• Guide to Unsecured Loans


    Outlined below is a guide to unsecured loans. It will give you a better understanding of what an unsecured loan is as well as what to consider before applying for one.

    As the name implies, an unsecured loan does not require the borrower to put up any security against it. An unsecured loan is a personal loan where the lender has no claim on a homeowner's property should they fail to repay. Instead, the lender is relying solely on the ability of a borrower to meet their loan borrowing repayments.

    People who opt for unsecured loans are usually those who aren't in a position to offer collateral or those with adverse credit records, county court judgments, mortgage arrears or debt issues.

    By their very nature, unsecured loans involve the lender taking more risk - for which the interest rate is increased. However, while a bad credit history will not necessarily bar you from an unsecured loan the interest rates will reflect the lender's increased risk.

    The risk will be reflected, too, in the lender's tolerance of late payments. Without any collateral, the lender will be quicker to take legal action to recover missed instalments - and in such cases, the lender will usually demand repayment of the full amount borrowed plus interest plus legal costs incurred. In such cases, court proceedings could lead to your home being sold to raise the money.

    The amount you are able to borrow can start from as little as Ј500 and go up to Ј25,000. Because you not securing the money you are borrowing, lenders tend to limit the value of unsecured loans to Ј25,000. The repayment period will range from anywhere between six months and ten years.

    Most lenders give you the option of paying the loan back within between six months and ten years. It's your decision how much or how little time you need to pay back the loan in full but you should try not to stretch yourself too much as the last thing you want is to default on repayments.

    Despite this, try to pay back enough each month so that the loan doesn't drag on for years and years, as this will mean you are paying back more interest, and therefore the loan will ultimately cost you more. You need to find a balance between what you can afford each month.

    An advantage of taking out an unsecured loan is that your application can be processed a lot quicker as there is no collateral to be valued.

    A disadvantage is that it is harder to get approval for an unsecured loan. With no security on offer the lender must be more cautious.

    An unsecured loan can be used for almost anything - a relaxing holiday, a new car, a wedding, debt consolidation or home improvements. Whatever you need it for there are a few things to consider before applying for an unsecured loan.

    With an unsecured loan, you're not borrowing against the value of your house. You will usually be offered an interest rate based on your circumstances and the amount you want to borrow. This means that the 'typical' interest advertised might not be the rate you are offered - your rate will depend on your credit rating.

    You should usually borrow as little as possible, and draw up a budget plan to determine how much you need. An unsecured loan might not offer a particularly high amount, so if you're a homeowner and need to borrow more, you could look into secured loans. It might be tempting to borrow more than you need, but don't forget you have to pay it back!

    Your unsecured loan term should be as short as possible. Use your budget plan to work out how much you can afford in monthly repayments and base your loan term on this.

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