Loan vs. Credit Card: How to Choose

Written By Guest Post
Last updated May 8, 2020
Credit Cards
January 6, 2020

Simple. Thrifty. Living.

At some point in our lives, most people will have to end up choosing between taking out a loan or putting something on a credit card. Anything from needing to buy a new car to having a wedding can put you in a tight spot scrambling for a way to pay for it all. Here’s the rundown of the pros and cons between loans and credit card debt. This information will empower you to make the right decision.

Prior to 2008, banks were more than happy to throw money at your problems and dole out fantastical amounts. This even happened when there wasn’t enough income to cover the loan. After the nasty business of the Recession, they’ve tightened their purse strings and made their requirements much more stringent.

Applying for a Loan

Also keep in mind that when applying for a loan, if approved, you will only receive the amount that you asked for. When the money from the loan has been spent, you won’t have any more access to capital unless you apply for another loan. As you will see, it’s a completely different story when you use a credit card instead.

Secured Vs. Unsecured

One thing that you should know is the difference between secured and unsecured loans. In the former, you will have to put up sufficient collateral to satisfy the bank’s aversion to risk. In the latter, however, you won’t have to put anything up as collateral.

Credit cards can be a great way to get what you need when you need it, but can’t quite afford it. The biggest thing to watch out for is over leveraging yourself in credit card debt. The key is to use credit cards to get what you need and then pay it off before splurging again. The type of card you get can depend on your credit score. Credit cards for average credit will have fewer perks to go along with them, and higher interest rates. 

In contrast to a bank loan, as long as you have a credit card, you can keep using it for more purchases as long as you don’t go over the limit.

Just like taking out a loan from the bank, you have to be sure that you can keep up with the monthly payments.

One of the biggest trade-offs between financing with a loan as opposed to a credit card is that you’ll be locked into a more long-term obligation when taking out a loan. Depending on your income and existing debt ratio, it may be more difficult to apply.

Credit cards are comparatively more flexible and can give you access to capital much faster than a bank loan. You’ll also be free to enjoy continued access to funds as long as there’s room on your card. You’ll be free to enjoy more credit without having to constantly reapply for more.

Banks will charge service fees for issuing loans as well as charging interest. Of course, credit cards will also have an interest rate, but they won’t typically have as many other additional fees.

Whether you take out a loan or rely on the revolving credit of credit cards, your credit score will improve as long as you make the payments. 

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