Consumer Loan

A type of credit given to a person to help finance a specific set of expenses.

Author: JunFeng Zhan
JunFeng Zhan
JunFeng Zhan
A finance analyst with experience in Private Banking. Skilled in evaluating investment portfolios, executing trades, and managing client relationships. Adept at analysing financial data and proactively communicating with stakeholders to achieve investment goals. Fast learner and highly adaptable to new environments.
Reviewed By: Himanshu Singh
Himanshu Singh
Himanshu Singh
Investment Banking | Private Equity

Prior to joining UBS as an Investment Banker, Himanshu worked as an Investment Associate for Exin Capital Partners Limited, participating in all aspects of the investment process, including identifying new investment opportunities, detailed due diligence, financial modeling & LBO valuation and presenting investment recommendations internally.

Himanshu holds an MBA in Finance from the Indian Institute of Management and a Bachelor of Engineering from Netaji Subhas Institute of Technology.

Last Updated:December 13, 2023

What is a Consumer Loan?

A consumer loan is a type of credit given to a person to help them finance a specific set of expenses. The amount owed by customers is referred to as consumer debt in economics (as opposed to amounts owed by businesses or governments).

It comprises debts acquired on the purchase of consumables and depreciating commodities. Debt, rather than equity, is utilized to support consumption in macroeconomic terms.

Credit card debt, payday loans, student loans, and other consumer financing are the most frequent types of consumer debt, with higher interest rates than long-term secured loans like mortgages.

Generally, this type of loan is secured, meaning the borrower must provide a specific asset as collateral for the loan, or it can be unsecured, meaning the borrower does not need to provide any collateral.

Borrowers can use this to consolidate their debts and reduce their debt burden. This process is known as refinancing, and it allows people to get out of debt faster by restructuring their loans with lower interest rates.

Personal loans are also known as consumer loans. They assist people in achieving financial needs and wants, such as traveling abroad, completing their education, or using the funds for minor or major home improvements.

This is useful for both the borrower's small and large needs.

Types of Consumer Loans

Types of consumer loans are:

1. Mortgages: Mortgages are usually associated with the purchase of a new home. Banks grant this sort of loan depending on a borrower's credit score and capacity to make a down payment to assist in purchasing a new house.

2. Credit cards: Credit cards are the most common and commonly used type of consumer borrowing.

A credit card allows borrowers to purchase anything they want on credit up until their credit limit, which is a set amount of credit given to an individual. If someone had a $500 limit on their card, they could not buy something for $502.

However, the interest rates are excessive for most credit cards ranging from 13-16%, and failure to pay your statement results in a significant penalty.

3. Auto Loans: Auto loans are used to purchase automobiles. These are usually accessible from the bank or directly from the auto dealership.

4. Education Loan: Education loans are designed to help students meet their educational needs, such as paying for college tuition and various related educational costs.

It assists students in continuing their education, with most loan payments beginning once they have graduated from college.

5. Refinancing Loans: As the name implies, a refinance loan is utilized to refinance existing debt.

For example, it may be used to refinance vehicle loans, student loans, home loans, and even credit cards. A refinancing loan should have a fixed payment at a lower interest rate, allowing the borrower to pay off the previous debt faster.

6. Home equity loans: These loans are a type of consumer credit that allows you to borrow money against your home's equity value. This is typically utilized to make upgrades to the houses.

7. Personal Loans: Personal loans are designed to meet all of a buyer's day-to-day needs and may be used for purchases. Borrowers can use personal loans for anything from home repairs to company ventures.

8. Secured: Secured loans are backed by collateral (assets used to cover the loan if the borrower defaults).

Secured loans often provide borrowers with higher loan amounts, a longer payback time, and a lower interest rate. The lender's risk is decreased because assets back the loan.

If the borrower fails, the lender may be entitled to seize collateralized assets and liquidate them to pay off the debt.

