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Published 17 October 2022

What is Security on a Loan?

Providing security for a loan means you put forward an asset, such as your home, as collateral against the loan that you need. As lenders feel they are taking on less risk with loan security in place, secured loans often have lower interest rates than loans with no security attached.

When you provide security for a loan, you put forward an asset to the lender that might mean you find it easier and less expensive to borrow than if you don’t offer this collateral. The downside is the risk that you could lose the asset you use as security to the lender if you fail to keep with your repayments.

Read on to learn more about loan security, including what lenders might accept as security on a loan, and the other pros and cons of providing loan security.

What is meant by security on a loan?

In relation to loans, security is an asset that a borrower promises to a lender if a loan goes unpaid. Putting an asset forward as security in this way can often make it easier to get accepted for a loan. The interest rates on these secured loans are also usually lower than on loans taken out without providing security, which are known as unsecured loans.

This is because having security against a loan reassures lenders that there is less risk of them losing out financially if the loan isn’t paid back. Security on a loan is sometimes also referred to as collateral.

» MORE: What is a secured loan?

What can be used as loan security?

Your home, vehicle or another asset of value, such as jewellery, could all possibly be used as security against a loan.

Property is the asset that is most commonly used as loan security.

If you still have a mortgage and don’t own your home outright, you might be able to use the equity that you have in your property as security for a homeowner loan – these are sometimes referred to as second charge mortgages.

Alternatively, if you have no outstanding mortgage, you might be able to get a first charge mortgage – this is just another name for the standard mortgage you get when buying a home. Property also acts as security for a bridging loan.

Aside from property, some forms of car finance, such as hire purchase, allow you to use the vehicle that you’re buying as security against the loan you take. While usually an expensive way to borrow it might also be possible to use your car to secure a logbook loan.

Alternatively, if you visit a pawnbroker, you may be able to put forward items of value, such as jewellery or an antique, as security against a loan. Again, however, this can be a relatively expensive form of borrowing.

What about security for business loans?

For businesses that need to borrow, there is usually a much wider range of assets that lenders will accept as security for a loan.

These tend to include so-called hard or tangible assets owned by the business, such as property, machinery, equipment, vehicles, stock or money owed to the business. And they might also include what are known as soft or intangible assets, such as licences, trademarks, patents, copyrights and intellectual property.

If you’re a business owner, lenders might also be willing to consider your own personal assets, such as your home or car, as part of security for a business loan.

Advantages of providing security on a loan

There are a number of potential benefits of providing security for a loan, including:

Potential drawbacks of having security for a loan

On the other hand, there are some potential downsides to putting up security on a loan, including:

» MORE: The differences between secured and unsecured loans

What if you don’t have security for a loan?

If you need to borrow, but can’t or don’t want to provide security in order to get a loan, you might want to consider an unsecured loan.

These loans don’t require collateral, so your home or any other asset you might put forward with a secured loan won’t be directly at risk if you fail to keep up with your repayments. Whether you’re eligible for an unsecured loan largely depends on your credit score and financial situation. Keep in mind that interest rates on loans that are unsecured tend to be higher to reflect the greater risk being taken on by lenders.

Guarantor loans

If you can’t or don’t want to use an asset as security for a loan, and are struggling to get an unsecured loan, you could consider a guarantor loan as an alternative.

With this type of loan, you’ll need a family member or friend to act as a guarantor and be willing to step in and pay back your loan if you don’t.

WARNING: Think carefully before securing other debts against your home. Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on a loan or any other debt secured on it.

Image source: Getty Images

About the Author

Tim Leonard

Tim is a writer and spokesperson at NerdWallet who has over 20 years’ experience writing about almost all aspects of personal finance. During his career at Moneyfacts, Virgin Money and…

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