woman doing taxes in kitchen

Can You Use a Personal Loan to Pay Taxes?

Tax Day appears dependably every year and, ideally, you don’t end up owing the IRS money. Or if you do, hopefully you can easily pay your taxes. But that’s not always the case. If you do end up owing money to the IRS after filing your taxes, you may have options. Of course, you can dip into your emergency fund, but if you don’t have one yet, there are other options available for borrowing money when you’re in a pinch.

Everyone’s financial situation is different, so there’s not one right answer for covering your tax bill. We’ll go through the pros and cons of using a credit card, an IRS payment plan, or even a personal loan to pay your tax bill.

We should, of course, mention that this article is a broad overview of this matter. It’s always a good idea to consult a licensed tax professional for questions and help with tax-related matters.

Can I Get a Loan to Pay Taxes?

You may be able to get a loan for taxes you owe as long as you can qualify for a loan with the lender you choose. If you can qualify for a loan, you may want to consider whether it’s the right choice for your financial situation or if there may be a different option that works better for you.


💡 Quick Tip: Before choosing a personal loan, ask about the lender’s fees: origination, prepayment, late fees, etc. SoFi personal loans come with no-fee options, and no surprises.

What Is a Tax Loan?

A loan for taxes is a personal loan that is used to pay taxes owed to the IRS. The borrower receives the funds in a lump sum and spends the personal loan funds to pay their tax debt.

When looking for a lender that does tax loans, you might consider traditional banks, credit unions, or online lenders, among other financial institutions.

Recommended: How to Apply for a Personal Loan

How Does a Tax Loan Work?

If a taxpayer does not have the funds to pay the taxes they owe the IRS, one option to pay the debt is to borrow money to do so. Often, this is in the form of a personal loan, which can be either secured or unsecured. After receiving the loan proceeds, the borrower pays the IRS and begins making regular installment payments to the lender.

How to Qualify for Tax Loan

Qualifying for a tax loan is like qualifying for a personal loan intended to pay for any other expense.

Lenders will look at an applicant’s credit score, employment history, income, other debt, and possibly other lender-specific criteria. Generally, the more creditworthy an applicant is, the more favorable their loan terms and interest rate.

There are a variety of lenders who offer personal loans, so if you don’t qualify at one, you might consider looking at other places to get a personal loan.

Reasons For Tax Refund Loans

If you’re getting a tax refund, you might want the money sooner than the IRS sends it to you. For that reason, you might consider getting a tax refund loan. Also called a refund advance loan (RAL), this type of loan is a short-term loan based on the amount of tax refund you are expecting.

RALs are often offered by your tax preparation service right after you file. Similar to other loans, the interest and fees for a tax refund loan will vary by provider.

Reasons Against Tax Refund Loans

The key word in “tax refund loan” is loan — a debt. There are considerable reasons not to use this option to get an anticipated tax refund amount quickly.

•   While some tax preparers will offer tax refund loans without any interest or fees, these loans often come with costs.

•   Even if your tax refund is smaller than expected, you still have to repay the full loan amount, including any interest and fees charged by the lender.

•   If the IRS denies, delays, or garnishes your tax refund to pay another debt, you still owe the RAL — including any interest and any fees charged by the lender.

•   Interest rates on RALs offered by payday lenders tend to be high, with APRs sometimes 10 times higher than average credit card interest rates.

Filing your taxes electronically and getting your tax refund, if you’re getting one, via direct deposit generally results in you getting your money faster, often in less than 21 days.

What Happens if You Can’t Pay Your Taxes?

If you owe taxes, you may not have enough cash on hand to make that payment to the IRS, particularly if it’s a large amount. Paying a tax debt in full is ideal, but there are options if you cannot do that.

Options to Pay Tax Debt

IRS Payment Plans

The IRS offers payment plans and the potential for an “offer in compromise,” which may allow you to settle your debt for less than you owe if paying in full would create financial hardship. In some instances, you may also be able to temporarily delay collection until your financial situation improves. Depending on your situation, there can also be set-up fees, application fees, interest, and penalties that continue to accrue, increasing the amount you owe until it’s paid in full.

Credit Cards

Another option is to charge your tax expense to a credit card. The IRS charges a processing fee , which varies depending on the payment system you choose, if you pay with a credit card.

If you fail to pay off your credit card balance when it’s due, interest will accrue until the balance is paid in full. If you qualify for a credit card with a zero-percent introductory period and pay the full amount before the promotional period ends, you could pay your taxes with a credit card without incurring any interest charges.

Loved Ones

Asking a friend or family member for a loan for taxes is an option some people consider. Borrowing from someone you know generally means you won’t have to undergo a credit check. So if you don’t have great credit but are able to repay a loan, this may be an acceptable option. A close friend or family member who is confident you’ll repay the loan may not charge you interest, or charge a lower percentage rate than you might qualify for with a bank or other lender.

If you do choose to borrow money from friends or family, be clear about expectations from the beginning. For example, setting up a repayment plan could lessen the chance for miscommunication and hurt feelings.

Payday Loans

Payday loans are high-cost, short-term loans for small amounts that are often made to people who have bad or nonexistent credit. Unfortunately, this borrowing option often works in the best interest of the lender, not the borrower.

Interest rates on payday loans are much higher than other types of loans, sometimes up to 400% APR. Even using a credit card, with their relatively high-interest rates, is generally a better option than a payday loan.

The repayment term for a payday loan is small — typically, the loan needs to be repaid with the borrower’s next payday. If your tax bill is too large to pay by the time the payday loan is due, the loan may need to be renewed, adding additional fees and accruing more interest on the initial loan balance. This strategy could lead to a cycle of debt that is difficult to break.

Lines of Equity or Credit

Whereas a loan lets you borrow a set amount of money in one lump sum, a line of credit (LOC) gives you a maximum amount of credit from which you can borrow, repay, and borrow again, up to the credit limit. You make at least a minimum payment each month toward your balance due. LOCs can be secured or unsecured — a home equity line of credit (HELOC) is an example of a secured LOC, using your home as collateral.

One advantage to a LOC is the typically lower interest rates they offer compared to credit cards. However, interest rates on a LOC are often variable and can rise over the life of the loan. A drawback to a HELOC is that if you can’t repay the loan, you could lose your home.

