Personal Loans are different from. Credit Cards
Understanding Credit Scores
Personal Loans
Line of Credit vs. Loan
Credit Cards
Other kinds of credit-related lending
Special Beacons
The Bottom Line

Loans Personal Lending

Personal loans in contrast to. Credit Cards What’s the difference?

Which ones are better than the other and what are the pros and cons of each
By Greg McFarlane
Updated June 26 2021
Review by Thomas Brock
Personal loans vs. Credit Card: A Review

Personal loans and credit cards both provide a means to borrow money and include numerous of the same credit terms. Both loan as well as credit card agreements you’ll typically find money provided by a lender with a specific interest rate, monthly payments that comprise principal and interest, late fees, limit on underwriting, amounts and many other. Making mistakes with either type of credit could damage your credit score, leading to issues with loans and access to housing, and finding work

But beyond the similar attributes personal loans as well as credit cards share, there are some key distinctions, including the repayment terms. Let’s explore the differences and definitions between the two, along with some pros and cons for each.
Key Takeaways

Personal loans allow for money borrowed in one lump sum, with comparatively low interest rates. They must be repaid in a limited amount of time.
They are type of revolving credit which gives the borrower access money as long as the account is at a good state.
Credit score is a major element in determining the approval and terms for both personal loans as well as credit cards.
Personal loan as well as credit card arrangements can be structured with a wide variety of terms and provisions.

Personal Credit Cards vs. Credit Cards

Investopedia / Lara Antal
Understanding the Credit Scores

Before diving into comparing the differences between individual loans and credit cards, it’s crucial to be aware of the major similarities. It is the case that U.S. and most countries have integrated an automated credit scoring system that provides the foundation for credit approvals. The three main U.S. credit bureaus–Equifax, Transunion, and Experian–are the pioneers in the development of credit scoring standards and working with lending institutions to allow credit approvals.1

Credit scores are based on a person’s past credit history which includes inquiries, credit defaults accounts, inquiries, and outstanding balances. Every person gets an overall credit score from this past history, which heavily influences their chances for credit approval. In totality, all the variables considered by a lender could affect the interest rate a borrower pays as well as what amount principal they pay if they are approved.1

Personal loans and credit cards are able to be secured and unsecured and secured, which can have an influence on the credit terms.

In addition, paying off the balance on your credit card and paying off personal loans on time will help improve your score on credit.
Personal Lending

The lenders offer a range of options in the personal loan category that can affect the terms of credit. In general, the main distinction between a personal loan and a credit card is the longer-term balance. Personal loans don’t provide ongoing access to funds as credit cards do. The borrower receives an initial lump sum and is given a time frame to repay it in full, using scheduled payments, or to end the loan. This type of arrangement generally comes with lower interest for borrowers with a good to excellent credit score.2

A personal loan can be used for a variety of purposes. Unsecured loan could be used to pay for major purchases and reduce credit card debts, fix or upgrade a home, or provide funding to fill a gap in receipt of income. Unsecured loans are not backed by collateral pledged from the borrower.

Home loans and auto loans as well as other kinds of secured loans are also considered a personal loan. These loans will follow standard procedures for approval of credit, but they might be more straightforward to obtain since they are backed by a lien on assets.

In the case of a home loan or an auto loan such as an auto loan, the lender has the right to take possession of your car or home after a certain amount of delinquencies. Secured loans typically have slightly better terms since the lender is entitled to ownership rights that reduce their default risk. Here are the pros and cons of a personal loan.

Most often, it is best to use this method for larger purchases such as cars or homes

Usually , it has a lower rate of interest than a credit card

Funds are available in one lump sum


Typically includes a service fee and may have other fees which add to

The collateral property for a loan, like a vehicle or house, could be seized if you don’t pay back in a timely fashion (secured loans)

Remember that interest isn’t the only expense to consider when evaluating a loan. The lender may also charge fees that can increase the total cost of a loan. Personal loans usually have an origination charge and could include additional fees too.
Line of Credit vs. Loan

An important distinction to be noted is the difference between an unsecured line of credit (LOC) and a loan. In contrast to the loan the line of credit has built-in flexibility, which is its main benefit. A disadvantage is that it is typically paired with higher rates of interest.

The LOC is a preset loan amount, but borrowers aren’t required to use it all. A borrower has the ability to draw funds from the credit line at any time , as long as they do not exceed the terms of their credit limit as well as other obligations like paying on time minimum payments.

An LOC can be secured or unsecure (most are the latter) and is usually offered by banks. The most notable exception is a home equity line of credit (HELOC) which can be secured with the home equity of the homeowner’s home.3
Credit Cards

Credit cards fall into a different class of borrowing known as revolving credit. When a credit card is revolving the borrower generally has ongoing access to the funds for as long as the account remains in good standing. Revolving credit card accounts may also be eligible for credit-limit increments regularly. The interest rates tend to be higher than personal loans.

Revolving credit is different from the personal loan. Borrowers have access to a specific amount but they do not get that amount in full. The borrower is able to access the funds at their discretion at any time up to the limit. Borrowers only pay interest on the amount they spend, so a borrower could hold an account that is open but pay no interest , if they have no balance.

