UK Secured Loan vs. Unsecured Loan - Which to Choose?

Friday, January 2, 2015

With so many different loan options available in the UK market, it can be confusing whether an unsecured or secured loan is best for you. Choosing the best loan for your situation will depend on a number of factors including; your credit history, the amount you would like to borrow, and the length of time (term) you need. Let us briefly review the basic pros and cons of unsecured vs. secured loans.

Unsecured loans are generally used for smaller amounts borrowed and for shorter periods of time. Common examples of unsecured loans include bank lines of credit and credit cards. One advantage of unsecured loans is they can be relatively easy to get if your credit history is good. The main disadvantage of an unsecured loan is they usually carry a much higher interest rate. This higher rate is due to the fact that the lending institution does not have any collateral to guarantee repayment of the loan. This poses a higher risk for the lender, thus resulting in higher interest rates for the borrower.

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Secured Loans, also commonly know as Home Owner Loans, have become an increasingly popular way in the UK to borrow larger sums of money. Secured loans are generally used when the loan amount is in excess of £5,000 pounds and the desired length of the loan term is longer (usually 5 to 25 years). As the name implies, a secured loan is tied to an asset as collateral to secure the loan amount. The most commonly used form of collateral for a secured loan is a person's home. Great care therefore must be taken to consistently maintain payments, as your home may be repossessed if payments fall behind.

Two great advantages of secured loans include their ease of availability to home owner's and a much lower interest rate than found with unsecured loans. Even if you have a bad or adverse credit history, you can still be eligible for an adverse credit secured loan if you own your own home.

The exact interest rate you will be offered will depend on the size of the loan you are looking to get and your current credit history. The "catch 22" is that most lenders make you fill out a lengthy form and perform a credit check before giving you a quote. Many people unknowingly damage their credit file by applying to several loans when trying to do their own comparison. In order to get the best interest rate possible and avoid unnecessary credit inquiries, it is advisable to use the services of a loan broker or loan comparison site.

The advantage of using a good loan comparison site is they can instantly compare over 250 to 550 different loans matching your specific requirements, while at the same time not requiring an initial credit check. A good comparison site is one that has a quick and easy form and does not have any kind of declaration, data protection (DPA) or accepting of terms check box. If a website has any of these accepting of terms (Careful - sometimes they are small and already pre-checked), then a credit check will be performed.

Choosing a Unsecured or Secured Loan is a major decision. Make sure you take the time to do proper research and ensure you are getting the best interest rate possible. It will be time well spent and can save you thousands of pounds in the long run.

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