Types of loans

When you get a loan, you borrow a certain amount of money and agree to a set repayment schedule. Loan repayments are typically more predictable than credit cards, which can make them easier to budget for – although their rates may be higher for borrowing small amounts.

There are several different types of loan, each with their own risks and benefits – it's important to know which type suits you before you apply.

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Why do you need to borrow?

When you’re thinking about the kind of loan that’s right for you, the reason you’re getting the loan in the first place is really important. And there are plenty of good reasons for getting a loan. For instance, you might be wanting to make a large purchase, such as a car, or go on a special family holiday.

On the other hand, you might be consolidating other debts – meaning that you want to put together all your loans into one, and this can be one great way to bring down the interest you’re paying out each month, as well as making it simpler, with just one monthly payment to think about. Do consider any negatives too though, for instance it might mean you end up paying more in the long run, just because of the length of the loan.

We'll help you understand the main types of loan, and show you where to find more information about them:

Personal (unsecured) loans

Personal loans allow you to borrow relatively small amounts, e.g. £1,000, although they can go much higher. Many people use them to spread the cost of a large purchases. You won't have to use an asset (such as your house) as collateral, which means less risk for you. However, you'll probably need a high credit score to get a good interest rate.

Find out more about personal loans

Secured loans

These loans use an asset, such as your home, as collateral – meaning you could lose the asset if you can't keep up with repayments. But a secured loan can still be suitable if you're confident you can stick to the payment schedule. Collateral lowers risk for the lender, so you may be able to get better rates or higher amounts with a secured loan – even if your credit score's low.

Find out more about secured loans

Guarantor loans

These loans require you to have a guarantor: someone who promises to repay the loan if you can't. This is usually an older relative or friend, although it can be almost anyone who meets the lender's criteria. These loans carry risk for both the guarantor and borrower – but if you have a low credit score, using a guarantor can improve your chances of acceptance.

Find out more about guarantor loans

Car finance loans

Need to spread the cost of your new wheels? There are several ways you can finance a car, whether you want to buy it outright, pay for it in instalments, or just rent it. Each option has different pros and cons, so there's a lot to consider before you apply.

Find out more about car finance

Payday loans

These are short-term loans, and usually for a relatively small amount of money. The good news is that they can be easy to get. But beware of the interest rates, they can be much higher than your average personal loan. Make sure you shop around, and compare rates across payday lenders before you apply.

Find out more about payday loans

Debt consolidation loans

A debt consolidation loan lets you bring together all of your existing loans into one more manageable debt. When working out how much you’d save, add up together the amount you owe across your loans, and look for a loan for that amount.

Not only could you save on the total amount you pay out each month, but you could also find it far simpler just having to make one payment instead of various amounts to different lenders. Make sure though, that you check you’re happy with the length of the loan period, as it might mean you’re paying off your debt for longer.

Find out more about debt consolidation loans

Loans for bad credit

If you have a low credit score, you might have found it tricky to get a loan, and this is because lenders see you as a higher risk. There are some loans available for people with bad credit, but it’s important to take into account the interest rates as this could be high, and make a big difference to the amount that you’ll be paying back each month.

Although your options might be more limited, you could still get a loan. We can help you compare loans, and see what’s out there, even with a low credit score.

Find out more about loans for bad credit

What to consider before taking out a loan

Taking out a loan is a big decision, and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. In most cases, you’ll be paying off the loan over several years, and so making sure you should get the loan, and which kind of loan is right for you, is really important.

It might be useful to ask yourself:

  • Can I afford the amount? – Think about how much you can afford to pay back each month, and make sure you’ll be able to meet the payments
  • Which type of loan is best for me? Do your research, and find which is right. The type of loan can make a big difference in interest rates
  • Am I likely to be able to get this loan? Too many applications in a short time might harm your credit score
  • Might a credit card be better for me? Loans offer more stability in that the payments each month are always the same, but credit cards can be more flexible and offer other benefits too

With Experian, you can compare loans from a variety of companies. Plus, you'll see your eligibility rating for personal loans, helping you understand your chances of approval before you apply.

Just remember, we're not a lender, we're a credit broker for cards and personal, car and guarantor loans, working with a selection of lenders and brokers.This means we don't provide credit, but we can help you find and compare different offers all in one place.

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