An “installment loan” is a broad, generic term that refers to the vast majority of personal and commercial loans made to borrowers. Installment loans include all loans that are repaid with regular payments or installments.
If you are thinking about applying for an installment loan, you should first consider the advantages and disadvantages. Here’s what you need to know before taking one out.
The central theses
- Installment loans are personal or commercial loans that the borrower must repay with regular payments or installments.
- For each installment payment, the borrower pays back part of the borrowed capital and also pays interest on the loan.
- Examples of installment loans are auto loans, mortgage loans, personal loans, and student loans.
- The advantages of installment loans include flexible terms and lower interest rates.
- The disadvantages of installment loans include the risk of default and the loss of collateral.
What is an installment loan?
An installment loan provides a borrower with a fixed amount of money that must be repaid with regular payments. Any payment of an installment debt includes the repayment of part of the principal amount borrowed, as well as the payment of interest on the debt.
The most important variables that determine the size of each scheduled loan payment include the loan amount, the interest rate charged to the borrower, and the length or term of the loan. The regular payment amount, which is usually due monthly, stays the same throughout the loan term, so the borrower can easily budget in advance to make the required payments.
Borrowers typically have to pay other fees such as application processing fees, lending fees, and potential additional fees such as late payment fees in addition to interest fees.
Types of installment loans
Common types of installment loans are auto loans, mortgage loans, personal loans, and student loans. Aside from mortgage loans, which are sometimes floating rate loans where the interest rate changes over the life of the loan, almost all installment loans are fixed rate loans, i.e. borrowing.
Secured vs. Unsecured Installment Loans
Installment loans can be either secured (secured) or unsecured (unsecured). Mortgage loans are secured to the home the loan is used on and the security for a car loan is the vehicle that the loan is purchased.
Some installment loans (often referred to as personal loans) are granted without a security deposit. Unsecured loans are issued based on the borrower’s creditworthiness, which is usually evidenced by a creditworthiness, and repayment ability, which is determined by the borrower’s income and assets.
The rate of interest charged on an unsecured loan is usually higher than the rate that would be charged on a comparable secured loan, reflecting the higher risk of non-repayment that the creditor is willing to accept.
If you are considering taking out an installment loan, the first thing to do is to try a personal loan calculator to see what kind of interest rate you can afford.
Applying for an installment loan
A borrower applies for an installment loan by completing an application at a lender, usually specifying the purpose of the loan, such as buying a car. The lender discusses various options with the borrower on issues such as down payment, loan term, payment plan and payment amounts.
For example, if a person wants to borrow $ 10,000 to help finance the purchase of a car, the lender tells the borrower that a higher down payment could earn the borrower a lower interest rate, or that the borrower could get lower monthly payments by closing one Longer Term Loans. The lender also checks the borrower’s creditworthiness to determine what loan amount and loan terms the lender is willing to offer.
The borrower usually repays the loan by paying the required payments. Borrowers can usually save interest by paying off the loan before the term specified in the loan agreement expires.
Some loans impose early repayment penalties if a borrower repays their loan early.
advantages and disadvantages
Installment loans are flexible and can be easily adjusted to the specific needs of the borrower in terms of the loan amount and duration that best suits the borrower’s ability to repay. These loans allow the borrower to obtain financing at a much lower interest rate than is normally possible with revolving loan financing such as credit cards. This allows the borrower to have more cash to spend on other purposes rather than spending large amounts of money.
Ability to fund major purchases
The payment amount usually remains the same throughout the entire loan term
Interest savings are usually possible through early loan repayment
A disadvantage of longer-term loans is that the borrower may pay a higher interest rate than the market interest rate on a fixed-rate loan. The borrower can refinance the loan at the lower interest rate.
The other major disadvantage of an installment loan is that the borrower is tied to a long-term financial obligation. At some point, circumstances may result in the borrower being unable to make the scheduled payments, risk of default, and potentially forfeiture of all collateral used to secure the loan.
Installment loans and creditworthiness
Repaying an installment loan on time is an excellent way to build up your credit. Payment history is the single most important factor contributing to your credit score, and a long track record of using credit responsibly is good for your credit score.
As mentioned earlier, if you fail to make payments on time or default on the loan – which is a red flag in the eyes of lenders as well – can affect your creditworthiness.
The bottom line
An installment loan can help you finance a major purchase, such as a car or home. As with any loan, there are advantages and disadvantages to consider. The advantages are flexible terms and lower interest rates, a major disadvantage is the risk of default.
When deciding on an installment loan, be sure to shop around and compare the rates and terms offered by the lenders before you sign on the dotted line.