Personal Loans
How Does LendingTree Get Paid?
LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

What Is a Secured Loan?

lt-leaf-logo Why use LendingTree?
We are committed to providing accurate content that helps you make informed money decisions. Our partners have not commissioned or endorsed this content. Read our

Editorial Guidelines

At LendingTree, we are committed to providing accurate and actionable content that helps you make informed decisions about your money. Our team of writers and editors follows these key guidelines:
  • We thoroughly fact-check and review all content for accuracy. We aim to make corrections on any errors as soon as we are aware of them.
  • Our partners do not commission or endorse our content.
  • Our partners do not pay us to feature any specific product in our content, but we do feature some products and offers from companies that provide compensation to LendingTree. This may impact how and where offers appear on the site (such as the order).
  • We review and interview both external and internal reputable sources for our content and disclose sourcing in our content.

A secured loan is a form of debt that requires collateral. This type of loan is common for large purchases, like homes and cars. It also provides an option for those with bad credit to access financing as long as they can provide valuable collateral.

Here’s what you need to know about a secured loan, its benefits and drawbacks and how you can secure debt.

On this page

What’s a secured loan?

Secured loans are debts that are backed by a valuable asset, also known as collateral. This asset can take the form of a savings account or property, like cars or houses. They can make it easier for those with bad credit to take out debt and access lower rates.

Secured loans are also known as collateral loans, and the collateral you provide for a secured loan offsets some of the risk lenders take on when lending you money. If you’re unable to repay the debt, your lender can seize your collateral to recoup their financial losses.

As a result, your bank, credit union or online lender may have requirements around what type of collateral you can use. Some lenders may only accept a savings account or certificates of deposit (CDs). Others may require your vehicle and have specifications around that as well, such as age and mileage.

 Secured loan vs. unsecured loan

The differences between secured and unsecured debt are simple but important. Unsecured loans don’t require collateral, so lenders rely more heavily on your credit history. This makes it difficult for consumers with bad credit scores to access these types of loans — and if they do qualify, they often get stuck with higher interest rates.

Generally, unsecured loans come with higher rates than secured loans because there’s no collateral for the lender to seize if the borrower defaults. These types of loans are best for those with good-to-excellent credit and can qualify for a lender’s best rates.

Types of secured loans

Secured loans come in many forms depending on your needs and what you’re willing to use as collateral. Keep in mind that each type of loan comes with risks, and you can lose your collateral if you are unable to keep up with payments.

  • Auto loans: These are among the most common types of secured loans. Auto loans are backed by the vehicle you’re financing, though some lenders offer unsecured car loans.
  • Auto title loan: A car title loan allows you to borrow against the value of your car, using your vehicle’s title as the collateral. However, this is a risky type of loan and it may be best to seek other types of credit.
  • Home equity line of credit: A home equity line of credit (HELOC) allows homeowners to borrow against the equity they’ve built into their home. It works similar to a credit card and your home acts as collateral.
  • Home equity loan: This is sometimes referred to as a second mortgage. As the name suggests, a home equity loan allows you to tap into your home’s equity; however, your home will be on the line for this type of debt.
  • Mortgage: This is another common type of secured loan and allows consumers to finance the purchase of a new home. When it comes to mortgages, your home will serve as your collateral.
  • Secured credit card: While most credit cards are unsecured, some companies also offer secured credit cards. These often require that you make an initial deposit which serves as your collateral.
  • Secured line of credit: While this type of debt isn’t common, a secured personal line of credit (PLOC) works similar to a credit card, allowing you to borrow up to a predetermined amount. A PLOC may require a savings account or CD as collateral.
  • Secured personal loan: While personal loans are typically unsecured, some lenders may also provide secured personal loans. The type of collateral you’ll need for this type of loan will depend on your lender.
  • Pawn shop loan: This is another type of secured debt that may be best to avoid. Pawn shop loans are backed by a valuable item in exchange for a lump sum of money that comes with high fees.

What can be used as collateral for a loan?

