What is a loan?
A loan is by definition a money loan. The money can be lent to you by a private individual or a professional financial service provider. If you borrow money from the bank, it is usually either a construction loan or a classic installment loan or installment loan. As a borrower (other name: debtor), you repay the borrowed amount to the bank as lender (creditor) month after month over a previously agreed period. This repayment is called repayment.
However, you not only repay the borrowed amount, but pay plus loan interest. Interest is the “loan fee” for capital and ultimately the basis on which banks operate. There are various loans with varying terms and interest rates. You can get an overview of the current interest rates on the market via our mortgage comparison or our installment loan comparison.
Good to know: loan or credit – what’s the difference?
The terms credit and loan are mostly used interchangeably in everyday life, although the German Civil Code (BGB) uses credit as a generic term for all bonds, including non-monetary ones (§ 488 I BGB). A loan, on the other hand, by definition only describes the loaning of money.
What types of loans are there?
The term loan brings together numerous different loans for every project and every life and financial situation. There are loans for certain sections of the population, such as pensioners and the self-employed, and loans for certain financing projects. There are also differences in how quickly a particular loan is available and whether you need a positive Credit Bureau entry for it or not. We have summarized the most important loan types for you in a quick overview.
Overview of common loan types:
- Installment loan: The installment loan is the name for the classic form of consumer loan. It is often used to finance furniture, consumer electronics or vacation trips. You will repay the loan amount received monthly over an agreed period plus interest.
- Car Loan: The most common form of installment loan is car loan. They are used to purchase a new or used vehicle (car, motorcycle, camper), which in turn counts as security. As a result, interest rates are somewhat lower. This cheap loan may not be used for anything else.
- Immediate loan: Only direct banks issue an instant loan. After the online application, the money is available within 1-2 bank working days.
- Small loan: A small loan includes lower loan amounts of $ 1,000 to $ 5,000.
- Personal loan / P2P loans: A personal loan can be given Credit Bureau-free by a private person or by a credit intermediary.
- Overdraft facility: An overdraft facility is an optional part of the checking account and is effective if the account is overdrawn with high interest rates.
- Framework credit: A framework credit is a mixture of overdraft facility and installment loan. It provides a certain amount of disposal, but at a lower price than the overdraft interest.
- Student loan: Like a senior loan, a student loan is a loan for certain groups of the population who find it more difficult to obtain a normal installment loan.
- 3-way financing: With 3-way financing, you pay a certain amount, for example for a car, which is followed by a phase of payment in installments and at the end of the payment of a final installment.
- Civil servant loan: A civil servant loan is reserved for civil servants, professional soldiers or civil servants who benefit from low interest rates.
- 0 percent financing: More and more retailers are offering their 0 percent financing to their customers who want to finance a product. The motto is: buy now, pay later. The contractual partner of such financing is the retailer’s partner bank. For a limited period, you will pay no or very low interest on such a loan.
- Annuity loan: This is a classic building loan, i.e. a loan for the construction, purchase or modernization of a property. As a rule, you do not pay such a loan back in full like an installment loan within the term of the contract;
- Forward loan: With a forward loan you can secure the currently low building interest up to 60 months in advance. This is worth it if you want to finally follow up on your real estate loan.
Which loan is right for my project?
Which loan is right for you depends largely on what you need the money for. There are basically two types of loans:
- the free installment loan and
- the earmarked loan.
With a free installment loan, the loan amount is at your free disposal. Whether you want to spend the money on a car, new furniture, a holiday trip or everything together is entirely up to you. You are in no way accountable to the bank.
In contrast, banks grant special-purpose loans that can only be used for a specific financing goal. Well-known examples of this are, for example, the car loan for the purchase of a used or new car as well as construction finance, i.e. the loan for real estate.
Why should I always state the purpose of the loan when possible?
Banks usually offer purpose-linked loans at significantly lower interest rates than free installment loans. There is a simple reason for this: the bank can use the product, the car or the house that you buy with their money as security.
There are many loans with earmarkings in the real estate sector, such as the home loan or the modernization loan. On the one hand, homeowners often need a loan because the new kitchen, bathroom or modernization measure is usually associated with high financial expenditure. On the other hand, real estate guarantees banks a very high level of security. Home-borrowers generally always have good credit ratings, which banks reward with good interest rates.
If you take out a loan, you benefit from good conditions if you are specifically looking for loans for your project.
Which loan is suitable for which project?
The following table gives you an overview of the most common types of loan with and without earmarking and for which financing goal they are suitable.
