Lock in a lower rate by guaranteeing your loan with an asset.
If you’re looking for a personal loan to help take your next step – towards a holiday, a new car, a used car or a large purchase – you might want to consider the benefits of a secured loan. While you might associate these loans with the purchase of a new vehicle, they are about so much more than just cars.
What is a secured personal loan?
A secured personal loan is a line of credit that is guaranteed against an asset you own or buy with the loan. You can usually apply for loans for terms up to four years, although the line of credit can be ongoing. The security can come in the form of a number of different items, including a car, equity in your home, high-priced items such as jewellery or monetary accounts such as term deposits.
Is a secured loan the right option for you?
It’s important to determine whether any type of financial product is right for you before you apply. When it comes to secured personal loans, here are some points to keep in mind:
- You can manage your repayments. If you find yourself unable to repay your secured loan the lender is able to repossess the asset you offered as a guarantee to cover its losses.
- You have an asset to guarantee or are looking to buy one. Lenders will require that you either be looking to buy an asset with your loan (such as a car or home renovations) or that you already have an asset that meets its criteria.
- You meet the requirements set by the lender. Lenders will have requirements for the guaranteed asset, such as its age or value. For instance, if you’re using a vehicle as security, it may need to be under a certain age, or if you are using a term deposit you may need to have a certain amount in the account.
The pros and cons of secured personal loans
As with any type of personal loan, there are benefits and drawbacks to consider.
- Lower rate. These loans are less of a risk for the lender and so come with lower interest rates.
- Flexible. Unlike car loans, where you have to purchase the vehicle you’re securing to the loan, you can generally purchase whatever you need to with a secured personal loan as long as the amount doesn’t exceed your secured asset’s value.
- Can help you get approved. Offering an asset to secure a personal loan can help you get approved for loans you may previously not have been. This is because the loan is deemed less risky for a lender to take on when there is an asset attached to it.
- Risk your asset. When you take out a secured loan you are “guaranteeing” your loan with it. While this gives you lower rates, it also means you can lose it if you default on the loan.
- Loan amount tied to your assets value. When you attach your asset to a secured loan it needs to be valued. This value will then be used to determine the loan amount you are offered by the amount.
What assets can you secure to a personal loan?
There’s a range of different secured personal loans available, but you will find lenders who let you use the following assets as security for your loan:
- New car. If you’re buying a new car or if you have a car that is less than two years old, you can generally use it as a guarantee for a secured loan. Secured motorbike loans are also available.
- Used car. Lenders will also let you purchase a used car with a secured loan. Other vehicles such as motorbikes may also be allowed. Cars may need to be of a certain condition.
- Equity in your home. If you own a mortgaged property, you can draw against any equity you have in the property to finance a purchase. Common uses for home equity loans are home renovations.
- High-cost assets. Some lenders are more flexible with the assets they let you use. If you own expensive jewellery, fine art, precious metals, prestige cars or even some antiques, you can secure it against your loan.
- Term deposits. This is a more common type of loan available from some banks and credit unions. How much you have available in your term deposit is how much you’re able to borrow with that same institution. The amount of your term deposit works as the security in case you default on the loan.
The secured personal loan options that are available
You have a few options when it comes to secured personal loans:
- Car loans. These secured loans can be for new or used cars. You can find car loans from most banks and credit unions, as well as dealerships and standalone car loan lenders. Rates can range from 5 and 14% p.a. for a bank car loan.
- Home equity loans. If you’re looking to renovate, invest in property, go on a holiday or buy a new car, you can consider a home equity loan. Also called a line of credit as it can be drawn on continually based on the equity held in your property, this is a flexible way to access funds.
- Term deposit secured loans. This is a loan offered by banks and credit unions to customers who hold terms deposits with them. You’re able to borrow as much as you hold in your term deposit, with the term deposit acting as the security.
- Personal asset secured loans. High-priced assets such as boats, motorbikes and jewellery are accepted by some lenders as a guarantee. Your item or collection of items is valued and then used as security, allowing you to take out the loan you need. You generally won’t find these loans at major banks.
How can you compare secured personal loans?
- Loan amounts. Find out what loan amounts the lender is offering and if it will match your loan purpose.
- Loan terms. Generally, loans are available for terms of between one and four years, so make sure you find a loan with terms that meet your needs.
- Assets you can secure to the loan. Lenders have different requirements when it comes to secured loans. You may not be able to secure the asset you are planning to, so check this before you apply.
- Fees. Check for all fees associated with the loan, such as processing fees. These will add onto your costs for the loan.
- Interest rate. How competitive is the interest rate? Compare the rate to other lenders and make sure to check the effective interest rate which will give you a better idea of the true cost of the loan.
- Repayment flexibility. Are you able to repay the loan early without penalty? Can you make additional repayments without being charged? Check this before you apply.
Is there anything to consider before applying?
Before applying for any type of secured loan, it’s important to establish whether you can afford the repayments. If you default on the loan, the asset you’ve used as the guarantee can be taken by the lender and sold to cover the loss.
Comparing lenders to find the most competitive options in terms of terms, rates and fees will help you find the right option for your budget and needs, so consider whether you’ve done a proper search before submitting your application.
Have more questions about secured personal loans?
What’s the difference between a secured personal loan and a car loan?
A car loan is used specifically to purchase a vehicle. The loan is still secured but the difference is the loan amount is restricted to buying the vehicle that will be used as security for the loan. A secured personal loan is where you already own the asset, which can be a car or equity or in your home or something else, and then you use the loan amount for a different purpose.
What happens if I default on a secured personal loan?
The lender is able to sell your asset to recoup its losses.
Why are interest rates lower on secured personal loans?
Because you have attached an asset to the loan, the lender is taking on less of a risk by lending you money. This is because even if you default on the loan they have a right to the asset you have attached to the loan. In exchange for you taking on the risk of attaching the asset to the loan, you get a lower interest rate.