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The Ultimate Guide To Personal Loan

The Ultimate Guide To Personal Loan
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You're reading Entrepreneur India, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

Personal loans are handy financial tools for emergency needs. They can help in recovering from a financial crisis or taking care of large expenses. For purchases that are not covered by other types of loans, individuals may use personal loans for covering such expenditures as those related to a wedding, home renovation, big vacation or even car repair. Personal loans are a form of unsecured loans. It means they do not require any type of security in the form of an asset. However, this also results in slightly higher rates of interest compared to secured loans.

Applying for a Personal Loan:

Applying for a personal loan is a simple process but getting the loan application approved may be a different matter. As per the bank’s procedure, you would have to submit some documents such as the KYC (know your customer) documents, recent salary slips, proof of employment or income, etc. After submitting all the required documents, a credit history check of the applicant is performed to know their credit history and CIBIL score. This helps banks determine your capability to repay the loan and also check the number of active loans you presently have.

Eligibility Criteria:

Eligibility criteria for personal loans are not too strict but the banks are quite concerned about the repayment capacity of the borrower. They pay close attention to your credit history and credit or CIBIL score. Personal loans also have a minimum income limit associated with them. For most banks, the minimum monthly income limit for personal loans is Rs. 12,000 in semi-urban areas whereas it is Rs. 15,000 in bigger cities such as Delhi and Mumbai.

These ‘restrictions’ are in place since granting a loan without any type of security increases the risk for banks and the eligibility criteria are one way banks have to ensure that the repayment will be made in the given time. In fact, individuals with good credit history and a decent CIBIL score usually get personal loans on declined rates of interest.

If the bank is satisfied with the financial capability and credit history of the individual, then the loan is sanctioned. A personal loan can be denied as well, as often happens in the case of poor credit history. Applicants with bad history may still get approved for the personal loan but in that case, the interest rate will be very high.

Benefits of Personal Loans:

Despite having high rates of interest, personal loans come with several advantages.

  • Build Your Credit Portfolio: Personal loans are a great way to expand and build your credit portfolio within a short span of time. Also, they can be a good way to increase your credit limit since your credit limit is directly related to the health of your credit portfolio. A properly managed loan adds to it positively.
  • Fast Processing: Personal loans do not require elaborate paperwork. Most banks grant personal loans instantly if your credit history seems good enough and you are an existing customer. Case in point is HDFC Bank’s 10-second loan for people holding a savings account with the bank.
  • Flexibility: Personal loans are flexible in nature. You are under no obligation to use the loan amount in a specific way. You can use it for supporting your business expenses, go on a vacation, pay for a wedding, make a major purchase, or renovate your home. Such flexibility from personal loans makes them a preferred choice for a number of situations, especially where unexpected expenses arise.

Things to Consider Before Taking a Personal Loan:

Though they are a lucrative tool for personal financial needs, personal loans can potentially land you in serious debt and associated troubles. We have compiled a list of the important factors that should be considered before applying for any type of personal loan.

Assessment of the Total Cost: Interest is not the only cost associated with personal loans. Some other types of costs include prepayment charges, penalties, and processing fees that you must take into account as well. Assessing such costs will allow you to plan and manage your personal loan better.

Interest Rates: Personal loan interest rates are usually high, starting from 11.49% to going as much as 25%. But there is more to it. You will need to ask about and understand the nature of the rate of interest. Most banks offer fixed interest rates but some also offer a reducing balance interest rate. This can significantly affect your monthly EMI to repay the loan.

  • Fixed Interest Rate: This type of interest rate means you have to pay a fixed amount of interest on the principal amount for the entire tenure. The interest and EMIs are calculated flat on the basis of principal, tenure, and the interest rate. This way, you would be paying a fixed amount of interest till your final EMI on the full principal amount, regardless of the amount you have already paid off.
  • Reducing Balance Interest Rate: Under this method, a part of the EMI goes directly towards the repayment of the principal loan amount. It means that as you make repayments over time, your principal amount gets lower as does your liability. This means that the interest is calculated on the principal amount remaining, which is going down with every monthly payment. Under this method, you would have to pay less to repay the loan. Compared to a flat interest rate loan, your EMI amount will be lower.

Calculate the EMI: To avoid any penalty or accruing debt, it is important to be able to make the EMI payment on time, every time. You will have to be the impartial judge of how much of an EMI you can handle with your current and expected income in the short term. The best possible way calculate the overall cost of your personal loan, including the EMI, are the online personal loan EMI calculators.

Repayment Period: Banks usually offer one of many standard loan repayment periods. Personal loan tenures generally do not last longer than 60 months. This period is determined based on your ability to repay the loan as well as the amount of the loan. You may be able to choose the repayment period as per your preference but you have to be careful while doing that. A lower tenure means that you would have to pay less total interest but your EMI amount will increase. On the other hand, a longer tenure results in lower EMI amount but higher interest outflow.

Consider the Number of Active Loans: This factor is related directly to your credit history, and consequently, your credit worthiness. It will also impact your ability to repay your personal loan. Banks usually perform a check on the number of active loans and debt you currently have before granting their sanction for a personal loan. If you already have multiple outstanding loans such as a home loan, car loan, or education loan, then you should avoid applying for a personal loan. If it does get approved, it will increase your financial burden. Moreover, banks do not consider applicants with multiple outstanding loans as good candidates for personal loans. They may simply reject your application altogether.

There are so many players in the market who are offering personal loan in India, where you can compare interest rates and apply in just few minutes. In addition to gleaning information about personal loan offerings from several banks, you can also use tools like the online EMI calculator to plan and manage your loan.

 
Edition: June 2017

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