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In 2020, about 19.4 million Americans had a personal loan, according to LendingTree. This is probably due, in part, to the fact that personal loans can be quite easy and quick to obtain – you might be able to apply, get approved, and receive funds within 24 hours – and their rates are low in the meantime. this moment. See the lowest rates you can get on a personal loan here.
Indeed, for a certain type of personal loan and for highly qualified candidates, Lightstream offers rates below 3%. Although it is at the very low end, other issuers have rates from around 6%. And that too can save you money: “If you only make minimum payments, $ 5,000 in 16% credit card debt could keep you in debt for over 15 years and cost you over $ 5,400. $ in interest. Your minimum payout would start at $ 117. If you got a 5 year personal loan at 6%, you would pay around $ 97 per month and be debt free in 5 years with a total interest bill of $ 800, ”says Ted Rossman, Senior Industry Analyst at Bankrate . and CreditCards.com. His conclusion: “If you can afford a lower rate than the alternatives, a personal loan can be a great way to consolidate credit card debt, medical debt, finance your business, or improve your home. Compare personal loan rate here.
Having said that, personal loans are no pitfalls. It’s unsecured debt, so you can pay more interest than you would with a car loan or mortgage, points out Lauren Anastasio, certified financial planner at SoFi – and, of course, the rates you get will be d. ‘As much better than your credit score and debt-to-income ratio are, she adds. You should also be careful with the set-up costs, says Annie Millerbernd, personal loans expert at NerdWallet. These can range from 1% to 6% of the loan amount depending on your credit, or it can be a single flat rate, she explains.
5 things you might want to use a personal loan to pay for:
To pay off credit card debt
Rossman says a personal loan can be an attractive way to consolidate credit card debt. “Personal loan rates can be lower than credit cards, especially if you have good credit, and they offer a fixed repayment period, while credit card debt could potentially last for decades and rack up a ton. interests, ”says Rossman. Compare personal loan rate here.
To pay off the medical debt
Some hospitals and doctors offer long repayment periods with little or no interest, which would make these plans better options than personal loans. “But, if you’re paying a higher rate on your medical rate and can’t negotiate it down, a personal loan may be desirable,” says Rossman.
To pay for a big purchase, like a home improvement, you need to do it as soon as possible
Millerbernd says personal loans work well for home improvement projects that you want to get started quickly, like a roof repair, because you can usually go from applying to financing in a week or less. “You can use a personal loan to renovate a bathroom or kitchen, but HELOCs and home equity loans will likely have lower interest rates, so it might be worth waiting a few more weeks to see. the money in your account, ”says Millerbernd. See the best rates for home equity loans and HELOCs here . But personal loans for home repairs also have another advantage, adds Rossman: “You’re supposed to pay off personal loans of course, but the consequences aren’t as bad as defaulting on a mortgage or mortgage loan. home equity loan or HELOC. ” Compare personal loan rate here.
- Financing a business “Personal loans are often easier to obtain than small business loans. This is especially true if you’re just starting out and you don’t have a lot of business income, if any, ”says Rossman. And if you have good credit, personal loans can charge much lower interest rates than business and personal credit cards, which according to CreditCards.com average 14.22% and 16. 4% respectively.
- Refinancing of private student loans “Refinancing private student loans with a personal loan might make sense, but I wouldn’t recommend it for federal student loans because they have more generous forbearance and forgiveness policies,” says Rossman. To understand this, you just have to look at the rate you pay on your private loans versus the rate you can get on your personal loan, as well as the set-up costs, the application fees (if there is one). ) and the resulting protections and benefits. with the student loan. Compare personal loan rate here.
3 things you shouldn’t take out a personal loan for:
Purchases with better loan options, such as school or buying a car or real estate
Anastasio says personal loans should be avoided to finance purchases for which there are more suitable borrowing options. “Examples include financing school or educational expenses with a personal loan instead of a student loan, purchasing a vehicle when a car loan is available, or real estate when a mortgage loan is the choice.” most appropriate, ”says Anastasio.
Discretionary shopping like vacation or retail splurge
Personal loans are too large a commitment, and expensive moreover, for short-term discretionary purchases. “Avoid personal loans for frivolous expenses that you cannot afford. You might really, really want a beach vacation, and you might be able to get a lender to give you money for it, but that doesn’t mean that getting a personal loan is a good idea. Says Matt Schulz, chief credit analyst at Loan Tree.
Much like vacations and big items, Millerbernd says, “A personal loan may have a lower interest rate than your credit card, but this is one of those times when it’s best to adjust your budget.” or delay in order to be able to reimburse. cash.” Also see: 8 things to consider before refinancing your mortgage