Why do you need to borrow?

Why you need the money and how you intend to use it will generally determine what type of loan you should get.

For example, the type of loan to go on a holiday will differ from a loan to buy a car or buy your first home.

Some of the things you might need to get a loan for include:

  • Buying a car

  • Buying a home

  • Debt consolidation

  • Making a large purchase

  • Financing a holiday

  • Making home improvements

  • Starting a business

What types of loan can you get?

There are two main types of loans:

Unsecured loans: These are loans for which you don't have to provide a security such as a home or asset. You borrow a lump sum and pay it back in fixed instalments over a set period of time.

Secured loans: These are loans which have an asset attached to them. In the event that you are unable to repay the loan, the bank or loan provider can repossess the asset and sell it to recoup the loan.

If you have a choice between the two, try to pick an unsecured loan because they do not put your belongings directly at risk if something goes wrong.

You should only choose a secured loan if it is much cheaper or your only option.

Unsecured loans

You can use the money from an unsecured loan for almost anything you choose, and common types include:

Secured loans

Secured loans are more likely to come with restrictions on what the money is used for, for example some bridging loans have to be used to buy property. The common types include:

How much can you borrow?

Most unsecured loans let you borrow between 1,000 and 25,000.

If you want to borrow more: You may need to consider a secured loan instead where the limits are much higher.

If you want to borrow less: Here are your options.

Here is how much you could borrow with each type of loan if you pass the lender's affordability criteria:

Unsecured borrowing amounts

Type of loanBorrowing amounts
Personal loans500 - 25,000*
Peer to peer loans1,000 - 35,000
Guarantor loans1,000 - 10,000*
Debt consolidation1,000 - 25,000*
Bad credit loans1,000 - 25,000
* On rare occasions, you may be able to borrow up to 50,000, so speak to an adviser.

Secured borrowing amounts

Type of loanBorrowing amounts
Homeowner loans1,000 to 2.5 million
Bridging loans5,000 - 250 million
Debt consolidation 10,000 to 2.5 million
Vehicle financePrice of vehicle

How long do you need to pay it back?

Most unsecured loans offer terms between one and seven years, but some loans do offer shorter and longer repayment periods:

If you need longer to pay it back: Some secured loans offer terms up to 10 years.

If you plan to pay your loan back quicker: Some peer to peer loans last just twelve months and many have no early repayment charges. If you need to borrow a large sum, bridging loans are designed for short term borrowing.

Here is how long you could borrow for with each type of loan:

Unsecured borrowing terms

Type of loanBorrowing terms
Personal loans1 - 7 years
Peer to peer loans1 - 5 years
Guarantor loans1 - 5 years
Debt consolidation1 - 10 years
Bad credit loans1 - 5 years

Secured borrowing terms

Type of loanBorrowing terms
Homeowner loans3 - 25 years
Bridging loansShort term, but no set time
Debt consolidation 3 - 35 years
Vehicle finance1 - 5 years

What else should you think about?

As well as how much you need to borrow and for how long, think about:

Your credit record

If you have poor credit, the types of loans you can get may be more limited.

However, some types of loans are specifically tailored to borrowers with bad credit including:

Lenders offering these types of loans may be more willing to consider your application, but may also be more expensive.

If you have a strong record then you can choose from all the different types of loans and you should qualify for some of the cheapest rates on personal and peer to peer loans.