$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 2024 winner for Best 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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Five Steps to Changing Your Homeowners Insurance

5 Steps to Changing Your Homeowners Insurance

Whether it’s a cozy micro-cabin or a rambling Colonial, your home is probably the single largest purchase you’ll ever make and your biggest physical asset. An investment like that is worth protecting.

That’s where homeowners insurance comes in; it gives you peace of mind that if you were to have major damage or get robbed, there would be funds to repair and restore your home. But what happens when you think it’s time to change your policy?

Here’s what you need to know about switching your homeowners insurance policy, as well as a step-by-step guide to getting it done as quickly as possible and with a minimum of hassles.

Can I Switch Homeowners Insurance at Any Time?

Good news: yes! No matter the reason, you’re allowed to change your homeowner’s insurance at any time. This is good, since shopping around for the right policy can save you a lot of money in some instances.

If you’re shopping for a new home as we speak, it can be a good idea to start looking at insurance before you sign the purchase agreement. And if you’re an existing homeowner looking to save money or simply find a new policy, you absolutely can do so whenever you like. But it’s important to follow the steps in order to ensure you don’t accidentally have a lapse in coverage.


💡 Quick Tip: Homeowners insurance covers three basic categories: the building itself, the belongings inside, and your liability if someone gets hurt on your property.

When Should I Change My Homeowners Insurance?

There are certain events that should also trigger a review of your insurance, including paying off your mortgage (your rates may well go down) and adding a pool (your rates may go up). Also, you may find you are offered deals if you bundle your homeowners insurance with, say, your car insurance; that might be a savings you want to consider.

You never know what options might be available out there to help you save some money. And since homeowners insurance can easily cost more than $1,800 per year, it can be well worth shopping around.

Recommended: Is Homeowners Insurance Required to Buy a Home?

How Often Should I Change My Homeowners Insurance?

You’re really the only person who can answer this one, but in general, it’s a good idea to at least review your coverage annually.

However, it does take time and effort. Sometimes, a cheaper policy means less coverage, so it’s not always a good deal. Be sure you’re able to thoroughly review all the fine print and make sure you know what you’re getting.

Ready to change your homeowners insurance? Follow these steps in order to ensure you don’t accidentally sustain a loss in coverage!

Step One: Check the Terms and Conditions of Your Existing Policy

The first step toward changing your homeowners insurance policy is ensuring that you actually want to change it in the first place!

Take a look at your existing policy and see what your coverage is like, and be sure to look closely to see if there are any specific terms about early termination. While you always have the right to change your homeowners insurance policy, there could be a fee involved. In many instances, you may have to wait a bit to receive a prorated refund for unused coverage.

Step Two: Think about Your Coverage Needs

Once you have a handle on what your current insurance covers, you can start shopping for new insurance in an informed way. You probably don’t want to “save money” by accidentally purchasing a less comprehensive plan. But do think about how your coverage needs may have shifted since you last purchased homeowners insurance.

For example, the value of your home may have changed (lucky you if your once “up and coming” neighborhood is not officially a hot market). Or perhaps you’ve added on additional structures or outbuildings and need to bump up your policy to cover those.

Step Three: Research Different Insurance Companies

Now comes the labor-intensive part: looking around at other available insurance policies to see what’s on offer. Keep your current premiums and deductibles in mind as you shop around. Saving money is likely one of the main objectives of this exercise, though sometimes, higher costs are worth it for better coverage.

Make sure you are carefully comparing coverage limits, deductibles, and premiums to get the best policy for your needs. Also consider whether the policy is providing actual cash value or replacement value. You may want to opt for a slightly pricier “replacement value” so you have funds to go out and buy new versions of any lost or damaged items, versus getting a lower, depreciated amount.

In addition to the theoretical coverage you encounter, it’s a good idea to stick with insurers with a good reputation. All the coverage in the world doesn’t matter if it’s only on paper; you need to be able to get through to customer service and file a claim when and if the time comes!

Fortunately, many online reviews are available that make this vetting process a lot easier. A few reputable sources for ratings: The Better Business Bureau and J.D. Power’s Customer Satisfaction Survey, and Property Claims Satisfaction Study. You can also do some of the footwork yourself by calling around to get quotes, though this is time-intensive and you might want to simply use an online comparison tool instead.

