Get to Know Types of Credit

All credit is not created equal. There are many forms of credit available, and getting familiar with credit types can help you become a better credit consumer.

  • Secured: With this kind of credit, the creditor guarantees that it will be paid back by putting a lien on an asset you own. The lien entitles the creditor to take the asset if you don’t live up to the terms of your credit agreement. Car loans, mortgages, and home equity loans are common types of secured credit.

  • Unsecured: When your credit is unsecured, you simply give your word to the creditor that you will repay what you borrow. Credit card, medical, and utilities bills are all examples of unsecured credit.

  • Revolving: If your credit is revolving, the creditor has approved you for a set amount —your credit limit — and you can access the credit whenever you want and as often as you want. In return, you must pay the creditor at least a minimum amount on your account’s outstanding balance each month. Credit cards and home equity lines of credit are examples of revolving credit.

  • Installment: With installment credit, you borrow a certain amount of money for a set period of time and you repay the money by making a series of fixed or installment payments. Examples of installment credit include mortgages, car loans, and student loans.

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