Can you get one? And should you?
Personal Loan After Bankruptcy
by Gary Foreman
New Wheels After Bankruptcy
Getting Back on Track Financially Post Bankruptcy
I filed bankruptcy about a year ago. I understand that a secured credit card would help to re-establish my credit. What I want to know though is that even if I've filed bankruptcy, is it possible for me to obtain a personal loan? If so, do you know of any establishments that would offer loans to someone who has filed bankruptcy?
With current bankruptcy rates, Vi has company. And, in a society where the availability of consumer debt is assumed, she's got a real problem.
Before we get into specifics, let's learn a little about credit and debt. The first known use of credit was about 3,000 years ago in Assyria, Babylon and Egypt.
It appears that debt came to American with the Pilgrims. They consolidated their debts in London and made four installment payments.
Store credit was common all the way back in colonial times and has been popular throughout our nation's history. Many items, including sewing machines and vacuum cleaners, were introduced into our homes on the installment plan.
The first credit card came out in 1951 and was only good at 27 New York restaurants. Once the magnetic strip was introduced in the early 1970s, the use of credit cards skyrocketed.
But, having all the credit available has a dark side. Some people take on too much debt and have trouble repaying their loans. Thus the need for bankruptcy protection.
We've come a long ways from the debtor's prisons that existed until the early-1800s. Yet, even today, you can land in jail for committing debts of fraud and child support.
With a few exceptions (student loans, child support and alimony), bankruptcy wipes out all debts. That's the good news.
But, as Vi's found out, the bad news is that a bankruptcy is the worst thing that you can have on your credit report. Depending on the circumstances, it can remain there for up to 10 years.
So where does that leave Vi? She's looking for a personal loan. Hyperdictionary.com defines a personal loan as "a loan that establishes consumer credit that is granted for personal use; usually unsecured and based on the borrower's integrity and ability to pay."
So the lender doesn't have anything to repossess, just Vi's promise that she'll repay the loan. By declaring bankruptcy before, she's already demonstrated that she's willing to walk away from her debts.
Can Vi find someone who will give her a personal loan? Yes, possibly she can. But unless she borrows from a friend or relative, she can expect to pay much higher rates than someone with an average credit report.
Where would Vi find a loan? She might want to try online using a search for "personal with bad credit." Or look for a business that offers "signature loans" locally.
But a better question for Vi to ask is should she take the loan if she can find it. And the answer in almost all situations is no. First, she'll be paying high interest rates on the money she borrows. That means that she can't afford to borrow except for a very short period of time.
Second, it makes it harder to repair her credit rating. As she pointed out, she needs to get a secured card to begin the rebuilding process. A secured card will require her to save money first and then deposit it on account.
A personal loan with a high rate of interest will make it impossible for her to save the money needed to obtain a secured card. That means she's going backwards.
Vi didn't say why she wanted the personal loan. But unless it's absolutely vital, she'll be better off avoiding a personal loan at this time. That probably means not buying something that she really wants or may even feel that she needs. And, that's hard. But given her circumstances, borrowing money today could make the future just that much harder. Which is probably something that Vi really doesn't need.
Gary Foreman is a former financial planner and purchasing manager who founded The Dollar Stretcher.com website and newsletters in 1996. He's been featured in MSN Money, Yahoo Finance, Fox Business, The Nightly Business Report, US News Money and CreditCards.com. Gary shares his philosophy of money here. You can follow Gary on Twitter or visit Gary Foreman on Google+. Gary is also available for audio, video or print interviews. For more info see his media page.
Take the Next Step:
- Learn the right steps to get your finances back on track post bankruptcy.
- Begin improving your credit score with these guidelines.
- Stop struggling to get ahead financially. Subscribe to our free weekly Surviving Tough Times newsletter aimed at helping you 'live better...for less'. Each issue features great ways to help you stretch your dollars and make the most of your resources. Subscribers get a copy of Are You Heading for Debt Trouble? A Simple Checklist And What You Can Do About It for FREE!
I often wonder if I should be seeking professional help to get my debt under control! Tell us: Yes, I'd like to find out if I am a good candidate for credit counseling or No, I don't think I need couseling but I would like to find out how I can pay off my credit cards more quickly.
More Debt Tips & Tools
- 6 smart strategies for paying off your credit cards
- 5 great second jobs to bring in extra cash
- Pay down debt now or save: Here's how to choose
- Can I get a debt consolidation loan with bad credit?
- I stopped going to college but they want me to keep paying my student loan
- Cutting the burn during tough times
- Digging your way out of a financial hole
- This week's Readers' Tips
- Reduce your debt with this free debt course by The Dollar Stretcher
- Am I a good candidate for credit counseling?
- Do I have a debt problem?
- Reduce your debt payoff time
- Calculate the real cost of your debt
- Reduce credit card debt calculator
- Debt pay-down calculator
- Calculate the true cost of paying just the minimum