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The differences between secured and unsecured commercial loans 

Business loans can be categorised as either secured or unsecured loans. The primary difference between the two is the use of collateral:

  • A secured business loan requires collateral in the form of business or personal assets as a guarantee for the lender.
  • An unsecured business loan doesn’t require collateral, but lenders may ask for a personal guarantee instead.

Here’s a summary of loan features and how they differ between secured and unsecured commercial loans.

Collateral requirement

Secured commercial loans require the borrower to pledge assets or collateral as loan security. The collateral can be real estate, equipment, inventory, accounts receivable or any other valuable asset.

Unsecured commercial loans do not require any collateral. These loans are solely based on the borrower’s creditworthiness, business strength and financial standing.

Interest rates

Since secured loans are backed by collateral, they’re considered less risky for the lender as they can use the asset to recover the debt. For this reason, lenders may offer lower interest rates on secured loans than on unsecured, riskier loans.

Loan amount

The value of the collateral often determines the loan amount for secured loans. Lenders may offer a percentage of the asset’s appraised value as the loan amount.

The loan amount for unsecured loans is typically based on the borrower’s creditworthiness, financial standing and ability to repay. It may be subject to a cap, and the lender may offer a smaller loan amount than secured loans.

Loan term

Secured loans can have longer loan terms, which can help businesses spread out their repayment over a more extended period. Unsecured loans often have shorter loan terms, and businesses may need to repay the loan in a shorter time frame.

Risk of asset seizure

If the borrower defaults on the secured loan, the lender has the right to seize and sell the collateral to recover the outstanding debt. With unsecured loans, there’s no risk of the lender taking specific assets upon default, as there’s no collateral tied to the loan.

In summary, secured commercial loans require collateral, offer lower interest rates and have longer loan terms. On the other hand, unsecured commercial loans don’t require collateral but have higher interest rates and shorter loan terms. The choice between the two loan types depends on the borrower’s risk appetite, creditworthiness and ability to provide collateral.

Secured versus unsecured loans

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