Step Four: Start Your New Policy, Then Cancel Your Old One

Found a new insurance plan that suits your needs better than your current one? Great news! But here’s the really important part: You want to get that new policy started before you cancel your old one.

That’s because even a short lapse in coverage could jeopardize your valuable investment, as well as drive up premiums in the future. Once you’ve made the new insurance purchase call and have your new declarations page in hand, you are ready to make the old insurance cancellation call. Be sure to verify the following with your old insurer:

•   The cancellation date is on or after the new insurance policy’s start date.

•   The old insurance policy won’t be automatically renewed and is fully canceled.

•   If you’re entitled to a prorated refund, find out how it will be issued and how long it will take to arrive.

Congratulations: You’ve got new homeowners insurance!

Recommended: Should I Sell My House Now or Wait

Step Five: Let Your Lender Know

The last step, but still a very important one, is to notify your mortgage lender about your homeowners insurance change. Most mortgage lenders require homeowners insurance, and they need to be kept up-to-date on who’s got your back should calamity strike. Additionally, if you still owe more than 80% the home value to your lender, they may still be paying the insurer for you through an escrow account — so you definitely want to make sure those payments are going to the right company.


💡 Quick Tip: A basic homeowners insurance plan doesn’t cover floods, earthquakes, or sinkholes. If you live in an area prone to natural disasters, you may want to look into supplemental coverage.

The Takeaway

Homeowners insurance is an important but often expensive form of financial protection. It can help you cover the cost of repairing or rebuilding your home if you undergo a covered loss or damage. Since our homes are such valuable investments, they’re worth safeguarding. Plus, most mortgage lenders require homeowners insurance.

Sometimes, changing your policy can help you save money for comparable or better coverage. Reviewing and possibly rethinking your homeowners insurance is an important process, especially as your needs and lifestyle evolve. If you’ve added on to your home, put in a pool, bought a prized piece of art, or are enduring more punishing weather, all are signals that you should take a fresh look at your policy and make sure you’re well protected.

If you’re a new homebuyer, SoFi Protect can help you look into your insurance options. SoFi and Lemonade offer homeowners insurance that requires no brokers and no paperwork. Secure the coverage that works best for you and your home.

Find affordable homeowners insurance options with SoFi Protect.

Photo credit: iStock/MonthiraYodtiwong


Insurance not available in all states.
Experian is a registered service mark of Experian Personal Insurance Agency, Inc.
Social Finance, LLC ("SoFi") is compensated by Experian for each customer who purchases a policy through Experian from the site.

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.

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.

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Why You Should Start Retirement Planning in Your 20s

Why You Should Start Retirement Planning in Your 20s

When you’re in your 20s, the last thing on your mind may be the end of your career and the retirement that comes after. But thinking about retirement now can ensure your financial security in the future.

The longer you have to save for retirement, the better. Here’s why you should start thinking about retirement planning and investing in your 20s.

Main Reason to Start Saving for Retirement Early

When you start investing in your 20s, even if you begin with just a small amount, you have more time to build your nest egg. Typically, having a long time horizon means you have time to weather the ups and downs of the markets.

What’s more — and this is critical — the earlier you start saving, by opening a savings vehicle such as a high-yield savings account or a money market account, for instance, the more time you’ll have to take advantage of compound interest, which can help boost your ability to save. Compound interest is the reason small amounts of money saved now can go further than much larger amounts of money saved later. The more time you have, the more returns compound interest can deliver.

Compound Interest Example

Imagine you are 25 with plans to retire at 65. That gives you 40 years to save. If you save $100 a month in a money market account with an average annual return of 6% compounded monthly, at age 60, you would have saved about $200,244.

Now, let’s imagine that you waited for 30 years, until age 55 to start saving. You put $1,000 a month into a money market account. With an average annual return of 6% compounding monthly, you’d only have about $165,698 by the time you’re ready to retire, far less than if you’d started saving smaller amounts earlier.

The lesson? The longer you wait to start saving for retirement, the more money you’ll have to save later to make up the difference. Depending on your financial situation, it could be difficult to find these extra funds when you’re older.

