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Installment Loans Online: A One-Stop Guide

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People opt for various types of loans to meet personal and career needs. However, the working pattern of such loans can be very different. Installment Loans are quite popular, and they are preferred by people from literally all walks of life. An installment loan is a type of loan that is meant to be reimbursed with regular and fixed scheduled payments. Every single repayment, which is called an installment, includes both interests on the principal amount and a part of the principal amount borrowed. The factors that should be considered while opting for such a loan are the interest rate, loan repayment duration, and loan amount.

Before you learn how to get approved for an installment loan, you must get your facts clear on this type of loan. Both commercial and personal loans can fall under this category. Mortgage loans and car loans are also offered in the form of installment loans. The majority of installment loans have a fixed rate of interest. The mortgage loans, however, can have varying interest rates. As the regular payment amount collected every month stays the same, the borrower finds it convenient.  A payday loan is a different story since this type of koan  has one payment rather than multiple ‘installments’.

Some installment loans require collateral, while others do not need it. Mortgage and car loans are collateralized, or secured loans. The property and the car are kept as collateral in these cases. The personal loans do not require any collateral mostly. However, in these cases, the credit history of the borrower is assessed thoroughly. His/ her income status is also considered. Generally, non-collateralized loans have a steeper rate of interest compared to collateralized loans since there is nothing of value available to the lender should the borrower default on the loan.

The procedure of installment loan application and processing

The application and processing of installment loans are not very different from the other type of loans. The borrower may apply for loans online or at the lending company’s branch. The form fills up part with vital details of the borrower is essential. The lender discusses topics like down payment, terms, extra charges, fees and a payment schedule, etc. The borrower has to make a down payment at times as well. The lender will also assess the creditworthiness of the borrower before loan sanctioning. Employment details of the applicant and his/her sources of income are also carefully evaluated. Usually, the entity offering the loan imposes a processing fee.

Once the loan is sanctioned, the borrower is required to repay the amount in fixed monthly amounts. However, they may also choose to prepay the loan in some cases. Every entity offering an installment loan does not keep penalty-free prepayment options, though. This is an issue you have to check with the lender at the time of applying for the loan.

Advantages of installment loans
Mentioned below are the benefits of taking installment loans over other kinds of loans:
  1. Easy process of application – For customers’ convenience, installment loans can be applied online and in person. Whatever be the mode of application, the process is smooth and straightforward. Along with filling up the application form, the customer will need to furnish proper loan processing documentation. Generally, loan processing and sanctioning take place instantly until and unless there are some significant issues.
  2. Borrowing a large  amount – If you are making plans for borrowing a heavy sum as a loan, installment loans come across as the best option. The money can be used for purchasing something expensive or for any personal purpose.
  3. Fixed interest rates providing predictable monthly repayments – This is probably the most significant advantage of an installment loan. The interest rate at the beginning of the loan continues throughout the loan repayment period. If there are fluctuations in the interest rate, the borrower might have to pay more monthly repayments. With fixed rates of interest, the borrower knows exactly what needs to be repaid every month.
  4. Repayment terms are generally longer – When there is a longer repayment term for any loan, it means that you have ample time in hand for making the loan repayment. As the loan runs for an extended period, the monthly repayment installment amounts tend to be low and manageable. Keep in mind the longer the term can also mean more interest, so try to pay down quickly.
  5. Credit ratings matter less – Installment loans are a favorite with people who don’t have a very healthy credit score and history. Despite a low credit score, you may still be able to get an installment loan without too many difficulties.

When you need money in a hurry, there is no better alternative than applying for installment loans.  Even with bad credit they can be an option for many.

Disadvantages of installment loans

No loan is perfect, and installment loans also come with their share of drawbacks. These are:
  1. The borrower may have to pay a higher rate of interest for the fixed interest loans. In a mortgage loan, this can be disadvantageous.
  2. This type of loan locks the borrower into a long term monetary commitment. For long term loans, this can be tedious. If the borrower suffers a dip in income or runs into financial hardship, repaying in time can prove to be challenging for him/her. This can lead to forfeiture of the collateral as well.
  3. If the lender is skeptical about the borrower’s repayment capability, a steep rate of interest is offered. The borrower has no option than to accept it.

Duration of an installment loan

The duration of an installment loan can vary widely. It depends on what type of loan you are applying for. Personal loans are usually offered for short terms. It can be for 1-5 years. Car loans generally have longer repayment tenure. Mortgage loans can have extended repayment tenure, which can be up to 30 years in some instances.

Summing it up

Installment loans can be convenient in many instances. These loans make repaying the borrowed amount easier. You know exactly how much you have to pay per month and so you can plan finances accordingly. However, factors like rate of interest, prepayment charges, and down payment must be analyzed carefully. Top-notch lenders clarify these aspects at the time of applying for such loans. 



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Martin Lewis issues guidance on using credit cards to build ratings – best deals | Personal Finance | Finance

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Martin Lewis regularly urges savers to use caution when utilising debt themed products but at the same time, he acknowledges the need for a decent credit rating to get by financially. Today, the Money Saving Expert was questioned by viewer Miranda on how one can build their credit rating in difficult circumstances.

“What I’d then like you to do is go and do £50 a month of normal spending on it, things you’d buy anyway.

“[Then] Make sure you pay the card off in full every month, preferably by direct debit so you’re never missing it because the interest rate is hideous.

“That way you won’t pay any interest.

“You do that for a year, you’ll start to build that credit history, showing them you’re a good credit citizen.

“Then you’ll be able to move into the sort of more normal credit card range.

“So, bizarrely, to get credit you need credit. What credit will you get? Bad credit, go get the bad credit just make sure it doesn’t cost you.”

