There are times we find ourselves in a tight spot and need a little extra money.
Unfortunately, too often, it’s easy to turn to a credit card. However, credit cards can easily carry an interest rate of 17% APR to more than 25% APR. As you make small minimum payments, it’s hard to make real progress and you can never be sure when, exactly, you’ll be able to pay off the debt.
On the other hand, a personal loan can be a better choice — even with a bad credit history. With installment loans, you know exactly how much you’ll repay and when you’ll be done.
What is an installment loan?
A credit card is an example of a revolving loan. You make payments and the balance goes down. However, when you pay off the credit card depends on how often you make payments and whether you pay more than the minimum requirement.
Installment loans, on the other hand, figure your fees and interest up front, divide it by how long you’ll have the loan, and come up with a monthly payment. If you know that it will take you more than a few months to pay off your debt, an installment loan can often be a better choice than a credit card. This is true even if the installment loan has a higher interest rate.
Best Installment Loans for Bad Credit
Compare multiple lenders to see which online loans are best for you. Look for interest rate, monthly payment, and other terms to help you decide what is most likely to help you get out of debt.
No matter where you apply, though, realize that there will be a credit check. What you’re offered will depend on your credit score, income, and how long the term is. When you have a higher credit score, you’re more likely to get a lower interest rate. And, of course, if you can pay off your loan faster, some lenders will also offer a lower rate.
Here are some of the best lenders for those with bad credit.
With CashUSA, you use a network to get funds directly into your bank account. It doesn’t matter what type of credit you have, it’s possible for you to find a loan.
- Loan Amount: $500 – $10,000
- APR: 5.99% to 35.99%
- Term: 3 to 72 months
In most cases, you receive a decision in minutes, and you can use the loan for any purpose. Plus, you’ll find that you can get funds deposited directly into your bank account by the next business day.
This is an online marketplace of lenders that can connect you with a variety of options. Almost any type of credit is acceptable. These are short-term loans, however, and the interest rates and loan terms and conditions vary.
- Loan Amount: Up to $2,500
- APR: Varies, depending on state, lender, and credit
- Term: Varies, depending on type of loan and state
Some of the personal loans offered through MoneyMutual are similar to payday loans. In states where it’s allowed, a payday loan could lead to very higher interest rates of more than 200%. Carefully consider the loan offer before you accept it.
However, if you need money within 24 hours, and you just need a relatively small amount, MoneyMutual can help you find a match.
With BadCreditLoans, you can get connected with a lender quickly and easily. You can even get your money as soon as the following business day. This is one of the oldest places to find online installment loans for bad credit, as it has been operating since 1998.
- Loan Amount: $500 to $5,000
- APR: 5.99% to 35.99%
- Term: 3 to 60 months
No matter your situation, you’re likely to be able to find a loan with this website. You can use the funds for any purpose, and make installment payments that you can afford for up to five years.
Understand the Real Cost of Lower Monthly Payments
Getting a manageable monthly payment is an important part of getting a personal loan. It’s no good getting a loan whose payments are so high that you can’t afford them long term. If you start missing payments, you end up in an even worse position, so carefully walk that line between affordability and term length.
Make sure you understand the connection between a lower payment and how much you pay overall. One of the reasons credit cards are so tempting is due to the low minimum payment. You feel like it’s affordable, but you can pay for several years because of how the payment is.
With installment loans, you know that you’ll be done in a set amount of time. However, the difference between a three-year loan and a five-year loan can be huge.
Let’s consider a loan of $5,000 with a 20% APR.
- If you choose a three-year term, you’ll pay $186 each month and your total interest will be $1,689.45
- With a five-year term, the monthly payment is $132 with interest totalling $2,948.17
As you can see, you might have a lower payment, but you end up paying much, much more in interest by the end of the loan term. In most cases, it’s a good idea to get a loan term that’s as short as possible, with you paying the highest monthly payment you can afford.
Even with this caveat, however, installment loans can still be a better option than credit cards — especially if you only pay the minimum.
- Credit card debt of $5,000 at 17% APR, with a $100 payment each month results in $3,759 in interest and more than seven years to pay off.
As you can see, sometimes an installment loan, even with a higher rate, can be the better choice.
Is a Personal Loan with Bad Credit Worth It?
Depending on your situation, it can make sense to get an installment loan instead of always using your credit card. This is especially true if you want to make sure you can pay off a purchase or consolidate debt within a set period of time. When you know it will take several months — or even a couple of years — to pay something off, an installment loan can be a good choice.
However, it’s important to borrow responsibly. Carefully think about what you need, and only borrow what’s necessary. Do your best to choose the shortest possible loan term. If possible, pay off the loan early. Most lenders don’t charge a prepayment penalty, so if you’re able, you can save money by getting rid of the debt faster.
In the end, any type of borrowing is going to cost you. Weigh the benefits against the costs, and do your best to make a choice that will help you meet your financial goals and then be done with the debt a bit faster.