Loans by purpose
||Acquisition of a new or used vehicle (motorcycle, car, camper)
||Private and business people
||Refurbishment, repair or remodeling of a property that maintain or increase the house value (e.g. energy renovation, new heating system, new roof, window …)
||Settling a loan (e.g. overdraft facility) with the help of a new, cheaper loan
||Private and business people
||new furnishings or modernization of residential property (usually freely available in the living context)
|Loan for a property
||Construction, purchase or modernization of one’s own property; in contrast to modernization and housing loans also for six-figure sums
|Free installment loan
||no earmarking, free availability
||Private and business people
Our advice: You can always get a dedicated loan on better terms than a free installment loan. With a free installment loan, you can make several purchases from different areas – for the new kitchen, for example, a few electrical appliances and a nice dinner service. If in doubt, there is no point in choosing a cheap, purpose-built loan if you then have to finance the rest of the purchases with an expensive overdraft facility!
How do I find a cheap loan?
The lower the interest rate, the cheaper the loan. The amount of interest depends on several factors:
- the interest rate market
- the selected loan amount
- the amount of the installment and the agreed term.
You can influence the amount of the loan as well as the installment amount and length of the term. Basically, the shorter the term, the lower the interest rate. Because with each month that it takes you longer to repay the capital, the risk increases that the bank could become insolvent as a borrower. For example through illness or unemployment.
Conversely, this means that the longer the term, the higher the interest rate, but the lower the monthly installments. So the question you have to ask yourself is: How much money can I pay back each month without overpaying financially?
Below we explain how to calculate your loan so that it fits your budget and project and where you can then find the best offer for your loan.
The Loan Calculator: How Much Loan Can I Afford?
With our loan calculator you can go through various loan variants. See at a glance how the conditions change when you change individual components of the credit request. To do this, the loan calculator offers you the option of adjusting the parameters that matter, using sliders. This is how you get a loan that fits your budget and your project.
The parameters are:
- Loan amount
- Term and
- Installment amount.
In addition, the loan calculator shows you how much the loan will cost you in total, i.e. including interest and loan costs.
Loan comparison: where can I find a cheap loan?
If you would prefer to see several providers and their conditions in a direct comparison, we recommend our installment loan comparison.
Enter the desired loan amount, the term and, if desired, the purpose of the loan in the search mask. The comparison already lists the current offers of several direct and branch banks for you. The offer with the cheapest loan interest is at the top. With one click, we will redirect you to a form with which you can obtain a first non-binding offer from the respective bank without bureaucratic effort. If you decide on the loan, the further processing takes place between you and the bank.
Tip: Beware of terminology! Banks use the term of the loan to denote the period in which a loan has to be repaid. However, the same interest does not always apply over the entire term. Therefore, check in each individual case whether it is a loan with a loan term that corresponds to the fixed interest period and the interest is therefore fixed over the entire period.
FAQ: Important questions about the loan
How can I withdraw a loan?
You can withdraw a loan up to 14 days after conclusion of the contract according to the applicable consumer protection law. The revocation can be made without justification, even if in writing. We recommend the registered mail.
However, all loans that are not considered consumer loans are exempt from the revocation. These are
- Small loans up to $ 200 or those with a max. 3 months term (e.g. some dealer credit)
- Employer loans as a benefit within the employment contract
- Pawn loans
- some cheap promotional loans from housing and training
How long should I choose the term of my loan?
Your loan has the right term when you can afford the monthly installments. To find out how much you can handle the monthly charge, we advise you to keep a budget book first. Compare your income with all expenses from rent to monthly tickets to the library’s annual accounts. The amount that remains is the maximum of your monthly installments.
Does every loan affect my Credit Bureau score?
No. Only your payment history has an impact on the Credit Bureau score. If you pay your credit installments on time every month and your payment behavior is not negative for companies to which you owe money, the information does not change. It only worsens if you pay negligently or not at all. Credit Bureau itself advises the following behavior: Pay bills on time and pay reminders immediately, do not exceed credit lines, always repay debts in full. However, you should also be careful not to make several loan requests at the same time or in quick succession.
Can I get a loan despite bad Credit Bureau?
You cannot avoid a credit check when granting credit. If this turns out negative, you have bad cards at the bank. In such a case, you can switch to a personal loan or P2P loan. Such Credit Bureau-free loans are provided by credit brokerage portals, which are, however, expensive to pay for the high risk of default. Credit Bureau itself warns of such intermediaries.