Personal Loans

You can apply for either a secured or unsecured personal loan, the former requiring collateral to back the loan. A secured loan may have a lower interest rate because the lender can seize the collateralized asset if you default on the loan. Essentially, this lowers the lender’s perceived risk.

It’s a good idea to compare the interest rates on personal loans. They tend to start out lower than credit cards, but they can vary widely depending on your creditworthiness. The average personal loan interest rate was 11.91% as of Feb. 14, 2024. However, the rate can range anywhere from 6.40% to 35.99% depending on the lender and your unique financial circumstances.


💡 Quick Tip: Generally, the larger the personal loan, the bigger the risk for the lender — and the higher the interest rate. So one way to lower your interest rate is to try downsizing your loan amount.

Pros and Cons of Using a Personal Loan To Pay Taxes

Using a personal loan to pay taxes comes with both advantages and disadvantages. Here’s a look at how they stack up.

Pros of Paying Taxes With a Personal Loan

Cons of Paying Taxes With a Personal Loan

Typically unsecured, so no risk of losing an asset such as a car or home Some lenders may not lend small amounts
Potentially low interest rates if you have good credit Interest rate may be higher than an IRS repayment plan’s interest rate
With a fixed interest rate, monthly payments will be the same over the life of the loan Some lenders may not allow a personal loan for taxes

Recommended: Paying Tax on Personal Loans

The Takeaway

When Tax Day rolls around and you discover that you owe taxes to the IRS, it’s a good idea to consider multiple options to settle the bill. If you don’t have enough money in your bank account to pay your tax bill, you might turn to an IRS repayment plan, your credit cards, a loan from a loved one, or a personal loan.

Think twice before turning to high-interest credit cards. Consider a SoFi personal loan instead. SoFi offers competitive fixed rates and same-day funding. Checking your rate takes just a minute.


SoFi’s Personal Loan was named NerdWallet’s 2023 winner for Best Online Personal Loan overall.

FAQ

Can I get a loan to pay taxes?

Yes, a personal loan can be used to pay taxes in most cases. Applicants must meet qualification requirements like any other personal loan, which typically include a credit check, employment and income verification, and other criteria.

What is a tax loan?

A tax loan is a personal loan used to pay taxes owed.

How does a tax loan work?

Tax loans are personal loans, either secured or unsecured. The borrower uses the loan proceeds to pay the IRS and then makes loan payments to the lender.


SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.


Disclaimer: Many factors affect your credit scores and the interest rates you may receive. SoFi is not a Credit Repair Organization as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. SoFi does not provide “credit repair” services or advice or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history, or credit rating. For details, see the FTC’s website .

Non affiliation: SoFi isn’t affiliated with any of the companies highlighted in this article.

Tax Information: This article provides general background information only and is not intended to serve as legal or tax advice or as a substitute for legal counsel. You should consult your own attorney and/or tax advisor if you have a question requiring legal or tax advice.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third-party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.

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What Is Considered a Fair Credit Score — and What Does It Mean?

What Is Considered a Fair Credit Score — and What Does It Mean?

A fair credit score falls in the mid-lower range of the credit-scoring spectrum. With the FICO® scoring model, which ranges from 300 to 850, a fair score is 580 to 669.

Fair credit is better than poor credit but below the average credit score. While you’ll likely be able to get a credit card or loan with fair credit, you probably won’t qualify for the most favorable rates and terms.

Read on to learn how fair credit compares with other credit score ranges, the difference having good credit can make, and what you can do to build your credit.

What Is Fair Credit?

What “fair credit” means will depend on the scoring model. With FICO, the most widely used credit scores by lenders in the U.S., fair credit is a score between 580 and 669. With VantageScore®, another popular scoring model, fair credit is a score of 601 to 660.

The fair credit range is above poor credit but below good credit, and is considered to be in the subprime score range.

Credit scores are calculated using information found in your credit reports (you have three, one from each of the major consumer credit bureaus). People typically have multiple, not just one, credit score, and these scores can vary depending on the scoring model and which of your three credit reports the scoring system analyzes. While each score may be slightly different, they typically fall into similar ranges and scoring categories, such as poor, fair, good, and excellent/exceptional.


💡 Quick Tip: A low-interest personal loan from SoFi can help you consolidate your debts, lower your monthly payments, and get you out of debt sooner.

Is Fair Credit Good or Bad?

As the name “fair” implies, this score is okay, but not great. A fair credit score isn’t the lowest category on the FICO chart — that’s the poor credit category, which runs from 300-579. But it’s definitely not the highest either. Above fair credit, there is good credit (670-739), very good credit (740-799), and exceptional credit (800-850).

With a fair credit score, lenders will likely see you as an above-average risk and, as a result, charge you more upfront fees and higher interest rates. They may also approve you for a lower loan amount or credit limit.

With fair credit, you might also have difficulty getting approved for certain financial products. For example, you might need a higher credit score to get the best rewards cards or certain types of mortgages. Landlords and property managers may also have credit score requirements. You might have to pay a larger security deposit if you have a fair credit score.

Is a 620 Credit Score Fair?

Yes, 620 is within the 580-669 range for a fair FICO score and, thus, would be considered a fair credit score. A 620 is also in the VantageScore range for fair (580 to 669).

Recommended: 8 Reasons Why Good Credit Is So Important

Why Do I Need to Know My Credit Scores?

A credit score is a three-digit number designed to represent someone’s credit risk (the likelihood you’ll pay your bills on time). Lenders use your credit scores — along with the information in your credit reports — to help determine whether to approve you for a loan or credit line and, if so, at what rates and terms. Many landlords, utility companies, insurance companies, cell phone providers, and employers also look at credit scores.

Knowing your credit scores can help you understand your current credit position. It also provides a baseline from which you can implement change. With time and effort, you may be able to build your credit and gradually move your credit score into a higher category, possibly all the way up to exceptional.

Recommended: How Often Does Your Credit Score Update?

Using Credit Bureaus to Find Credit Scores

It’s a good idea to periodically review your credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) to make sure all of the information is accurate, since errors can bring down your scores. You can get free weekly copies of your reports at AnnualCreditReport.com .

However, your credit reports will not contain your credit scores.

Fortunately, there are easy ways to get your credit scores, often for free. Many credit card companies, banks, and loan companies have started providing credit scores for their customers. It may be on your statement, or you can access it online by logging into your account.

