Personal Loan Calculator | The Ascent by The Motley Fool – The Motley Fool

If you’re on a Galaxy Fold, consider unfolding your phone or viewing it in full screen to best optimize your experience.
Credit Cards
Small Business
Our Loans Expert
Finding the right personal loan is all about comparing the rates and terms offered by different lenders, and a personal loan calculator can help you with that. Simply plugging a few details into a loan calculator allows you to see how much your monthly payment will be and the total amount you will pay in interest by the time you've paid the loan in full. Before you go shopping for a loan, though, let's quickly cover how personal loans work and any fees you can expect to pay.
A personal loan is a lump sum of money you borrow from a bank, credit union, online lender, or other lending institution. Before you commit to the loan, a lender runs a soft credit check to estimate how much you can afford and whether you are likely to repay the loan as promised. This soft check does not impact your credit score, and lenders make their determination based upon your credit history of paying things like:
Once a lender runs a soft credit check, it will give you an answer as to whether you are likely to qualify for a loan. If the answer is yes, it will also let you know how much your annual interest rate will be. Because loan shopping poses no risk to your credit score, it's a good idea to collect loan offers from at least three lenders, although there is no harm in checking with more.
It's only when you decide to go with a particular lender that it runs a hard credit check. A hard credit check dives a little deeper into your credit history and will ding your credit score a bit (usually no more than a few points). Fortunately, your credit score bounces back as you make regular monthly payments.
The great thing about a loan calculator is that it allows you to do the math and compare things like the annual percentage rate, total interest, and monthly loan payment side-by-side.
As mentioned, a personal loan is typically distributed in a lump sum. Along with the loan, you may be given an amortization schedule. You are expected to make monthly payments throughout the loan tenure until it is paid in full.
An unsecured personal loan is money borrowed on the strength of your credit score. A secured loan, meanwhile, requires that you put something of value up as collateral. The personal loan interest rate on a secured loan tends to be lower because the lender knows that if you miss payments, it can take possession of whatever you put up as collateral (like a car or house), sell it, and recoup their loss.
The benefit of secured personal loans is the lower interest rate, making loan repayment easier for you. The disadvantage is that the lender has the legal right to repossess whatever you put up as collateral if you miss payments.
Once you are approved for a personal loan, most lenders do not care how you spend the money. You may decide to use it to:
However, there are lenders that specialize in specific types of loans, and your loan proceeds must be used in a certain way. For example, some lenders offer a debt consolidation loan that can only be used to consolidate debt.
If you're ready to take out a personal loan, it's natural to wonder if your credit score is high enough. The truth is, there are personal loans available for a wide range of credit scores. Unless you have very bad credit, there's a good chance a lender somewhere will be willing to work with you. The rub is, personal loans for borrowers with poor credit usually carry a higher interest rate and loan fees.
As it stands, borrowers with the highest credit scores tend to land loans with low interest rates and low fees. No matter your credit score, here's a list of fees to watch out for.
When you submit your application, before you get a decision, you may be required to pay an application fee of $25 to $50. Lenders say they collect an application fee to cover the administrative cost of processing your application. That includes getting a copy of your credit report and reviewing the details of your request.
Not every lender charges an application fee, so be sure to look for one that does not. Again, the higher your credit score, the better your chance of being allowed to skip the application fee.
That's because lenders understand that they are competing for borrowers with solid credit, and they do not want to discourage you from applying.
A common loan expense — particularly among those with lower credit scores — is an origination fee. An origination fee can run from anywhere from 1% to 8% of the amount borrowed.
Let's say you take out a $10,000 loan with an origination fee of 4%. That means the fee will be $400. Typically, origination fees are deducted from loan proceeds before those proceeds are deposited into your checking account. So instead of receiving the entire $10,000, you would receive $9,600. And even though you didn't receive the full $10,000, you're still expected to pay it off as though it was part of your proceeds.
