So, you’ve decided that you don’t want to pay 25 percent interest anymore on your department store credit card. Good for you! You’re not stupid. Still, you may not be sure exactly where you can get a loan to do that. You might not own a house, so you can’t take out a home equity loan. Instead, you decide to take out a personal loan.
What they are
You need to understand, first of all, what a personal loan is. Personal loans come in a couple of flavors. There are unsecured personal loans, where you don’t use anything as collateral. There are secured personal loans, where something (like a house or property) is used as collateral.
The interest rate is much better on a secured loan because the bank is protected in the event you stop paying on the loan. They’re also easier to qualify for. However, if you don’t have collateral, you’ll need an unsecured personal loan.
Where to get them
There are several places you can get personal loans. The best place to start is often with your own bank or credit union. If you have a good history with the financial institution, or if you have other accounts with them, you may be able to get a rate that’s more favorable than you could get elsewhere.
There are places you can get personal loans online, too. Many of the major banks now offer personal loan applications online. You simply go to their website, go through the application process and they’ll transfer the money to your bank account.
Watch out for scams
The sad fact of the matter is that there are crooks and thieves out there that want to steal your money. Accordingly, some online personal loan sites are set up by these folks to steal your money and your identity.
Make sure the site you’re applying at is legitimate. Make sure it’s a reputable company. Spend some time reading consumer review websites to see if the business is legitimate.
Photo via Tony the Misfit