Consumers of all kinds may not have the best options at the moment as recent analysis from moneyfacts.co.uk revealed.

In mid-November, they detailed that a number of high street banks have cut the perks and interest on a number of their current account deals.

On top of this, the Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Bank made credit interest cuts of up to 0.5 percent.

Rachel Springall, a Finance Expert at moneyfacts.co.uk commented on the few options consumers and savers currently have available: “Clearly, it is vital consumers decide carefully if now is the time to switch, but if they wait too long, they may well miss out on a free cash switching perk.

“At present, providers will be assessing how they can sustain any lucrative offers in light of the pandemic.

“With this in mind, we could well see more changes in the months to come and if this does indeed occur, consumers would be wise to review whether their account is still worth keeping.”



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Should you use a balance transfer to pay off debt?

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Should you use a balance transfer to pay off debt?
Image source: Getty Images.


A balance transfer might be the solution if you have debts and want to gain control over your finances. But whether a balance transfer is right for you will depend on a number of factors.

Things to consider before using a balance transfer

The size of your debt

If you want to apply for a balance transfer credit card, be aware that most providers will allow you to transfer up to 90% of your credit limit.

Your credit limit will be dependent on your own personal circumstances, including your salary, your credit history and your residential status (homeowner or renter).

Be realistic about your debt. For example, if you earn £25,000 per year and you have a debt of more than £15,000, a balance transfer might not be cheapest way to pay the debt.

The time taken to pay the debt

The main advantage of a balance transfer credit card is that many offer an interest-free period on the balance. So, if you can pay off your balance in that period, you won’t accrue any further interest charges.

However, these periods typically range from 18 to 24 months, so if you think you will need more time to pay the debt, you may need to factor in additional interest charges when the interest-free period ends.

Whether or not a balance transfer is the right debt payment solution will depend on your personal circumstances. Check our balance transfer calculator if you want to work out how much a balance transfer could save you in interest payments.

Your credit score

The advantage of a good credit score cannot be underestimated in this situation.

When applying for a balance transfer credit card, the company will check your credit score. Based on this score, they could refuse your application.

Even if you are accepted, if you have a bad credit score they could reduce your credit limit. Ultimately, this will determine the benefit of a balance transfer as a suitable debt payment solution.

If you think your credit score might be a problem, it’s worth checking with the credit reference agencies before applying. That way you can avoid any nasty surprises.

There are three main consumer credit reference agencies in the UK. They are Equifax, Experian and TransUnion (Noodle).

Alternative solutions to balance transfers

You could still use a balance transfer even if the size of your debt is bigger than the credit limit.

Transferring part of the debt would enable you to benefit from any interest-free period, where applicable.

Alternatively, if you have multiple debts, you could consolidate all of your debts so that you can make a single regular payment. If necessary, you could do this using an unsecured personal loan over a period longer than 24 months.

Take home

Look at your own personal circumstances with a critical eye. Remember that you need to factor in living expenses when thinking about how long it will take you to pay off your debt.

Balance transfers are a useful method for debt repayment, but be aware that credit cards are an expensive way to borrow money. Take full advantage of any 0% deals wherever possible. Check out our list of the best 0% credit cards.


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Turn credit declines into a win-win | 2020-11-20

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The pandemic has left millions of people needing credit at a time when lending standards are tightening. The result is a lose-lose situation—the consumer gets a bad credit decline experience and the credit union misses out on a lending opportunity. How can this be turned into a win-win?

The case for coaching

Let’s start by deconstructing the credit decline process: The consumer is first encouraged to apply. The application process can be invasive, requiring significant time commitment and thoughtful inputs from the applicant.

After all that, many consumers are declined with a form letter with little to no advice on actions the applicant can take to improve their credit strength. It is no wonder that credit declines receive a poor Net Promoter Score (NPS) of 50 or often much worse.

On the flip side, forward-looking credit unions provide post-decline credit advice. This is a compelling opportunity for several reasons:

  • Improved customer satisfaction. One financial institution learned that simply offering personalized coaching, regardless of whether or not consumers used it, increased their customer satisfaction by double digits.
  • Future lending opportunities. Post-decline financial coaching can position members for borrowing needs even beyond the product for which they were initially declined.
  • Increased trust. Quality financial advice helps build trust. A J.D. Power study noted that, of the 58% of customers who desire advice from financial institutions, only 12% receive it. When consumers do receive helpful advice, more than 90% report a high level of trust in their financial institution.

Provide cost-effective, high-quality advice

AI-powered virtual coaching tools can help credit unions turn declines into opportunities. Such coaches can deliver step-by-step guidance and personalized advice experiences. The added benefit is easy and consistent compliance, enabled by automation.

AI-based solutions are even more powerful when they follow coaching best practices:

  • Bite-sized simplicity. Advice is most effective when it is reinforced with small action steps to gradually nurture members without overwhelming them. This approach helps the member build momentum and confidence.
  • Plain language. Deliver advice in friendly, jargon-free language.
  • Behavioral nudges. Best-practice nudges help customers make progress on their action plan. These nudges emulate a human coach, providing motivational reminders and celebrating progress.
  • Gamification. A digital coach can infuse fun into the financial wellness journey with challenges and rewards like contests, badges, and gifts.

Virtual financial coaching, starting with reversing credit declines, represents a huge market opportunity for credit unions. To help credit unions tap into that opportunity, eGain, an award-winning AI and digital engagement pioneer, and GreenPath, a leading financial wellness nonprofit, have partnered to create the industry’s first virtual financial coach. To learn more, visit egain.com.

EVAN SIEGEL is vice president of financial services AI at eGain.

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