Long-Term Personal Loans: What to Know & Where to Find Them
Long-term personal loans can offer more flexibility with your monthly payment amount, but typically cost more than a short-term loan. With a longer term length, it’s also important to have a good credit score so you can get a lower rate.
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Personal loans are highly flexible loans that you can use for almost anything. With a loan like a mortgage or an auto loan, you need to have a specific reason for borrowing money. But personal loans can be used to cover emergency expenses, consolidate debts, or help start a project.
Usually, personal loans are relatively small, unsecured loans with a repayment period of a few years. But sometimes you need to borrow a large sum, which means you might need more time to pay off the debt. This is where long-term personal loans come into play.
Long-term personal loans make it easier to borrow large amounts while maintaining a reasonable monthly payment. This guide covers some of the best options for a long-term personal loan and how you can make the most of the loan that you choose.
In this review:
- What is a long-term personal loan?
- Where to find long-term loans online
- Where can I find a 15-year personal loan?
- Pros & cons of long-term loans
- How a long-term loan could affect your finances
- Who should (and shouldn’t) consider a long-term personal loan
What is a long-term personal loan?
A long-term personal loan is just like any typical personal loan. You can borrow money for almost any purpose, usually without paying a security deposit. The major difference is that long-term personal loans give you more time to pay back your debt than shorter-term loans.
With a standard personal loan, you usually have between two and five years to repay the loan. Long-term personal loans can have loan repayment terms of up to 15 years. This makes the monthly payment more manageable but stretches interest costs over a longer period of time.
Effectively, you get the short-term benefit of lower payments at the long-term expense of a high total cost for the loan.
Where to find long-term loans online
Physical banks are one of the most common sources for personal loans, but they’re not the only option. Many banks offer personal loans through their websites, and there are a variety of online loans as well.
In fact, some of the best personal loan lenders operate solely online, thanks to their lower overhead costs.
We analyzed dozens of personal loan lenders, categorized them by their target credit profile, and limited your options to those offering long-term loans.
As with any type of loan, having a good to excellent credit score gives you more options and likely a lower interest rate when you apply for a long-term personal loan. Typically, lenders consider credit scores of 700 or more to be good.
LightStream is an online lender that offers a huge variety of loan types, including long-term personal loans with high loan limits.
- Term lengths: 24 – 144 months**
- Loan amounts: $5,000 – $100,000
- APRs: 3.49% – 19.99%* with AutoPay
- Credit Range: Excellent, good
- Full review: LightStream Personal Loan Review
SoFi is an online lender that might be best known for its student loans. It has branched out to other types of loans and now offers personal loans alongside its other financial products.
- Term lengths: $5,000 – $100,000
- Loan amounts: 24 – 84 months
- APRs: 5.99% – 21.20%
- Credit Range: Good
- Full review: SoFi Personal Loan Review
Citizens Bank is a brick-and-mortar institution based in Providence, Rhode Island. It offers loans to customers throughout New England and a few other states.
- Term lengths: 36 – 84 months
- Loan amounts: $5,000 – $50,000
- APRs: 6.77% – 20.86%
- Credit Range: Good
- Full review: Citizens Bank Personal Loan Review
Marcus by Goldman Sachs is an online bank that offers both savings accounts and personal loans.
- Term lengths: 36 – 72 months
- Loan amounts: $3,500 – $40,000
- APRs: 6.99% – 19.99%
- Credit Range: Fair
- Full review: Marcus Personal Loan Review
>> Have a poor credit score? Check bad credit loan options here
Where can I find a 15-year personal loan?
Fifteen years is a very long repayment term for a personal loan. The most common loan with a term of that length is a mortgage, so lenders are usually hesitant to offer unsecured loans with such long repayment terms.
Out of all of the lenders that we reviewed, the only one offering 15-year personal loans is Navy Federal Credit Union. NFCU is a great lender if you’re eligible to borrow from them, but the eligibility requirements can be strict. Only members of the military and their families can join.
If you want to know more about NFCU and its loan options, check out our review of Navy Federal Credit Union’s personal loans.
Pros & cons of long-term loans
- Lower monthly payments are easier to handle
- Borrow larger amounts to cover larger purchases or expenses
- No collateral required
- Fixed interest rate and long terms make for predictable, stable payments
- Higher interest rates
- More time for interest to accrue
- Fewer loan options
How a long-term loan could affect your finances
Long-term personal loans are highly flexible, but they also have a long-term effect on your financial situation. If you take out a 15-year loan, that’s going to drag on your finances for a decade-and-a-half.
Consider this example. You have credit card debt at high interest rates and want to consolidate it into one loan. You decide to take out a $35,000 personal loan at 7.99% to consolidate all of your debts. This is what your repayment plan would look like for different loan lengths.
|Term||Monthly Payment||Interest Cost||Total Loan Cost|
The difference between each term is significant. Longer terms can shave hundreds of dollars off your monthly bill but cost far more over the life of the loan. The more time you leave interest to accrue on a loan, the costlier the loan gets.
This makes your credit history immensely important if you’re considering a long-term loan. The higher your credit score, the lower the interest rate on the loan, which reduces the impact that a longer term has. Consider the following example, assuming a $35,000 personal loan with a 15-year term.
|Interest Rate||Monthly Payment||Interest Cost||Total Loan Cost|
The bottom line: A loan with an interest rate just 2 percentage points higher can cost you thousands of dollars over the life of a long-term loan.
>> Read More: How do personal loans work?
Who should (and shouldn’t) consider a long-term personal loan
Long-term personal loans can be useful in some situations, but they’re not a cure-all for financial problems.
When to consider a long-term personal loan:
- You want to fund a major home improvement project that will add value to your home.
- You’re consolidating large amounts of credit card debt.
- You have a medical emergency and have no other way to handle the costs.
When a long-term personal loan is a bad idea:
- You’re trying to pay for a discretionary purchase, like a vacation.
- When you can easily handle a shorter repayment term.
*Your loan terms, including APR, may differ based on loan purpose, amount, term length, and your credit profile. Excellent credit is required to qualify for lowest rates. Rate is quoted with AutoPay discount. AutoPay discount is only available prior to loan funding. Rates without AutoPay are 0.50% points higher. Subject to credit approval. Conditions and limitations apply. Advertised rates and terms are subject to change without notice.
**Payment example: Monthly payments for a $10,000 loan at 5.95% APR with a term of three years would result in 36 monthly payments of $303.99.
Author: TJ Porter