Though it may not sound fun in your 20s to start putting money toward retirement, it may actually be easier in the long run.

💡 Quick Tip: Before opening an investment account, know your investment objectives, time horizon, and risk tolerance. These fundamentals will help keep your strategy on track and with the aim of meeting your goals.

Boost your retirement contributions with a 1% match.

SoFi IRAs now get a 1% match on every dollar you deposit, up to the annual contribution limits. Open an account today and get started.


Only offers made via ACH are eligible for the match. ACATs, wires, and rollovers are not included.

How to Start Saving for Retirement in Your 20s

If you’re new to saving, starting a retirement fund requires a little bit of planning.

Step 1: Calculate how much you need to save

Set a goal. Consider your target retirement date and how long you’ll expect to be retired based on current life expectancy. What kind of lifestyle do you want to lead? And what do you expect your retirement expenses to be?

Step 2: Choose a savings vehicle

When it comes to where to put your savings, you have a number of options. For example, as of early August 2023, you could get around 4.5% APY on a high-yield savings account.

Many retirement savers also opt to use an investing account, such as a taxable brokerage account or tax-advantaged retirement savings account instead.

Keep in mind that investments in equities or other securities are riskier than savings accounts, but that allows for the possibility of better returns. Young investors may be better positioned than older investors to take on additional risk, since they have time to recover after a market decline. However, the amount of risk you’re willing to take on is an important consideration and a personal choice.

Step 3: Start investing

Once you’ve opened an account, your investment strategy depends on age, goals, time horizon and risk tolerance. For example, the longer you have before you retire, the more money you might consider investing in riskier assets such as stock, since you’ll have longer to ride out any rocky period in the market. As retirement approaches, you may want to re-allocate more of your portfolio to less risky assets, such as bonds.

Types of Retirement Plans

If you’re interested in opening a tax-advantaged retirement plan, there are three main account types to consider: 401(k)s and traditional IRAs, and Roth IRAs.

401(k)

A 401(k) is an employer sponsored retirement account that you invest in through your workplace, if your employer offers it. You make contributions to 401(k)s with pre-tax funds (meaning contributions lower your taxable income), usually deducted from your paycheck. Your 401(k) will typically offer a relatively small menu of investments from which you can choose.

Employers may also contribute to your 401(k) and often offer matching contributions. Consider saving enough money to at least meet your employer’s match, which is essentially free money and an important part of your total compensation.

Some companies also offer a Roth 401(k), which uses after-tax paycheck deferrals.

Individuals can contribute up to $23,000 in their 401(k) in 2024. Individuals can contribute up to $22,500 in their 401(k) in 2023. And those aged 50 and up can make an additional catch-up contribution of $7,500.

Money invested inside a 401(k) grows tax-deferred, and you’ll pay regular income tax on withdrawals that you make after age 59 ½. If you take out money before then, you could owe both income taxes and a 10% early withdrawal penalty.

You must begin making required minimum distributions (RMDs) from your account by age 73.

Learn more: What Is a 401(k)?

Traditional IRA

Traditional IRAs are not offered through employers. Anyone can open one as long as they have earned income. Depending on your income and access to other retirement savings accounts, you may be able to deduct contributions to a traditional IRA on your taxes.

As with 401(k) contributions, you’d owe taxes on traditional IRA withdrawals after age 59 ½ and may have to pay taxes and a penalty on early withdrawals.

In 2024, traditional IRA contribution limits are $7,000 a year or $8,000 for those aged 50 and up. In 2023, traditional IRA contribution limits are $6,500 a year or $7,500 for those aged 50 and up. Compared to 401(k)s, IRAs offer individuals the ability to invest in a much broader range of investments. These investments can then grow tax-deferred inside the account. Traditional IRAs are also subject to RMDs at age 73.

Roth IRA

Unlike 401(k)s and traditional IRAs, savings go into Roth IRAs with after-tax dollars and provide no immediate tax benefit. However, money inside the account grows tax-free and it isn’t subject to income tax when withdrawals are made after age 59 ½.

