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Personal loans are a great way to pay for something you don’t otherwise have the cash for, like major credit card debt or a big home repair. But a short term loan means high monthly payments, which you might not be able to handle.
However, many lenders offer long-term personal loans. While long-term is relative, long-term personal loans typically have a loan repayment term of about five to seven years. Here’s what you need know about long-term personal loans before you take one out.
Pros and cons of long-term personal loans
There are plenty of perks to taking out a loan that you don’t need to pay back too fast, but there are also some downsides. Review the good and bad to understand the whole picture of long-term personal loans.
Pro: Longer term means lower monthly payments
If you have to take out a large amount, lower monthly payments might be more manageable for your budget.
Say you get a $25,000 loan. As an example, here’s what your monthly payments could look like depending on how many months are in your terms.
|Loan terms||APR||Monthly payment||Total amount paid|
|36 months (3 years)||4.44%||$743||$26,748|
|60 months (5 years)||4.94%||$471||$28,265|
|84 months (7 years)||5.39%||$358||$30,067|
The longer your loan term, the more payments you’re able to make, which means the lower each monthly payment will be. Here, you can save close to $400 per month if you take out a 7-year loan over a 3-year loan.
If you can get ahead or pay a little extra each month, that’s great. But you only need the least amount required and making minimum payments on time every month is crucial to keeping your credit score up.
But, as you see, the longer term loans typically have a slightly higher interest rate and the total amount you pay back over the life of the loan also increases.
Pro: Long-term personal loans are available
Getting a loan term that’s in line with what you can afford is great. But your credit score, income, or sparse employment can hold you back from getting the loan you need (especially if you have bad credit).
Luckily, there are more and more lenders offering long-term loans. The personal loan companies in the table below compete for your business through Credible. You can request rates from all of these partner lenders by filling out just one form (instead of one form for each) and without affecting your credit score.
|Lender||Fixed rates||Loan amounts|
|9.95% - 35.99% APR||$2,000 up to $35,000**||Get Rates|
*If approved, the actual loan terms that a customer qualifies for may vary based on credit determination, state law, and other factors. Minimum loan amounts vary by state.
**Example: A $5,700 loan with an administration fee of 4.75% and an amount financed of $5,429.25, repayable in 36 monthly installments, would have an APR of 29.95% and monthly payments of $230.33.
|5.99% - 29.99% APR||$2,000 up to $35,000||Get Rates|
|6.99% - 29.99% APR||$10,000 up to $35,000||Get Rates|
|6.95% - 35.89% APR||$1,000 up to $40,000||Get Rates|
†Based on a majority of borrowers from LendingClub's marketing partners who were issued loans between 1/1/19-12/13/19. The time it takes for your loan to be funded may vary.
|15.49% - 34.99% APR||$2,000 up to $25,000||Get Rates|
|4.99% - 16.79% APR||$5,000 up to $100,000||Get Rates|
|6.99% - 28.99% APR1 (For NY residents: 6.99% - 24.99% APR)||$3,500 to $40,0002||Get Rates|
1Rate reduction available for AutoPay.
2You may be required to have some of your funds sent directly to pay off outstanding unsecured debt.
3After making 12 or more consecutive monthly payments, you can defer one payment as long as you have made all your prior payments in full and on time. Marcus will waive any interest incurred during the deferral and extend your loan by one month (you will pay interest during this extra month). Your payments resume as usual after your deferral. Advance notice is required. See loan agreement for details.
|5.99% - 24.99% APR||$5,000 up to $35,000||Get Rates|
|6.95% - 35.99% APR||$2,000 up to $40,000||Get Rates|
|5.99% - 21.11% APR||$5,000 to $100,000||Get Rates|
|7.99% - 35.97% APR||$1,000 up to $50,000||Get Rates|
|6.14% - 35.99% APR4||$1,000 to $50,0005||Get Rates|
4The full range of available rates varies by state. The average 3-year loan offered across all lenders using the Upstart platform will have an APR of 20% and 36 monthly payments of $35 per $1,000 borrowed. There is no down payment and no prepayment penalty. Average APR is calculated based on 3-year rates offered in the last 1 month. Your APR will be determined based on your credit, income, and certain other information provided in your loan application. Not all applicants will be approved.
