interest rates. It’s just too many moving parts, each more expensive than the last. But with a personal loan, you can put all those debts together and make things much easier.
Covers Almost Everything
Personal loans are pretty flexible. You can use them for a wide range of things—unexpected medical bills, repairing your home, buying appliances, or even funding a wedding. Personal loans are defined by this flexibility, especially useful for young adults still figuring stuff out financially.
That said, it won’t cover student loans, and given the disadvantages coming up, it’s for the best. Personal loans might have a lot of advantages, but there’s a darker side to personal loans that needs to be taken seriously.
The Disadvantages of Personal Loans
That said, it’s important to understand the risks that come with personal loans.
Higher Interest Rates
The versatility of personal loans also means it has higher interest rates. This is to incentivize borrowers to pay up as soon as possible. For borrowers who pay overtime as opposed to lump sums, this can end up losing the borrower more money in the long term.
This is one of the most common debt traps to fall into. Borrowers will take on a large lump sum and start believing they have more finances than they actually have. Once the borrowed money dries up, the lender expects the borrower to have turned enough of a profit to pay with interest.
High Penalties and Fees
On top of the high-interest rates, failing to pay loans on time also results in high penalties. These fees, paired with the already high-interest rates, make paying off a personal loan even harder. Some lenders even charge fees for attempts to pay the loan off early.
Strict Eligibility Requirements
Due to how competitive the market for personal loans is, lenders have very strict requirements for who is eligible for a loan. People with poor credit history or people who need cosigners may end up being rejected for personal loans. This is unfortunate because that means the people who may need a loan most are not eligible for it due to their credit.
Missing out on payments for personal loans could adversely affect your credit score. Poor credit history paired with a failure to pay loans makes you a less attractive candidate for lenders. It’s also much harder to apply for stuff like mortgages and cars, essential assets to have in the modern world.
These are all important factors to consider before acquiring a personal loan. The most important thing to note here is that much of the cons for personal loans come from missing payments, and having poor credit history. In essence, personal loans are best not for people who are already in crippling debt, but for people who want to avoid starting on that path.
Financially secure people who just need some quick cash will benefit most from a personal loan, as the risks are minimal when planned correctly. Even so, life comes at you fast, and financial situations can change on a dime. Always prioritize paying off loans when considering finances, and you will avoid a lot of future headaches.