Shop for Personal Loans with Care

If you're in the market for an unsecured personal loan, the chances are that you'll be able to find one. Although they can be somewhat difficult to obtain if your credit is spotty, the vast majority of banks and credit unions do offer them. As a matter of fact, banks have begun to find that the demand among consumers for personal loans has grown. If only a few thousands dollars is needed, many people have decided to opt for this type of loan instead of tapping into the equity in their homes.

In spite of that fact, unsecured loans aren't exactly a favorite of banks. The reason is that a small $2,500 loan is not a very profitable instrument for lending institutions. And this is the very reason that you must be careful when searching for these loans. Many lenders may attempt to steer you toward one of their favorite products for such small sums of money -- the credit card.

Credit cards typically carry a much higher interest rate than short-term unsecured loans, along with the fact that they are revolving accounts, which means that there is no set time period in which they must be paid off. This tends to create a long-term relationship between the bank and its customer, something the bank greatly desires. In addition, that high initial interest rate could go higher still if the borrower misses or is even late making one payment.

A fair degree of discipline is needed to figure up a payment amount that's necessary to pay the card off in a timely fashion, and then to stick with it. Therefore, many people just fall into making minimum monthly payments, which could very well keep them paying for decades. The banks aren't exactly unhappy to see this, either.

Another tactic that you might see when you apply for a small loan is that the loan officer may try to get you to take a little more money than you originally wanted. This could be because the officer's commission is tied to the size of the loan; in other words, the bigger the loan that's sold, the bigger the commission that he or she gets paid. Another reason may be that state lending regulations tend to be somewhat tougher for smaller loans, say, under $2,500. The bottom line: if you feel that they're trying to upsell you, be very careful. A bigger loan generally means bigger profits for them.

Keep yourself safe by remembering that you're in charge. First, decide exactly how much money that you absolutely need. Once you've done that, begin shopping around for the best deal. Study the terms of each lender's proposal. And don't just focus on the monthly payments; look at the total cost of the loan. Also, watch for hidden charges. Things such as credit insurance, buying or credit repair clubs, even identity theft programs can all add extra unnecessary fees to the cost of the credit. If there's something that you don't understand, don't hesitate to ask that it be explained to you. The time for clarification is before you sign any documents; once you've signed on the dotted line, you're obligated. So take your time and shop wisely; always be prudent and very careful. It will save you money in the long run.

Make sure you do your research so you get the best loan possible. Here is another good resource on personal loans.

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