Installment Loans vs. Revolving Credit: Main Differences

Camino Financial10 Jan 2024
Installment Loans vs. Revolving Credit: Main Differences
Understanding the differences between revolving credit and installment credit is important for anyone who needs to borrow money, whether from a financial institution or another source. Read on to learn more about these credit account types so that you can become aware of the unique features of each as well as what sets them apart from one another.
Table of Contents
1. Revolving and installment credit: main features
2. Differences between installment and revolving credit
3. Installment credit: everything you need to know about
4. Revolving credit: everything you need to know about
5. Installment vs. revolving: which one should I choose?
6. Frequently asked questions

Revolving And Installment Credit: Main Features

venn diagram comparing installment loans and revolving credit Apply For A Business Installment Loan!

Differences Between Installment Credit vs. Revolving Credit

Installment Credit Offers Lower Interest Rates Than Revolving Credit Lines

It turns out that the increased security and predictability for the lender translates to more affordable prices for the borrower when it comes to installment loans. If you want to pay the lowest interest rate on a fixed amount, an installment loan may be your smartest option.

Installment Credit Tends To Feature Stricter Requirements

Installment loans tend to have a set of requirements that borrowers must meet to get the lump sum of cash in the first place. Common examples include mandating that borrowing exceed a certain monthly income level, have a long credit and income history, and keep their outstanding debt below a preset limit relative to income. That said, revolving credit also has strict requirements, but because amounts are usually lower, requirements are also lower.

Revolving Credit Is More Unpredictable Than Installment Loans

Installment loans give borrowers a fixed amount of money with a detailed payback schedule that includes an end date for the loan. Revolving credit, on the other hand, is borrow-as-you-go. Borrowers have an overall cap on how much they can borrow at one time but are otherwise free to take as much or as little money as they need and pay interest only on what they borrowed. This means payments are never the same (and rates tend to be variable) and are very hard to budget around.

Everything You Need To Know About Installment Credit

What Is An Installment Credit?

Installment credit is a common type of loan consumers can use to cover large purchases. Instead of allowing the borrower to spend and pay back indefinitely, these credit accounts have a projected end date in the loan's terms. Usually, it is repaid in regular monthly installments. Examples of installment credit include:
  • business loans
  • auto loans
  • student loans
  • mortgages
Installment loans can be challenging to apply for and qualify for, depending on the product type and the money requested. But at Camino Financial, we have easy-to-meet requirements.

How Do Installment Loans Work?

When you qualify, you receive a lump sum of money, which you must pay in several payments, with interest added.


If a consumer qualifies for a $200,000 mortgage loan, the lender will require monthly installments of approximately $1,000 plus interest for the next thirty years. Once the borrower pays off the debt in full, they also pay off the used property (although not all installment loans require collateral).

Pros And Cons Of Using Installment Loans


  • Reliable payment schedule
  • Usually, reasonable interest rates
  • Installments are usually fixed


  • If you are unable or unwilling to keep up with payments, it could lead to damaged credit.
  • Early repayment or late payments incur fees.
  • Defaulting results in the loss of the property purchased (for mortgages and auto loans).

How Do Installment Loans Affect My Credit Score?

An installment loan can affect your credit score, both positively and negatively.
  • It will improve if you make timely payments and also after you've met the terms of your loan and paid off the balance.
  • On the other hand, missed payments, late fees, or defaulting on this type of loan can lead to incredible drops in your credit score, which can be incredibly difficult to remedy later.
This, of course, depends on the lender. To explore borrowing opportunities, apply for a Camino Financial business loan. Apply For A Business Loan!

Everything You Need To Know About Revolving Credit

What Is A Revolving Credit?

Revolving credit refers to a type of credit that consumers can repeatedly use so long as they continue supplying funds to the account after using the money in it. With this type of credit, you receive a certain amount of money and can continue to use it and pay it back. Two popular types of revolving credit accounts are:
  • credit cards
  • lines of credit

How Does Revolving Credit Work?

This type of loan allows you to borrow money up to a specific limit and pay it back over time. Most types of revolving credit have a similar application process, where a consumer applies for an account, and based on that person's credit history and income, a lender determines their credit limit. Most accounts require a minimum payment, and the amount used incurs an interest charge. Revolving credit card debt occurs when you make charges on your card regularly without paying off the entire balance all at once.
#DidYouKnow In terms of calculating your credit utilization ratio, revolving credit plays an essential role because it’s considered one of the most important factors in measuring your financial standing and ability to manage debt responsibly.


A consumer with a $1,000 credit card can repeatedly use any fraction of that sum. They can use $200, pay back $200, and still have $1,000 in the account to use again. Funds will be available to borrow as long as the borrower makes regular payments and doesn't reach the account's limit.

Pros And Cons Of Using Revolving Credit


  • The funds are available for repeat use if you pay off the balance.
  • Interest charges only apply to the money used.
  • You can use small revolving accounts to build credit.


  • Interest rates are usually high and many times variable.
  • Payments are never fixed.
  • Refinancing this type of account isn't always an option.
  • Interest charges can make paying the balance difficult.

How Does Revolving Credit Affect My Credit Score?

Your credit score will increase if you make consistent payments (payment history) and regularly eliminate your balance. However, continuous rollover debt, late payments, or reaching your credit limit can cause your credit score to drop.

Installment Debt vs. Revolving Debt: Which One Should I Choose?

Choosing between installment credit vs. revolving credit doesn't come with a concrete answer. When deciding, the most significant factor is how you want to make payments. In general, installment debt is a better option for long-term expenses. The main benefit of an installment loan is that it's easier to budget and manage your finances. With an installment loan, you make consistent payments that depend on your repayment period and the size of your loan. You know exactly what your monthly payments are and the payoff date. On the other hand, with a revolving credit account, you make payments based on the amount you spend, and there's no set repayment schedule. This makes it harder to budget or plan around payments. It's also important to consider what you want to use the capital for. A good example of where installment credit is ideal is when you use it for a single large purchase. Revolving credit can be good for building credit or covering occasional emergencies. If you're looking for an installment loan to cover a significant expense, consider Camino Financial. Our loans can provide from $10,000 to $50,000 of funding with fixed interest rates and monthly payments. Apply now!


Are installment loans revolving credit?

Instalment loans are not revolving credit. Revolving credit is a loan where the borrower continually has access to an agreed-upon amount and can use it multiple times throughout the loan. The critical difference between revolving vs. installment credit is the repayment structure. An installment loan, however, is a one-time lump sum payment with fixed repayment terms with payments due on a predetermined schedule over a specific period.

Is it a mortgage installment or revolving?

A mortgage is an installment loan, meaning that a borrower pays back the loan over time in fixed payments.

Is a credit card an installment or revolving credit?

A credit card can function as either an installment or revolving debt. An installment plan requires a borrower to make regular, fixed payments until you pay off the balance in full. Conversely, with revolving debt, the borrower can access a line of credit and only needs to pay back the portion they use during each billing cycle.

Is it a small business loan installment or revolving?

A small business loan is typically an installment loan, although some lenders may offer revolving credit lines.

Is it a payday loan installment or revolving?

A payday loan can be either a revolving or an installment loan, depending on what type of lender you work with. If you take out a payday loan from an online lender, the loan is usually structured as a revolving line of credit.

Are personal loans installment or revolving?

Personal loans are usually classified as installment loans. This means the loan has a set amount, an agreed-upon repayment schedule, and a fixed or variable interest rate.

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