9. Unsecured: These loans are not secured by anything. Unsecured loans often provide borrowers with a smaller amount of funding, a shorter payback time, and a higher interest rate.

The lender has an additional risk because assets do not secure the loan. The lender, for example, may not be able to reclaim the outstanding loan amount if the borrower defaults.

Categories of Loans

The different categories are:

1. A loan with no expiry date

An open-end consumer loan, also known as revolving credit, is a loan that the borrower can use for any purchases as long as they pay back a minimum amount of the loan, plus interest, by a specific date.

The majority of open-end loans are unsecured. Interest is levied if a customer does not pay off the loan in full by the due date.

An open-end consumer loan is something like a credit card. The customer can use their credit card to make purchases, but he or she must pay the balance when it is due.

If a customer fails to pay off any outstanding credit card balance, they will be charged interest until the balance is paid off.

2. Loan with a closed-end

A closed-end consumer loan, often known as installment credit, is a type of credit that is used to pay for specified items. Closed-end loans require the borrower to make equal monthly payments over a while.

These loans are almost always secured. If a customer defaults on their payments, the lender has the right to confiscate the collateral.

Who is Eligible for Consumer Loans?

To qualify for a consumer loan, you must be at least 21 years old, and you can be as old as 60.

Before approving a loan, lenders must conduct due diligence to ensure that you are eligible to borrow and that you will repay the loan. There might be a variety of eligibility checks, such as:

  1. If you are a salaried employee, the maximum age restriction is 60 years old, and if you are a self-employed professional, the maximum age limit is 65 years old.
  2. Personal information: You must be at least 18 years old and a permanent resident of the United States.
  3. Income: If you have a steady source of income, you may have a greater chance of getting a loan.
  4. Credit history: Your credit score and how you utilize your current account reveal if you have a track record of good financial management.

A high credit score makes you a less risky borrower and may allow you to borrow more money at a cheaper interest rate.

Interest Rate on Consumer Loans in the USA:

  • Personal loans = 5% ~ 36% (depending on credit score)
  • Education loans = 4.5% ~ 6%
  • Credit card = 13% ~ 16%
  • House loan = 3.5% ~ 4%
  • Refinance loan = 3.5% ~ 4%
  • Auto loans = 5.3% ~ 6%

Factors Affecting Interest Rate

The qualifications for a personal loan vary depending on the lender; however, there are key factors that many lenders consider when determining your interest rate offer.

  • Your credit score: Qualifying for a personal loan with a lower interest rate may be simpler if you have good credit. Lenders will look at your credit score and history for red flags such as late payments or overdue or defaulted accounts.
  • Debt-to-income (DTI) ratio: The amount of your monthly debt divided by your monthly gross income is your DTI ratio. A low DTI ratio indicates to lenders that you will be able to make monthly payments on a new personal loan.
  • Loan term: Shorter payback durations typically result in cheaper interest rates. A higher interest rate is usually associated with a longer payback duration.
  • Co-signer: If you do not satisfy the lender's qualification standards, having a trustworthy family member or friend in excellent financial standing as a co-signer might help you be approved — and possibly at a lower interest rate.

If you have a poor credit score and a high DTI ratio and do not have a willing co-signer with strong credit and consistent income, you won't be eligible for the best personal loan rates.

However, a strong credit score and a low DTI ratio will attract the most competitive rates.

A personal loan is secured entirely by "personal" collateral, that is, your solvency and the solvency of your guarantor.

If you have one — regardless of how you intend to spend the money given to you by the bank. Additional collateral is used to back up mortgage loans.

On the other hand, consumer loans are primarily defined by what you intend to do with the borrowed funds, independent of the collateral held by the bank for repayment. They are typically known by trade names like "car loan" or "student loan."

Fast loans or credit are also not a good idea. The quickness with which fast loans are issued is the distinguishing aspect of these loans, which are not controlled by law.