You can also purchase credit scores directly from one of the three major credit bureaus or other provider, such as FICO. Some credit score services and credit scoring sites provide a free credit score to users. Others may provide credit scores to credit monitoring customers paying a monthly subscription fee.

Recommended: How to Check Your Credit Score for Free

Reasons Your Credit Score Might Be Fair

Your credit scores are based on information in your credit reports, and different things can help or hurt your scores. FICO scores are based on the following five factors.

1. Payment History

This looks at whether you’ve made your debt payments on time every month and is the most important factor in computing your FICO credit score. Even one payment made 30 days late can significantly harm your score. An account sent to collections, a foreclosure, or a bankruptcy can have even more significant and lasting consequences.

2. Amounts Owed

This notes the total amount you’ve borrowed, including how much of your available credit you’re currently using (called your credit utilization rate). If you’re tapping a sizable percentage of your available credit on your credit cards (such as 30% or more), for example, that can have a negative impact on your score.

3. Length of Credit History

Experience with credit accounts generally makes people better at managing debt (research bears this out). As a result, lenders generally see borrowers with a longer credit history (i.e., older accounts) more favorably than those that are new to credit. All things being equal, the longer your credit history, the higher your credit score is likely to be.

4. Credit Mix

This looks at how many different types of debt you are managing, such as revolving debt (e.g., credit cards and credit lines) and installment debt (such as personal loans, auto loans, and mortgages). The ability to successfully manage multiple debts and different credit types tends to benefit your credit scores.

5. New Credit

Research shows that taking on new debt increases a person’s risk of falling behind on their old debts. As a result, credit scoring systems can lower your score a small amount after a hard credit inquiry (which occurs when you apply for a new loan or credit card). The decrease is small, typically less than five points per inquiry, and temporary — it generally only lasts a few months.

Steps That Can Help Improve Fair Credit

While you may still be able to qualify for loans with fair credit, building your credit can help you get better rates and terms. Here are some moves that may help.

•   Pay your bills on time. Having a long track record of on-time payments on your credit card and loan balances can help build a positive payment history. Do your best to never miss a payment, since this can result in a negative mark on your credit reports.

•   Pay down credit card balances. If you’re carrying a large balance on one or more credit cards, it can be helpful to pay down that balance. This will lower your credit utilization rate.

•   Consider a secured credit card. If you’re new to credit or have a fair or low credit score, you may be able to build your credit by opening a secured credit card. These cards require you to pay a security deposit up front, which makes them easier to qualify for. Using a secured card responsibly can add positive payment information into your credit reports.

•   Monitor your credit. It’s a good idea to closely examine the information in your three credit reports to make sure it’s all accurate. Any errors can drag down your score. If you see any inaccuracies, you’ll want to reach out to the lender reporting the information. You can also dispute errors on your credit report with the credit bureaus.

•   Limit hard credit inquiries. Opening too many new credit accounts within a short period of time could hurt your scores because credit scoring formulas take recent credit inquiries into account. When shopping rates, be sure that a lender will only run a soft credit check (which won’t impact your scores).

Reasons to Improve Your Credit Score

Building your credit takes time and diligence, but can be well worth the effort, since our scores impact so many different parts of our lives.

Loans

Credit scores are used by lenders to gauge each consumer’s creditworthiness and determine whether to approve their applications for loans. A higher score makes you more likely to qualify for mortgages, auto loans, and different types of personal loans. It also helps you qualify for more favorable lending rates and terms.

Credit Cards

Credit card issuers typically reserve cards with lower annual percentage rates (APRs), more enticing rewards, and higher credit limits for applicants who have higher credit scores. A fair credit score may qualify you for a credit card with a high APR and little or no perks. Improving your credit score could potentially give you the boost you need to qualify for a better credit card.

Security Deposits

Just found your dream apartment? A fair credit score could mean a higher security deposit than if you had a good or better credit score. With a poor or fair credit score, you may also be asked to pay security deposits for cell phones or basic utilities like electricity.

Housing Options

A fair or poor credit score can even limit which housing options are available to you in the first place. Some landlords and property management companies require renters to clear a minimum credit bar to qualify.

Recommended: Typical Personal Loan Requirements Needed for Approval

Can You Get Personal Loans With Fair Credit?

It’s possible to get a personal loan with fair credit (or a FICO score between 580 and 669) but your choices will likely be limited.

Personal loan lenders use credit scores to gauge the risk of default, and a fair credit score often indicates you’ve had some issues with credit in the past. In many cases, borrowers with fair credit may be offered personal loans with higher rates, steeper fees, shorter repayment periods, and lower loan limits than those offered to borrowers with good to exceptional credit.

Although some lenders offer fair credit loans, you’ll likely need to do some searching to find a lender that will give you competitive rates and terms.


💡 Quick Tip: Generally, the larger the personal loan, the bigger the risk for the lender — and the higher the interest rate. So one way to lower your interest rate is to try downsizing your loan amount.

The Takeaway

Having a fair credit score is better than having a poor credit score and doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t qualify for any type of credit. However, the rates and terms you’ll be offered may not be as favorable as those someone with good or better scores can get. With time and effort, however, you can move up the credit scoring ladder. If you work on building your credit score until you have good or better credit, you’ll gain access to credit cards and loans with lower interest rates and more perks.

Think twice before turning to high-interest credit cards. Consider a SoFi personal loan instead. SoFi offers competitive fixed rates and same-day funding. Checking your rate takes just a minute.


SoFi’s Personal Loan was named NerdWallet’s 2023 winner for Best Online Personal Loan overall.

FAQ

Is fair credit good or bad?

A fair credit score is neither good nor bad, it’s just okay. FICO credit scores range from 300 to 850 and a fair score is 580 to 669. It’s better than a poor credit score but below the average credit score.

What’s considered a fair credit score?

According to the FICO scoring model, which ranges from 300 to 850, a fair credit score is one that falls between 580 and 669. It’s one step up from a poor credit rating but below good, very good, and exceptional.

Is a 620 credit score fair?

Yes, a 620 credit score is considered to be in the fair range. According to the FICO scoring model, which ranges from 300 to 850, a fair credit score is one that falls between 580 and 669.


Photo credit: iStock/Ivan Pantic

SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.


Disclaimer: Many factors affect your credit scores and the interest rates you may receive. SoFi is not a Credit Repair Organization as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. SoFi does not provide “credit repair” services or advice or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history, or credit rating. For details, see the FTC’s website .

