Installment Loans vs Personal Loans

Installment Loans vs Personal Loans

Many people are familiar with an online personal loan, but not as many are familiar with an installment loan. Let us set the record straight and explain how the two compare.

While all personal loans are in fact a type of installment loan (including car loans and mortgages) there is one difference. The interest rates you are provided are related to your credit score and the loan amount requested. It’s these details that will determine what type of loan you might qualify for. Both installment loan and personal loans are a type of unsecured loan that involves regular monthly payments over set repayment terms

If you were hoping to borrow $25,000 and your credit score is 650, you probably would not qualify for a personal loan. You would be more eligible for an installment loan, but may find that most lenders would not allow an amount this high without a credit score of 720 or higher. Leaving you the choice of taking a lower amount now, or work on improving your score so you might be able to qualify for a personal loan later. However, if you had a good income and little to no debt, some lenders may take a chance on you even if your credit score was marginally good.

Installment Loans vs Personal Loans

Personal Loans – these can allow you to borrow up to $50,000, or sometimes more, but are reserved for people with good to excellent credit. They often come with preferred terms and better interest rates, but not available to everyone. Many personal loans are available for up to five years in many instances.

Installment Loans – this type of loan is more suited to those with a fair to good credit score. The amounts available also tend to be smaller, with interest rates that are higher than most personal loans. The amount available is often from $2,000 to $25,000, depending on the lender. Most installment loans are available for one to three year terms on average. 

The big difference between installment loans and personal loans is the interest rate you might be offered.

How do Personal Loans Work?

After submitting an online application, it is reviewed for underwriting and typically involves a soft credit check to determine the risk as a borrower. If the application is pre-approved the customer would be redirected to instant bank verification (IBV). If the customer is fully approved, they are sent to an e-sign page. Once digital signature is completed the customer would wait for the funds to be deposited into their bank account. Many lenders deposit the loans by e-transfer and some will wire the funds. If your funds are sent by e transfer you can receive the money in minutes at times. Applying on a weekday during business hours can also help. Those thinking to apply for a personal loan should have good to excellent credit to qualify. 

RELATED: Guide to Borrowing Money Online

How do Installment Loans Work?

Just like with personal loans, this option is mainly related to credit history, interest rates, terms, and amount requested. An installment loan is most suited for someone with fair to good credit. 

If you’re not a qualified borrower for personal loans, comparing installment loans can still provide the funds needed. For those with a less than stellar credit score there is also the option of bad credit loans to consider, which come with higher interest rates. 

RELATED: How to Get a Loan With Bad Credit

Online Loan Requirements

Applying for loans online is a fast way to get the funds you need. It wasn’t long ago that banks and credit unions were your only option, but those days have passed. Now, you can choose from a variety of lenders and find options as good or better than what the banks may offer.

Most online loan options have similar requirements that include the following:

  • To be of legal age (18 or older in most provinces)
  • To be a Canadian citizen and able to provide government issued ID
  • To be employed with a regular income (some lenders will consider those on benefits)

Applying for online loans compared to banks is often faster and easier to qualify. Most banks require higher credit scores as well. If you qualify for a loan with good terms and rates, this can be a great way to consolidate your debt when you have outstanding loans of higher rates to pay off and help you save on interest. These types of loans are also suitable for a variety of reasons around the home like a big purchase, repairs, renovations and more. 

Personal loans typically have an APR of below 20%, with installment loans being from 29% to 46.99% on average.

Credit ScoreRatingSample Interest Rate
300 – 559Very Poor30% to 47%
560 – 659Poor20% to 35%
660 – 724Fair15% to 35%
725 – 759Good6% to 15%
760 – 900Excellent5% to 11%

With payday loans it’s due on your next pay cycle, but if you were rolling over the APR is often between 400% to 900% at times.

If thinking a personal loan sounds similar to a credit card for rates, you would be mistaken. A personal loan uses ‘simple interest’ that is calculated off the remaining principal balance of your loan. This means that you pay a set monthly amount plus interest. But with most credit cards a compound interest is charged daily, which is the principal and accumulated interest. In short, it can take longer to pay off debt that uses compound interest.

RELATED: Challenges When You Have A Bad Credit Score

Are Payday Loans the Same?

Payday loans are not like an installment loan because the full amount is due your next payday. Where an installment loan is made up of multiple payments (or ‘installments’) that would be paid over the term that was agreed to for repayment. Payday loans are an expensive way to borrow that are not advised if you have the option for an installment loan, which usually has better interest rates and repayments terms. 

Comparisons and More:

Personal Loans vs Payday Loans

Installment Loans vs Payday Loans

Personal Loans – Banks vs Online Lenders

How Poor Credit Can Prevent Personal Loan Approval

Why Your Online Loan Application Might Have Failed

When Your Personal Loan is Denied (and what to do next)




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