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How Do I Find the Best Personal Loan?

Oct 12, 2007
Finding the best personal loan takes time, patience, and research. Of these three, research may be the most important. Here are some of the issues behind finding the loan.

The first issue that consumers should be aware of is that the term personal loan can have different meanings, depending on who you are talking to. For example, an unsecured loan may be thought of as being the opposite of a commercial loan. A commercial loan, in this example, would be a loan to be used for business purposes and backed by the assets of the business.

With many lenders, a loan is any loan other than a mortgage loan (home loan). Some lenders will use the term unsecured loan to denote any loan that is below a certain dollar amount. For example, a loan of $500 might be considered a personal loan. A cash advance from your credit card might also be considered a personal loan. Personal loans of all types can be either secured loans or unsecured loans, depending on the lender's policy.

When shopping for the best unsecured loan it is imperative that you read the lender's policy on loans and that you understand the terms and conditions of the loan. Many consumers are hooked into a loan by a low introductory interest rate only to find out later that the rate will skyrocket over time. The only way to really know what the interest rate of a loan is going to do is to read the contract carefully and ask questions if you have any.

Most consumers already know that they need to find a low interest rate when shopping for a loan, but there are some other issues that can be very important as well. Is there a grace period with the loan and, if so, what is it? How are the interest and the principal paid on? There are some personal loans where the first set of payments is used to pay off the interest only, and none of the payment is applied to the principal. There are other personal loans that divvy up the payment; some is paid on the interest and the remainder of the payment is paid on the principal.

If your circumstances are such that you have to apply for a secured personal loan, know what assets are allowed to be used as security for the loan. All secured personal loan contracts should be examined very carefully. The reason for this extra care is that you can lose your collateral if you cannot or do not meet the terms of the contract during the course of the loan. You will also want to pay particular attention to the interest rate that will be charged on any secured personal loan.

One of the most effective ways to shop for an unsecured loan is to do so online. Many lenders have online sites where they post their offerings as well as the interest rate charged for each offering. Many of them also have online representatives who can help you with any questions that you may have concerning a personal loan.
About the Author
Peter Kenny is a writer for The Thrifty Scot, please visit us at Compare Personal Loans and Secured Homeowner Loan
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