Many Americans turn to short term loans to help solve their unexpected problems. You probably have used one before to clear a bill or to boost your business. The process of borrowing a short term loan is simple, and the money is in your bank account in one business day.
From the name, it is clear that short term loans last a couple of months, at most 48 months. With traditional loans, the loan amounts range between $2,000 and $500,000. The interest rates vary greatly between 6% to 700% depending on the type of short term loan and the lender you are working with. You can choose to use the short term loan to boost your business or for other personal use.
You can consider short term loans were a race; they would be a sprint. On the times that you do not have the strength or perseverance to run a marathon, a short term loan is a great option. However, bear in mind that like a typical sprint race, you’ll need a burst of energy to complete the race.
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What is a short term loan?
Short term loans are small and only last for a few months. Generally, the amounts don’t exceed $500,000, and that’s for businesses. For personal short term loans, the loan amount is even lower. Unlike traditional loans that are serviced for a couple of years, most short term loans are repaid in a year or a few weeks, depending on the lender and the loan amount.
The type of short term loan you will get depends on your credit score and the lender you pick. Below is how the loans work.
- You apply for a loan online or through a store location in your state
- The lender performs a soft credit check and considers your current job and income for stability and affordability
- If the lender gets to approve the loan request, you will receive an offer that will detail the loan term and the interest rate that applies
- Most short term loan lenders fast forward the review process and give feedback of acceptance or rejection in a matter of minutes, usually no longer than 60 minutes
- If you agree with the offer and receive the money in your bank account, you will need to start preparing for repayment.
If you have never taken a short term loan before, the process might take a little longer because the lender will need to verify your documentation. However, subsequent short term loans are processed even faster and with reduced stress.
Types of short term personal loans
‘Short term loan’ is a term used to refer to different types of loans, but what they all have in common is high APR.
An emergency cash loan comes in handy during emergencies. It is perfect for borrowers who need instant cash. You can use emergency cash to cover immediate expenses like car and home repairs, medical bills, and other unexpected costs in your life. If you have a low credit score, you’ve been turned down by many banks and mainstream financial institutions; it’s because you’re deemed as high risk.
But what banks will not offer, emergency loan lenders will offer you in an eighth of the time. The only catch is that you will need to repay the loan in a shorter time.
Another type of short term loan is a payday loan. These are great for borrowers with bad credit scores. These loans have high APRs and fees. Because of this, we advise our readers to be wary of these loans. Sure they are handy, but they need good planning lest you find yourself trapped in a debt cycle. No credit check payday loans are payable within two weeks or a month, depending on the lender, and the interest rate is capped at 0.8% per day.
Line of Credit
A line of credit is another good option. If you run a business and you ever need some cash to keep products flowing, it will come in handy. The number one benefit of using a line of credit loan is that many banks do not charge interest for the money you end up not using.
For instance, if you have a $60,000 line of credit and you only use $30,000, you will only be required to pay interest for the $30,000. You can continue to withdraw as much as you please provided you do not exceed the set amount.
Have you ever heard of this type of loan? Probably not. A bridge loan can help you when you are short in cash. A perfect situation is when you are in the process of buying a new home, but the old one is still on the market. The bridge loan can help you cover the mortgage costs.
For this type of loan, borrowers usually give up collateral. So essentially, it is a secured loan. Though they have high-interest rates, they are great options for homeowners who cannot put the purchase of a new home on hold before they finalize the sale of the old one.
This is a type of loan that you get through business receivables. They are invoices that are yet to be paid by the customer. The lender loans the money and then charges interest based on the weeks that the invoice is outstanding. When the customer finally pays the invoice, the lender interrupts the payment of the invoice, takes the interest charged on loan, and then returns the rest to the business.
Pros and cons of short term loans
Below are the ups and downs of short term loans.
How much does a personal short term loan cost?
According to federal and state regulations, the maximum interest short term lenders are allowed to charge for their loans is 0.8% every day. This is about $0.80 daily interest on a loan of $100. Because of this cap on the interest rate, the amount you repay will never exceed the loan amount. With this logic, it means that you will never come across a lender charging more than $100 for a $100 loan. Though some lenders charge lateness fees, federal and state governments have caps imposed on these as well. These limits are considered when calculating the cost of a loan. Even if you fall behind on your repayment, it still will never exceed your loan amount.
With that said, we should stress that the interest lenders charge is more of a percentage instead of a flat rate. The more you borrow, the more you will spend in interest as well.
So what is the APR on the short term loans? APR, annual percentage rate, is the percentage you repay a lender in the form of interest. APR is different from the interest rate since it provides a full picture of how much the loan will cost you.
The calculation of finding the APR is somewhat complicated because it takes into account several factors. However, it can be simplified to consider a few basic factors and have others as assumptions. For instance, APR calculations always assume that the lender will compound the interest rate. With the compound interest, you only pay interest on the outstanding loan, which includes the interest added to the previous balance.
Some lenders decide to charge the interest as simple interest. Here, you only pay interest on the loan amount and the month to month interest isn’t added to the balance.
APR calculations are calculated for a year because lenders assume you’ll borrow the amount for a year or even longer, but since short term loans don’t last a year-long, some experts advise against using APR to determine how much interest you’ll pay, unless, of course, you’ll make adjustments to reflect the exact loan term.
Given the risks short term loan lenders take on, including giving bad credit loans and unsecured loans, the APR is usually through the roof. Because of this, you cannot borrow a short term loan to pay it off for a longer period.
Before you apply for a short term loan, you should consider the affordability of the loan. Other charges on short term loans include;
- Processing fee – the lender charges you for processing the application fast to cater to your emergency
- Extension fee – if you know you will miss your payments, you should talk to the lender to reschedule your repayments. Some lenders do without a problem, while some will include an extension fee.
