When you have fallen on hard times financially, or you are looking to move to the next stage in your life by purchasing your own car or house, the options presented you can appear risky and unsatisfactory. Faced with things like high interest rates, the possibility of falling into debt, or further into debt, and the looming prospect of the credit check, it may seem like a better idea to just struggle on month to month rather than dropping into a possible quagmire out of which you can't extract yourself. However, acquiring a loan isn't as scary as it seems.
Times have changed since years ago when the stiff, cigar-puffing loans officers seemed to approve and deny loans based on mood or their opinion on the color of your tie. These days, it is not the loan officer who has the upper hand, and you who are the beggar. You have the upper hand. Loan officers are desperate for clients to loan to, for a couple of very simple reasons. Firstly, fewer people are taking out loans these days.
Secondly, the interest rates on loans are where banks get much of their revenue. Banks operate by taking deposits from clients and paying them a small interest. They then give loans to other clients and extract a larger interest from them, one that more than covers the interest given on the small deposits. And that's where you come in--as long as you have decent credit, a good job, and know how to shop around, you shouldn't have trouble getting a loan, so long as it's within your means.
Of course, big loans aren't the only ones around. For those that find themselves in a temporary financial bind out of which they cannot get on their own, there are such things as short term loans. Such short-term loans, often called "character" loans because they relied on the client's good word and reputation, used to be in much larger supply, but then fell back with the rise of credit cards and the loss of banking's localization. Now they're on the way back, and larger numbers of traditional banks are offering them. Almost one in five loans now fall into this category. But what is a short term loan?
Short term loans average around $2300, and come with a term of around two years. The interest rates tend to be lower than those of credit cards, hence the draw. These personal loans are most often approved or disapproved within one to three days of the application, and one of the biggest perks is that once the term is over, you're done--no minimum monthly payments as you would have with credit cards that keep you saddled with debt and your interest soaring higher and higher.
If you need a small loan, you can visit a payday lender--although it's a good idea to avoid this as best you can. Payday lenders can front your small loans, usually between $100 and $1000, but the terms are short and the interest rates are high, so if you're too quick to take out a payday loan, you could find yourself in worse shape than you were to begin with.
Before you take out any kind of loan, be it a small short term loan to get the rent paid in a tight month, or a larger loan for a car or house, don't simply head straight to one bank and get started. You wouldn't waste a bunch of money on a pair of pants when you knew you could get the exact same brand, exact same pair somewhere else for much cheaper, so why wouldn't you shop around when it comes to much larger sums? Most people don't, but don't fall into the trap of believing that just because you're dealing with big money you can't bargain.
Shop around, compare rates and service, and once you're in that little office face to face with your loan officer, remember your position as a client--they need you. Most customers are all too willing to accept the interest rate offered them, but loan officers usually have a minimum rate they can lower it to--they just need you to help them along.