This is a glossary of terms for your financial journey.  If you can't find what you're looking for, Ask An Expert!

A personal loan is an unsecured credit product that typically requires no collateral.  Personal loans often are structured as installment loans with fixed monthly payments and a defined term.

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Online loans are personal loans that are offered through a website or another internet-based portal.  Underwriting criteria, loan terms, interest rates and loan structure are similar to traditional branch-based or bank loans, but the application can be filled out online.  Numerous new companies have established platforms using only online acquisition channels, while many traditional brick-and-mortar lenders are also setting up online storefronts.  The benefits to the consumer of online loans are significant, as it lowers the need for slow paper-based processing and simplifies the application process.

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The term, consumer loans, generally refers to any unsecured or secured loan made to an individual.  Consumer loans can be secured by real estate collateral (mortgage loans) or automobiles (auto loans), and can also be unsecured similar to a personal loan.  

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APR can be thought of as the total cost of credit, on an annual basis.  APR includes the interest rate, as well as the total finance charges including origination fees or any other fees.  It is always expressed as a yearly rate.

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Principal refers to the amount borrowed, not including interest.

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Term refers to the time limit by which the loan must be repaid in full.  For example, a 5-year loan term means that the entire loan not yet repaid is due in full at the end of 5 years.

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A fixed rate is a type of interest rate structure where the rate does not change over the life of the loan.

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