Secured vs. unsecured loans
Secured loans are more likely to cover higher amounts of credit, whereas unsecured loans are often lower. CashLady search for unsecured loans between £100 and £10,000.
The terms on a secured loan also tend to be longer– sometimes up to 25 years. For comparison, it’s rare to find an unsecured loan term beyond five years.
It’s important to remember that every lender is different, and in order to find the best option to suit your individual circumstances, you should do thorough research before applying for any financial product.
The main difference between secured and unsecured loans are the consequences of failing to make the pre-agreed monthly repayments.
If you fall behind on or miss your unsecured loan repayments, you could incur charges and additional interest fees. The lender will report this to the credit reference agencies (CRAs), and your credit rating will decrease. This could make it more difficult to be approved for financial products, such as loans, credit cards, and mortgages, in the future.
The consequences of failing to pay off a secured loan may result in the lender seizing the asset tied to the loan - for example, your car – to cover the losses incurred.
Benefits of an unsecured loan
- With no assets to evaluate, unsecured loans may be more straightforward to apply for.
- An unsecured loan could help cover the cost of home improvements or financial emergencies, such as a packed-up boiler or a broken-down car.
- Loan terms could range from 30 days up to 5 years – ideal if you would like to borrow over a shorter period of time. The minimum loan term at CashLady is three months.
- Unsecured loans usually come with fixed interest rates, so you will be able to keep a track of exactly how much you owe each month.
- Successfully managing your monthly repayments, and clearing the balance of the loan within the set term, may have a positive impact on your credit rating. This will depend, however, on how you manage any other credit commitments you may have.
- If approved for an unsecured loan, the money could be in your account the same day. However, this will depend on your lender and the terms and conditions of your bank. Most lenders will send your money within 2 – 5 working days after you have been approved.
Things to bear in mind…
- Unsecured loans are seen as a bigger risk to lenders, as there is no collateral attached.
- The interest rates on unsecured loans tend to be higher than they are on secured loans.
- Missed and late repayments could lead to late payment charges, further interest, a decline in your credit rating, and financial strain. We’re not trying to frighten you here; we would just hate for anyone to find themselves in a stressful financial situation. When you feel as though you’re in a position where you need money, fast, it can be hard to take a step back, weigh up the pros and cons and evaluate the situation. Committing to any financial product requires careful consideration.
- Before you apply, it’s worth asking yourself if you really need credit. If repayments are not managed correctly, you risk falling into a cycle of debt. Saving up may take longer, but it could be a more financially secure option.
- Never borrow more money than you actually need or can afford to repay.
- Lenders will run a ‘hard search’ on your credit file to gain an insight into your financial history; this will be visible on your credit file to other lenders. Multiple hard searches over a short period of time may lower your credit rating.
Who can apply for an unsecured loan?
You can apply for an unsecured loan if you:
- Are over the age of 18;
- Are a UK resident;
- Are employed, with a regular income; and
- Have a UK registered address and bank account with a debit card.
You are more likely to be approved for a loan if you have a good credit rating.
Can I apply for an unsecured loan if I have bad credit history?
You can apply for an unsecured loan, even if your credit history is less-than-perfect.
While it may be more difficult to get approved for a loan, there are lenders who specialise in loans for bad credit, although you could be seen as a risk and be subject to higher interest rates.
Just so you know: Equifax and TransUnion both charge fees after an initial 30-day free trial (currently £10.95 for Equifax, and £14.99 for TransUnion, as of July 2023). Experian is a free service.
How much does an unsecured loan cost?
If your application is approved, you will agree to pay back the entire loan amount, plus interest, over your fixed term.
The amount of interest you will be required to pay depends on the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) and the term of the loan.
You’re welcome to use an APR calculator to give you an idea of how much a loan could cost you.
However, please be aware that the calculator is for illustration purposes only - the exact amount you will pay will depend on the specific terms and conditions offered to you by your lender.
Can I use an unsecured loan to pay off existing debt?
If you’re money-savvy, an unsecured loan could help you consolidate existing debt.
However, this can be a complex subject and there are various factors that need careful consideration. For a general overview, take a look at our Debt Consolidation page.
Consolidating debt may not be an option for you if your credit history is poor. If you would like free, impartial advice about debt consolidation, you can talk to StepChange in confidence. Not sure if you need debt advice? Take the 60-second Money Health Check.
Should I use a credit broker or go directly to a lender for my unsecured loan?
This is entirely up to you.
Credit brokers like CashLady present your application to a panel of trusted lenders, which may broaden your options and save you time.
If you do choose to bypass the broker, please be sure to only borrow from reputable lenders.
In the interest of keeping your money safe, we recommend running a few safety checks beforehand.
Ensure that the lender’s website is both legitimate and secure. Any reputable lender should be authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). You can search the FCA register here.
CashLady do not charge you a fee to use our services, and we will never contact you to offer you a loan. Scammers often use legitimate company names to deceive their victims, and may attempt to reach you by text, email, or phone call. You can read more about scams, and how to spot and avoid them, in our blog.
The CashLady application process
We’re really pleased that you’ve chosen CashLady as your broker, and we’re excited to share your journey with you.
If we’re unable to find you a suitable loan, we may still recommend other products and services that we feel may be better suited to you, such as credit builder tools. Some of these services may charge a monthly fee if you choose to use them.
Our online application should take no more than 5 minutes to complete. The information you provide will enable us to run our eligibility check. The result of this will enable us to match you with the most suitable lender for your situation.
Don’t worry - our soft search will only be visible to you and not to other companies, and it will not impact your credit score.
Applying for a loan can be nerve-wracking, especially if you have been turned down for credit in the past. Feeling apprehensive? We understand – and you’re right to find out as much information as possible before you commit to any credit agreement. Why not have a look over our FAQs before you make a decision, just to make sure that a loan is the best option for you.
If you have been matched with a loan product, you will be redirected to your lender to complete your application. You might be required to provide some further information; this may include proof of address and recent payslips. Your lender will also complete a full (or ‘hard’ ) credit check; remember, a hard search will show on your credit history.
Once you have successfully completed a full credit check, you will be shown a formal loan offer from your lender. Once you’ve read the terms and conditions, and you’re happy with the loan amount, term, and interest rates, you can accept the offer.
As a general rule, the money could be in your bank account within a few working days, but could take longer, depending on your lender and your bank.
I’m struggling to make my monthly repayments – what can I do?
Please contact your lender as soon as possible. There may be things they can do to help ease the financial burden.