Types of Credit: Credit Cards, Personal Loans, or Home Equity Loans?

Homeowners considering taking out a personal loan may also consider tapping home equity instead, either through a line of credit, or HELOC, a 2nd mortgage, or a cash-out refinance. The benefit of using home equity is that the rates on these products are considerably lower than personal loans.

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The most common form of revolving credit are credit cards, but home equity loans and home equity lines of credit (HELOC) also fall in this category. Credit cards are used for daily expenses, such as food, clothing, transportation and small home repairs.

The interest you pay on student debt and your options for repayment depend on whether the loans are federal or private and the type of loan you. a high-interest credit card balance to a lower-rate.

With a credit score of 450 to 500, you’ll likely be limited to loans of $1,000 or less, no matter which type of loan you seek. Installment loans will generally be more affordable, with much lower rates and fees, while short-term loans are more expensive but may be easier to obtain.

Home equity loan interest rates are typically lower than rates for credit cards and personal loans. This is especially important if you’re weighing whether to use a home equity loan or a personal loan to consolidate your existing debt, for example.

The primary difference between a personal loan and a home equity loan is that personal loans do not typically require collateral, whereas a home equity loan does. You may have heard lenders call this type of financing a signature loan or unsecured loan because in these types of transactions, your word is your bond (via a legally-binding contract, of course.)

There are two types of home equity loans: Lump sum – This is a one-time, closed-end loan that usually has a fixed interest rate. Revolving line of credit – You can withdraw the funds at any time for more flexibility. These usually have adjustable interest rates. For more information, refer to What You Should Know About Home Equity Lines of Credit, a guide by the Federal Reserve Board.

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