How do joint loans work?
Joint loans are loans that are taken out by two different people. Both of you are responsible for paying the loan, but that doesn’t mean you have to pay half back each – it depends on how you want to work it. Essentially, as long as the repayment plan is met by one or both of you, you’re fulfilling the loan requirements.
If one of you stops making repayments, the other one is jointly liable for the full missing or late repayments – even if they’ve paid ‘their half’ so to speak.
The lender can chase both of you for repayments and both of your credit scores can be affected if you fall behind.
What types of loans can be taken out jointly?
A joint loan application can be made for most types of loan, including:
- unsecured loans – (such as personal loans) aren’t secured against an asset
- secured loans– use an asset (such as your home) as collateral
- debt consolidation loans– used to combine your debts into one payment
- loans for bad credit– designed to help those with poor credit rebuild their credit history by always paying on time
Is it possible to have a joint credit card?
It isn’t possible to take out a credit card in joint names, however, you can add someone you trust as a secondary account holder to most credit cards. This means that the main account holder is liable for paying back the balance, but the additional account holder can get their own card to spend on the account.
Is it better to apply for a loan individually or jointly?
Whether it’s better to make a single or joint loan application depends on your personal financial circumstances.
For example, if you have a good credit history but the person you’re applying with has a bad credit history, you may be offered a better rate on your own. But if you have a bad credit history, adding someone else to the loan could boost your chances.
This is because having joint finances can increase or decrease your creditworthiness in the eyes of lenders, depending on the level of risk involved.
There are several pros and cons you should think about before applying, as shown below.
Pros of making a joint application
- managing the repayments might be easier - loan repayments can be expensive, and you may find them easier to manage as a couple than on your own
- you could borrow a larger sum of money – lenders will take both of your incomes into account when assessing your affordability
- your chances of approval may increase - if the other person as a better credit score than you, you might have more chance of getting approved than if you applied on your own
- you may get offered a better deal - applying with somebody who has a good credit score could make you eligible for lower interest rates too
Cons of making a joint application
- you might struggle to get a good deal - If the other person has a poorer credit score than you, it could be harder for you to get better interest rates (or get approved) together
- there’s less choice – there are fewer joint loans available compared to individual loans, so you don’t have as many options
- both of you are liable for the debt - if the other person stops making repayments for whatever reason, you’ll have to make them all on your own
- your credit reports become linked - this could be detrimental to your credit score if they stop making repayments on their loan and you can’t afford to pay the full amount
How to make a joint loan application
Once you’ve done your research on joint loans and checked your eligibility using an eligibility checker, it’s time to apply. Make sure you’ve also looked at the total cost of the loan, including interest rates and fees, so you can find the cheapest deal.
Follow these five steps below for a smooth joint loan application process.
1. Gather all your personal information together
Both of you will need this information:
- bank details - potentially for all open accounts
- current address and previous addresses - covering the last three years
- employment details - for any current employers
- personal information – such as your date of birth
If you gather all this together, the two of you can sit down and do the application process in one go.
2. Make a joint application
Complete the joint loan application process online by filling out all the required information. This will involve a hard search of both of your credit reports, which will leave a footprint that may cause your credit scores to dip temporarily.
Don’t worry too much about this – if you make your loan repayments on time and in full your credit score should go up again quickly. It’s only a problem if you make several credit applications in a short space of time.
3. Receive an outcome from the lender
Once you’ve applied, wait for the outcome from the lender. This could happen within the same day for some lenders or take a couple weeks for others. If you need the cash quickly you can ask the lender how long the process usually takes.
4. Both sign and return the agreement if approved
If you’re happy with the terms of the loan agreement, sign and return it to the lender. Make sure you read all the information carefully before signing it because it’s a legally binding contract.
5. Wait for the funds to be transferred over
Once you’ve returned the credit agreement, wait for the funds to be transferred across to your nominated account. This may happen on the day of approval, or it may take a few business days up to two weeks – it’s different for every lender. They should be able to give you a rough idea of how long it will take so you know when to check your bank account.
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