Some lenders have chosen to nix the origination fee to lure borrowers with solid credit scores. No matter your credit score, shop around for a lender that does not charge this fee. After all, there is no reason to pay interest on money you never received.
Of all the fees charged by lenders, a prepayment penalty is probably the least common. If you do happen to get saddled with a prepayment penalty, it means that you are required to pay a fee if you pay a loan off faster than was scheduled. In other words, if you pay a five-year loan off in three years, the lender will require you to pay a prepayment penalty.
The rationale behind a prepayment penalty is that the lender counts on earning a particular amount of money from interest paid. When you pay a personal loan off early, the lender earns less interest. In an attempt to make up for that lost interest, it tacks on a prepayment penalty.
As mentioned, the prepayment penalty is one of the least common fees charged by lenders (and is sometimes referred to as an "exit fee"). It should be fairly easy for you to find a lender that does not penalize you for prepayment.
Most lenders will charge a returned check fee if you make a monthly payment and don't have enough in your bank account to cover the payment. The amount of the return check fee varies by lender but is typically between $25 and $50. The trouble is, an insufficient check fee is frequently deducted from your account before you even realize that your loan payment did not clear. If you tend to run your bank account low, the surprise deduction could lead to other payments being returned for insufficient funds. In addition, unless you carry overdraft protection, your bank could levy an overdraft fee.
One way to help avoid insufficient check fees is to sign up for autopay. Autopay allows the lender to deduct the loan amount from your bank account. Because it's deducted on the same day every month, it's easy to budget for, and you don't have to worry about forgetting to send a payment. In addition, you're likely to score a small discount on your interest rate when you sign up for automatic payment.
If your payment is late, a lender may charge a late payment fee. Depending on the lender, the fee may be flat — typically between $20 and $50, or based on a percentage of your loan amount. Percentage-based fees vary by lender but are usually 4% to 5% of the missed payment amount. Let's say your monthly loan payment is $400 and a lender charges a late fee of 4%. That means you'll own an extra $16.
Again, signing up for autopay and making sure there's enough in your account to cover the loan amount on the same day each month will ensure that you avoid late payments.
Once you've loan shopped and have loan offers to compare, sit down with your favorite beverage and use the loan calculator to help you figure out which loan is the best fit for you and your unique financial situation.
The answer to this question depends on two factors: The interest rate and the loan term (how long you have to repay the loan). For example, a $5,000 loan with an interest rate of 6.99% for 36 months would cost $154.00 per month. If you take the same loan out for 60 months, the monthly payment would be $98, but you would pay more interest over the life of the loan. Let's say you borrow $5,000 at 9.99% instead. A 36-month loan would cost $160 per month, and a 60-month loan would require a monthly payment of $105.
The fastest, easiest way to calculate a monthly payment on a loan is to plug the numbers into a loan calculator. Begin by typing in how much you're borrowing, add how long you're taking the loan out for, and then add the interest rate you're being charged. The calculator does all the heavy lifting and allows you to quickly compare different interest rates and loan terms.
As long as you have enough money to meet your everyday expenses and have funds put away in an emergency savings account, paying a loan off early is a good idea. The longer it takes you to repay a loan, the more you'll pay in interest.
Our Loans Expert
Dana George has a BA in Management and Organization Development from Spring Arbor University. For more than 25 years, she has written and reported on business and finance, and she's still passionate about her work. Dana and her husband recently moved to Champaign, Illinois, home of the Fighting Illini. And though she finds the color orange unflattering on most people, she thinks they'll enjoy Champaign tremendously.
We’re firm believers in the Golden Rule, which is why editorial opinions are ours alone and have not been previously reviewed, approved, or endorsed by included advertisers. The Ascent does not cover all offers on the market. Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team. The Motley Fool has a Disclosure Policy. The Author and/or The Motley Fool may have an interest in companies mentioned.
The Ascent is a Motley Fool service that rates and reviews essential products for your everyday money matters.
Copyright © 2018 – 2023 The Ascent. All rights reserved.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Translate »