Personal, or unsecured, loans are paid back on a fixed schedule over anything from 12 months to 5 years. Some banks will let you have an even longer term.
The cheapest rates go to people with the best credit scores - but bad-credit personal loans are available too.
As the name implies, the loan is tied to you and your credit score - so you're not putting any assets at risk if you miss payments.
However, missing payments or defaulting on your loan will at the very least hurt your credit score and could result in county court judgements against you or your debts being passed to a debt collection agency. You may also have to pay late fees and charges.