3 Personal Loan Myths You Shouldn't Fall For

by Maurie Backman | Updated July 21, 2021 - First published on Oct. 22, 2020

Many or all of the products here are from our partners that compensate us. It’s how we make money. But our editorial integrity ensures our experts’ opinions aren’t influenced by compensation. Terms may apply to offers listed on this page.
A man checking the engine of his car while making a phone call with an empty field and hills in the background.

Image source: Getty Images

Interested in a personal loan? Be sure to get your facts straight first.

Maybe you have a home repair you can't cover. Maybe your car needs work. No matter the reason, it pays to consider a personal loan when you need cash. With a personal loan, you'll generally snag a lower interest rate than you'll find with a credit card. A personal loan will also usually have less of a negative impact on your credit score (assuming you pay it off on schedule).

Still, there's a lot of misinformation out there about personal loans. Here are three myths you shouldn't believe.

1. A personal loan won't work in an emergency

When emergency situations arise, you need money in a pinch. You might assume a personal loan is out of the question. You might imagine it takes weeks to close on that type of loan. Not so: In some cases, you may get your personal loan funds within a few days of applying. It's definitely an option in an emergency. Granted, a personal loan will never be as fast as swiping a credit card on the spot -- but these loans can move very quickly.

2. You need a good reason to get a personal loan

When you apply for a mortgage, you must use your loan proceeds to buy a home. When you apply for an auto loan, that money can only go toward the purchase of a vehicle. But with a personal loan, you can borrow money for any purpose -- frankly, there doesn't have to be a good reason for it. If you want to borrow $3,000 to go shopping and your credit score renders you eligible for a personal loan, then you have every right to do so (though that's certainly not recommended).

3. You can't get a personal loan if your credit is poor

When you apply for a home equity loan, the property you own is used as collateral to secure the loan. Your lender could force your home into foreclosure if you fall behind on payments. With a personal loan, there's no specific asset securing your loan. Your lender will likely reference your credit score to determine whether to approve you or not. And the higher your score, the more likely you are to get a personal loan.

But that doesn't mean you're completely out of luck if your credit score needs work. In fact, there are specialized personal loans for poor credit available. Of course, the lower your credit, the higher you can expect your personal loan interest rate to be -- but it'll still likely be less than what a credit card will charge you.

Get the facts on personal loans

Many people shy away from personal loans because they're not familiar with how they work. If you need money, look into a personal loan. And even if you don't need money, it doesn't hurt to read up on them. That way, if you're ever in a pinch, you'll be better equipped to make a smart borrowing decision.

Our picks for the best personal loans

Our team of independent experts pored over the fine print to find the select personal loans that offer competitive rates and low fees. Get started by reviewing our picks for the best personal loans.

Our Research Expert