Non affiliation: SoFi isn’t affiliated with any of the companies highlighted in this article.

Checking Your Rates: To check the rates and terms you may qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull and may affect your credit.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

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Comparing Personal Loans vs Business Loans

Comparing Personal Loans vs Business Loans

If you’re looking to start or grow a side hustle or small business, you might think a business loan is the right next step. A personal loan, however, is another popular financial product that you also might be able to use. Or it could free up some cash by covering expenses elsewhere in your budget, so you can put more of your income toward funding your business.

Because there are potential benefits and disadvantages to both types of financing, it’s important to understand the differences. You’ll find that information here and be better equipped to decide whether a business loan vs. personal loan might work best for you.

What Is a Personal Loan?

A personal loan is a source of financing that a borrower typically can use for just about anything. (That said, you may need to get approval from your lender if you plan to use the money directly for your business. This is not always possible.)

Typically, you’ll find unsecured personal loans, with the borrower agreeing to pay back the full amount, plus interest, in fixed monthly payments within a predetermined time frame.

Some lenders also offer secured personal loans, however,which means some form of collateral is involved. Also, some offer personal loans with variable interest rates.

How Personal Loans Work

When you apply for a personal loan, you can expect the lender to review your personal financial information — including your credit score, credit reports, and income — to determine your eligibility. In general, the better your credit, the better your chances of receiving a lower interest rate.

Personal loan amounts vary, but some lenders offer personal loans for as much as $100,000.

Although most personal loans have shorter repayment terms, the length of a loan can vary from a few months to several years. Typically, they last from 12 to 84 months.


💡 Quick Tip: Some personal loan lenders can release your funds as quickly as the same day your loan is approved.

What is a Business Loan?

A business loan is a type of financing used specifically to pay for business expenses. It could be used to purchase equipment or inventory, for example, or to fund a new project.

There are many kinds of small business loans available — with different rates and repayment terms — including Small Business Administration (SBA) loans, equipment loans, micro loans, and more. Rates, terms, and loan requirements also can vary significantly depending on the lender.

How Business Loans Work

Applying for a business loan tends to be more complicated than getting a personal loan. For one thing, you’ll likely have to submit more paperwork to back up your application, including your business’s financial statements and an up-to-date business plan. The lender also usually will want to review your personal and business credit scores. And you may have to be more specific about what the loan will be used for than you would with a personal loan.

If your business is brand new, lenders may be reluctant to give you a business loan. Some lenders might ask you to put up some type of collateral to qualify.

Differences Between Business and Personal Loans

There are several factors you may want to evaluate if you’re trying to decide between a personal loan vs. a business loan, including the loan costs, how you plan to use the money, and how much you hope to borrow. Here’s a look at a few basic differences.

Cost Differences Between Business and Personal Loans

Whether you’re considering applying for a business loan or a personal loan to use for your business, it’s important to be clear about how much it could cost you upfront and over the life of the loan.

Interest Rates

Interest rates for business loans can be lower than for the interest rates for personal loans, but the rates for both can vary depending on the type of loan, the lender you choose, and your qualifications as a borrower.

Fees

Fees also can affect the upfront and overall cost of both personal and business loans, so it’s a good idea to be clear on what you’re paying. Some of the more common fees for business loans and personal loans that you might see include origination, application, packaging, and underwriting fees, and late payment and prepayment penalties.

Some fees may be subtracted from the loan amount before the borrower receives the money. But fees also may be folded into a loan’s annual percentage rate (APR) instead, which can increase the monthly payment.

Down Payment

Business loans may be available for larger amounts than a personal loan. For a larger business loan — a substantial SBA loan or commercial real estate loan, for example — you could be required to come up with a down payment. This amount can add to your upfront cost. However, just as with a mortgage or car loan, a larger down payment can help you save money over the long term, because you’ll pay less in interest.

Whether you’ll need a down payment, and the amount required, may depend on your individual and business creditworthiness.

Different Uses for Business and Personal Loans

One of the biggest differences between business vs. personal loans is the way borrowers can use them.

•   A business loan can be used to finance direct business costs, such as paying for supplies, marketing, a new piece of equipment, business debt consolidation, or a business property. But it typically can’t be used for indirect business costs, which means a borrower can’t pay off personal debts with the money or buy personal property with it.

•   Some business loans have a very specific purpose, and the borrowed money must be used for that purpose. For example, if you get an equipment loan, you must buy equipment with it. Or, if you get a business car loan, you must buy a business car with the money.

•   Because you may be able to use the influx of cash for both business and personal expenses, the uses of a personal loan can be very flexible. But personal loans are typically smaller than business loans, and they generally come with a shorter repayment term. It can be helpful to have a clear intent for how the money will be spent and to keep separate records for business and personal expenses.

•   It’s also important to note that some lenders put restrictions on how personal loans can be used, so you should read the fine print before applying and share your plans with the lender if asked.

Differences When Applying for Business and Personal Loans

The criteria lenders look at can be very different when approving a small business loan vs. a personal loan. Here’s what you can expect during the application process.

Applying for a Personal Loan

When you apply for a personal loan, your personal creditworthiness usually plays a large role in the application and approval process.

•   Lenders typically will review a borrower’s credit scores, credit reports, and income when determining the interest rate, loan amount, and repayment term of a personal loan.

•   Generally, you can expect to be asked for a government-issued photo ID, your Social Security number, and/or some other proof of identity.

•   You also may be asked for proof of your current address. And the lender will want to verify your income.

Applying for a Business Loan

When you apply for a business loan, your personal finances still will be a factor, though other aspects of your application will be reviewed carefully.

•   The loan underwriters also will evaluate your business’s cash flow, how long you’ve been in business, your profitability, the exact purpose of the loan, trends in your industry, your business credit score, and more.

•   The lender may ask for a current profit-and-loss statement, a cash-flow statement, recent bank statements and tax returns for the business, your business license and a business plan, and any other current loan documents or lease agreements you might have.

•   You also will have to provide information about your collateral if you are applying for a secured loan.

