In their lives, most Americans face some sort of debt. Not all loans, though are produced equally and some are deemed better than others. Indeed, although debt comes in different ways, it is possible to categorise all personal debt (not corporate or government debt) into a few large categories, including secured debt, unsecured debt, revolving debt, and mortgages.

Secured Debt

For collateral purposes, secured debt is any debt backed by an asset. For the lender to judge how prudent debt has been treated in the past, a credit check is required, but the asset is promised to the lender in the event that the creditor does not repay the loan. The lender has the option to seize the asset if the debt is not paid back.

  • Secured debt, unsecured debt, revolving lending, and mortgages are the key forms of personal debt.
  • Any type of collateral is required for secured debt, whereas unsecured debt is strictly dependent on the creditworthiness of an individual.
  • A credit card is an example of unsecured revolving debt, and a protected revolving debt is a home equity line of credit.
  • Mortgages are mortgage loans that usually have periods of 15 to 30 years, with equity acting as the real estate.

An example of secured lending is an auto loan. A loan provides you with the funds required to buy it but also puts a lien, or assertion of possession, on the title of the car. The seller will repossess the vehicle and auction it in order to reclaim the funds in the event that the car buyer fails to make payments. Secured loans like these have a reasonably rational interest rate, which is normally dependent on the value of the collateral and creditworthiness.

The Unsecured Loans

Any collateral lacks unsecured loans. If a loan with no asset held as collateral is made by an investor, it does so only on the confidence in the potential and promise of the borrower to repay the loan. The creditor is entitled by a binding obligation to return the cash, and the lender may go to court to recover any money owed if there is a default. Nevertheless, doing so comes at a considerable cost to the lender, and for this reason, unsecured lending typically comes at a higher rate of interest. Credit cards, signature loans, gym membership arrangements, and hospital bills are other forms of unsecured debt.

Debt Rotating

Revolving debt is an arrangement between a lender and a borrower which requires the consumer, on a recurring basis, to borrow an amount up to the maximum limit. Examples of revolving loans include a line of credit or a credit card. A credit card has a credit cap, and once the limit is met, the user is free to pay any amount below the limit. Revolving mortgage payment rates differ depending on the amount of funds actually on credit. As in the case of a credit card, revolving debt may be unsecured or covered, such as on a home equity line of credit.


The most popular and largest debt many consumers hold is mortgages. Mortgages are loans made for the purchase of properties, with equity acting as the subject house. Usually, a mortgage has the lowest interest rate of any personal loan option, and for those who itemise their returns, the interest is also tax deductible. Mortgage loans are often often given on 15- to 30-year contracts to keep homeowners’ mortgage payments manageable.

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