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You give us some information about yourself, and we use this to find your credit file. We match your credit file to the criteria credit card companies give us about what kind of customer they accept, and use this to work out a score out of ten to show how likely you are to be accepted for each card. We only use your data to find your credit file, so we can work out your eligibility score for each loan. It only takes a few minutes to give us the information we need to find your credit file and show you how likely you are to get each loan. Managing your finances well and always paying off what you owe in time will give you a good score.

You can use the Eligibility Checker as often as you like over any period without risking damage to your file. Many households are struggling to make ends meet as the cost of living keeps rising. There's little spare cash around to build up an emergency fund, which means it can be tricky to pay for a new washing machine or boiler if your old one breaks down. Maybe you need a new car, or perhaps you're planning a holiday, a wedding or a home makeover? If not, you could end up with a poor deal — and costly credit can send you into a downward debt spiral.

Loans can broadly be divided into two categories: secured and unsecured. With a secured loan, the lender will insist on some sort of security against the money you borrow, often a house or car. If you default on the payments, the bank or building society can then sell the asset to clear the debt. You can usually borrow large amounts with a secured loan, and at a lower rate of interest.

Plus, you can pay back the debt over a long time period, perhaps 10 or 15 years. However, secured loans are more risky than unsecured loans because you could lose your collateral if you cannot clear the debt. You should therefore think very carefully - and consider other options - before taking out a secured loan. The interest rate is usually fixed and you pay back the debt over a set term, normally one, three or five years. Personal loans can therefore help you to budget because you know at the outset the full cost of your borrowings and how long they will take to clear.

Representative 3. If you have run up other debts at high rates of interest, a personal loan can be a good way to manage your borrowings and bring down the cost.

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If you also cut up the store card, you would not be tempted to go on a spreading spree and add to your debt burden! Interest rates on personal loans vary across the market, but as a rough rule of thumb, the more you borrow, the lower the rate. The size of the loan will to some extent determine the term of the loan. You also have to consider the cost implications of the loan term as the longer the term, the lower the monthly payments — but the higher the total cost. The interest rates on personal loans depend partly on the loan amount and term.

But lenders also assess your creditworthiness, usually by looking at your credit file. The lowest rates are reserved for the best customers — that is, borrowers with a spotless credit record. If you are judged likely to default on the loan because of a poor credit history, you will be charged a higher rate of interest or your application will be turned down.

In other words, there is no guarantee that you will qualify for the advertised rates. You can pay off your debt before the end of the loan term if you come into some cash. But watch out for early repayment fees. Many lenders levy a penalty for early repayment, which could wipe out any potential interest savings. Some lenders also charge arrangement fees for personal loans, which you should factor into your cost calculations. You should try to work out how much you can afford to borrow and pay back before applying for a loan. Once the interest free period ends you may be moved on to a high rate instead, so it can be a good idea to pay off as much of your debt as you can during this interest free period.

Variable rate deals mean the interest rate at which you make repayments can change whenever the lender decides to change it — though often lenders will use the Bank of England base rate as a guideline. Learn more with our guide to payday loans. Every loan application you make, just like credit applications, leave a mark on your credit report.

This way you can minimise your applications and reduce the chance of you damaging your credit. It can vary by lenders, but you should always check on the interest rate they charge as there might be a chance you actually pay less overall by choosing a bigger loan with a lower interest rate. The length of your loan can vary depending on the type of loan you take out and the provider you choose, but it could be anywhere between a year and ten years.

Taking out a loan for a longer period of time may reduce your monthly payments, but you may end up paying more for the loan due to interest payments. Different lenders and different types of loans will have varying requirements, but in general whether or not you qualify will depend on your personal details and your credit history. You can generally apply for loans by contacting the provider you choose — either by calling through the phone, sending an application form through the post, applying online, or dropping in to their branch if they have one to apply in person.

A soft-search or soft-application is a way of finding out where you stand in terms of getting a loan without leaving a mark on your credit report. Missing repayments can mean you might be fined by your lender, and it could also end any low or zero interest incentives you have.

Representative 3.4% APR

It takes into account the actual interest rate you pay, plus any other fees or charges involved in the deal, to give you a more complete picture of what you loan will cost. Debt consolidation is when you take out a single loan to repay the debts you have with different providers — this way you can pay off the debt with a single monthly repayment, rather than lots of repayments to a variety of lenders.

You might find it tricky to get a loan if you have a muddled credit history - so what are you options? It's important to know the difference between secured and unsecured loans before making any application. Our glossary will help you to understand the range of financial jargon surrounding these products. Discover how getting a loan can offer you an alternative to dealer finance. Find out about borrowing to upgrade or extend your family home. Bankrate provides credit card information based on individual issuers, card type and credit type.

Lenders use risk-based pricing. So, as is the case with other lending products, customers with the highest credit scores will qualify for the best loan rates.

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How to get the best loan rate: Get a copy of your credit report and correct any inaccurate information. For those with less-than-stellar credit, there is another option to consider: credit unions. For the most part, these financial institutions use the same risk-based analysis that other lenders use, i.

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  7. What impacts rates: The federal government sets the interest rates on federal student loans such as the Stafford and Plus loans. The rate then moved down to 5. Private student loan interest rates are variable and based on either the Libor index or the prime rate. How to get the best loan rate: Federally backed, subsidized student loans are available at attractive fixed interest rates to any qualified college student based on need and regardless of credit score.

    Early filers often qualify for the maximum amount of grants and low interest loans, according to Christel. If you need a private loan and your credit is iffy, get a copy of your credit report before applying for a loan to make sure there are no surprises. Then get several quotes as quickly as possible. What impacts rates: Interest rates for personal loans are comparable to interest rates for credit cards, which are loosely pegged to the prime rate. Financial institutions will also base personal loan rates on other factors unrelated to such indexes as the prime rate.

    Credit unions are a viable alternative to traditional lenders.

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    They generally offer favorable rates on loans and credit cards to their members. Customers are actually dividend-eligible shareholders and are referred to as members rather than account holders. You may also be able to secure the best rate for a personal loan from a traditional lender by using collateral, such as home equity or a free-and-clear car title, according to McBride.

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    Best personal loan deals

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