You can also withdraw your principal (but not the earnings) from a Roth at any time without a tax penalty as long as the Roth has been open for five tax years. The first tax year begins on January 1 of the year the first contribution was made and ends on the tax filing deadline of the next year, such as April 15. Any contribution made during that time counts as being made in the prior year. So, for instance if you made your first contribution on April 10, 2023, it counts as though it were made at the beginning of 2022. Therefore, your Roth would be considered open for five tax years in January 2027.

Roths are not subject to RMD rules. Contribution limits are the same as traditional IRAs.

Investing in Multiple Accounts

Individuals can have both a traditional and Roth IRA. But note the contribution limits apply to total contributions across both. So if you’re 25 and put $3,250 in a traditional IRA, you could only put up to $3,250 in your Roth as well in 2023.

You can also contribute to both a 401(k) and an IRA, however if you have access to a 401(k) at work you may not be able to deduct your IRA contributions.

Retirement Plan Strategies

The investment strategy you choose will depend largely on three things: your goals, time horizon and risk tolerance. These factors will help you determine your asset allocation, what types of assets you hold and in what proportion. Your retirement portfolio as a 20-something investor will likely look very different from a retirement portfolio of a 50-something investor.

For example, those with a high risk tolerance and long time horizon might hold a greater portion of stocks. This asset class is typically more volatile than bonds, but it also provides greater potential for growth.

The shorter a person’s time horizon and the less risk tolerance they have, the greater proportion of bonds they may want to include in their portfolio. Here’s a look at some portfolio strategies and the asset allocation that might accompany them:

Sample Portfolio Style

Asset allocation

Aggressive 100% stocks
Moderately Aggressive 80% stocks, 20% bonds
Moderate 60% stocks, 40% bonds
Moderately Conservative 30% stocks, 70% bonds
Conservative 100% bonds

The Takeaway

Even if you don’t have a lot of room in your budget to start investing, putting away what you can as early as you can, can go a long way toward saving for retirement. As you start to earn more money, you can increase the amount of money that you’re saving over time.

Ready to invest for your retirement? It’s easy to get started when you open a traditional or Roth IRA with SoFi. SoFi doesn’t charge commissions, but other fees apply (full fee disclosure here).

Help grow your nest egg with a SoFi IRA.

Photo credit: iStock/izusek


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.

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.

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What Are Subprime Mortgages, Who Are They For, and What Are Their Risks?

What Are Subprime Mortgages and What Are Their Risks?

Subprime mortgages allow borrowers with lower credit scores to obtain homeownership, but the homebuyers pay a steep price for the privilege, thanks to the higher risk to lenders. Fortunately, there is hope for subprime borrowers who raise their credit profiles through consistent, on-time payments: They can look into refinancing. Here’s a closer look at the subprime mortgage world.

What Is a Subprime Mortgage?

A subprime mortgage is a housing loan made to a borrower with a subprime credit score, typically one in the 580 to 669 range, although what constitutes a prime and subprime credit score can vary among lenders and organizations. A credit score above 670 is considered prime, according to Experian, which tracks data on the credit industry. (And generally speaking, to qualify for the best interest rates, a borrower needs a “super prime” score of 740 or better.)

Borrowers with lower credit scores represent a greater risk to the lender; they are statistically more likely to have trouble paying on time. So subprime mortgages often come with higher interest rates and larger down payments to help protect the lender from the increased risk of default.

Subprime borrowers accept these terms because they cannot qualify for a conventional mortgage — one from a private lender like a bank, credit union, or mortgage company — with lower costs. Subprime mortgages are different from government-backed loans for borrowers with low credit scores (such as FHA loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration).


💡 Quick Tip: Buying a home shouldn’t be aggravating. SoFi’s online mortgage application is quick and simple, with dedicated Mortgage Loan Officers to guide you through the process.

First-time homebuyers can
prequalify for a SoFi mortgage loan,
with as little as 3% down.


How Subprime Mortgages Work

The main difference between a mortgage loan offered to a prime borrower vs. a subprime borrower is cost. Borrowers go through the same rigorous underwriting process with a lender and must submit documentation to verify income, employment, and assets.

But in the end, a prime borrower is offered the best rates, while a subprime borrower with so-called bad credit has to put more money down, pay more in fees, and pay a much higher interest rate over the life of the loan. Subprime mortgages also are often adjustable-rate mortgages, which means the payment can go up based on market indices after a predetermined period of time.

