Secured vs. Unsecured Loans: What You Need to Know

there is a money bag and locked suitcase illustration, secured and unsecured loan
Secured and Unsecured Loans Explained

When it comes to borrowing money, there are two main types of loans: secured and unsecured. Understanding the differences can help you make the right decision for your financial situation. In this article, we will explain what secured vs. unsecured loans are, the types of each, and the pros and cons of each type.

Secured Loans

Secured loans are loans that are backed by collateral. Collateral is an asset you own used as security against the loan. If you fail to repay the loan, the lender can seize the collateral to recoup their losses. The most common types of collateral are your home or car.

Types of Secured Loans

  • Mortgage Loans: A mortgage loan is a loan to purchase a property. The property itself is the collateral for the loan.
  • Car Loans: Car loans are secured by the vehicle you are purchasing. If you default on the loan, the lender can repossess the car.
  • Secured Personal Loans: A secured personal loan is a loan that is backed by collateral, such as your savings account or a CD.

Pros and Cons of Secured Loans


  • Secured loans usually come with lower interest rates than unsecured loans because there is less risk for the lender.
  • You can borrow more money with a secured loan than with an unsecured loan.
  • You may get approved for a secured loan even with bad credit.


  • Suppose you fail to make payments on a secured loan. In that case, the lender can repossess the collateral, which can be a significant financial loss.
  • Secured loans can take longer to get approved because the lender will need to assess the value of the collateral.
  • You may have limited options for collateral, which could limit the amount you can borrow.

Unsecured Loans

Unsecured loans are loans that are not backed by collateral. These loans are based solely on your creditworthiness, income, and ability to repay the loan. Since unsecured loans are riskier for lenders, they usually come with higher interest rates.

Types of Unsecured Loans

  • Personal Loans: Personal loans are unsecured loans that can be used for any purpose, such as debt consolidation or home improvement.
  • Student Loans: Student loans are unsecured loans used to pay college tuition and other educational expenses.
  • Credit Cards: Credit cards are unsecured loans that allow you to borrow money up to a specific credit limit.

Pros and Cons of Unsecured Loans


  • Unsecured loans do not require collateral, meaning you do not risk losing assets if you default.
  • Unsecured loans can be approved quickly, sometimes within hours or days.
  • You have more options for unsecured loans than secured ones, so you can shop for the best terms and interest rates.


  • Unsecured loans usually come with higher interest rates than secured loans because there is more risk for the lender.
  • You may need good credit to qualify for an unsecured loan.
  • The amount you can borrow with an unsecured loan is typically lower than a secured loan.

What is the Difference Between Secured and Unsecured Loans?

Secured Loans:

  • Require collateral
  • Have lower interest rates
  • It can be used for larger purchases
  • Are more difficult to obtain

Unsecured Loans:

  • Do not require collateral
  • Have higher interest rates
  • It can be approved more quickly
  • Are easier to obtain

If you’re interested in learning more about personal loans and how to get the best one for your needs, check out our article Best Personal Loan Factors to Evaluate. This comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know about finding and evaluating personal loan options, including interest rates, repayment terms, fees, and more.


Understanding the differences between secured and unsecured loans can help you make the right decision about borrowing money. Suppose you have collateral to offer and want to borrow a more significant sum. In that case, a secured loan may be the better option. However, if you don’t have collateral to offer and need money quickly, an unsecured loan may be the way to go.

When considering a loan, it’s essential to carefully assess your financial situation and choose the best option. Compare interest rates and terms from multiple lenders to ensure you’re getting the best deal. And always remember to borrow responsibly and only take out what you can afford to repay.

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers (FAQs)

What happens if I can’t make payments on a secured loan?

If you default on a secured loan, the lender can seize the collateral you put up for the loan. This could mean losing your home, car, or other assets. It’s essential to only take out a secured loan if you’re confident you can make the payments.

Can I get a secured loan if I have bad credit?

It’s possible to get a secured loan with bad credit, as the collateral can help offset the risk for the lender. However, you may need help getting approved or offered higher interest rates.

How much can I borrow with a secured loan?

The amount you can borrow with a secured loan depends on the collateral value you put up. Generally, you can borrow up to the value of the collateral.

What’s the difference between a secured loan and a mortgage?

A mortgage is a specific type of secured loan used to purchase a home. The home itself serves as collateral for the loan.

Are there any fees associated with taking out a secured or unsecured loan?

Yes, there may be fees associated with taking out a loan, such as application fees, origination fees, and late fees. Read the terms and conditions carefully before taking out a loan.

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