Buying on time, or paying for something while you’re using it, was introduced by Isaac Singer in 1856 as a way to sell his sewing machines. At $5 down and $5 a month, the average family could afford a $125 machine—otherwise impossible on a typical $500 annual income. When you need money to buy a car, pay college tuition, fix up your home, or for anything else that requires an immediate cash outlay, you are often able to borrow the amount from a lender such as a bank or a credit union. If you know how different types of loans work and the particular features they offer, you will be in a better position to look for the one that will be best suited for you. In some ways, of course, all loans are alike. You borrow money, called the principal, and agree to pay it back over a specific term, or length of time, with interest. But the conditions of the loan can affect how much you can borrow and how much the loan will cost you. Some common conditions include: Paying in installments or in a lump sum, whether the interest charged is fixed or adjustable or whether   Read more…