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Cheapest Loan Opportunities

Nov 2, 2007
You are considering finance for home improvements, debt consolidation, a holiday home, a car - you name it the question always pops up - which way is going to be the cheapest way to finance. Should I use a credit card, personal loan, HP, overdraft, store card, interest-free credit, catalog, secured loan, or a credit union? Different methods of borrowing suit different types of people and situations. Whatever type of borrowing you choose, make sure you will be able to afford the repayments. Prepare a budget of your monthly expenses to check what you can afford to pay. Be sure to include your mortgage payment, utilities (gas, electricity, water), all bills, food, clothing right down to hair cuts and socializing costs. Be honest with this. If you are not you are only kidding yourself and it is only you that will suffer in the end.

When choosing credit deals, it's important to make sure you are getting value for money. Also when comparing secured or unsecured personal loans compare the APR to give you a realistic view of the true cost of the finance. While you should consider all factors such as what is available and suitable to you, your circumstances (e.g. employed, self employed, age), credit rating, and flexibility; One way to compare deals and find the cheapest loan is by working out the interest and APR So what is APR?

APR stands for the Annual Percentage Rate of charge. You can use it to compare different credit and loan offers. This is because unlike the flat rate interest rate this type of interest rate takes into consideration all cost and fees and interest rate associated with that particular product. All lenders have to tell you what their APR is before you sign an agreement. It will vary from lender to lender. Generally, the lower the APR the better the deal for you, so if you are thinking about borrowing, shop around. Don't forget that sometimes bank loans are cheaper than the credit schemes offered by stores. If you find a deal with a low APR, ask the following questions:

Do the charges included in the APR vary, or is the rate fixed? If the charges are variable, your repayments could go up or go down. If the rate is fixed, your repayments will stay the same. How good are you at budgeting?

Are there any charges that are not included in the APR? This could include something like optional payment protection insurance. If so, make sure you understand what they are and when you would have to pay them. Are these added to the loan or upfront costs?

What are the conditions of the loan or credit and do they suit you? For example, do you have a choice about how and where you make the repayments? If you suddenly have spare money, can you pay the loan off early - without penalties? Some will tell you there are no penalties where as there may be admin costs associated in terminating the contract early. Also check any penalties for making additional payments to your loan.
About the Author
Fred Inance writes about cheap loans for the financial timings.
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