Do Unsecured Loans Hurt Your Credit?

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What Are Unsecured Loans?

Unsecured loans are specific loans that do not require collateral or security. Unlike secured loans, such as car loans or mortgages, where the lender can seize the asset if you fail to repay the borrowed money, unsecured loans are not backed by any specific collateral. Instead, these loans are approved based on your creditworthiness, income, and overall financial situation.

Banks, other financial institutions, online lenders, and credit unions typically offer unsecured loans. You can use them for various purposes, including debt consolidation, medical expenses, home improvements, education, or even starting a small business. Since the lender takes on more risk by providing funds without collateral, unsecured loans often come with higher interest rates than secured loans.

The approval process for unsecured loans involves thoroughly assessing your credit history, income, and loan repayment ability. Lenders may consider factors such as credit score, employment history, debt-to-income ratio, and any existing financial obligations. The loan amount and interest rate are determined based on these factors, and repayment is typically structured in regular installments over a fixed term.

How Do Unsecured Loans Affect Your Credit?

When considering how unsecured loans affect your credit, it’s important to understand that they can positively and negatively impact your credit score and overall creditworthiness. Some of the ways in which unsecured loans can impact your credit include the following.

Credit Utilization

Unsecured loans can impact your credit utilization ratio, which is the percentage of the credit that you are currently using. They can affect your credit utilization in various ways, which include the following.

Increase in Total Debt

When you take out an unsecured loan, the loan amount is added to your total debt. If the loan amount is significant, it can increase your overall debt load, potentially raising your credit utilization ratio.

Fixed Credit Limit

Unsecured loans have a fixed loan amount, and unlike credit cards, they don’t provide a revolving line of credit. This means the loan amount is considered “used” from the start, and your credit utilization ratio is affected accordingly. For instance, a $5,000 unsecured loan is factored into your credit utilization ratio as $5,000 utilized credit.

Potential Impact on Credit Score

A high credit utilization ratio can adversely impact your credit score. Credit scoring models generally consider lower credit utilization a positive indicator of responsible credit management. If your unsecured loan pushes your credit utilization ratio above 30%, it may negatively affect your credit score. Keeping your credit utilization ratio below this threshold is generally recommended for maintaining a good credit score.

Payment History

Payment history plays a pivotal role in determining your creditworthiness. Lenders and credit scoring models assess your ability to manage and repay your debts by examining your past payment behavior. This assessment helps them predict the likelihood of you making future payments on time.

Some of the ways in which the payment history of unsecured loans can affect your credit include those listed below.

Timely Payments

Making on-time payments on your unsecured loan is crucial for maintaining a positive payment history. Each payment you make on-time demonstrates responsible financial behavior and helps build a favorable credit history. Consistently paying your unsecured loan installments on or before the due date will contribute to a positive payment history, which is generally beneficial for your credit score.

Missed Payments

On the other hand, missing payments on your unsecured loan can harm your credit score. Failure to pay by the due date or within the grace period will be reported to credit bureaus as a late payment. Late payments can adversely affect your credit and remain on your credit report for several years. The more recent and frequent the late payments, the more significant the negative impact on your credit score.

Default Payments

If you consistently fail to make payments on your unsecured loan and reach a point of default, your credit score can have severe consequences. Defaulting on a loan indicates a significant failure to fulfill your financial obligations, and it will likely have a long-lasting negative impact on your credit history and credit score. Defaulted loans can remain on your credit report for up to seven years, making it challenging to obtain credit in the future.

Credit Mix

A diverse credit mix, including different types of credit such as credit cards, mortgages, and unsecured loans, can positively impact your credit score. Your credit mix can affect your credit in the following ways.


Including an unsecured loan in your credit mix can enhance the diversity of your credit portfolio. Lenders generally view a diverse credit mix positively because it demonstrates your ability to responsibly manage different types of credit. You showcase your creditworthiness in handling various financial obligations by combining credit cards, mortgages, car loans, and unsecured loans.

Credit Score Impact

Your credit mix is one of the factors that influence your credit score. While the specific impact may vary depending on other factors, such as payment history and credit utilization, a well-rounded credit mix can contribute to a higher credit score.

Types of Credit Considered

Lenders like to see that you have experience with different types of credit. Unsecured loans, being a distinct type of credit, demonstrate your ability to handle loans without collateral. This can be valuable when seeking future credit, such as a mortgage or business loan, where collateral may not be involved.

It’s important to note that while having a diverse credit mix is generally beneficial, taking on necessary debt for diversification is only advisable. Managing your credit responsibly and making timely payments across your accounts is more important than having various credit types.

FICO, a commonly used credit scoring model, considers credit mix roughly 10% of your credit score.

Credit Inquiries

When you apply for this kind of loan, the lender typically performs a hard inquiry on your credit report. Some of the ways in which these inquiries can affect your credit include the following.

Hard Inquiries

A hard inquiry is a record of a lender’s credit history review to assess your creditworthiness. Each hard inquiry can negatively impact your credit score, temporarily decreasing it by a few points.

