Pros and Cons of a Credit Card vs. a Personal Loan
Both credit cards and personal loans are popular financial tools to borrow money. They can be used for similar types of purchases, but each has scenarios that are best suited to one or the other. Learn about the tradeoffs of each so you can save money on interest and prevent debt from accumulating and lingering.
- Structure: Credit cards provide a revolving line of credit, allowing you to borrow up to a certain limit and repay it over time. Personal loans, on the other hand, provide a fixed amount of money that is repaid in equal monthly installments over a specified period.
- Interest rates: Interest rates can vary widely, so it's important to understand the terms of the loan or credit card agreement. The average credit card interest rate is around 15-20%, while personal loan interest rates can range from 5-36%, depending on various factors such as credit score and loan term. Compare our loan rates and save!
- Repayment flexibility: Credit cards offer more flexibility in terms of repayment. You have the option to pay the minimum monthly payment or the full balance. However, paying only the minimum can lead to high interest costs and a long repayment period. Personal loans have a fixed repayment schedule, ensuring that you pay off the debt within a specific timeframe.
- Borrowing limits: Credit card limits are typically lower than personal loan amounts. The credit limit is determined by the card issuer based on factors like income and credit history. Personal loans can provide higher borrowing limits, allowing you to access larger amounts of money.
- Credit impact: Both credit cards and personal loans can impact your credit score. Using credit cards responsibly and making timely payments can help build a positive credit history. Personal loans can also contribute to a positive credit history if you make regular payments. However, missing payments or defaulting on either can hurt your credit score.
- Usage flexibility: Credit cards offer more flexibility in terms of usage. They can be used for daily expenses, online purchases, and emergency expenses. Personal loans are typically used for specific purposes like debt consolidation, home improvement, or major purchases.
Ultimately, the choice between using a credit card or taking a personal loan depends on your financial goals, borrowing needs, and personal preferences. It's important to carefully consider interest rates, repayment terms, and your ability to handle debt before making a decision.
APCI Federal Credit Union can help you decide which option is best for you. Our low rates for Secured and Unsecured personal loans and our Mastercard® Plus card are great options to help you consolidate your high-interest rate balances. We offer banking solutions for your everyday needs.
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