Credit cards are available in a variety of varieties and provide many levels of convenience.4 The best credit cards include zero initial interest rates of 0 and balance transfer options, and rewards. On the other end in the range, certain are able to offer very high annual percentage interest rates and annual or monthly fees. Credit cards can generally be used anywhere electronic payments are accepted.

The best cards that come with rewards points can be extremely beneficial to a borrower who takes advantage of the benefits and can pay balances off each month. Rewards cards can provide money back or points towards discounts on purchases, points towards store brand purchases and points towards travel.

In general credit cards can be secured or unsecured. Unsecured cards offer credit without collateral. Secured cards are usually the best option for people with poor credit scores. With a secured card the borrower must pay a portion of the card’s balance limit. Secured cards have varying terms so some may have a balance that is equal to the secured balance and some might offer an increase upon a certain period of time, and others may add the secured balance to the card as a payment over a period of time.

All in all, each kind of credit card has its own way of accumulating the interest rate, therefore it’s important to read the fine print. Unlike personal loans which are a monthly payments are usually identical throughout the entire period of repayment the amount due on a credit card will vary every month.

Certain credit cards provide borrowers the advantage of a grace period that allows the borrowing of funds without restriction. Some cards charge interest on a daily basis, and this includes the final interest cost at the close in the calendar month. For cards with grace period, cardholders will have around 30 days to buy an item without interest in the event that the balance is settled before interest begins to accumulate.5

Revolving credit balance on a continuous basis that does not charge interest until funds are utilized

For those with credit that is good cards that offer 0% introductory interest rates as well as grace periods and rewards

Good standing accounts are typically are eligible for increases in credit limit on a regular basis

For those with less than poor credit, ability to build up to better credit terms in the future


Higher interest rates than personal loans

Fees and interest can be a significant amount.

Comprehensively, on the surface it appears that financing with a credit card may seem as a straightforward option however, as with any borrowing, you need to be cautious. Credit cards may be an option to replace personal loans since they can be offered at 0% interest and may offer some grace time. Rewards points and convenience are other benefits. However like with any credit borrowing fee and interest, it can be a considerable burden.

If you’ve been in the middle of a large bill and are looking for something with a lower interest There are many options available, which can be ideal for people seeking for a way to move their account balance.
Other types of credit lending

In general, loans and revolving credit cards make up a substantial majority of the total credit market. Beyond the typical individual loans or credit card there may be additional credit options to be considered. Here are a few examples of:
Business Loans and Credit Cards

Business loans and business credit cards are an an option for all types of companies. Business loan underwriting usually involves examination of financial statements and projections. Credit cards for business are somewhat easier to obtain and have the same advantages like personal revolving credit cards.
Payday loans

Payday loans are provided with high interest rates. Borrowers use employment pay stubs to receive cash advances. Payday loans are often referred to as precarious loans due to their reputation for having extremely high rates of interest and fees.6
Special Beacons

In general, credit is a risky business that requires diligence from the lender. Credit agreements could provide a risk for predatory lending and loan fraud, therefore it is always important to know the terms of credit and make sure you are borrowing from a legal company to safeguard yourself financially.7
The Bottom Line

Not all credit is the same. Personal loans or credit card can be arranged with a wide variety of provisions and terms. Personal loans offer lower rates of interest than credit cards but must be repaid over a specified period of time. Credit cards allow you to have access to money and they only charge interest on balances you have that aren’t repaid promptly.

Whatever you choose to do, one or the other the credit score is essential in securing approval and favorable terms. In the case of the latter one, an individual loan calculator can help get a better understanding of the way your credit score will impact your monthly payment.
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Personal Loan Guide

Personal Loan The Definition, Types and How to Get One
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Understanding Different Loan Types
2 of 33
Unsecured Loan
3 of 33
Signature Loan
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What Is Peer-to-Peer (P2P) lending? What is its definition and how it works
5 of 5 of
What Is a Payday Loan? How Does It Work, How to get One and the legality
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Personal Loan Calculator
7 out of 33
Can Personal Loans be tax-deductible?
8 of 33
Are personal loans considered to be income?
9 of 33
Are Personal Loans Included in Bankruptcy?
10 of 33
Can Personal Loans be Transferred to another person?
11 of 33
How personal loans affect your Credit Score
12 of 33
What is an amortization schedule? How do I Calculate It Using Formula
13 of 33
Personal Loan Interest Rates: The Way to Calculate a Personal Loan is Calculated
14 of 33
How do you apply for a Personal Loan
15 of 33
Best Personal Loans
16 of 33
The Best Small Personal Loans
17 of 33
Best Bank Loans
18 of 33
Best Peer-to-Peer Lending
19 of 33
Personal loans with low interest loans
20 of 33
Best Online Personal Loans
21 of 33
The Best loans for people with bad Credit
22 of 33
Best Credit for Fair Credit
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best personal loans for good credit
24 of 33
Best Loans for Excellent Credit
25 of 33
Best Emergency Loans for Bad Credit
26 of 33
Consolidation Loans to Pay Off Debt for Bad Credit
27 of 33
Best Debt Consolidation Loans
28 of 33
The Best Home Improvement Loans
29 of 33
The Best Personal Loans with Co-Signers
30 of 33
Personal Loans vs. Credit Cards What’s the Difference?
31 of 33
Personal Loans vs. Car Loans What’s the difference?
32 of 33
8 Cost-effective ways to raise cash than car title loans
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