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The website of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau contains information about financial products and educational articles about personal finance making it an excellent resource for potential borrowers.
The Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Protection website provides a section with information on dealing with debt problems, debt counseling, debt collection, and other topics related to debt. You can also find helpful information and tips about financial planning.
The FTC’s website also has a section where you can find information on consumer rights and protections, legislation that deals with consumer protection, in addition to providing the ability to file a complaint, if necessary.
The National Consumer Law Center is a nonprofit organization that advocates for consumer rights and protections. Its website provides valuable information about consumer protection legislation across multiple industries including lending and credit.
Before taking out a loan, ask yourself:
- Whether you have the ability to pay the amount you plan to borrow back
- If the planned purchase can wait until you can afford it without borrowing
- If the purchase is urgent, is there an alternative way to fund it, for example, by asking your employer, family members, or friends
- If the purchase is not urgent, can you do without it
You should never take out a loan if
- Intend to use it to pay off other loans or debts
- You have other outstanding loans or debt obligations and/or have missed mortgage, rent, utility, or other monthly payments
- If you are unsure of your capability to make the repayments on time
If you still need to take out a loan
- Examine your income and expenses to make sure you can pay your other bills in addition to making the loan repayments
- Determine how much you can afford to repay every month
- If you will not be able to make your other payments in addition to the loan payments, you can’t afford the loan
Requirements to qualify for a loan
- You must be at least 18 years old. Each lender determines its own age requirements. Most provide loans to borrowers that are 18 or older.
- You must legally work and reside in the United States
- You must have a working telephone number and email address
- You must have a bank account in your name
- You must provide proof of citizenship, such as a Social Security number, or legal residency
- You must have a regular and stable income, either from full-time employment, self-employment, or disability or Social Security benefits
Annual Percentage Rate (APR)
The Annual Percentage Rate represents the annual cost (in %) of borrowing. The APR takes factors such as the interest rate and other fees and charges into account. In order to make it easier for you to compare one loan to other similar loans, lenders are required to tell you the APR before you sign an agreement.
- Lender A offers $1,000 for 12 months with an APR of 27.3%
- Lender B offers $1,000 for 12 months with an APR of 34.9%
In this scenario above, borrowing from Lender A would be a better idea, because you would get the same amount of money for the same term, but you would pay less in interest.
Here we present representative examples of loan terms offered by several lenders so that you can predict the expected amount of payments.
Here are some of them:
- Loan Amount: $4,000, Period: 24 months, Monthly repayment: $193.95, Total amount repayable $4,654.72, APR: 15%
- Loan Amount: $1,500, Period: 24 months, Monthly repayment: $67.77, Total amount repayable $1,626.54, APR: 7.9%
- Loan Amount: $2,000, Period: 24 months, Monthly repayment: $94.15, Total amount repayable $2,259.60, APR: 12%
NB! The actual principal amount, term, and APR amount of the loan may vary depending on your credit history and state law.
Borrowing costs and fees
- Late Payment fees - if you miss a payment you usually have to pay a late payment fee, so make sure you never miss a payment to avoid extra charges. Also note that this can also affect your credit score, which can make it harder to borrow money in the future.
- Non-Payment fees - Additional fees or charges may apply if you fail to repay your loan. Note that lenders can use any legally available method to collect your debt if you don't repay your loan. It is possible that lenders may use collection agencies to collect your debt. This can result in additional fees and affect your credit score.
- Loan Renewal - Loan renewal policies, as well as rates and fees of such, are regulated differently by each state. Before borrowing, find out your state’s policies regarding loan renewal and make sure that you read all the terms and conditions in your loan agreement.
How to choose the term of the loan
We advise you to choose the shortest term you can afford. Longer-term loans might seem appealing at first sight as they have lower monthly payments; however, it may turn out that the total interest you pay may end up being significantly higher. If you can afford to, it is better to take out a loan for a shorter period of time and pay back a higher amount each month.
If you're not able to pay on time
If you realize that you will not be able to repay the loan on time, many credit companies offer extensions at an additional cost, which varies from company to company. In the event that you are not able to repay a loan on time, please contact your lender immediately to discuss your options.
Every state has its own set of rules and regulations governing personal loans. Your loan amount, APR, and repayment term will vary based on your creditworthiness, state, and lender or lending partner. Residents of some states may not qualify for a bad credit loan as a result of certain lender requirements. This website does not guarantee that completing a loan request form will result in you being offered a loan product by a lender, or you being offered a product with your desired rates or terms. The actual amount of loan that a customer qualifies for may vary based on the borrower’s credit history and state law. Minimum loan amounts vary by state.