Installment Loans vs. Revolving Credit

Installment loans and revolving credit are both types of credit that can get you funds to cover expenses. With installment credit, you can borrow a set amount of money upfront and repay it over a certain time period. Revolving credit, however, is when you borrow as much or as little as you’d like up to a set credit limit. Let’s dive deeper into the differences between installment loans and revolving credit.

What is an installment loan?

If you take out an installment loan, you’ll receive a lump sum of money at once. You can pay back the funds over an agreed upon term via a fixed number of payments or installments. Since you have to decide exactly how much you want to borrow, installment credit can make it easier for you to budget and avoid overspending.

Types of installment credit

There are several types of installment credit, including:

  • Mortgages: A mortgage can help you buy a house and pay it back over a term that’s usually around 15 or 30 years.
  • Car loans: You’ll likely need to repay your car loan in monthly installments over a period of 12 to 96 months, depending on your lender’s terms.
  • Personal loans: You can use a personal loan to cover an emergency expense, consolidate debt, or anything else you’d like. Personal loan terms are typically between 12 and 96 months.

What is revolving credit?

Revolving credit has a set credit limit or maximum amount that you can spend. Once you spend the amount of money you’d like, you may pay off your balance in full at the end of each billing cycle. If you don’t, your balance will carry over to the next cycle and “revolve” the balance.

Types of revolving credit

Some examples of revolving credit include:

  • Credit cards: With a credit card, you can borrow money to cover any online or in-person purchase, as long as you don't exceed your credit limit. If you don’t pay your balance in full by its due date, you’ll have to pay interest and may face late fees.
  • Personal lines of credit: A personal line of credit can allow you to borrow money any time you’d like up to your set credit limit. You’ll only pay interest on the amount you borrow.
  • Home equity lines of credit: If you have equity in your home (the difference between what you owe on your mortgage and what your home is currently worth), a home equity line of credit (HELOC) may be an option. Most lenders will allow you to borrow up to 85% of your available equity.

What are some differences between installment loans and revolving credit?

Installment loans offer a lump sum of money upfront, while revolving credit allows you to borrow as much or as little money as you’d like. To repay an installment loan, you follow a fixed payment plan. Revolving credit, however, is more flexible as there is no set payment plan. You can repay the money you borrow right away or wait to pay it back.

Which Type of Credit Will Impact My Credit Score More?

Both installment loans and revolving credit can affect your credit score, but revolving credit can have a bigger positive or negative impact depending on how you pay off your balance. If you only borrow a small percentage of your credit limit and pay the bill in full each month, this can improve your credit score. But if you spend the maximum and don’t make payments on time, your score will go down.

The amount of revolving credit you borrow and your payment history plays an important role in your credit score. Installment credit can affect your credit score as well, but it won’t have as much of an impact.

Advance America offers installment loans and lines of credit

Advance America offers installment loans and lines of credit to help you cover your expenses. You can apply online from the comfort of your own home and get approved quickly. Best of all, you don’t need good credit and may receive the funds in your bank account within 24 hours.

The Advance America advantage

Since 1997, Advance America has helped millions of hardworking people with a variety of financial solutions including Payday Loans, Online Loans, Installment Loans, Title Loans and Personal Lines of Credit.
157+ million
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