What are Bad Credit Loans?
A bad credit loan is a type of personal loan offered to borrowers with weak, bad, or no credit. There are many different loans and many different types of financial institutions that offer them—banks, credit unions, and online lenders, among others.
One characteristic of bad credit loans is that they will generally be expensive. This is because lenders charge higher interest rates to borrowers with bad credit than they do to borrowers with good credit.
So what is a good credit score and what is a bad one? Generally, a FICO score below 630 is considered bad. To see where you fall, use the table below. If you don’t know your credit score, you may be able to access it through your online bank account or credit card statement.
How do Bad Credit Loans work?
At this point, you may be thinking: Wait a minute! I have bad credit AND I’m broke. And because of that, a lender wants to charge me EXTRA interest?
Well the answer, sadly, is yes. Lenders are going to charge you extra.
When you have bad credit, it means you have a history of paying your debts late or not at all. (You can read more about credit scores and what they mean in our guide to improving your credit score eBook.) This makes it riskier for lenders to let you borrow money. From their perspective, you already have a history of not paying your debts, so why should they expect it to be any different with them? If they lend you a thousand dollars, there’s a very real risk that they’re not going to be repaid.
To compensate themselves for that risk, lenders charge higher interest rates(the cost of borrowing money) to borrowers with bad credit. This way they make more money on these risky lending arrangements, which offsets the very real possibility of many of their borrowers defaulting (failing to repay their debts).
Say 100 people borrow money and 20 of them don’t pay it back. The lender needs to make enough money on the other 80 to cover the loss on the 20 and make a profit. When they lend to people with good credit, they get paid back more often, so they don’t charge as much.
A bad credit loan may sound like a great idea when you’re desperate for cash, but look a little closer and you’ll see that most bad credit loans will make your financial life much worse in the long run.
Even People with Bad Credit Have Options
There are two basic types of bad credit loans: secured and unsecured.
An unsecured bad credit loan means that borrowers sign a contract and promise to repay their loan according to the terms and conditions of their loan. If they fail to repay their loan, the lender may pursue collection of the money owed through a collections agency or other legal mechanism. Typical unsecured bad credit loans include personal installment loans, credit cards, and student loans.
A secured bad credit loan requires that the borrower use a valuable item—like a car, a home, or a piece of jewelry—as collateral to “secure” the loan. This means that if a borrower is unable to repay the loan, the lender is legally allowed to seize the collateral and sell it to recoup their losses. Typically secured loans include mortgages, car title loans, and pawnshop loans.
Technically, a payday loan is a secured loan. You’re not offering your car or the deed to your house, but with a predatory payday loan, you are securing the loan with a check for the amount you’ve borrowed, plus interest or fees. If you’re unable to repay the extremely high-interest loan by the due date (most borrowers aren’t), the payday lender will cash your check.