Recommended: Understanding Credit Score Ranges

Structural Differences in Business and Personal Loans

Knowing the differences in how personal loans vs. business loans are structured could help you decide which is right for you and your business. A few factors that might affect your choice include:

Loan Amount

A business loan may be more difficult to apply for and get than a personal loan, especially if your business is a startup or only a few years old. But if you can qualify, you may be able to borrow more money with a business loan. While personal loan amounts typically top out at $50,000 to $100,000, some SBA loans can go as high as $5.5 million.

Loan Length

You’ll likely find personal and business loans with both short and long repayment terms. But generally, personal loans have shorter terms (typically one to seven years), while some business loan repayment periods can be up to 25 years.

Tax Advantages

If you have a business loan, deducting the interest you pay on the loan may be possible when filing income taxes if you meet specific criteria.

With a personal loan, it might get a little more complicated. If you use the borrowed money only for business costs, you may be able to deduct the interest you paid. But if you use the loan for both business and personal expenses, you would only be able to deduct the percentage of the interest that was used for qualifying business costs.

And you should be prepared to itemize deductions, documenting exactly how you spent the money. Your financial advisor or tax preparer can help you determine what’s appropriate.

Support

Along with the traditional banking services you might expect to get with any type of loan, a business loan also may come with operational support and online tools that can be useful for owners and entrepreneurs.

Risk

When you’re deciding between a personal vs. business loan, it’s also a good idea to think about what could happen if, at some point, the loan can’t be repaid.

•   If your business has financial problems and you have a personal loan, you (and your cosigner, if you have one) could be held responsible for the debt. You could lose your collateral (if it’s a secured loan) or damage your personal credit.

•   If your business defaults and it’s a business loan, the impact to your personal credit would depend on how the loan is set up.

◦   If you’re listed as a sole proprietor or signed a personal guarantee, it’s possible you could be sued, your personal and/or business credit scores could take a hit, and your personal and business assets could be at risk.

◦   If your business is set up as a distinct legal entity, on the other hand, your personal credit score might not be affected — but your business credit score could suffer. And it could be more difficult for you to take out a business loan in the future.

Structural Differences in Business and Personal Loans

Business Loans Personal Loans
Loan Amount Typically come in larger amounts (up to $5 million) Generally are limited to smaller amounts (up to $100,000)
Loan Length Usually have longer repayment periods (up to 25 years) Generally have shorter terms (a few months to a few years)
Tax Advantages Interest paid on a business loan is often tax-deductible Interest paid on a personal loan used for business expenses may be tax-deductible
Support Lenders may offer operational support and online business tools to borrowers with business loans Lenders may offer more personal types of support to borrowers with personal loans
Risk Defaulting on a business loan could affect the borrower’s business credit score or business and personal credit scores (based on how the loan is structured) Defaulting on a personal loan could affect the borrower’s personal credit score

Pros and Cons of Business Loans

There are advantages and disadvantages to keep in mind when deciding whether to apply for a business loan vs. personal loan.

•   A business loan can be more difficult to get than a personal loan, especially if the business is new or still struggling to become profitable.

•   If you qualify for a business loan, you may be able to borrow a larger amount of money and get a longer repayment term.

•   A business loan also could make it easier to separate your business and personal finances.

•   There could be fewer personal consequences if the business defaults on the loan.

Pros of Business Loans

Cons of Business Loans

Borrowers may qualify for larger amounts than personal loans offer Applying can require more time and effort
Longer loan terms available Qualifying can be difficult
Interest rates may be lower Collateral and/or a down payment may be required
Interest is usually tax deductible Loan must be used for business purposes only
Lenders may offer more business-oriented support New businesses may pay higher interest rates
Debt may be the responsibility of the business, not the individual (depending on loan structure) Responsibility for the debt could still land on individual borrowers

Recommended: Can You Refinance a Personal Loan?

Pros and Cons of Personal Loans

A personal loan vs. business loan can have advantages and disadvantages to consider if you are wondering if you can use one to fund a business.

•   Personal loans can offer borrowers more flexibility than business loans in terms of usage.

•   They’re generally easier to qualify for and may have lower interest rates.

•   One major hurdle may be tracking whether the funds were used for business or personal expenses, which can be crucial, especially for income taxes.

Pros of Personal Loans

Cons of Personal Loans

Application process is usually quick and easy Lending limits may be lower than business loans
Qualifying can be less challenging than with a business loan because it’s based on personal creditworthiness Borrower doesn’t build business credit with on-time payments
Can use funds for both personal and business expenses (unless there are lender restrictions) Defaulting can affect personal credit score/finances
Most personal loans are unsecured Interest rates are generally higher than for a business loan
Interest may be tax deductible (when funds are used for business) Shorter loan terms than business loans typically offer



💡 Quick Tip: Swap high-interest debt for a lower-interest loan, and save money on your monthly payments. Find out why SoFi credit card consolidation loans are so popular.

Is a Business or Personal Loan Right for You?

Considering the differences between a personal loan and a business loan can help you decide which is right for your needs. You may want to do some online research, compare rates and terms, and/or ask a financial professional or business mentor for advice before moving forward with this important decision. Here are some things to think about as you look for a loan that’s a good fit for your personal and professional goals.

A business loan may make sense if:

•   You’re seeking a lower interest rate and/or repayment term.

•   You want to keep personal and business expenditures separate.

•   You’ve been successfully running your business for a while.

•   You need more money than you can get with a personal loan.

•   You hope to build your business credit.

•   You want to limit your liability.

A personal loan may make sense if:

•   Your goal is to grow your startup or new business and the loan allows this usage.

•   You plan to use the money for both business and personal expenses.

•   You can find a personal loan with a lower interest rate than a comparable business loan, and the lender approves the loan for business expenses.

•   You want to get the money as quickly as possible.

•   You are seeking a shorter repayment term.

•   You don’t want to secure the loan with collateral.

•   You feel confident about your personal ability to repay the loan.

Recommended: Can I Pay Off a Personal Loan Early?

The Takeaway

If you’re seeking funding to start or grow your business, you may have to decide between personal and business loans. Personal loans are typically easier to apply for and offer quicker access to funds, but often at a somewhat higher interest rate and shorter term vs. business loans. Also, business loans usually offer significantly higher loan amounts and the interest can be tax-deductible. It’s worthwhile to consider the tax and credit implications of each type of loan too, among other factors.

Think twice before turning to high-interest credit cards. Consider a SoFi personal loan instead. SoFi offers competitive fixed rates and same-day funding. Checking your rate takes just a minute.


