It’s common knowledge that to secure a bank loan for a new home or vehicle requires an above-average credit rating. The problem is that the magic FICA number of 750 is only a reality for a precious few, with the rest of us languishing somewhere in the “average” or “subprime” credit neighborhoods. And those who are really struggling can attest to the fact that it is near impossible to find a bank loan with poor credit. In these instances, people must look elsewhere for an infusion of capital. This is where alternative loans come in.
There are plenty of alternative loan options out there, from private lenders to title loans to even payday advances. However, those who are considering traveling this route must be careful to protect themselves, financially speaking. That’s because these options are going to fall into the “high interest” category. And many find that paying these loans off in the allotted timeframe is a restrictive notion at best.
The good news is that there are some mobile apps out there that can better help borrowers to prepare for taking out that alternative loan. And of course, this wouldn’t be a viable list for those experiencing a financial crunch unless all options were free.
Simple Loan Calculator – iOS/Android
It isn’t prudent to dive headfirst into the world of high interest rates without some assistance. That’s where Simple Loan Calculator comes in. The app offers a calculator that covers standard loans such as mortgages and car payments, but it also works with alternative loans. In fact, it can figure payments based on any interest scenario over a set time with monthly payments.
More than that, Simple Loan Calculator tells the user how much he or she can afford with its “affordable loan” interface. The user simply inputs the monthly payment and number of months or years on the loan and the app calculates the top affordable amount. Most financial experts recommend never taking out a loan for anything that eats up more than 30% of the borrowers monthly income.
Fast Cash – Android
This app doesn’t function as a lender, but it does put the user in touch with payday lenders everywhere. Those who are looking for a short-term cash provider can use the simple interface to input basic information such as their email, zip cod and how much cash they’d like. Fast Cash then finds a lender in their area.
Mint – iOS/Android
This is a good all-purpose financial manager that can really help with loans as well. One of the most popular finance-related apps on the market, Mint allows the user to link all of his or her accounts and view balances on a single screen. Those who have taken out a loan can budget it into the system, see their outstanding balance, and receive payment alerts right from their phone.
The above apps are intended to be useful tools in the belts of those thinking about taking out an alternative loan. The most important thing is that borrowers negotiate the lowest interest rates possible as well as the most flexible grace periods for payment. And then they must be diligent in making their payments on time.
Editor’s Note: Jennifer Palmer is a professional blogger that provides financial information on savings and loans. She writes for InstaLoan.com, a leading title loan lender.