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Guide to Using a Personal Loan for a Laptop Purchase

Guide to Using a Personal Loan for a Laptop Purchase
Jacqueline DeMarco
Jacqueline DeMarcoUpdated September 30, 2022
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Editor’s note: Lantern by SoFi seeks to provide content that is objective, independent and accurate. Writers are separate from our business operation and do not receive direct compensation from advertisers or partners. Read more about our Editorial Guidelines and How We Make Money.
There are plenty of reasons to invest in a laptop, such as attending graduate school or starting a business. Laptops can be expensive, however, and some consumers may need to spread out the cost of the purchase rather than pay it all at once. Fortunately, there are ways to do this, including using a personal loan for a laptop.Read on to learn how to use a personal loan for a laptop purchase. 

Are There Any Personal Loans for Laptops? 

While there is no such thing as a laptop loan, one of the personal loan uses is for buying a laptop. Personal loans can be used to pay for virtually any consumer expense. Unlike a car loan or mortgage loan that are earmarked for specific purchases, personal loans are flexible. That means you can use a personal loan for a laptop. 

How Do Personal Loans for Laptops Work? 

Personal loans are usually unsecured loans, which means they don’t require any form of collateral. When you take out a personal loan, you pay interest to borrow the money. You pay back the principal balance of the loan plus the interest in monthly installments until you pay off the loan in full. The shorter the length of a personal loan, the higher your monthly payment will be, but you’ll end up paying less in interest over the life of the loan.  

Pros of Using Personal Loans for Laptops 

There are a number of advantages to using a personal loan for a laptop, such as:
  • Spreading out the cost of a large purchase
  • Getting lower interest rates than you would with credit cards
  • Consistent monthly payments
  • Building your credit score by making on-time payments and improving your credit mix (the different types of credit you have)

Cons of Using Personal Loans for Laptops

There are also some disadvantages to using a personal loan to buy a laptop that you should be aware of, including:
  • Interest charges add to the cost of the purchase
  • Personal loan impact on credit score can be significant. Missing a payment or defaulting on a personal loan could damage your credit score
  • Having debt to pay off can be stressful

Can Students Use Personal Loans for Laptops?

Personal loans for students can be used to buy a laptop, but first, students will need to qualify. Most undergraduate students haven’t yet built up a strong credit history and credit score before they head college. However, graduate school students may well have built up enough of a credit history during their undergraduate or early working years, and that can help them qualify for a personal loan. Students can use those funds to buy a laptop to complete their coursework while attending law school, medical school, or business school. 

In-House Laptop Financing vs Personal Loans for Laptop 

Another option for financing a laptop is using in-house laptop financing provided by the store you’re purchasing from. Here’s how in-house financing for a laptop differs from a personal loan.
In-House FinancingPersonal Loan
Interest is often deferred as a promotional offerInterest kicks in right away
No interest paid if balance is paid off before promotional period endsPaying off the loan early can help you save on interest
Offered by the retailerOffered by bank, credit union, or private lender

Personal Loan Requirements 

To qualify for a personal loan, a borrower generally needs to meet the following requirements:
  • Good credit score. The higher your credit score is, the more likely you are to qualify for a personal loan and for lower interest rates. 
  • Consistent income. Lenders want to see that you have a steady source of income to pay back your personal loan.
  • Low debt-to-income ratio. Your debt-to-income ratio (DTI) is your gross monthly income compared to your monthly debts. Generally, the lower your DTI, the better. That indicates that you aren’t taking on more debt than you can afford to pay off.
  • Healthy credit report. This shows lenders that you have a track record of paying off debt and making your payments on time. 

Personal Loan Approval Time 

Different lenders have different personal loan approval times. Typically, once you apply for a personal loan and meet the lender’s requirements, the personal loan approval time can be fairly quick. In many cases, it takes a few days. Some lenders even offer next-day or same-day approval. Check with your lender about their specific timeline. 

Alternative Laptop Financing Options 

In addition to a personal loan, there are options to financing a laptop you may want to consider. These include:  

In-House Financing

As mentioned earlier, some retailers that sell big ticket items, like laptops and furniture, offer in-house financing. You can even finance a cell phone. These financing options typically come with a promotional offer of deferred interest for a set period of time. If you pay off your balance in full before the promotional period ends, you won’t pay any interest at all. However, if you don’t pay off the full balance, you will need to pay all the interest that began accruing from the day you started financing. The interest rate for in-store financing is typically high, so this is something to be aware of.

Credit Cards

Credit cards often come with high interest rates. One option you might consider is to open a new credit card with a 0% APR introductory rate. That way, you have the opportunity to buy your laptop interest-free. But you’ll need to pay off the balance in full before the introductory period ends or you risk having to pay high interest rates. 

Buy Now, Pay Later

Buy now, pay later financing makes it possible to spread out the cost of a purchase without having to pay interest. Usually you pay a certain amount upfront and then pay the rest in installments. The payments are often interest-free, but only as long as you make them in full and on time. If you miss a payment, you may be charged a late fee.

The Takeaway

If you’re in the market for a new laptop, and you don’t have enough cash to pay for it, you can use laptop financing, such as a personal loan, to purchase it. Even graduate students may qualify for personal loans. This can help spread out the laptop payment over time, making it more affordable. Personal loans do come with interest charges, however, so this is something to consider. You’ll also want to make sure that you can pay back the loan regularly and on time. If you can, a personal loan for a laptop may make sense for you.

3 Personal Loan Tips

  1. Shopping around helps ensure that you’re getting the best deal you can. Lantern by SoFi makes this easy. With one online application, you can find and compare personal loan offers from multiple lenders.
  2. If the interest rates you’re being offered seem too high, try lowering the loan amount. Generally, the larger the loan, the greater the risk for lenders, who likely charge a higher interest rate for the increased risk level.
  3. Don’t assume that if you have bad credit, you can’t get a personal loan. There are lenders who specialize in bad credit loans. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you get a personal loan for a laptop?
What are the requirements to get a personal loan for a laptop?
How long does it take to get approved for a personal loan for a laptop?
Photo credit: iStock/artisteer

About the Author

Jacqueline DeMarco

Jacqueline DeMarco

Jacqueline DeMarco is a personal finance writer and editor based in Southern California. While she spends the bulk of her time writing about complex financial issues, she also tackles a variety of subjects ranging from food to fashion to travel. Her work can be found across dozens of publications such as Credit Karma, LendingTree, Northwestern Mutual, The Everygirl, and Apartment Therapy.
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