There are many reasons to borrow money, from remodeling your home to paying for college. Taking out a personal loan to pursue your goals doesn’t have to be complex. By understanding the type of personal loans available to you — and choosing the right bank for your loan — you can be comfortable and confident getting the money you need to invest in your future.

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Types of Personal Loans

The type of personal loan you need depends on your reason for borrowing money. If you’re looking for money to remodel your kitchen, for example, home equity lending can give you quick cash to pay for the kitchen of your dreams. Other types of personal loans, such as auto and boat loans, are designed specifically for those major purchases.

Home Equity Lending

If you’re a homeowner and you’ve paid off part of your mortgage, you likely have some home equity. Home equity lending allows you to borrow against that equity, using your home as collateral for your loan. The amount of money you can borrow from your bank is based on how much equity is in your home.

Using Your Home Equity

To borrow against your home's value, you can take out either a home equity loan or a 
home equity line of credit.

Home Equity Loans
A home equity loan is a type of second mortgage. Your bank will give you a lump sum payment for the amount you’d like to borrow, depending on how much value you have in your home. You repay the loan at a fixed monthly rate, similar to a traditional mortgage payment.  

Because home equity loans are secured by a second mortgage, known as “secured debt,” they can be easier to obtain and typically have lower interest rates than other consumer loans or credit cards. For these reasons, home equity loans may be a good source of cash if you know exactly how much money you’d like to borrow, how you’ll use that money, and you have a reliable income.

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A Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC)
A home equity line of credit (HELOC) is a bank loan that works like a credit card. How much credit you have available depends on the value in your home. But once you’ve established a HELOC with your bank, you can borrow from it as often as you’d like over the term of the loan. That means you can take out money, make payments and take out additional money, up to your maximum line of credit. 

As long as you’re making payments, a HELOC gives you a lot of flexibility to buy what you need today and over time. You may prefer a HELOC to a home equity loan if you’re not sure exactly how much money you need for a purchase, you’re looking for more flexible borrowing or you only want to pay interest on the amount you borrow. Need more details? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Understanding a HELOC!

Read more about home equity loans vs. lines of credit

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Auto & Boat Loans

There’s a lot to consider when making a major purchase like buying a new car or boat. Unless you have a lot of savings already, you may need a loan to help finance these purchases. Flexible auto and boat loans can help you get behind the wheel even sooner.

How Do Auto Loans Work?
If you want to buy or lease a car but don’t have the cash to pay in full, you may need an auto loan. Your bank provides the money in a lump sum payment, which you pay back over time with interest. Three factors to consider are how much money you need to borrow, the annual percentage rate (APR) of interest, and how long you’ll repay the loan for (the term). 

Look for a bank that offers competitive rates and flexible options for auto loans, as well as a quick approval process. Learn more about how auto financing works.

How Do Boat Loans Work?
Auto and boat loans are very similar. You get a lump sum, based on your income and credit score, that you can use to buy or lease your boat. Both auto and boat loans are installment loans, which means you make fixed monthly payments to repay your bank throughout the term of the loan. 

Auto & Boat Loan Rates
When comparing your options for auto and boat loans, look for competitive interest rates to ensure monthly payments fit within your budget. A good credit score is typically higher than 700. This can help you secure a better interest rate. Making a down payment, having a co-signer and securing a shorter-term loan may also help you negotiate a lower interest rate.

With both types of personal loans, you should feel comfortable with the monthly payment amounts and your ability to repay the loan amount. 

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Personal Loan Resources

Looking for more information about home equity lending? Get more insight with the tips and tools below, or browse our financial advice blog for expert perspectives on a full range of personal finance topics.

Tools & Calculators


Types of Loans

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