Subprime Mortgages and the 2008 Housing Market Crash

Subprime mortgages became popular in the 2000s as more high-risk mortgages were made available to subprime borrowers. In 2005, subprime mortgages accounted for 20% of all new mortgage loans.

It became possible for a lender to originate more of these high-risk mortgages because of a new financial product called private-label mortgage-backed securities, sold to investors to fund the mortgages. The investments masked the risk of the subprime mortgages within.

Home prices soared as more borrowers sought out the various subprime mortgages being offered. Rising home prices also protected the investors of mortgage-backed securities from losses.

When the housing market had passed its peak and borrowers had no viable option for selling or refinancing their homes, properties began to fall into default. In an attempt to reduce their risk exposure, lenders originated fewer loans and increased requirements for all borrowers. This depressed the market further.

Financial institutions that had taken strong positions in mortgage-backed securities were also in trouble. Many of the largest banking institutions in the world filed for bankruptcy, and the world learned once again what stock market crashes are.

In response to the financial crisis, the Federal Reserve implemented low mortgage rates in an attempt to jumpstart the economy.

Subprime Mortgage Regulations

In the wake of the financial crisis, Congress passed the Dodd-Frank Act to reduce excessive risk-taking in the mortgage industry. It established rules for what qualified mortgages are, which gave lenders a set of rules to follow to ensure that borrowers had the ability to repay the loans they were applying for.

It also provided regulation of qualified mortgages, including:

•   Limiting mortgages to 30-year terms

•   Limiting the amount of debt a borrower can take on to 43%

•   Barring interest-only payments

•   Barring negative amortization

•   Barring balloon payments

•   Putting a cap on fees and points a borrower can be charged for a loan

Subprime mortgages are not qualified mortgages. Borrowers who seek non-qualified mortgage loans may include self-employed people who want a more flexible financial verification process, people who have high debt, and people who want an interest-only loan.

Types of Subprime Mortgages

The most common types of subprime mortgages are adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs), extended-term mortgages, and interest-only mortgages.

•   ARMs. Adjustable-rate mortgages have an interest rate that will change over the life of the loan. They often come with a low introductory rate, which after a predetermined time period changes to a rate tied to market indices.

•   Extended-term mortgages. A subprime mortgage may have a term of 40 years instead of the typical 30-year term. Add to this the higher interest rate, and borrowers pay much more for the mortgage over the life of the loan.

•   Interest-only mortgages. Interest-only loans offer borrowers the ability to only repay the interest part of the loan for the first part of the repayment period. Borrowers have the option of not repaying any principal for five to 10 years. The annual percentage rate is typically higher than for conventional loans. Origination fees may be higher as well.

The “dignity mortgage,” a new kind of subprime loan, could help borrowers who expect to redeem their creditworthiness. The borrower makes a down payment of about 10% and agrees to pay a higher rate of interest for a number of years, typically five. After that period of on-time payments, the amount paid toward interest goes toward reducing the mortgage balance, and the rate is lowered to the prime rate.

Subprime vs Prime Mortgages

Subprime mortgages have many of the same features as prime mortgages, but there are some key differences.

Subprime Mortgage

Prime Mortgage

Higher interest rate Lower interest rate
Borrowers have fair credit, with scores generally between 580 and 669 Borrowers have good credit, with scores generally from 670 to 739
Larger down payment requirements Smaller down payment requirements
Smaller loan amounts Larger loan amounts
Higher fees Lower fees
Longer repayment periods Shorter repayment periods
Often an adjustable interest rate Fixed or adjustable rates

Applying for Subprime Mortgages

Most lenders require a minimum credit score of 620 for a conventional mortgage, but there are lenders out there that specialize in subprime mortgages.

Generally, applying for a subprime mortgage is much the same as applying for a traditional mortgage. Lenders will check your credit and analyze your finances. They will ask for proof of income, verification of employment, and documentation of assets (such as bank statements). They may also ask for documentation regarding your debts or negative items in your credit reports.

