Written by Spotloan

Backed by a strong economy and low unemployment, U.S. online holiday spending is expected to rise 14.8% this year compared to 2017, while brick-and-mortar retailers should see a 2.7% boost, according to Adobe Analytics.

Clearly, the holiday shopping party is already in full swing. But will you wake up afterwards with a financial hangover? After all, it’s way too easy to get caught up in the spirit of the season. Plus, retailers have extended their sales well beyond Black Friday and Cyber Monday. How can you resist all those great deals?

If you’ve still got gifts to buy but maxed out your credit card and cash is tight, consider a holiday loan. Here are answers to questions you might have about holiday loans.

What’s a holiday loan?

A holiday loan is a personal loan that’s typically between $500 and $5,000, though some start lower and others go higher. Holiday loans have grown in popularity over the past few years. Experian reports that the volume of new loans under $2,500 noticeably increases in November and December, compared to September and October.

A holiday loan usually has a fixed interest rate and a monthly installment repayment plan that lasts from 1 to 5 years. In many cases, you can apply for the loan online without a credit check.

Some financial institutions specifically market holiday loans this time of year. Holiday loans may offer a lower interest rate than is typically offered by a financial institution, such as a credit union or bank.

How quickly can you get a holiday loan?

The answer depends upon the lending institution, the type of loan product you’re applying for, and other factors. In some cases, you can complete the application in about 10 minutes online and, if approved, receive the loan amount in 1 to 2 business days. With other lenders, the approval/funding process can take 3 to 5 business days.

What should you consider when shopping for a holiday loan?

  • How much money you’ll need.  If you haven’t already done so, create an itemized list of holiday gifts and related expenses. Try to attach realistic figures to each item—this will give you, in essence, a holiday budget. Next, consider the financial resources you have available. How much room do you have on your credit cards? How much do you have in savings? Once you know what you’ll need to spend and how much money is readily available, you’ll have a good idea of how much your loan should be.

  • Fees. What are the loan origination or other fees required?

  •  Qualifications. To apply for most holiday loans, you’ll need a job or other regular source of income; a checking or savings account; and valid email address and phone number (as well as a mailing address, in some cases). Also, you must be at least 18 years old.

  • Interest rate. Holiday loan interest rates can vary significantly, depending upon the lender and loan products offered. If you have a credit score of about 680 or higher, you can probably secure a holiday loan with a low interest rate. If you have ‘bad credit,’ don’t worry—you still have options, such as a short-term loan through Spotloan.

Read these posts before you shop for a holiday loan

Before applying for a holiday loan, find out more about your options from the following blog posts and articles:

“Loans for people with ‘bad credit’ (Spotloan, February 2018)

“Paying off debt — where do you start?” (Spotloan, October 2018)

“How to track your credit score” (Spotloan, December 2017)

And while we’re on the subject of shopping, check out “How to get the best deals on Black Friday, Cyber Monday and beyond” (Spotloan, November 2017).