Loans can be a little complicated. And with so much at stake, making the right decision is vital. As always though, you're in safe hands with Money Expert.
Not only is finding a loan using our comparison tool quick and easy, but we've included plenty of helpful information on this page to make sure you get the product that's right for you.
If you don't find what you need on this page, have a look at our guides linked to on the right hand side.
What kinds of personal loans can I get?
The premise of a personal loan is fairly simple - you borrow a set amount and pay it back, plus interest, over a set period. But there are a few different types available, each fit for different purposes:
With a fixed rate loan, the rate at which you pay interest remains the same throughout the term. These are a good idea for those who want to make sure that they are paying back the same amount each month and are not caught off-guard by any increases in loan rates.
With variable loans, your interest rate can be subject to change during the loan term. Most variable loans come with lower repayment rates in general as well as caps to limit how much your interest rate either increases or decreases.
Debt consolidation loans are designed to help borrowers pay off multiple existing debts by consolidating them into one regular payment. While this can make the repayment process simpler, it won't necessarily make the overall debt cheaper.
When taking out an unsecured loan is a loan, you do not have to put up any collateral.This ensures that the lender does not have the power to seize any of your property or possessions if you default on payments.
A secured loan is a loan which is backed by collateral such as your house. This means your belongings are up for grabs should you be unable to pay. While this is understandably a scary prospect, securing you loan does more security for the lender and will in return mean that you will generally get a more favourable interest rate.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are personal loans?
There are times when everyone needs a little help financially and for the majority of us who weren’t born into royalty a loan can be the easiest way to get that help. A personal loan is in its simplest form a contract whereby one party borrows money and pays it back over a fixed period of time with an agreed rate of interest. While personal loans will differ from company to company, one fairly consistent theme is that you will be able to borrow between R5000 and R20000 with a maximum time of 72 months (6 years) to pay it off. Personal loans are often confused with payday loans, with the difference being that personal loans are paid off over a much longer period of time. Unlike other types of more specific loans, a personal loan can be used for (within reason) anything that you like. This could range from a personal investment, home refurbishment or something sensible like consolidating your existing loans into one simple repayment.
Why would I need a personal loan?
As previously discussed, personal loans can be used for a wide range of different reasons, but just because you fancy going on holiday isn’t necessarily a good reason to get one. While it might be tempting to use it for something that seems like a good idea at the time, it may be something that you regret and they are generally best spent on things that are a necessity rather than a nicety. For example, if you are doing some work on your house which will increase the value of it then it can absolutely be a viable reason for getting a personal loan. Also if you need a car and getting a personal loan either allows you to get a better deal or pay back a lower interest than you would purchase it on finance, then it too makes financial sense.
As we mentioned earlier, debt consolidation is one of the main reasons that people will get a personal loan. If you are making back 4 different repayments each month it can get confusing, and paying it back in one go and having one monthly payment simplifies things. Secondly, this gives you a way to reduce your interest - if your average interest rate is 25% and you manage to secure a loan to pay off your debts for 20%, you are saving money in the long run. Similarly, getting a personal loan to pay off your student debt could be advisable as long as the interest rate is lower. When it comes to paying off your debts, a personal loan has an advantage over credit cards or payday loans because you are able to pay it back over a longer period, spreading the cost over time.
How do I apply for a personal loan?
The aim is to make applying for a personal loan as easy as possible. Once you have found a company that you are happy with you will be asked questions about the nature of the loan you want to take out as well as how much money you want to borrow and how long for. Some questions will be personal to you, such as your financial and employment situation, as well as your age and marital information. You may also have to provide information about exactly what it is you plan to spend the money on, for example, a holiday or a debt consolidation loan. Some companies will give you a prospective quote based on this. In order to apply for any loan, there will always be three bits of information that you will need to submit. Your bank details that you want the money to be paid into, the last three months of bank statements or payslips and your id number/copy of ID book or your smart ID card. The lender will then conduct a credit check which will determine first whether your application is successful and if so what interest you will have to pay back.
How to get the best rate on a personal loan?
When applying for a personal loan, it is important that you get the best possible rate so you pay back the least possible amount. One way to get a better deal is to promise to pay the money back over a shorter period of time. If a lender has an assurance that they will receive their money in 1 year rather than 3 years then they will generally be happy to offer a better deal. It’s important to note however that some companies will charge you a fee to pay it back earlier than you stated in your initial agreement, so it’s worth checking up on this in the small print.
Sometimes borrowing slightly more money can also mean you get a better rate. Certain companies have thresholds which means when you borrow x amount your interest rate drops. Although you will be paying back interest on a larger sum, it can be worth checking as sometimes increasing your borrowing amount by as little as R100 or R200 can mean you pay back less interest overall. Having a good credit rating is important in securing the best deal and while it may be too late sometimes, it’s always worth bearing in mind that missing payments can cause you to pay higher interest rates when it comes to borrowing in the future.
The best way to secure a good deal for yourself as always is to shop around. The chances of hitting the jackpot on the first time are pretty slim, so covering the market is a surefire way to ensure you get more bang for your buck. Luckily, here at Money Expert, we cover the market to make sure that you can see the best deals in your area. Just put in your details and we can show you exactly what is available to you - it only takes a few minutes and could save you money.