Just as there are different types of secured loans, there are also various types of assets you can use to secure your debt. Some of the most common forms of collateral are real estate, vehicles, savings accounts and CDs.

  • Real estate
  • Vehicles
  • Checking and savings accounts
  • CDs
  • Money market accounts
  • Stocks
  • Mutual funds
  • Bond investments
  • Insurance policies
  • Jewelry and other expensive types of valuables

Pros and cons of a secured loan

Secured loans provide consumers a variety of benefits, including lower interest rates and access to credit if your score is less than perfect. However, they aren’t without their downsides that should be carefully considered.


  Can access lower interest rates because collateral offsets lenders’ risk

  Allows those with bad credit to access loans and revolving credit

  Helps borrowers build credit as long as they make consistent, on-time payments

  Borrowers may lose a valuable asset — such as home, vehicle or savings account — if they can’t repay

  Lenders may place restrictions on the type of collateral that can be used

  Underwriting process can take longer because the collateral will take time to approve

Secured loans for bad credit

Secured loans may be a good option if you have bad credit. Since the collateral you provide decreases the risk on the lender’s end, you may have an easier time qualifying for a loan without sky-high interest rates. To get a loan with bad credit, you’ll need to make sure you can provide a valuable asset that you won’t mind losing should things not pan out.

How to apply for a secured loan

Each lender has its own unique process, but here’s what you may come across when you apply for a secured loan.

  Check your credit score

Before applying for a secured loan, check your credit score. This can give you an idea of what rates, terms and amounts you may qualify for, as well as how lenders may view your application.

If you have a good or excellent credit score, you may want to consider an unsecured loan to avoid losing your assets in case you’re not able to fully repay the loan. But if your credit is bad, you may want to improve your credit score before applying for a loan.

  Evaluate the value of your collateral

Typically, the value of your collateral will determine how much you can borrow. The type of collateral you have can also limit what lenders you may be able to work with, as they will typically have guidelines as to what assets they accept. Be sure to research any lenders you’re interested in to find out what collateral they require.

  Compare lenders

Shopping around and comparing lenders can help ensure you get the best rates, terms and amounts for your financial position.

In some cases, such as with auto loans and mortgages, with rate shopping, credit score companies will only count your inquiries as a single pull during a set period of time. For FICO, it’s 45 days, while for VantageScore, it’s only 14 days. This will allow you to compare lenders without multiple hits to your credit score as hard credit pulls can cause your score to drop.

  Close on your loan

Once you make your final decision, you’ll need to close on your loan and sign your agreement. You’ll likely need to verify information like your residence, income and employment. Keep in mind that the underwriting process can take longer when it comes to getting a secured loan.

Frequently asked questions

Secured debt is a type of credit that requires the borrower to provide collateral to the lender. This can take a variety of forms: a savings account, vehicle and real estate are some examples. If you don’t repay the loan, your creditor can take your collateral and your credit score can drop.

If you default on a secured loan, your lender can confiscate your collateral and sell it off to recoup its losses. If the sale doesn’t cover the remaining balance due, your lender may hold you responsible for the difference. Typically, a lender considers a loan delinquent after 30 to 90 days of nonpayment before your loan is labeled as in default.

Depending on state laws, after your lender repossesses your asset, if it doesn’t cover the “deficiency balance” that you owe, your lender may still hold you responsible for the remaining debt. If you don’t pay off the rest of the loan, your lender could send your debt to collections.

When you take out a secured loan, your lender will run a hard credit pull before providing you with the loan in order to evaluate your credit background. However, this only causes your credit score to drop by up to five points. Missed payments on your secured loan, however, can cause your credit score to decrease dramatically.

While you can pay off a secured loan early, your lender may charge you a prepayment penalty. This is a fee some lenders charge to make up for the loss in profit they make on interest when you repay a loan early. This fee is typically associated with auto loans and mortgages, so be sure to check the fine print of your loan agreement before paying it off.

Get personal loan offers from up to 5 lenders in minutes

Recommended Reading