Mortgage rates for subprime loans will vary depending on the prime rate, lending institution, the home’s location, the loan amount, the down payment, credit score, the interest rate type, the loan term, and loan type. The rate is typically much higher than a prime mortgage’s.

A mortgage calculator can help you find out what your monthly payments will be with a subprime mortgage. Simply adjust your mortgage rate to the one quoted by a lender for your credit situation.

Alternatives to Subprime Mortgages

Subprime loans are not the only option for borrowers with fair credit scores. Borrowers with credit issues can also look at mortgages backed by the FHA and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

FHA loans have more flexible standards for borrowers than conventional loans. Though borrowers can obtain a mortgage with a credit score as low as 500 (assuming they have a 10% down payment), FHA loans are not considered subprime mortgages. Instead, FHA loans are government-backed loans that provide mortgage insurance to FHA-approved lenders to use if the borrower defaults on the loan.

For many borrowers with good credit and a moderate down payment, FHA loans are more expensive and don’t make sense. However, for borrowers with lower credit scores and smaller down payments, an FHA loan could be the best option.

VA loans have no minimum credit requirement, but instead, lenders review the entire loan profile. The VA advises lenders to consider credit satisfactory if 12 months of payments have been made after the last derogatory credit item (in cases not involving bankruptcy).


💡 Quick Tip: Keep in mind that FHA loans are available for your primary residence only. Investment properties and vacation homes are not eligible.1

The Takeaway

Subprime mortgages allow borrowers with impaired credit to unlock the door to a home, but to mitigate risk, the lender may charge more for the loan. Borrowers considering this type of mortgage would be smart to look closely at terms and costs, and to also consider other options such as FHA loans.

Looking for an affordable option for a home mortgage loan? SoFi can help: We offer low down payments (as little as 3% - 5%*) with our competitive and flexible home mortgage loans. Plus, applying is extra convenient: It's online, with access to one-on-one help.

SoFi Mortgages: simple, smart, and so affordable.


Photo credit: iStock/shapecharge

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.


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


*SoFi requires Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) for conforming home loans with a loan-to-value (LTV) ratio greater than 80%. As little as 3% down payments are for qualifying first-time homebuyers only. 5% minimum applies to other borrowers. Other loan types may require different fees or insurance (e.g., VA funding fee, FHA Mortgage Insurance Premiums, etc.). Loan requirements may vary depending on your down payment amount, and minimum down payment varies by loan type.

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.

¹FHA loans are subject to unique terms and conditions established by FHA and SoFi. Ask your SoFi loan officer for details about eligibility, documentation, and other requirements. FHA loans require an Upfront Mortgage Insurance Premium (UFMIP), which may be financed or paid at closing, in addition to monthly Mortgage Insurance Premiums (MIP). Maximum loan amounts vary by county. The minimum FHA mortgage down payment is 3.5% for those who qualify financially for a primary purchase. SoFi is not affiliated with any government agency.
Veterans, Service members, and members of the National Guard or Reserve may be eligible for a loan guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. VA loans are subject to unique terms and conditions established by VA and SoFi. Ask your SoFi loan officer for details about eligibility, documentation, and other requirements. VA loans typically require a one-time funding fee except as may be exempted by VA guidelines. The fee may be financed or paid at closing. The amount of the fee depends on the type of loan, the total amount of the loan, and, depending on loan type, prior use of VA eligibility and down payment amount. The VA funding fee is typically non-refundable. SoFi is not affiliated with any government agency.
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 .

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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Personal Loan vs Personal Line of Credit

When it comes to a personal loan vs. a personal line of credit, the two main differences are how the loan funds are disbursed to the borrower and how the credit is repaid.

There are also similarities between these two financial products. Funds from each can be used for a variety of expenses, with few exceptions. Also, to approve a personal loan or line of credit, lenders will run a hard credit check during the application process.

Deciding whether a personal loan or a personal line of credit might be right for you can require looking at a few different factors. Here, you’ll learn more about this important topic so you can make the best choice for your specific situation.

What Is a Personal Line of Credit and How Does It Work?

A personal line of credit (LOC) is a type of revolving credit similar to a credit card. But funds are typically accessed by writing checks provided by the lender or requesting a funds transfer to your checking account instead of by using a card.