SoFi’s Personal Loan was named NerdWallet’s 2023 winner for Best Online Personal Loan overall.

FAQ

Are business loans more expensive than personal loans?

Business loans typically have lower interest rates than personal loans. Still, it’s probably worth comparing both types of loans and the rates lenders are willing to offer you and/or your business before making a final decision between the two.

Is it illegal to use personal loans for business?

Most (but not necessarily all) personal loans can be used for just about anything. Your lender may not even ask how you intend to spend the money. But it’s a good idea to check the lending agreement in case there are any restrictions. And if the lender wants to know the purpose of the loan, you should be honest about your intentions.

Are startup loans personal loans?

There are a few different options for funding a startup, including SBA loans, family loans, or crowdfunding platforms. But if you have good credit and are confident you can make the monthly payments, taking out a personal loan could be an effective strategy for funding a startup, if the loan permits that usage.


Photo credit: iStock/MicroStockHub

SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.


Disclaimer: Many factors affect your credit scores and the interest rates you may receive. SoFi is not a Credit Repair Organization as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. SoFi does not provide “credit repair” services or advice or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history, or credit rating. For details, see the FTC’s website .

Non affiliation: SoFi isn’t affiliated with any of the companies highlighted in this article.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Tax Information: This article provides general background information only and is not intended to serve as legal or tax advice or as a substitute for legal counsel. You should consult your own attorney and/or tax advisor if you have a question requiring legal or tax advice.

This article is not intended to be legal advice. Please consult an attorney for advice.

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$10,000 Personal Loan: Everything You Need to Know

$10,000 Personal Loan: Everything You Need to Know

A personal loan can be a relatively low-interest way to access a lump sum of cash, which is usually paid back in monthly payments. This kind of unsecured installment loan can be used for a variety of purposes, from paying off high-interest credit card debt to funding a home renovation.

Here, you’ll learn the full story on one popular option, a $10,000 personal loan.

Reasons to Get a $10,000 Personal Loan

Many prospective borrowers are attracted to personal loans because of the freedom and flexibility that they offer compared to some alternatives. Reasons to get a $10,000 loan might include the following:

•   To pay off an unforeseen expense, such as costly car repairs or a major medical bill. (A borrower might use a lesser sum, like a $5,000 personal loan, in some situations.)

•   To consolidate other debts. For example, assume you have a $10,000 balance between two credit cards, each having an interest rate of over 20%. You might be able to secure a $10,000 personal loan with a significantly lower interest rate to pay off that debt.

•   To pay for a home renovation.

•   To start a side hustle.

•   Any other need for a cash infusion.



💡 Quick Tip: A low-interest personal loan from SoFi can help you consolidate your debts, lower your monthly payments, and get you out of debt sooner.

$10,000 Personal Loan Terms

Depending on the lender, the repayment periods typically range from 12 months to 84 months.

You can shop around for a personal loan with terms that allow for affordable monthly payments. Keep in mind that a longer term likely means you will pay more interest over the life of the loan.

When calculating the overall costs of a personal loan, consider such factors as the principal amount borrowed, interest rate, fees, and the loan term. You might use an online personal loan calculator to help you tally up costs.

$10,000 Personal Loan Monthly Payments

Personal loans are typically repaid over a multi-year term through monthly payments. The cost of the monthly payments is influenced by the interest rate that applies to the specific loan. Interest rates are essentially the fees charged by the lender for providing the loan.

The lowest interest rates are typically offered to consumers with a good to excellent credit history and may also be influenced based on other factors including their current income. Generally speaking, lenders may increase their interest rates if they think an applicant presents higher risk for timely repayment.

The following chart shows the impact that interest rates have on the monthly payment and also how choosing a longer-term loan can increase the overall cost of the loan.

Principal

Interest Rate

Loan Term

Monthly Payment

Total Interest Paid

$ 10,000 6.0% 24 months $ 443.21 $ 636.95
$ 10,000 10.0% 24 months $ 461.45 $ 1,074.78
$ 10,000 6.0% 48 months $ 234.85 $ 1,272.81
$ 10,000 10.0% 48 months $ 253.63 $ 2,174.04

Personal loan interest rates are generally fixed, which means the monthly payment will remain the same. Variable-rate personal loans are offered by some lenders, and payments will be influenced by market conditions.


💡 Quick Tip: Just as there are no free lunches, there are no guaranteed loans. So beware lenders who advertise them. If they are legitimate, they need to know your creditworthiness before offering you a loan.

$10,000 Personal Loan Fees

In addition to interest, some lenders charge origination fees that will also increase the overall cost of the loan.
The combination of the interest rate and any applicable fees is the annual percentage rate (APR) of the loan. Calculating the APR is necessary for determining the true cost of the loan. Recent Federal Reserve data shows the average APR of a 24-month personal loan to be 12.17%.

It’s important for applicants to closely review the terms of any potential loan agreement. For example, a lender may charge a late fee when payments are not received on time, and some may have prepayment penalties that apply if a borrower pays off the loan ahead of schedule.

Recommended: 39 Passive Income Ideas to Help You Make Money

What Credit Score Do You Need To Get a $10,000 Personal Loan?

Your credit score is a three-digit number that a lender checks to assess your creditworthiness. The most popular credit scoring systems (like FICO® Score) usually range from 300 to 850. Your credit score is calculated largely based on your credit history because past consumer behavior tends to predict the future.

Here are the usual credit score ranges according to FICO:

•   300 to 579: Very Poor

•   580 to 669: Poor

•   670 to 739: Fair

•   740 to 799: Good

•   800 to 850: Excellent

There’s no single credit score needed for getting a personal loan. Keep in mind that $10k loan represents an average personal loan amount (the current average is $11,548). Rates may vary depending on the size of your loan.

Can You Get a $10,000 Personal Loan With Bad Credit?

In general, you need a credit score of 640 to qualify for a personal loan. If you have bad credit (say, in the lower “poor” or “very poor” range), you might still be able to secure a loan, but potentially at a higher interest rate.

How Long Does It Take to Get a $10,000 Personal Loan?

Personal loans are known for offering fast processing — or funding — times, particularly among online lenders. Many lenders today offer same-day or next-day funding of personal loans after approval. Applicants should be properly prepared with the documentation necessary to confirm their identity, address, and income, as well as current bank statements.

