An Overview of Unsecured Loans

May 7th 2016

What Is an Unsecured Loan?

An unsecured loan is a distribution of funds by a lender that is not secured by assets or collateral. A bank or lending institution provides the loan based on the lender's assessment of a borrower's finances and ability to repay the loan. Unsecured loans are often risky for lenders because they do not have the ability to confiscate property, stocks, bonds or items of value from the borrower if the loan is not repaid. Individuals with solid credit scores and credit history have better chances of getting approved for an unsecured loan than people with high debt ratios and poor credit.

What Are the Benefits of an Unsecured Loan?

The primary benefit of an unsecured loan is that the borrower faces less risk and is not required to put property or assets in jeopardy to secure a loan. Unsecured loans are often processed faster than secured loans because lenders do not have to order an appraisal or assess the value of the collateral. Some lenders can approve unsecured loans and distribute funds within hours or days after an application is submitted.

What Are the Downsides of an Unsecured Loan?

Unsecured loans are typically accompanied by a higher interest rate due to the risk the lender faces when loaning funds. The loan terms are often for smaller amounts of money and expected to be repaid within a shorter period of time than secured loans. Unsecured loans are often ideal for individuals who only need the funds for a short period of time or for an emergency.

What Types of Unsecured Loans Exist?

Individuals take out unsecured loans for a variety of reasons. Unsecured loans may be issued as personal loans for home improvements or vehicle maintenance. A personal line of credit may be needed when working to pay back debt. Student loans and credit cards are also examples of unsecured loans that do not require collateral.


Borrowers have many options for securing loans when purchasing a home or vehicle, or acquiring funds through a personal loan for emergencies or unexpected expenses. Secured loans are protected by collateral or an asset, where a lien can be placed on the property or item if the loan is not paid back, whereas unsecured loans do not require collateral.

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