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What is a personal loan?

Personal loans are a way to borrow a large amount of money, which is repaid over time with interest. If accepted for a personal loan, the money will be sent to your bank account, and you’ll repay in fixed monthly instalments over an agreed period.

Depending on your credit rating and circumstances, you can often borrow between £1,000 and £25,000. The repayment period is usually between one and seven years.

What do you plan to use your loan for?

A loan can be used for most big purchases, such as a car, wedding, home improvement, or consolidating and paying off other debts.

If you’re looking for a loan for a car, there are specific car finance loans with different purchase agreements.

Choosing the best loan for you?

Finding the best loan for you depends on your needs and circumstances. There are different types of loans.

An unsecured loan, such as a personal loan, is the most common. Lenders will use your credit history to decide how much you can borrow, and what the interest rate will be. These types of loans are not tied to anything you own. You can sometimes borrow up to £25,000 with a personal loan.

A secured loan, also known as a homeowner loan, is where your home is used to secure the loan. If you can’t repay your loan, the lender can take your property. This type of loan has a much higher risk but you can usually borrow a bigger amount of money.

If you’re looking for loans for bad credit, there are a number of lenders who accept those with a bad credit history, though you may have a higher APR and less offers available to you.

Another alternative to a bad credit loan is a guarantor loan. These are similar to a personal loan but you need someone, usually a family member, to sign the loan and agree to make repayments if you can’t.

Can I get a loan with bad credit?

Bad credit loans are designed for people who are looking for a loan but have a poor credit history. You will likely have a higher APR, and how much you can borrow could be limited.

You could use a bad credit loan to consolidate and clear other debts. This means you can use it to clear other, high-interest debts, then simply have one monthly repayment.

Advantages and disadvantages of a personal loan

Advantages of a personal loan:

Loans often mean you can borrow a larger amount of money than with a credit card. Depending on your circumstances and credit history, sometimes up to £25,000.

Interest rates on personal loans are often fixed, meaning you know upfront how much you will repay every month, and for how long. This can help you to budget.

In most cases, you will receive the loan quickly. Some lenders can offer same day payment, which is good for an emergency.

Disadvantages of a personal loan:

If you’re looking to borrow a smaller amount, a credit card could offer a better interest rate than a personal loan, or come with an interest-free offer.

The monthly repayment is fixed, so if you can’t pay the money back in one month, you could be charged a late fee and it could impact your credit rating. Personal loan interest rates can be higher than secured loans. However, there is less risk involved.

Some loans have early repayment fees, meaning you could be charged extra if you can repay your loan early. Always check before applying.

How do I apply?

You can apply online with most banks and lenders. But, checking your eligibility before you apply means you know how likely you are to be accepted. That way, you can apply for a loan you’re more likely to be approved for and avoid being rejected.

On TotallyMoney, you can see if you’re eligible for a variety of loan lenders, and choose the right one for you. When you check your eligibility through TotallyMoney, we run a soft search on your credit report. This has no impact on your credit score.

Things to remember

Make sure you only borrow what you can afford to repay and can make the repayments for the whole duration of the loan.

Missing a payment or paying late can hurt your credit score, making it harder to borrow in the future. It’s a good idea to set up a direct debit, that way you’ll never miss a monthly repayment.

Always check any extra fees before you apply, such as early repayment charges.

Repaying on time will show lenders that you can borrow responsibly. This will build your credit history and means you could be accepted for better offers in the future.

We're on a mission to help everyone move their finances forward and gain financial momentum.

TotallyMoney is an independent credit broker, not a lender. Our comparison service works with most leading lenders, covering the majority of the market. Though we may be paid a fee by lenders or brokers this never influences how our products are ranked.

We don't provide financial advice. Product information is obtained from independent sources and rates displayed may vary depending on your personal circumstances. While we make every effort to ensure that information is up to date, you should always confirm the terms of the offer with the product provider.

TotallyMoney is owned and operated by TotallyMoney Limited which is registered in England and Wales (Company Registration Number 06205695). TotallyMoney Limited is an Appointed Representative of TM Connect Limited, which is registered in England and Wales (Company Registration Number 06967012) and authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in respect of consumer credit related activities (FCA FRN: 511936). Registered Office: Chapter House, 16 Brunswick Place, London N1 6DZ. Credit is available, subject to status, only to UK residents aged 18 or over.

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