If you want to calculate the monthly payments on a loan, there's a handy little installment loan calculator below.
Just plug in the amount of the loan, the annual interest rate and the length of the loan in months. The calculator will tell you how much each monthly payment will be and how much the loan will cost you in interest. (If you don't see it or it's not working, you might not have Java script enabled.)
Installment loans are any loans that you pay back in several equal payments, over a few months or years. Sometimes, they're cheaper than very short-term loans that only last two to four weeks, like payday loans. Of course, the installment loans with the lowest interest rates that are offered by banks and credit unions usually require a credit check, but they don't necessarily require perfect credit, and even if you have to pay a pretty high interest rate, an installment loan can compare favorably to a payday loan.
Here's an example. Let's say you need to borrow $500. A fairly cheap payday loan cost (still not really cheap, but you know what I mean) would be $100 to borrow $500 for two to four weeks.
Instead, let's say you get an installment loan of $500 for six months. You'd think it would cost more to borrow $500 for six months than for a couple weeks, right? Not necessarily. Let's say you have to pay an annual interest rate of 20%, what a lot of credit cards charge. Plug it into the calculator. It'll cost you only $29.56, instead of $150.
Even if the annual interest rate was twice that, 40%, and the loan was for 12 months, it would still only cost you $114.82 instead of $150. And you could take a whole year to work on paying it back.
So if you think there's any chance at all that your credit is good enough to get an installment loan at an interest rate of around 20% to 40%, it's worth looking into.
When you use the calculator, remember to enter the annual interest rate, also called the APR (annual percentage rate). Most loans have to disclose it, even if they quote the interest rate in different ways, and the FTC is pretty good about cracking down on those who don't. Also, when you're comparing loans to see what's cheaper, make sure a cheaper loan isn't charging additional fees besides the interest.
Hope you find the calculator useful!