Personal Loan Calculator
How much can you really afford? Find out for free.
Before you start looking for a personal loan, you should have a general idea of the interest rate and term you could qualify for. Then you have a baseline to compare with offers from different lenders.
Use this personal loan calculator to determine your baseline:
Why would I take out a loan to pay off my debt?
You can take out a personal loan and use it as a debt consolidation loan. This means that you pay off all of your debt with the loan money, then pay back the loan as usual. While you may be facing credit card interest rates of over 20 percent, if you have a good credit score, you could get a personal loan rate that’s nearly half of that. You can also use a personal loan to pay off medical debt, back taxes, veterinary bills, birth and adoption costs, or any other big expense or purchase.
How should I choose a personal loan?
Before you settle on a loan, consider three things: interest rate, loan term, and monthly payment affordability. Finding the perfect combination of these things can be difficult, but don’t be discouraged. Take the time to shop around so you can compare offers from multiple lenders.
This mainly depends on your credit score. The higher your score, the lower the rate — and vice versa. With an excellent credit score (720-850) you could get a rate as low as 10.3 percent. With a poor credit score (300-639), your rate could shoot up to as much as 32 percent. Find the lowest interest rate you can when you get quotes from lenders. If nothing is low enough for you, it may be time to consider other options.
Terms on personal loans can be anywhere from 12 to 60 months. How long do you want to be making monthly payments? How much total interest will you pay if you choose a longer term?
Monthly payment affordability
Check your budget before you sign anything. Is the monthly payment on the loan affordable for you, or would it be a struggle to make the payment each month? Loan amounts with monthly payments that are too high could put you further in debt and do more damage to your credit.
What if I can’t qualify for a personal loan?
With a credit score between 300 and 639, you may have trouble qualifying for any kind of loan. If you do qualify, the interest rate will likely be sky-high. You could try for a secured loan instead. This uses one of your assets as collateral, as opposed to an unsecured loan, which lends you the money based on your credit history. If you can’t pay back a secured loan, though, the lender will keep the asset you used to secure it.
What other options do I have?
Consolidating your debt with a personal loan is just one of the many debt relief options available to you. A free call with a credit counselor can help you decide which method is best for you. Here are a few options to consider:
A balance transfer credit card allows you to roll all of your credit card balances onto one new card with a lower promotional interest rate. If you can pay off the debt within the promotional period, you will pay little to no interest. But if you can’t pay it all off before the promo is over, you’ll be hit with all the interest charges at once.
Debt management program (DMP)
A debt management program (DMP) helps you pay off everything you owe without tanking your credit score. You work with a credit counseling agency. Every month, you make one payment to the agency instead of worrying about all of your different creditors. The credit counselors handle the consolidated debt and your payments are lower than they were before.
Settling your debt means paying less than what you really owe. This will hurt your credit score, but your monthly payments will be lower. If you already have a bad credit score, this could be the right debt relief option for you.
Filing for bankruptcy is usually a last resort, but it could give you the financial clean slate you need. It will lower your credit score and stay on your credit report for years, but if you know you’ll never be able to pay back what you owe, it’s something to consider.
Watch out for scams!
The personal loan industry is full of fraud and predatory lending. If a rate or term seems too good to be true, it probably is. Read the terms of the loan carefully before signing.