An LOC typically allows the borrower to withdraw funds repeatedly, up to the credit limit. Any funds that are withdrawn are subject to repayment with interest. When they are repaid, they can be accessed again up to your particular credit limit. There may be a limit on the number of years the line of credit is available.

Additional points to know:

•   Some lenders may assess fees associated with an LOC. There may be a maintenance charge for inactive accounts. There may also be ongoing fees, monthly or annual, even if the LOC is being used. Some other expenses may include application fees, check processing fees, and late fees, among others. It’s important to be aware of any potential fees before you sign an LOC agreement.

•   Personal lines of credit are usually unsecured, although you may be able to put up collateral to get a lower interest rate. A home equity line of credit, or HELOC, is an example of a secured line of credit.

•   Typically, a personal LOC will be offered by a bank or credit union, and you might have to have another account with the lending institution to be considered for an LOC.

•   If your LOC is unsecured, the interest rate will probably be variable, which means it could go up or down during the loan’s term, and your payments could vary. But you’ll only be charged interest on the amount you withdraw. If you’re not using any LOC funds, you won’t be charged interest.

If you expect to have ongoing expenses or if you have a big expense (like a wedding or home renovation) but don’t know what your final budget will be, this type of borrowing might be a useful financial tool.

A personal LOC also may be the right fit if you need some flexibility with your borrowing. For example, self-employed workers who know they’ll be paid by a client but aren’t sure exactly when, can tap into their line of credit to pay expenses while they wait. They can pay that money back when they receive payment from the client, and they won’t have to use high-interest credit cards or borrow from other savings to make ends meet.

Of course, there are downsides to that easy-to-access money. Here’s a closer look:

•   Since unsecured lines of credit are considered by lenders to be riskier than their secured counterparts, it can be more difficult to qualify at a favorable interest rate.

•   Once you have access, it may be tempting to use the funds for purposes other than originally planned. Keeping in mind the intended purpose for the funds may help you stick to it and not use the funds for other purchases.



💡 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.

Pros and Cons of Personal Lines of Credit

Having funds that can be accessed as needed can be helpful. But there are also some drawbacks to consider. Take a look at how the pros and cons stack up for personal lines of credit.

Pros of Personal Lines of Credit

•   Easy access to funds.

•   Open-ended vs. set distribution of money.

•   Minimal limits on use of funds.

•   Can be useful for ongoing expenses.

Cons of Personal Lines of Credit

•   May have a higher interest rate than other forms of credit.

•   Typically are unsecured, so may be more difficult to qualify for than other forms of credit.

•   Interest rate may be variable, presenting a budgeting challenge.

•   Ease of access can be tempting to use for impulse shopping.

What Is a Personal Loan and How Does It Work?

A personal loan, on the other hand, is a fixed amount of money disbursed to the borrower in a lump sum. If the loan has a fixed interest rate, as is typical for personal loans, the payments are in fixed installments for the term of the loan. If the loan has a variable interest rate, the monthly payments may fluctuate as the interest rate changes in accordance with market rates.

Because personal loans typically have lower interest rates than credit cards, they’re often used to pay off other debts such as home and car repairs or medical bills, or to consolidate other higher-interest debts such as credit card balances into one manageable — and potentially lower — monthly payment.

Here are some more ways these loans are often used:

•   A personal loan can be a helpful tool for debt consolidation. If you can qualify for a personal loan that has a lower interest rate than your other outstanding debts, you may be able to save money in the long run by consolidating those debts. In order for this financial strategy to work, it’s important to stop using the old sources of credit to avoid going deeper into debt.

•   A personal loan also could be a suitable choice for paying for a wedding or home renovation. But it’s important that you feel confident about being able to repay the loan on time and in full. If you don’t responsibly manage a personal loan — or any kind of debt, for that matter — your credit can be adversely affected.

•   You can apply for a secured or unsecured personal loan. A secured loan, which is backed by collateral, is typically considered less of a risk by lenders than an unsecured loan is. Collateral is an asset the borrower owns — a vehicle, real estate, savings account, or other item of value. If the borrower fails to repay a secured loan, the lender has the right to take possession of the asset that was put up as collateral.