Requirements for a $10,000 Personal Loan

Requirements will vary across lenders. However, qualifying for a $10,000 personal loan typically requires a credit score that exceeds 640, an active checking account, and a steady, verifiable income, among other factors.

Top $10,000 Personal Loan Lenders

Lender

Minimum Credit Score

APR Range

Loan Amounts

SoFi None 8.99% to 25.81% $5,000 to $100,000
LightStream 660 8.49% to 25.49% $5,000 to $100,000
Upstart None 6.40% to 35.99% $1,000 to $50,000
Discover 660 7.99% to 24.99% $2,500 to $40,000
Upgrade 560 8.49% to 35.99% $1,000 to $50,000

The Takeaway

If you’re considering a personal loan, it’s a good idea to take the time to compare the various options available and make sure you understand the terms and costs of a loan. A $10,000 personal loan is close to the average amount borrowed currently, which indicates that these loans are typically accessible. Those with less-than-perfect credit are likely to encounter significantly fewer choices and higher interest rates and fees.

Think twice before turning to high-interest credit cards. Consider a SoFi personal loan instead. SoFi offers competitive fixed rates and same-day funding. Checking your rate takes just a minute.


SoFi’s Personal Loan was named NerdWallet’s 2023 winner for Best Online Personal Loan overall.

FAQ

What is the monthly payment on a $10,000 personal loan?

The monthly payment on a $10,000 personal loan will fluctuate based on your credit score, the loan’s interest rate and fees, and the term of the loan, among other factors.

Do I need at least a 620 credit score to get a $10,000 loan?

There is no formal minimum credit score needed for getting a personal loan. Different minimums may apply across the various institutions that offer personal loans in the $10,000 range. Those with a 640 or higher credit score are likely to find a number of options for a $10,000 personal loan; those with higher scores may have more options as well as more favorable terms..

How long will it take to get a $10,000 loan?

Fast-funding options including same-day and next-day loans are common for 10,000 dollar loans. As long as you are prepared with some basic documentation that verifies your identity, address, and income, rapid approval and funding may be available.


Photo credit: iStock/Edwin Tan

SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.


Disclaimer: Many factors affect your credit scores and the interest rates you may receive. SoFi is not a Credit Repair Organization as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. SoFi does not provide “credit repair” services or advice or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history, or credit rating. For details, see the FTC’s website .

Non affiliation: SoFi isn’t affiliated with any of the companies highlighted in this article.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

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Differences and Similarities Between Personal Lines of Credit and Credit Cards

Differences and Similarities Between Personal Lines of Credit and Credit Cards

Credit cards and personal lines of credit both allow you to borrow money over time until you hit a credit limit. You typically pay back what you owe on a monthly basis, paying interest on your balance.

Each method has its pros and cons (for example, while a line of credit may have a lower interest rate, it likely won’t offer rewards and may be tougher to qualify for). Here, you’ll learn the ins and outs of a personal line of credit vs. a credit card so you can decide which is right for you.

What Is a Personal Line of Credit?

A personal line of credit operates under the same concept as a credit card, with slight differences. It’s a type of revolving credit that allows you to borrow a set amount, which is typically based on your income. Here are details to know:

•   The majority of personal lines of credit are unsecured, meaning there’s no collateral at risk if you default on payments. However, you can obtain a secured personal line of credit at some institutions if you put down a deposit. This deposit will be used to pay your balance due if you default on payments, but it can also help you achieve a lower interest rate. Personal loans secured by a deposit are typically used as a method for building credit.

•   A home equity line of credit (or HELOC) is similar to a secured personal line of credit in that your house acts as the collateral in the loan. You’re borrowing against the equity in your home. If you default on payments, your house could be foreclosed on to make up the difference.



💡 Quick Tip: A low-interest personal loan can consolidate your debts, lower your monthly payments, and help you get out of debt sooner.

How Does a Personal Line of Credit Work?

Get acquainted with how a personal line of credit works:

•   As with any other credit transaction, personal lines of credit are reported to the three major credit bureaus. You will have to provide details about your financial standings in order to qualify for a personal line of credit. Typically, this comes in the form of demonstrating your income, in addition to other requirements.

•   The interest rate for a personal line of credit usually fluctuates with the market conditions, such as the prime rate. You may also have to pay a fee each time you use your personal line of credit.

•   Some banking institutions may require you to have a checking account established with them before offering you a personal line of credit. This is critical for using your personal line of credit, since the money can be transferred to a linked checking account. (In some cases, you might receive funds via a payment card (similar to a debit card) or use special checks to move the funds.

•   Personal lines of credit contain what’s called a “draw period.” During this predetermined amount of time, you can use your available credit as you please, as long as you don’t go over the limit.

•   Once the draw period reaches its end, you may be required to either pay your remaining balance in full or pay it off by a certain date after that.

What Is a Credit Card?

Is a credit card a line of credit? Not exactly. A credit card is a type of unsecured revolving credit that includes a credit limit. This limit is determined by your financial situation, which requires a hard credit check. There are credit cards for practically all types of credit scores, from poor all the way up to excellent.

Many credit cards offer rewards in the form of cash back or travel rewards. You may also receive a bonus for signing up for a new account, either as rewards or as an interest-free, introductory financing period. Also, a credit card can offer cardholder benefits such as purchase protection or travel insurance.

How Does a Credit Card Work?

Your personal bank or other financial institutions may offer their own credit cards, but you don’t have to belong to a particular bank or lender in order to qualify for a credit card. After you’ve applied for a credit card and been approved, the lender will likely set a credit limit.

•   When you make a purchase with a credit card, it constitutes a loan. At the end of each billing cycle you’ll receive a statement. You can usually avoid interest charges by paying your statement balance in full.

•   If you choose to pay a lesser amount, you’ll incur interest charges. Credit cards typically charge high interest, so it’s important to stay on top of the amount you owe, which can increase quickly.

•   If you don’t make a payment by the statement due date, you will likely also incur a late payment fee. Interest charges and fees are added to the account balance, and interest will accrue on this new total.

•   If you miss payments by 60 days typically, you could be assessed a higher penalty APR.

Recommended: Average Personal Loan Rates

Personal Lines of Credit Vs Credit Cards Compared

Now that you know a bit more about each of these options, you know that the answer to “Is a line of credit the same as a credit card?” is no. Now, take a closer look at the difference between a line of credit and a credit card.