Multiple Applications

If you apply for multiple unsecured loans within a short period, each application will likely result in a separate hard inquiry. Numerous hard inquiries within a short time frame can indicate to lenders that you are actively seeking credit, which may aggravate concerns about your financial stability and increase your perceived credit risk. This could harm your credit score.

Impact Duration

Hard inquiries remain on your credit report for about two years. However, their impact on your credit score lessens over time, especially within the first year. Lenders tend to focus more on recent inquiries than older ones when evaluating your creditworthiness.

It’s important to note that not all inquiries have the same impact on your credit score. For instance, when you check your credit report or a lender conducts a soft inquiry for promotional purposes, it does not affect your credit score.

How to Minimize Negative Effects of Unsecured Loans on Your Credit

When it comes to unsecured loans, minimizing negative effects on your credit is crucial for maintaining a healthy credit profile. How you manage your unsecured loans can significantly impact your creditworthiness and credit score. Some steps you can take to mitigate potential negative impacts include those listed here.

Responsible Borrowing

The first step in minimizing negative effects is to borrow responsibly. Before taking out an unsecured loan, consider your financial circumstances and ability to make timely payments. Borrow what you need only and can afford to repay comfortably.

Timely Payments

Pay your unsecured loan installments on time, every time. Your credit score might be negatively impacted by late payments. Set up automatic payments or prompts to ensure you get all deadlines.

Communication With the Lender

If you’re facing difficulty making payments, don’t ignore the situation. Instead, contact your lender as soon as possible and explain your circumstances. Some lenders may be willing to work with you and offer options such as temporary forbearance, loan modification, or repayment plans. Open communication can prevent negative consequences and demonstrate your commitment to resolving the issue.

Budgeting and Financial Planning

Create a budget and financial plan to ensure you have a clear understanding of your income, expenses, and debt obligations. By managing your finances effectively, you can allocate funds toward loan payments and avoid falling behind. Prioritize your expenses and make adjustments where necessary to accommodate your loan payments.

Regularly Monitor Your Credit

Keep a close eye on your credit reports and credit scores. Regularly reviewing your credit reports can help you identify any errors or discrepancies that may negatively impact your credit. Promptly address any inaccuracies by contacting the credit bureaus to have them corrected.

Seek Professional Guidance

If you’re struggling to manage your unsecured loans or experiencing financial difficulties, consider seeking assistance from a reputable credit counseling agency. These organizations can guide debt management, budgeting, and financial planning, helping you navigate your situation more effectively.

How Can ABC Help You With Unsecured Loans?

American Business Credit is a trusted financial services provider specializing in unsecured loans. We offer expertise and support to help individuals and businesses understand the intricacies of unsecured loans.

Education and Information

ABC can provide you with valuable educational resources and information about unsecured loans. We can help you understand the basics of unsecured loans, including how they work, their features, and their potential benefits and risks.

Loan Options and Requirements

ABC can assist you in exploring different unsecured loan options available to you. We can provide insights into lenders’ requirements and eligibility criteria, helping you understand the factors influencing your ability to qualify for an unsecured loan.

Loan Application Process

ABC can guide you through the loan application process for unsecured loans. We can explain the documentation, forms, and steps to apply for such loans. This assistance can help you navigate the application process more efficiently and increase your chances of obtaining loan approval.

Credit Evaluation and Analysis

ABC can help you evaluate your creditworthiness and analyze your credit profile. We can review your credit history, credit scores, and other relevant factors lenders consider when assessing loan applications. This evaluation can provide insights into how lenders may perceive your creditworthiness and help you identify areas for improvement.

Loan Repayment Strategies

ABC can provide guidance on developing effective loan repayment strategies for unsecured loans. We can help you create a repayment plan based on your financial capabilities, ensuring you can manage your loan payments while maintaining other financial obligations.

Financial Planning and Budgeting

ABC can offer support in creating a comprehensive financial plan and budget that incorporates your unsecured loan and other financial responsibilities. We can help you allocate funds strategically, manage cash flow, and make informed financial decisions.

Ongoing Support

ABC can provide ongoing support throughout the loan process and beyond. We can address your questions and concerns, offering personalized guidance to help you navigate any challenges that may arise during the term of your unsecured loan.

If you’re interested in exploring unsecured loans and lines of credit, ABC is here to assist you. With our excellent customer service, we can guide you through the process and help you find the right financing solutions. For more information, call us to discuss your needs.

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Kayleen M
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Derek J
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American Business Credit was extremely knowledgeable, professional, and helpful from start to finish. My loan processor Craig was extremely helpful, answering all of my questions as they arose. They delivered the exact results promised during our first call in a timely manner. Highly recommend.
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Eduard A
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I am so glad I found ABC, every company or lender I talked to told me we needed to have revenue on our business to get a loan, well we are a start up, and need the loan to get started generating revenue. ABC was able to get us funded at great rates in a short amount of time. I definitely plan on using them again as our business grows!
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Erik R
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Kina was amazing to work with. As a new business owner and limited credit history, she really went to bat to ensure my business plan was heard by the lenders, so they felt confident in investing with me. Highly recommend!!

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