5Your loan amount will be determined based on your credit, income, and certain other information provided in your loan application. Not all applicants will qualify for the full amount. Loans are not available in West Virginia or Iowa.The minimum loan amount in MA is $7,000. The minimum loan amount in OH is $6,000. The minimum loan amount in NM is $5,100. The minimum loan amount in GA is $3,100.
6If you accept your loan by 5pm EST (not including weekends or holidays), you will receive your funds the next business day. Loans used to fund education related expenses are subject to a 3 business day wait period between loan acceptance and funding in accordance with federal law.
Con: You’ll pay more in interest
The more monthly payments you have, the more you’ll end up paying in interest. If we use that same $25,000 example from above, here’s what you’d pay in interest:
|Loan terms||Monthly payment||Total amount paid||Total interest paid|
|36 months (3 years)||$743||$26,748||$1,748|
|60 months (5 years)||$471||$28,265||$3,266|
|84 months (7 years)||$358||$30,067||$5,068|
You’ll pay more in total interest over the life of your loan. The difference between a 7-year loan and a 3-year loan is $3,320. That’s money that could be in your pocket if you were able to pay off your loan sooner.
Along with that, the total amount you’ll end up paying is much more. You’ll be paying more than $30,000 for a $25,000 loan if you make payments for 7 years.
Con: You’re in debt longer
While having low, manageable monthly payments is a nice perk, it means you’ll be in debt for longer than if you were to take out a shorter-term loan.
Paying off personal loan debt can hold you back from other major purchases, like buying a home or saving for retirement. If you’re trying to pay off other major debt, like your student loans, paying off a long-term personal loan might inhibit you from doing so.
How to get a long-term personal loan
If you’re ready to get a long-term personal loan, you’ll need to get some things in order first.
1. Review your credit report. This is your ticket to not only qualifying for a personal loan, but getting the best interest rate possible. The better your credit is, the more likely you are to get lower interest rates. It’s a good idea to ensure your credit history is in good shape before applying for a personal loan.
2. Compare multiple lenders. Not all lenders treat personal loans the same way. The best personal loan lenders offer flexible terms, like longer-term options if you need low monthly payments. Don’t settle on the first lender you find. Instead, go with the one that’s best for your finances. Credible makes it easy to compare multiple prequalified rates from different lenders by filling out just one single form.
3. Analyze your options. See which lenders have loan offers with the most flexible repayment terms, lowest rate, and low fees (like low origination fees and no prepayment penalties).
Once you get a personal loan, you need to be prepared for the repayment period. So, make sure you do your research and choose the right loan for your financial situation.
About Rates and Terms: Rates for personal loans provided by lenders on the Credible platform range between 3.99% - 35.99% APR with terms from 24 to 84 months. Rates presented include lender discounts for enrolling in autopay and loyalty programs, where applicable. Actual rates may be different from the rates advertised and/or shown and will be based on the lender’s eligibility criteria, which include factors such as credit score, loan amount, loan term, credit usage and history, and vary based on loan purpose. The lowest rates available typically require excellent credit, and for some lenders, may be reserved for specific loan purposes and/or shorter loan terms. The origination fee charged by the lenders on our platform ranges from 0% to 8%. Each lender has their own qualification criteria with respect to their autopay and loyalty discounts (e.g., some lenders require the borrower to elect autopay prior to loan funding in order to qualify for the autopay discount). All rates are determined by the lender and must be agreed upon between the borrower and the borrower’s chosen lender. For a loan of $10,000 with a three year repayment period, an interest rate of 7.99%, a $350 origination fee and an APR of 11.51%, the borrower will receive $9,650 at the time of loan funding and will make 36 monthly payments of $313.32. Assuming all on-time payments, and full performance of all terms and conditions of the loan contract and any discount programs enrolled in included in the APR/interest rate throughout the life of the loan, the borrower will pay a total of $11,279.43. As of March 12, 2019, none of the lenders on our platform require a down payment nor do they charge any prepayment penalties.