Here are a few more points about how the process of getting a personal loan can work:

•   An applicant’s overall creditworthiness will be considered during the approval process. Generally, an applicant with a higher credit score will qualify for a lower interest rate, and vice versa.

•   Some lenders charge personal loan fees such as origination fees or prepayment penalty fees. Before signing a loan agreement, it’s important to be aware of any fees you may be charged.



💡 Quick Tip: In a climate where interest rates are rising, you’re likely better off with a fixed interest rate than a variable rate, even though the variable rate is initially lower. On the flip side, if rates are falling, you may be better off with a variable interest rate.

Pros and Cons of Personal Loans

When you need a set amount of money for an expense, a personal loan can be a good choice. Along with the benefits of using this financial tool also come a few drawbacks to consider.

Pros of Personal Loans

•   May be a good choice for large, upfront expenses.

•   Typically have fixed interest rates.

•   Steady payments may be easier to budget for.

•   May have a lower interest rate than credit cards.

Cons of Personal Loans

•   Unsecured personal loans may have higher interest rates than other forms of secured credit.

•   May need a higher credit score to qualify for lower interest rates.

•   If not used responsibly, it can add to a person’s debt load instead of alleviating it.

•   May have fees.

Major Differences Between Personal Lines of Credit and Personal Loans

When you’re looking for the right source of funding for your financial needs, it can help to compare different types. Here are some specifics to consider when looking at personal LOCs and personal loans.

Personal Line of Credit

Personal Loan

Typically has a fixed interest rate More likely to have a variable interest rate
Fixed interest rate may make it easier to budget payments Variable interest rate may present a budgeting challenge
Fixed, lump sum Open-ended credit, up to approved limit
Interest is charged during entire loan term Interest is only charged on withdrawn amounts
Revolving debt Installment debt

Considering the Type of Debt

When you’re thinking about applying for a personal LOC or a personal loan, it’s important to consider the effect borrowing money can have on your credit score. If you borrow money without a repayment plan in place, you could run into trouble no matter which borrowing option you go for. But each is looked at differently by the credit bureaus.

A personal LOC is revolving debt, which means it will factor into your credit utilization ratio — how much you owe compared to the amount of credit that’s available to you. This can count as the second most weighty factor (at 30%) toward your score.

For a FICO® Score, keeping your total credit utilization rate below 30% is recommended. That means if your credit limit on is $15,000, you would use no more than $4,500.

•   Using a large percentage of your available credit can have a negative effect on your credit score. And lenders may see you as a high-risk applicant because they may assume you’re close to maxing out your credit cards.

•   Using a small percentage of your available credit can work in your favor. If your credit utilization ratio is low (under 10%), it signifies to potential lenders that other lenders have determined you to be a good risk, but you don’t need to use the credit that’s been extended to you.

•   Having a low credit utilization rate by using just a little of your available credit could actually have a more positive effect on your credit score than not using any of it at all. Lenders generally look for signifiers of a healthy relationship with credit.

A personal loan is installment debt and isn’t considered in your credit utilization ratio. In fact, if you pay off your revolving debt with a personal loan, it potentially can lower your credit utilization ratio and have a positive effect on your credit score. A personal loan also can add some positive variety to your credit mix — something else that’s calculated into your credit score.

Personal LOC or Personal Loan: Which Is Right for You?

Before you decide to take out a line of credit or a personal loan, it’s wise to compare lenders. Look at the annual percentage rate and whether it’s fixed or variable. You can also take into account any fees you might have to pay, including origination fees, annual fees, access fees, prepayment penalties, and late payment fees.

Estimating the total cost of the loan until it’s paid in full, including the principal loan amount, interest owed, and any fees or penalties you could potentially be charged, will help you figure out how much the loan will actually cost you.

You might use an online personal loan calculator to help you assess these total costs.

The Takeaway

Deciding when and how to borrow money can be a tough decision. Personal loans and personal lines of credit each have their pros and cons. Personal lines of credit allow you to borrow up to a credit limit, while personal loans disburse a lump sum. Interest rates, fees, and other features may vary. It’s wise to consider your needs and options carefully, reading the fine print on possible offers.

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 2024 winner for Best Personal Loan overall.


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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