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What is an unsecured loan?

An unsecured loan – also called a personal loan – allows you to borrow a fixed amount, without needing an asset, such as your home, as collateral.

How does an unsecured loan work?

When you take out an unsecured loan, you borrow money from a lender, such as a bank.

You’ll agree to make regular monthly repayments over a set period of time – until the loan (plus any interest owed) is repaid in full. 

You can typically borrow between £1,000 and £25,000 on an unsecured loan but different lenders may have different limits. 

When you apply, your creditworthiness and other factors will be considered. For example, a lender will decide if they’re willing to lend to you, how much, and at what interest rate, based on things like:

It’s important to only borrow what you can afford to pay back, and make sure you can keep up with the repayments to avoid fees and charges. 

Types of unsecured lending

Examples of unsecured lending include:

A personal loan can be helpful if you need to borrow money to renovate your home, buy a car, pay for a wedding or consolidate debts, for example. 

A credit card or overdraft may be more suitable for short-term borrowing. 

What are the benefits of unsecured loans?

You don’t need an asset as collateral

Unsecured loans are approved without the use of property or other assets as collateral. This means the lender can’t take away any of your assets, such as your home, if you fail to repay what you owe. 

Quick access to funds

As a mortgage valuation isn’t required, applications for unsecured loans are completed faster than secured loans. So, you can make your plans a reality sooner.

You can expect to receive your loan money within 1 to 7 working days, depending on the bank and whether you have an account with them.


You can choose how long you want to take to repay the loan. This is usually between 1 and 8 years, depending on how much you borrow. Many lenders also give you the option to top up your loan.

Things to consider before taking out an unsecured loan

Interest rates tend to be higher

Unsecured loans are typically seen as higher risk for a lender, compared to secured loans. Because a lender only has your creditworthiness and your word as a guarantee that you’ll repay the debt, interest rates tend to be higher than on secured loans. 

It’s difficult to get an unsecured loan with poor credit

Your credit history is an important factor in a lender’s decision to accept an application. You’re more likely to get approved with a good credit score and more likely to get declined if you have a poor score. 

Explore: How to improve your credit score 

You’ll need to afford the loan repayments

Any late or missed repayments can result in fees and charges, as well as negatively impact your credit score and your ability to borrow money in the future. Before you apply, make sure you can afford the repayments for the full term of the loan. 

Use our personal loan calculator to look at how much your repayments could be and how that may impact your budget.

Explore: How to manage your loan repayments