HomeBlogPersonal LoansPersonal Loan Vs Credit Card
Advertising Disclosure Acorn Finance receives compensation from some of the companies featured on our website, which may influence the presentation and order of the offers shown. Please note that not all loan options, savings products, or lenders are represented on our site.

Personal Loan Vs Credit Card

Compare monthly payment options from several lenders in under 2 minutes.

How much would you like to finance?

How To Decide Between a Personal Loan & Credit Card

If you need to borrow money, you may be comparing a personal loan vs credit card. Does personal loan vs credit card debt affect your credit score the same way? Is it better to use a personal loan or credit card? If you are trying to answer questions you may have about comparing these borrowing options, you’ll want to keep reading. Both options have pros, cons, differences, and scenarios where one is better than the other.

The main difference that you can focus on is the fact that a personal loan is a lump sum of money that is paid back in installments every single month, while credit cards simply open a line of credit. If you only need to borrow money for a few weeks, a credit card may be a suitable option. However, for short-term or long-term loans, a personal loan may be best. Unless you are comparing a personal loan vs 0% interest credit card, then you may have to do some due diligence.

Get Started

Compare rates from top lenders

Learn More About Personal Loan Vs Credit Card

If you find yourself overwhelmed by which option to choose, read on, and we will see if we can help.

Read more - FAQ

Is a personal loan better than a credit card?

For starters, a personal loan is often great for larger purchases and emergencies. For example, you might take out a lump sum of money to pay for a large car repair. Personal loans can also help you pay off larger and higher-interest debts, including credit card debt. You also aren't supposed to take out personal loans very frequently, so they are the best for more extensive and one-time expenses.

Credit cards, on the other hand, are usually better for minimal expenses. In addition, you should only use your credit card if you can pay the balance off in full each month to prevent interest from building up. Otherwise, be prepared to see some high-interest charges. You want to avoid making large payments with credit cards because the interest can easily reach the double digits and really carve a hole into your bank account. In some cases, you may not see the hole until it's too late. If this is the case, you may need to use a personal loan for debt consolidation.

If you pay in full each month, you can focus on making small purchases with a credit card. As a result, the credit card can work in your favor and help you establish credit and possibly increase your score. However, the one risk of a credit card is the risk of credit card debt. Whenever you ask 'are personal loans better than credit cards' the debt is one thing you need to keep in mind. Credit card debt can easily get out of control if you are not watching it, and then you might have to take out a personal loan to fix everything. If you know you need to borrow a more significant sum of money, you should consider a personal loan as it's usually much easier to manage and keep under control.

What are the advantages of a personal loan vs a credit card?

A personal loan gives you some structure with your payment plan. You receive the lump sum of cash right now and then have a payment plan where you pay the same amount back every month until the loan is paid back and the balance reaches zero. You have predictability, which makes paying off everything much more manageable. Personal loans should have less of an impact on your credit card than high credit card utilization. If you take a personal loan, you should know the monthly payment from day one. You can simply set it on autopay until the balance is paid off. In some cases, you may even get an interest rate discount or other incentives for setting up autopay.

What are the disadvantages of a personal loan vs a credit card?

Credit cards are designed for everyday purchases, whereas a personal loan is designed for one-time use or to fund an ongoing project. Although credit card companies may not want you to pay the balance off each month, the high-interest rate that applies to most credit cards should motivate cardholders to do so. If you continually make charges to your credit card and only pay the minimum monthly balance, you may find yourself in trouble. Monthly credit card payments can vary depending on the balance, making them harder to manage.

What are the advantages of a credit card vs a personal loan?

As we mentioned earlier, credit cards and personal loans have their own set of pros and cons. As a cardholder, you should understand how your credit card works. If a credit card is used and managed responsibly, it can be a great way to improve cash flow while taking advantage of possible perks or reward points. Here are some advantages of a credit card vs personal loan:
Access to a revolving line of credit
May come with 0% promotional offer
May offer rewards
Option to use a secured or unsecured credit card

What are the disadvantages of a credit card vs a personal loan?

If a credit card is used and managed responsibly, there should not be many disadvantages. In some cases, an individual may begin to use a credit card with good intentions but then get carried away, leaving them in credit card debt. When you use a credit card, you should pay close attention to the balance and plan for how you will manage spending. Here are some disadvantages of a credit card vs personal loan:
High-interest rates may apply
Risk of credit card debt
High usage may impact credit score

What's worse: a personal loan or credit card debt?

It depends. If you have credit card debt that you have lost control of, this arguably much worse than a personal loan. When you commit to a personal loan, you know how much your monthly payment is before you commit. You also know how long you are committed to making that monthly payment. With a credit card, you are given a spending limit and how much you spend is in your control. If you have a high credit card balance growing due to high interest charges, this can seriously impact your credit score. If you default on payments for a personal loan or credit card, either can impact your credit score negatively.

Is it better to have a personal loan or credit card debt?

If you can pay the credit card debt off before the next statement, it may be better to have credit card debt. However, this is usually an unlikely scenario. Therefore, in most cases, it's better to have personal loan debt. Of course, it also depends on which option offers a lower interest rate.

How is APR calculated for personal loans vs credit cards?

The annual percentage rate of a loan (APR) is calculated differently for personal loans vs credit cards. APR is determined by your credit score, the type of loan, and how you have used debt in the past. It helps you discover which loan is the cheapest and which one is the most expensive.

For personal loans, APR takes the total interest paid over the loan's duration, adds any extra fees, divides that number by the amount of the loan and the total number of days in the loan's term, then multiplies that number by 365 to get the annual rate. Then it is multiplied by 100 to give you a percentage.

Credit Card interest follows fewer steps, but you can take your annual rate and divide it by 365 to get your daily rate. Next, look at all the days in a typical billing period and write down the balance of each day. Add those numbers together and divide that by the number of days in the period for your average daily balance.

Multiply the average daily balance by the daily rate, and then multiply that total by the number of billing period days to get your APR.

Where can I get a personal loan online?

At Acorn Finance, you can check personal loan offers online within 60 seconds or less with no impact to your credit score. Acorn Finance has trustworthy lending partners that can offer personal loans with APRs as low as 6.99%, depending on your credit score. Individuals can discover competitive and straightforward payment options through Acorn Finance. At Acorn Finance, you can submit one application and receive loan offers in 60 seconds or less with no impact to your credit score. Once you have claimed the best offer and finalized the loan, you can receive funds quickly.

Closing Thoughts

When it comes to taking on debt, you should educate yourself on the type of financing you choose. In some cases, a personal loan is best, while in other cases, a credit card may be an acceptable option. Compare offers and stay educated to make smart financial decisions.

Ready to compare personal loan offers? Get started online today!

$ Loan Calculator


Find the loan you're looking for

Table comparing monthly payments, APRs for approved personal loans.
See your options
Take a few minute to answer few questions, and we'll match you with the right range of lenders to consider
Choose your loan
Find your favorite marketplace of offers and apply directly with the lender you prefer
Do your project
If you're approved, use your funds to cover all your costs now, and pay the lender back month by month

What can I do with a $2,000 personal loan?

A $2,000 personal loan has a number of uses, including (but not limited to):
Home improvement Buying a car Wedding costs
Debt consolidation Medical bills Startup business costs

Still have questions?

One home, endless possibilities


Personal Loan Information