What is an Unsecured Loan and How Does it Work?

Learn what an unsecured loan is and how it works. Find out what types of unsecured loans are available and how they can help you build your credit.

What is an Unsecured Loan and How Does it Work?

An unsecured loan is a type of loan that does not require any form of collateral. Instead, lenders approve these loans based on the borrower's creditworthiness. Examples of unsecured loans include personal loans, student loans, and credit cards. In contrast to secured loans, unsecured loans do not give the lender any form of guarantee or protection that the money will be returned.

However, they usually involve relatively smaller amounts than could be provided as collateral. With the advancement of technology, there are many more ways to get an unsecured loan, such as online loans. After filling out an application form, the lender will inform the applicant if they have been approved, how much the loan amount is, the interest rate, and how the payments are supposed to be made. Other loan charges may include late payment fees, prepayment fees where a lender charges you for prepayment, and fees for a missed payment.

A jointly signed loan is often a way in which a person with no established credit can begin to establish a credit history. And using secured or unsecured personal loans to consolidate credit card debt can improve your credit score by reducing credit utilization. For example, if you lose your job and have to choose between paying your mortgage or making additional payments with a credit card to lower your high-interest balance, it may make more sense to pay your mortgage first. Many online merchant cash advance lenders require the borrower to pay a certain percentage of online sales through a payment processing service such as PayPal. Before you extend a loan for a new car, for example, a lender will require you to sign a security agreement that gives you a lien against the vehicle you are buying.

A term loan, on the other hand, is a loan that the borrower reimburses in equal installments until the loan is paid at the end of its term. The interest charged on loans often depends on the type of lender offering the money and the borrower's credit history and employment status. Banks usually charge a higher interest rate on these so-called signature loans and credit rating and debt-to-income requirements are often stricter for these types of loans. However, if you can meet these stringent requirements, you could qualify for the best personal loans available. Unsecured loans can be revolving or term loans and provide an opportunity for people with no established credit to begin building their credit history.