Lenders streamline risk analysis methods, resulting in increased expenses for the client. Fast loans are frequently advertised on the internet and via electronic devices and are referred to as "online" loans. Pre-approved loans are another term for them.

How to apply for a personal loan?

A personal loan is one that has little paperwork requirements and is provided without the need for security or collateral. 

The money from this loan can be applied to any valid need for financial support. It must be repaid in line with the conditions set forth by the bank, just like any other loan.

This often entails easy equal monthly installments for a few months to a few years.

With a personal loan, you can use the money as you like: for a vacation, a purchase, a medical procedure, remodeling your house, a wedding, paying for your kids' schooling, etc.

There are eight step-by-step instructions for you


The last thing you or your lenders want is to take out a personal loan and be unable to repay it. While lenders normally perform due diligence to ensure that you can repay the debt, it's a good idea to run the figures yourself to make sure everything works out.

Begin by calculating the amount of money you will require, bearing in mind that some lenders impose an origination fee, which is deducted from your loan profits. Make sure you borrow enough to cover your needs once the cost has been paid.

To determine your monthly payment, use a personal loan calculator. If you do not know what sorts of rates and payback conditions lenders will provide, this can be difficult.

But you can experiment with the figures to understand how much the loan will cost and if your budget can manage it.

Examine Your Credit Report

Most lenders will do a credit check to see if you will likely repay your loan. While some internet lenders are beginning to use alternative credit data, your credit score remains the most significant consideration.

Some of the best personal loans need you to have at least fair credit, defined as a credit score of 580 to 669. If your credit score is above 670, you will have the best chance of being approved for a low-interest loan. may provide you with a copy of your credit report. Every twelve months, it will send you a free copy of your credit report from all three credit agencies. Look over the report to check if there are any mistakes.

If you identify any errors, submit them to the major credit reporting companies (Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian). If your credit score is low for other reasons, you may still be able to get a loan.

However, the interest rates and costs may be prohibitively high, so focus on rebuilding your credit first.

Consider Your Options

Depending on your creditworthiness, you may require a cosigner to get accepted for a personal loan with a reasonable interest rate.

You may be able to receive a secured personal loan instead of an unsecured one if you cannot locate a cosigner or the lenders you are considering do not accept cosigners.

In exchange for better conditions, secured loans demand collateral, such as a car, a house, or cash in a savings account or certificate of deposit. If you do not pay back the loan, the lender might take your collateral to cover the amount.

You will also have to consider where you may receive a personal loan. Traditional banks, for example, may have a difficult time approving you if you have terrible credit.

On the other hand, some internet lenders specialize in dealing with people with terrible credit, and some credit unions provide short-term loans that are less expensive than payday loans.

Choose A Loan Type

Once you have figured out where your credit stands and your options, you can decide which type of loan is the best.

While some lenders allow you to spend the cash any way you choose, others may only approve loan applications provided the funds are utilized for particular objectives.

One lender may enable you to use a personal loan to support your small business, while another may not. It's typically a good idea to find a lender willing to offer you money for the specific reason you require it.

You may look for several types of loans on the Bankrate personal loan marketplace, such as:

  • Debt consolidation loans: One of the most prevalent personal loan applications is debt consolidation.

Taking up a single loan to pay off your existing debt reduces the number of monthly payments you have to think about and gives you a single (possibly cheaper) interest rate.

  • Loans for those attempting to pay off credit card debt include: Payoff, for example, specializes in loans for customers who want to pay off credit card debt.

Because personal loan rates are sometimes lower than credit card rates, taking out a loan to pay off your credit card expenses over a long time might be a good idea.

  • Home improvement loans: If you need to pay for a major repair upfront and do not want to take a secured home equity loan, a home renovation loan may be a good option.
  • Medical loans: Because medical bills are sometimes unpredictable, a personal loan may be valuable to alleviate immediate financial stress while paying off the debt over time.
  • Emergency loans: Loans for unforeseen expenses are beneficial for various reasons. A car breakdown, a minor medical bill, or a broken pipe might all be practical reasons to get a loan of this sort.
  • Wedding and vacation loans: Weddings and vacations may be costly, so many individuals take out personal loans to cover the costs.

