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A person reviewing an installment loan online.

Installment Loan Mistakes to Watch Out For

If you need a quick, flexible way to get an infusion of cash, installment loans are a popular option with many benefits. But while they can be effective financial tools, choosing your provider carefully and using the money responsibly is important. Here are some mistakes to watch out for to help you find the installment loan that’s right for you.

Not Knowing Who You’re Working With

It might seem like it goes without saying, but choosing the right online installment loan is the first step to having a positive borrowing experience. So, how do you know which installment loan is right for you? Finding a reputable lender, and avoiding the not-so-reputable ones, might be easier said than done, but it’s nothing you can’t handle.

It may be tempting to go with the first offer you see, but you need to ensure you’re working with a trustworthy provider. Avoid any lenders that don’t give you the information you need to make an informed decision or ask for cash upfront. Do your homework regarding finding a good lender near you and shop around before you make any financial commitment.

Not Understanding the Terms

Once you’ve settled on a lender that checks the right boxes for convenience and the overall cost of the loan, you need to thoroughly review all the details of your loan agreement. Find out what factors might come into play, like your credit score or your monthly income. 

You won’t encounter any last-minute surprises during the approval process. Once you know what you need and have all the required documents gathered, sit down with a lending representative to clarify any unanswered questions. Installment loans can be very helpful financial tools but are also a responsibility. So, review the document carefully before signing your loan agreement.

A loan agreement on a laptop.

Top loan amounts and terms will vary from state to state and sometimes from one municipality to the next. With that said, there are situations where you could qualify for a loan amount beyond your needs. While the idea of having some extra pocket money to spend may sound appealing, taking out a loan for more than you need could weigh you down with unnecessary debt. 

Consider your income, expenses, and what you want to do with that money to determine how much you can afford to borrow. Borrowing more than you can repay might cost you more than you realize. Only agree to an amount you're comfortable with to avoid falling behind and missing payments.

Missing Payments

If responsible borrowing is the theme of today’s lesson in financial literacy, then following through on your financial obligations should be the point you take away from it. Depending on who your lender is, making late or missing payments entirely could incur penalties, late fees, and higher interest. Furthermore, it could damage your credit score. This is another good reason to carefully consider how much you can afford to borrow and who you should enter into this financial agreement with.

Making your payments fully and on time is a cornerstone of your financial health and part of being a responsible adult. It shows that you’re ready to take on greater financial agreements in the future. Defaulting on a loan of any sort can quickly cause financial hardship.
Going into this type of decision with both eyes open and a solid repayment plan in mind will save you many headaches and have confidence that you can make your regular payments. Some lenders may even provide convenient payment options like online bill pay to help you stay on top of your installment loan.

A loan agreement on paper.

Take the Next Step

So what are you waiting for? If you’ve thought about how installment loans could help you reach your personal financial goals, it's time to begin your search for a provider. The web can be a great resource for the financial education and tools you’re looking for. Shop around, borrow responsibly, and pay in full and on time. 

Doing your homework is the first step to completing the test, so don’t be afraid to look around the available options. Put in the time to make an informed and empowered decision today. Your bank account will thank you for it.

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