- Broker fee – you will incur this cost if you apply for a short term loan with a broker instead of a direct lender. Brokers charge a commission as well as a brokerage fee.
Where can you get short term personal loans?
Payday lenders are the most common lenders of short term loans. Their short term loans often last less than a year, with some lasting for two weeks. Though they can always extend the loan term if you are having problems paying, most borrowers prefer not to because of the costs that follow.
Aside from payday lenders, there are other places you can get short term loans. These include;
A bank or a local credit union – you can always visit a traditional financial company to see if they have short term personal loan programs you can take advantage of. And while you are at it, you should also enquire about the terms as well. Bear in mind that with mainstream lending institutions like banks, you’ll need to have a good credit score.
Online personal lenders – the internet is flooded with lenders offering short term loans. You can always find one that fits the bill for you in terms of loan cost and loan term.
Who you go to for the loan matters a lot because it will determine if your credit score can grow if you repay faithfully, how much the loan costs you, and the general experience you get.
How do lenders decide if you are good for the short term loan?
Short term loan lenders are required to be responsible lenders. This means that in as much as they are lenient, they should at least ensure the borrower, either an individual or a business, can afford the loan. Below are some ways lenders determine if they should accept or reject a loan application:
Personal debt ratio
Many Americans have a lot of debt, so you shouldn’t feel bad about having debt. However, it matters how much debt you have and how much credit you have. Lenders will divide the debt by the credit you have available to determine your creditworthiness.
If you want to take debt for a business, the lender will look into how much debt the business currently has. If your debt is similar to what other businesses in the industry have, you are in the clear. But if it’s heavy, in comparison to the size of the business, then lenders may start to second guess your application.
Business revenue trends
Where the business is going is important. While one cannot predict the future, lenders will evaluate your revenue growth and see how it compares to the industry average. If it’s at the center or upper-tier, your business qualifies for a short term loan. A lender will feel confident you will repay.
Personal debt coverage
It’s only right that a lender will want to know how you spend your money. Some lenders will request for your debt coverage to determine if you will manage to make repayments even if your business started struggling.
Business debt coverage
There is no problem if the business has some debt; it’s normal. However, a lender will want to know if you can handle the outstanding debt plus the new one. They will evaluate the business’ cash flow as well as the debt repayments while considering affordability.
What documents do I need to apply for a short term loan?
The documents are all needed to ensure you are a US citizen and that your income is what you say it is. In this light, if you are applying for a personal short term loan, you should provide;
- An identity card
- A payment stub or details of your employer
- Your social security number
- Bank account details
What is the minimum eligibility criteria?
A short term loan is accessible by many people, but even it has some restrictions. Some of these include;
- You need to be over 18 years or 19 years depending on the state you are in
- You should have regular income; usually not less than $800 because lenders aren’t allowed to make you repay more than 25% of your income every month
- You should be a US citizen
- You should live in a state that the lender offers its services to
- You shouldn’t have an outstanding loan
Short term loans are great, but before you get one, you should always do your due diligence. You should never settle for a lender that is not licensed by relevant authorities in the US. You should always shop for an APR you can afford. Though short term loan costs are high, you can always find one that is low enough for your needs.
You should also choose a company that has good customer support. This way, even if you run into repayment trouble, you can call and have the issue sorted out before the deadline passes.
Can I use a short term loan for debt consolidation?
In theory, yes, you can, but we do not recommend it. Before you perform debt consolidation, you ought to have done your math and found that having a single loan from the new lender will help you save on cash in the long run, but with short term loans, the APR is high, which means the costs are through the roof. Therefore, it doesn’t make sense to give up a couple of small loans and their respective interests for a single loan with higher APRs.
Can a short term personal loan affect your credit score?
Yes, it can, but it doesn’t always happen since not every lender runs a hard credit check. Some are content with soft credit checks. The latter factor in your income, expenditure, and if you have outstanding loans. For a lender to affect your credit score (positively or negatively), they have to report your repayment behavior to the top three financial institutions. Bottom line; it all depends on the lender and the kind of credit check they conduct.
Can I negotiate the terms of the loan?
Again, this all depends on the lender you are working with. Family-run lending businesses tend to be more open to negotiations because they need the money. However, established companies rarely want to hear it. Also, if you walk into a store location, you have better chances of negotiating loan rates than if you applied online.
Can I take multiple short term loans?
There is no direct answer to this, especially if you are looking for a short term business loan. The decision will be made based on whether you can afford the loan or not. However, if you take a personal short term loan from a payday lender, you cannot get another loan if you have an outstanding loan. And even if you could, it wouldn’t be wise because of the loan costs involved.
Is there a fixed APR?
No, different lenders have different terms. These include the APR and the loan term. One company may charge you 150% APR while another may charge you 135% for the same loan amount and under the same conditions. The difference comes in the lender’s business model. It’s all just like shopping.
How long will it take before I have the money in my account?
Short term loans are designed to be fast. As such, if you have the necessary documentation ready, you can have the loan within a business day. You will get a verdict on whether you qualify for the loan or not after fifteen minutes of submitting your application.
What happens if I cannot repay the loan?
Many things could happen. If you are a few days late, you’ll incur a lateness fee and then continue paying loan installments as nothing happened, but if you default on the loan, the lender will withdraw the outstanding amount from your bank account, this might leave you with overdraft fees. Some lenders are lenient and only deduct money only if you have enough to get you through the month.
Will I be penalized for early repayment?
It depends on the lender. Some lenders want you to live out the entire loan term so that they can reap the maximum interest from your loan. So if you prepay, they charge a fee to recover part of the lost income. Luckily, some lenders encourage early repayment even if it means missing out on the full interest in the end. Such lenders are all about solving emergencies and nothing about taking advantage of your situation to milk you for what you are worth.