This stretches payments out over several years, allowing you to avoid paying for a big occasion all at once.

Look For The Greatest Personal Loan Rates By Shopping Around

Rather than taking the first offer that comes your way, shop around for the best interest rate. To get a sense of what you qualify for, look at various lenders and loan kinds.

Banks, credit unions, and online lenders frequently make personal loan offers. If you have had an account with your bank or credit union for a long time, you might want to start there.

If you can demonstrate that you have made good financial decisions for years, your bank or credit union may be ready to overlook recent credit mistakes or offer you a better rate.

Some online lenders may prequalify you with a soft credit check, which will not affect your credit score. Check to discover whether the lenders you are considering have a prequalification procedure.

Use this option to receive a complete picture of the rates that are accessible to you.

Hard credit inquiries are often made as part of the loan application process by lenders who do not offer a prequalification process.

It is ideal to complete your rate shopping within 45 days to consider them as a single inquiry for credit-scoring reasons, which will reduce the impact of hard inquiries on your credit score.

Pick A Lender And Apply

After doing your homework, choose the lender that has the greatest deal for you and begin the application process.

Depending on the lender, you may be able to complete the whole application process online. On the other hand, some lenders may require you to apply in person at a local bank or credit union branch.

Each lender will want different information on the application. Still, you will generally need to include your name, address, contact information, information about your income and work, and the loan's purpose.

It would help if you also informed the lender of the amount you wish to borrow. A simple credit check might provide you with some options to consider.

You will also have the opportunity to check the loan's full terms and conditions, including fees and the payback duration. To prevent hidden fees and other problems, carefully read the loan agreement.

Provide Necessary Documentation

Each lender is different when it comes to what you will need to apply. Following the submission of your application, your lender will most likely request more paperwork.

A copy of your most recent pay stub, a copy of your driver's license, or proof of residency, for example, may be required to be uploaded or faxed.

If the lender requires any documents from you, they will notify you and instruct you on how to deliver them to the appropriate person. You will get a judgment faster if you supply the information as soon as possible.

Accept The Loan And Start Making Payments

You will need to finish the loan documentation and accept the conditions when the lender tells you that you have been accepted.

Once you have completed this, you will normally receive your loan cash within a week - but some online lenders may send it to you in as little as one or two business days.

Once you've been accepted, start tracking when your payments are due and consider setting up automated payments from your bank account. Some lenders will lower your interest rate if you set up autopay on your account.

Make an extra monthly payment if you can. While personal loans are less expensive than credit cards, you will save money on interest if you pay off the loan early. Even a small increase in your monthly payments can assist you in accomplishing your goal.

How to quicken the procedure

  • If you are looking for a personal loan, you undoubtedly want to get your hands on the money as soon as possible. When applying for a personal loan, these pointers might help you avoid delays.
  • Before you apply, check your credit report. Before looking for personal loans, figure out where you are with your credit. When you are applying for a loan, spotting and addressing mistakes right away makes it easy to avoid problems later.
  • Pay off your debts. If you have debt and do not need the money right now, paying part of it off can help you improve your credit score and reduce your DTI ratio, which can help you be approved for a loan.
  • Contact your banking institution. A personal loan application from a customer with a long-standing positive relationship may be more likely to be considered by banks and credit unions.
  • Take a look at internet lenders. Many online lenders provide same-day loan approvals, and if you are accepted, monies may be sent into your bank account within a few days after you apply.
  • Pick up your loan cash in person. If your lender has a physical presence, see if you may pick up funds there to obtain your money quickly.

Researched and authored by JunFeng Zhan | LinkedIn

Edited by Colt DiGiovanni | LinkedIn

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