What Is Collateral?

Jan 02, 2023 By Susan Kelly

What can be used as collateral for a personal loan? When applying for a loan, a borrower may be required to provide collateral for a valuable item, such as a car or a house, to be considered. Because it safeguards the lender's financial interest if the borrower is eventually unable to repay the loan in full, collateral may help a lender feel more at ease when deciding whether or not to offer a loan.

If the borrower does not pay back the loan as agreed, the lender has the right to take possession of the collateral to help make up for the lost money. Therefore, if you take out a personal loan using your car as collateral but cannot repay the loan, the lender has the right to seize possession of your car.

Secured loans, on the other hand, often come with lower annual percentage rates (APRs) and shorter payback terms. This is because the loans are backed by collateral. However, it is important to note that a borrower must keep up with the obligations on a secured loan to avoid losing their collateral.

When you take out a personal loan secured by collateral, the lender will often place a lien on the collateral. If you cannot repay the loan, the lender will have the legal right to seize the property secured by the lien. However, even while you are making payments on the loan, you may continue to utilize the asset you put up as collateral, such as a car or a house. When you have finished paying off the loan, the creditor will remove the lien on your property.

If you succeed on a secured loan, you may retain the item used as collateral for the loan, which could also have significant repercussions for your credit. A loan that has been paid off late will be on your credit record for seven years, during which time it will have a negative impact on your credit score. However, as time passes, this influence will reduce, and the score impact of a defaulted loan may be lower if your scores are already low. This is especially true if you have a history of defaulting on loans.

On the other hand, a loan not secured by anything does not need any collateral. Your creditworthiness, as established by your credit scores and the information included in your credit reports, as well as your income and other characteristics, are considered by lenders who provide unsecured loans to get assurance that the loan will be returned. If you fail on an unsecured loan, your credit will be negatively affected in the same way as it would be with a secured loan; however, you will not lose any of your property.

The Benefits and Drawbacks of Collateral on a Loan


  • Putting up collateral will make it simpler for you to receive a loan than if you don't put up any collateral at all. This is especially true if you have a credit history that could be in better shape or no credit history.
  • If you have anything of value to put up as security for a loan, the lending institution will be more likely to let you borrow more than they would be willing to do with an unsecured loan.
  • Compared to unsecured loans, secured loans often come with lower interest rates and longer payback durations.
  • A secured loan may enhance your credit score. If you do not yet have a credit history, taking out a secured loan and making all of your payments on time will help you build one, and it can also help repair your credit if it has been harmed. If this is of the utmost importance to you, check with your lender to ensure that they report your payments to the main credit agencies.


  • If you do not repay the loan, the lender may seize any collateral you provided.
  • In addition to seizing your collateral, a lender may hire a debt collector to pursue past-due payments from you, report your unpaid bills to credit bureaus, or even sue you to collect what is owed. All these options are part of the lender's effort to collect what is owed to them.
  • When you utilize an existing savings account or certificate of deposit as collateral, you may be required to maintain a certain minimum level.
  • The lender may restrict how you can put the money you borrow to use.
  • When you apply for a secured personal loan from certain lenders, particularly if you have poor credit, you may be subject to very high-interest rates or fees.

Types of Collateral You Can Use

  • Car
  • Collectibles
  • Boat
  • Insurance policy
  • Home
  • Antiques
  • Stocks
  • Bonds
  • Precious metals
  • Jewelry
  • Fine art
  • Antiques
  • Future paychecks
Related Articles