Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility Understanding the Differences between Short Term Loans and Long Term Loans - Fora Credit

Understanding the Differences between Short Term Loans and Long Term Loans

 Published on July 21, 2023

Understanding the Differences between Short Term Loans and Long Term Loans

Personal loans have become an integral part of modern financial planning, helping people meet their immediate and long term goals and needs. When considering a personal loan, it's crucial to understand the differences between short term and long term options. Short term loans are designed to be repaid relatively quickly, often within a year, while long term loans offer longer repayment periods, often spanning several years. This article aims to explore the distinctions between short term and long term personal loans, including their features, advantages, disadvantages, and suitable scenarios for each type of loan.

What are Short Term Loans?

Short term loans are characterized by their relatively brief repayment periods, typically ranging from a few months to a year. Here are some key features and considerations.

person at a computer looking out into space.

1. Loan Amount and Interest Rates

Short term loans typically offer smaller loan amounts compared to long term loans. Lenders may be more cautious when providing funds for a shorter duration, as the risk of default is perceived to be higher. Consequently, interest rates for short term loans may be higher to compensate for the accelerated repayment period.

2. Speed and Accessibility

One significant advantage of short term loans in Canada is their quick application process and accessibility, including when it comes to online loans. Lenders may offer quick application processes for these loans, making them suitable for individuals in urgent need of funds. The streamlined application process means borrowers may be able to access the required funds swiftly if approved, often within a matter of days.

3. Repayment Structure

With some types of short term loans, borrowers are expected to make frequent payments, usually on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis. These regular payments ensure that the loan is repaid swiftly within the predetermined term. While this may put some strain on the borrower's budget, it ultimately allows for a quicker clearance of the debt.

4. Potentially Higher Payments Each Month

Due to the shorter repayment period, short term loans may require higher payments each month compared to long term loans. Borrowers need to carefully assess their financial capabilities and ensure they can meet these higher payments before opting for a short term loan. Failing to make timely payments can result in late fees and damage to the borrower's credit score.

5. Useful for Emergency Expenses

Short term loans are particularly suitable for covering unexpected emergency expenses, like emergency medical expenses or car repairs. These loans can provide financial relief during times of crisis, allowing individuals to address urgent needs when their savings have run dry.

6. Building Credit History

Timely repayment of short term loans can be beneficial for individuals looking to establish their credit history. Demonstrating responsible borrowing behavior by paying off short term loans on time can help impact a credit profile, potentially helping one qualify for lower interest rates in the future.

By considering these features and considerations, individuals can assess whether a short term loan aligns with their financial needs and repayment capabilities. It's important to borrow responsibly and only apply for a short term loan when necessary and manageable within one's budget.

What are Long Term Loans?

Long term loans generally have longer repayment periods, often spanning several years. Let's delve into the primary features and considerations associated with long term loans.

1. Loan Amount and Interest Rates

Long term loans often accommodate larger loan amounts compared to short term loans. These loans are suitable for significant expenses such as home renovations, purchasing a vehicle, or funding higher education. Since the repayment period is longer, interest rates for long term loans may be lower compared to short term loans. Lower interest rates may result in more affordable minimum payments over the course of the loan.

2. Repayment Period

One of the primary elements of long term loans is the relatively longer repayment period they offer. Unlike short term loans that require you to pay the loan off within a few months to a year, with long term loans borrowers may have several years to repay the debt in full. This longer repayment duration may allow for a manageable payment structure, helping to ensure that minimum payments fit into the borrower's long term budget plans.

3. Lower Minimum Payments

Due to the longer repayment period, long term loans generally have lower minimum payments compared to short term loans. This can provide borrowers with more breathing room in their budget, allowing them to allocate funds to other necessary expenses, investments, or savings goals. Lower minimum payments may help individuals maintain financial stability and reduce the risk of default.

4. Higher Overall Interest Payments

While long term loans may offer lower minimum payments, the longer repayment period results in higher overall interest payments over time. Borrowers should consider the total cost of the loan, including interest charges, to understand the financial implications of a long term loan. It's important to assess whether the additional interest payments are justified and fit into the borrower's long term financial plans.

Person signing a short term loan contract.

5. Suitable for Planned Expenses

Long term loans are well-suited for planned expenses with longer-term financial implications. For example, individuals who are purchasing a home or starting a business may opt for a long term loan. These types of expenses often require larger loan amounts and can benefit from the longer repayment period provided by long term loans. By spreading out the payments over several years, borrowers can manage the expense more effectively.

It's crucial for borrowers to carefully consider their financial goals, the purpose of the loan, and their repayment capacity when opting for a long term loan. While the lower minimum payments may be attractive, the overall cost of the loan, including interest charges, should be evaluated to make an informed decision.

Choosing Between Short term and Long term Loans

The choice between short term and long term personal loans depends on various factors, including the borrower's financial goals and current situation. Consider the following scenarios to determine which loan type may be more suitable.

1. Emergency Expenses

Short term loans can be used for covering urgent financial needs, like medical expenses, car repairs, or unexpected home repairs. If you require immediate funds and have the means to repay the loan quickly, a short term loan may help provide the necessary financial relief.

2. Large Expenses

Long term loans are suitable for significant investments or expenses that require larger loan amounts. Examples include purchasing a home, financing higher education, or starting a business. The longer repayment period allows you to spread out the payments over several years, making the expense more manageable.

3. Planned Expenses

If you have a planned expense that requires long term financial commitment, like a major renovation, a long term loan may be more appropriate. It allows you to budget the expense over a longer period, making it potentially more affordable and manageable.

Final Considerations

When choosing between short term and long term loans, it's important to assess the loan terms, charges, and your ability to repay the loan comfortably. Consider your financial goals, the urgency of the expense, and the impact on your overall financial situation. Evaluate the total cost of the loan, including interest payments, and ensure that the loan aligns with your long term financial plans.

Remember, responsible borrowing involves borrowing only what you can afford and understanding the implications of the loan on your financial well-being. It's always advisable to compare different types of loans, terms, and interest rates from multiple lenders to make an informed decision that best suits your needs.

Person blowing on hot coffee looking into long term personal loans.


Overall, short term and long term personal loans serve different purposes and cater to different financial needs. Short term loans may offer quick access to smaller amounts but generally require higher minimum payments and have shorter repayment periods. Long term loans, on the other hand, provide borrowers with longer repayment periods, but may require lower minimum payments. They may also offer larger loan amounts but result in higher overall interest payments.

Understanding the differences between these loan types enables individuals to make informed decisions based on their financial goals and circumstances. It’s recommended to evaluate the loan terms, interest rates, repayment capabilities, and overall financial situation before choosing between short term and long term personal loans.

Disclaimer: This page provides general information only and does not constitute financial, legal or other professional advice. For full details, see Fora’s Terms of Use.