The Now


The pros and cons of taking out a personal loan

Difference between personal loans vs credit cards
Posted at 1:55 PM, Jul 30, 2018

Whether your car breaks down or you are slapped with a hefty medical bill, odds are most of us are not ready to pay for unexpected expenses. Instead of using a credit card to pay the bill, you might consider taking out a personal loan. 

Banks aren't the only ones lending money. According to Consumer Advocate, the top lending companies for 2018 include, Lending Tree, SoFi and Upgrade.

Alison Norris, a certified financial planner with SoFi says you can borrow up to $50,000 with some companies. However, you have a shorter period of time to pay them off. 

"They are paid off in periods ranging from 2 to 7 years," says Norris. 

Typically, when you're slapped with an unexpected expense, you reach for the credit card. But Norris says personal loans have a lower interest rate than most credit cards. 

"It could be the difference between an average credit card APR of 16 percent to a personal loan which can start as low as 6 percent," Norris says.

What's different about a personal loan is that there is no collateral, unlike a home or car loan.   

"You can compare that to a car loan if you were to stop making payments, it's possible that your car could be repossessed," Norris says.    

With a personal loan, it's only backed by your guarantee. But if you can't pay on time, your credit score could take a big hit.

"It could very much change your ability to get a job in the future or apply for another loan and will have a few other repercussions," Norris says.   

But remember, it's best to not take on more debt than what's necessary.