Whenever we need extra funds, one of the most common types of loans we see thrown around are personal loans. These loans have an easy approval process, don’t have many requirements, and you can apply online.
Personal loans are also quick; you can get the money as fast as 24 hours or the next day upon approval. However, one problem with them is that they are not necessarily the cheapest out there. If you have a less than stellar credit score, your interest rate will increase, and your borrowing amount will be limited.
There are a few alternatives if you’re looking for an easy way to get the money you need. Each option has advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to weigh all of your options before you decide.
Here are a few alternatives to a personal loan:
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1. Credit Cards
Credit cards are great to shop or pay bills because you can bring them anywhere you go and are very convenient if you don’t like carrying cash with you. Not only that, but they also have rewards and cash back programs that let you earn points that you can redeem and use on other purchases.
When you open a credit card account, the company or the bank gives you a set limit. This limit is the total amount you can spend or borrow, and it can be reduced based on how much you borrow and will only return to its original amount once you pay off your balances.
The good thing about credit cards is that they have a grace period where you can pay off your balances without paying the interest.
2. Personal Line of Credit
A personal line of credit is an unsecured loan, which means you don’t have to give collateral when applying for it. It works much like a credit card with typically an adjustable interest rate, a monthly repayment schedule, and a credit limit.
With a personal line of credit, you can borrow small loans up to your credit limit. Then, after you’ve paid it off, you will be allowed to borrow again. Typically, the length of loans is open-ended, with no set date for your credit access to expire.
There are some conditions to personal lines of credit too. For example, you can’t use these funds for business or investments. However, some purposes allowed are medical bills, car repairs, home improvement projects, student loans, and big events like weddings.
3. 401k Loans
If you are employed in a company that provides you with a 401k, you can apply for a 401k loan.
The interest rate for these loans is higher by a point or two, but the money will be back to your account.
Typically, you can only borrow up to $50,000 from your 401k account, and some even allow employees to get 50%. However, you should only get it when you’re secured with your job as there will be some complications when you suddenly lose or change your job.
For example, if you take out a 401k loan and suddenly lose your job or make a shift, you’ll have to pay off the entire loan within the given time. If you don’t do that, the IRS will add a 10% penalty, and the loan will become taxable.
4. Payday Loan
If you’re looking for short-term financing because you’re short on cash for a few weeks, payday loans might be the thing you need.
These are short-term loans meant to be paid by your next salary, hence the name. The requirements for payday loans are typically less stringent, but the APR can go up to triple digits. So, if you’re planning to get payday loans, you have to make sure that you pay them off within time, or you’ll find yourself in a debt trap.
5. Credit Union Loans
A credit union loan is also a type of online personal loan. The only difference is that they are less stringent regarding requirements and will even let you borrow if you have a bad credit score. However, before you can access these loans, you’ll have to be a member of the credit union for some time.
Personal loans are a great source of financing; however, they are not exactly cheap, especially when you’re having trouble with your financial life. There are a lot of personal loan alternatives out there, and all of them have pros and cons, so make sure to pick the one that best suits your needs.