The credit line (LOC) is a set credit limit that can be used at any time. The borrower can withdraw money as needed until the limit is reached, and when the money is repaid, it can be drawn again on an open credit line. Are line of credits good?
If you’re planning a house project or unexpected expenses for car maintenance, a credit line can be a way to address these or other large costs.
The credit line provides access to money on demand. This is usually offered by lenders such as banks or credit unions, and if you qualify, you can benefit from the maximum amount for a limited time.
You pay interest only when you borrow on a credit line. After repayment of the funds borrowed, this amount is again available for borrowing. The key here is flexibility: you can choose when to take the money, pay it back and repeat it, as long as you meet the conditions, including paying off the loan on time.
How does the credit line work?
Borrowers can apply for credit lines at a bank, credit union or other financial institution. After submitting the application and approval, the funds become available fairly quickly – usually until the next business day. For business lines, the lender assesses profitability and other business indicators that show the profitability of your business and its ability to pay back the amount borrowed.
The funds are revolving, just like a credit card, but you only have to pay off the balance of what you use. Remember that each time you use a credit line, the monthly payment amount varies depending on the balance and the length of the remaining period.
Unlike home equity lines of credit that are secured by equity in your home, personal credit lines are usually unsecured, which means that the lender will not require collateral to protect you in the event of default.
How to get a credit line
Personal LOCs often have lower interest rates than credit cards, which makes them a much better choice for borrowing. They also offer variable access to cash instead of a one-time loan for a single purpose. The credit line allows you to borrow in installments, pay it back and take out loans as long as the line remains open. You will usually have to pay interest on the borrowed balance when the line is open to a loan, which distinguishes it from a traditional loan that is repaid in fixed installments.
Credit lines restrictions
The main advantage of a credit line is that you can borrow just the amount you need and avoid paying back interest on a large loan. That said, borrowers must be aware of potential problems when taking a credit line.
- Unsecured LOCs have higher interest rates and credit requirements than those secured by collateral.
- Interest rates (APRC) for credit lines are almost always variable and vary considerably from one lender to another.
- Credit lines do not provide the same regulatory protection as credit cards. Penalties for late payment and exceeding the LOC limit may be severe.
- An open credit line may be conducive to excessive spending, which leads to inability to make payments.