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If you’re looking to borrow money but worried that your credit rating might get in the way, a secured loan could be your best option. Using your house as collateral against the loan makes you more likely to be approved, even if you have bad credit.
If you don’t own a home, you may want to consider a bad credit personal loan.
A secured loan lets you use your home as collateral against the cost of the loan. Also known as a “homeowner loan” or “second charge mortgage”, if you fail to repay your loan, the lender can take ownership of the equity you have in your home.
A secured loan generally offers a more competitive rate than an unsecured loan, as there’s less risk to the lender that it can lose its money.
Much like in the unsecured loans market, a number of lenders have carved out a niche for themselves by focusing on secured loans for people with poor credit.
Putting up security can help borrowers with adverse credit to access a wider selection of loans. As well as making it easier to get approved, applying with the backup of the equity in a home can help applicants to access larger sums and/or lower rates.
Because lenders have the reassurance that they’re less likely to lose their money, your credit rating becomes a less crucial factor in the approval process. What’s still crucial, however, is that you can comfortably afford the monthly repayments.
Yes, almost certainly. However, many secured loan companies focus less on your credit score – with some even touting secured loans with “no credit scoring”. In reality, this means that the lender bases its decision (at least in part) on your credit history. For example, when it looks at your history of payments in the last 12 months, if you’ve missed 1 payment, that might be fine. But if you’ve missed 2, you might be declined.
Most lenders can use a “soft search” (a credit check that doesn’t impact your credit score or leave a footprint visible to other lenders) to give you a good idea as to whether it’s worth applying.
As with many other types of loans, secured loan interest rates are more often than not tailored to the individual applicant’s circumstances. In other words, if your credit file has taken a few bumps along the road, you might be offered a slightly higher rate than the lender’s marketed rates. Once again, a soft-search eligibility checker can also give you a clearer idea of the rate you might be offered.
While lenders promote their advertised “representative APRC”, keep in mind that this is the maximum rate that 51% of customers will receive – the other 49% could be given a higher rate. Lenders must tell you your personalised APRC before you sign any agreement with them.
As with any loan, there are a number of eligibility criteria you need to meet to be considered for a loan. Criteria vary from lender to lender, but as an absolute minimum, you’ll need to be:
If you don’t qualify for a secured loan or don’t want to use the equity in your house, you still have a couple of other options:
It may be just as easy and cost-effective to remortgage – this depends on how competitive a mortgage you’re on now vs how competitive a mortgage you could get. For example, if your credit score has deteriorated since you arranged your current mortgage, and you’re on a fantastic low rate, then you may prefer to get a new second-charge mortgage for a smaller amount rather than switching your whole mortgage to a new, less-competitive deal. By contrast, if you’re on your bank’s “standard variable rate”, you might be able to borrow more at the same time as securing a better rate across all your borrowing.
Alternatively, you may be able to get an unsecured loan for bad credit. Without offering the lender security, the maximum amount you can borrow will be much lower – perhaps around £10,000-£15,000, and the interest rate is likely to be higher – perhaps around 15% to 25%
Another option is a guarantor loan. By using a friend or family member (who has good credit) as a guarantor on your loan, you’ll reduce the risk you represent to the lender, which means you’re more likely to be approved for a loan. Guarantor loans typically only go up to £10,000, however, and can come with interest rates over 30% even though you’re giving the lender the reassurance of a guarantor with good credit.
One way to improve your credit score while borrowing is by using a credit-building credit card. If you can show a credit provider that you can responsibly manage your credit account, you’ll be able to improve your credit and make yourself more likely to be approved for a loan. However, these cards typically come with low initial credit limits – typically below £5,000.
Finally, if you can wait 6 months or more, then it may be worthwhile to focus on improving your credit score first and checking the market again to see if you’re eligible for better deals. Services such as Loqbox offer a free way to boost your credit score while you save.
In theory, yes, you may be able to use another form of collateral with certain secured loans. However, many lenders (including those we’ve compared in this guide) only consider customers looking to use the equity in their house as security.
If you have bad credit, you may struggle to get an unsecured loan. A secured loan may be a viable alternative as the assurance of putting up a house as collateral reduces the risk falling on the lender, provided you have a sufficient amount of equity in your property. However, despite a lower risk to the lender, this option provides a higher risk to yourself. Failure to repay the loan could lead to losing the equity you hold in your house or even your home altogether.
Use our free secured loan calculator to find out how much you could borrow and check your eligibility with multiple UK lenders in minutes.
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