Similarities

Both personal lines of credit and credit cards are types of revolving credit. This means you can borrow up to a certain amount as it suits you, as long as you pay the balance back down in order to make room for future purchases.

Both personal lines of credit and credit cards also report your balance and payment history to the three major consumer credit bureaus.

Differences

Here’s a quick summary of the main differences between personal lines of credit and credit cards.

Features

Personal Line of Credit

Credit Card

Interest rate Typically lower than credit cards Typically higher than personal lines of credit
Borrowing limit Often up to $50,000 or more Typically, $28,000 but varies
Rewards None Many cards offer cash back or travel rewards
Fees Annual fee, late payment fees, fees for drawing on account Annual fees, balance transfer fees, late payment fees and penalty APRs, overdraft fees
Application process Can be lengthy Usually very simple
Grace period No Yes
Other benefits Good for emergency and/or unexpected expenses Many cards offer travel insurance, purchase protection, and other benefits.



💡 Quick Tip: Swap high-interest debt for a lower-interest loan, and save money on your monthly payments. Find out why credit card consolidation loans are so popular.

Pros and Cons of Personal Lines of Credit

There are times when a personal line of credit can make life much simpler. However, you may have to accept certain tradeoffs.

Pros

Cons

Lower fees for a cash advance Potential fees for usage
High borrowing limits Preset credit lifespan
Lowwe interest rates No spending rewards or perks
Funds can be used at your discretion No interest-free grace period
You only pay interest on what you borrow Annual fee

Pros and Cons of Credit Cards

Credit cards are a powerful financial tool you can use to wisely manage your spending. Knowing the terms of the game, however, is just as important as learning how to be responsible with credit cards.

Pros

Cons

Many cards offer rewards for spending Some cards have annual fees
Can be used for retail purchases Typically high interest rates
One for practically every credit score Hefty fees for cash advances
Useful tool in establishing and/or rebuilding credit Balance transfer fees

Recommended: Credit Score vs. FICO® Score

Alternatives to Revolving Credit

Besides personal lines of credit and credit cards, there are a few other types of financial products you can use to access credit.

Personal Loans

It may be easy to get personal loans vs. lines of credit confused, but it’s crucial to know the difference. For example, a personal line of credit is a potential amount that can be borrowed. Personal loans, however, are a lump sum of money that you receive shortly after your approval. Here’s how this kind of loan typically:

•   Obtaining either a secured or unsecured personal loan requires a credit check. The potential amount you may be able to borrow ranges from $1,000 all the way up to $40,000 or more.

•   Some personal loans are taken out for a specific purpose, such as a home renovation, a personal line of credit can often be used for whatever reason crops up. For example, you may want to go with a personal loan instead of a line of credit if you need to make home renovations.

•   A personal loan rate calculator can be used to see what terms you may be able to expect. While these calculators may not give you the exact terms you’ll receive if you do obtain a personal loan, they can be a great starting place.

Auto Loan

Many people don’t have thousands of dollars sitting around to help pay towards a new car, so they use auto loans. An auto loan is a kind of personal loan that’s secured by the title of the vehicle.

If the borrower fails to pay the loan, the vehicle can be repossessed. And the name of the lender typically appears on the title of the car, so the loan must be paid off before the car can be sold.

Mortgage

A mortgage, or home loan, is a loan that’s secured by a real estate property. Because of the inherent value of real estate, a home mortgage can often have a lower interest rate than other types of secured loans. Most home mortgages are installment loans that have a fixed repayment period, such as 30 years or 15 years.

A home equity loan or a home equity line of credit is a second mortgage taken out against the existing equity in a property. Because of their low interest rates these are sometimes used instead of unsecured personal loans.

Student Loans

Student loans can allow students to fund their education; you may not need to start paying those loans off until you’ve graduated.

Federal student aid can help pay for college-related costs as well. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) is one way to determine how much and what type of federal student aid students and parents might qualify for. Some individual colleges also use the FAFSA in determining eligibility for their own financial aid programs.

Private student loans are another option, both for loans and to refinance federal loans. In terms of the latter, however, there are two important considerations:

•   If you refinance federal student loans with private loans, you forfeit the federal benefits and protections, such as forgiveness.

•   If you refinance for an extended term, you may pay more interest over the life of the loan.

•   For these reasons, think carefully about whether private student loans suit your situation.

The Takeaway

Personal lines of credit are similar to credit cards in that they are both generally unsecured loans issued based on your personal creditworthiness. By understanding how a credit card differs from a personal line of credit, you can choose the loan that best fits your needs or decide to access cash through an alternative method.

Think twice before turning to high-interest credit cards. Consider a SoFi personal loan instead. SoFi offers competitive fixed rates and same-day funding. Checking your rate takes just a minute.


SoFi’s Personal Loan was named NerdWallet’s 2023 winner for Best Online Personal Loan overall.

FAQ

Here’s a list of the most common questions associated with personal lines of credit and credit cards.

Is a personal line of credit the same as a credit card?

Personal lines of credit and credit cards are similar but not the same. A credit card is a form of payment accepted by merchants and a kind of revolving loan. A personal line of credit is a revolving loan, and the funds are typically transferred to the borrower’s personal bank account before they are used for purchases. Credit cards can also have numerous benefits not offered by a personal line of credit but the interest rate may be higher.

Are there additional risks to lines of credit vs credit cards?

Both personal lines of credit and credit cards require you to pay back what you owe, whether it’s on a monthly basis or at the end of the draw period, in the case of a line of credit. Making late payments or missing payments can negatively affect your credit score and incur fees.

Do personal lines of credit affect your credit score?

Yes, personal lines of credit, just like credit cards, are subject to reporting to the major credit bureaus. If you make late payments or miss payments, your credit score can be negatively affected. However, personal lines of credit can also be used to build your credit if you make your payments on time and use your credit responsibly.


Photo credit: iStock/Deepak Sethi

SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.


Disclaimer: Many factors affect your credit scores and the interest rates you may receive. SoFi is not a Credit Repair Organization as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. SoFi does not provide “credit repair” services or advice or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history, or credit rating. For details, see the FTC’s website .

SoFi Mortgages
Terms, conditions, and state restrictions apply. Not all products are available in all states. See SoFi.com/eligibility for more information.


Non affiliation: SoFi isn’t affiliated with any of the companies highlighted in this article.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

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