What's the difference between personal loans, credit cards & lines of credit?

Modified on Thu, 27 Apr 2023 at 10:18 AM

When it comes to accessing money, there are almost too many options available, with personal loans, credit cards, and lines of credit. Each option has its own advantages and disadvantages, and it can be tough to understand the pros and cons of each option.

Personal Loans 

A personal loan is a fixed amount of money borrowed, and the borrower agrees to pay back the loan with consistent payments. Personal loans are used for a variety of purposes, such as purchasing a car, home renovations, or debt consolidation.

There are two types of personal loans: secured and unsecured. 

A secured personal loan is backed by collateral, such as a car or home, which can help the borrower be approved for a higher amount and/or lower interest. However, since collateral is required, the approval process can take longer. 

An unsecured personal loan, on the other hand, does not require collateral, and lenders typically rely on the borrower's credit rating to determine the loan amount and interest rate. Unsecured loans typically have faster approvals, but the loan amount may be lower with higher interest.

Fig offers unsecured personal loans, with a set amount of funds made available to you through an entirely digital application, with a repayment schedule that works best for you.

Credit Cards 

Credit cards are a convenient payment method provided by banks that allow you to borrow funds within a pre-approved credit limit. Credit cards can be used for everyday expenses, such as groceries or gas, as well as larger purchases like electronics and furniture. The credit card limit is determined by the credit card issuer, based on factors like your income and credit score.

One of the benefits of credit cards is that they offer rewards and benefits, such as travel insurance, that can help improve your credit score. Credit cards are also widely accepted at most retailers, both in-person and online. However, it's important to keep in mind that credit cards often have higher interest rates compared to other types of loans, such as a line of credit.

Line of Credit 

A line of credit is a pre-set amount of money that a bank or credit union has agreed to lend you. You can borrow as much of that limit as you'd like and will only pay interest on the amount you borrow. One of the main benefits of a line of credit is that borrowers are given the flexibility to borrow only the amount needed. For example, if your financial institution approved a $10,000 line of credit, you have the choice to borrow as little or as much of that credit limit as you need.

There aren't any predetermined repayment schedules when using a line of credit, and you can borrow, repay, and borrow again as needed without needing to re-apply and get approved. While interest rates are typically lower on a line of credit, if the amount owed isn't paid back on a timely basis, the amount of interest can accumulate quickly.

Most importantly, understanding the differences between personal loans, credit cards, and lines of credit can help you make an informed decision based on your financial situation and needs. It's important to keep in mind the advantages and disadvantages of each option, such as interest rates, repayment schedules, and credit score impacts. Ultimately, the choice you make should be one that aligns with your financial goals and helps you achieve them. 

We do our best to provide useful information. However, we cannot guarantee that the information is complete, accurate, up-to-date or otherwise reliable for any particular purpose. This article is provided to you as information only and not as advice tailored to your reality.

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