What is
a line
of credit?

What is a Line of Credit?

A Flexible Credit Account, anytime you need it.

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A line of credit is a financial account that offers you the option of borrowing money up to a certain limit. You can take out loans, or cash advances, when you need them, and use the money for any personal, family or household expense.

If you have cash flow needs that will change over time, a line of credit may help you accomplish your financial goals. So, what is a line of credit, and how do you get one? Learn the key features of a line of credit, how it compares to other types of debt and how it could benefit you.

How does a line of credit work?

A line of credit is a form of revolving credit that lets a borrower access the funds on demand, up to specific limit. Unlike an installment or payday loan, you can open a line of credit without immediately borrowing money. When the need arises, you can take a draw from your line of credit up to the max amount. Typically, you’ll only pay interest or fees on the amount you borrow, not the unused credit limit. And as you pay down your balance, you can borrow against your credit line again without having to reapply for a new account.

Applying for a line of credit is similar to the process of applying for a loan. You’ll start by providing information to a credit union, bank, or online lender. The financial institution typically performs a credit check and evaluates your creditworthiness to determine your rate and how much you can borrow.

What else should you know about a line of credit?

Lines of credit can be secured or unsecured. A secured line of credit requires you to put up collateral, such as the mortgage on your house with a home equity line of credit (HELOC). As a result, secured lines of credit tend to have lower interest rates than unsecured lines of credit.

Elastic is an unsecured line of credit, which can be applied for even if you don't have equity in a home to secure a line of credit. Instead of charging an interest rate, Elastic is structured with just two fees: one for requesting a Cash Advance and one for having a Carried Balance from one month to the next.1

Is a line of credit a good idea?

Personal lines of credit can be a good option when you don’t know exactly how much money you want to borrow and can also be used for unexpected expenses. In these cases, a line of credit gives you the flexibility to take out money as needed but avoid paying interest or fees until you actually borrow the money.

A good example is a home repair project. You may want to tackle things in stages over a period of time, giving you time to find good deals on supplies and labor costs. If you’re able to make a lot of progress in one month but are limited by your monthly income and savings account, you can tap into your line of credit to go ahead and make those purchases. Then, when you get paid again, you can pay off those draws or carry a balance and pay off your outstanding balance a little more slowly.

What is the difference between a loan and a line of credit?

Loans are usually for a fixed amount and term, and sometimes for a particular purchase, though there are personal loans available that are for a fixed amount but without a stipulation about how you'll spend the money.

A line of credit gives you the option of applying for credit without knowing the exact amount or reason you may need to borrow at the time you apply. You could have a line of available credit open for months before using it, then get funds quickly when you need them.

What are some of the pros and cons of a personal line of credit?

A line of credit can have several benefits, including:

    • Quick access to cash. With an Elastic line of credit, you can often have the money in your checking account within one business day.2
    • Flexibility. Rather than having to know exactly how and when you'll spend the money, a line of credit flexes with your cash flow needs.
    • Control over fees. Only pay fees on the amount you borrow. With Elastic you pay a Cash Advance Fee for every draw you request and a Carried Balance Fee if you carry a balance from one billing cycle to the next.1

The potential downsides of a line of credit include:

    • Additional fees. In addition to the interest rate on the amount borrowed for some lines of credit, you may also pay a fee when you request an advance or carry a balance over time.
    • Higher interest rates. Secured loans or lines of credit typically have lower interest rates.
    • Credit report required. Depending on the lender, you’ll likely need some credit history and at least a fair credit score in order to be approved for a line of credit.

How to apply for an Elastic line of credit

A variety of factors can affect your ability to get a personal loan or a line of credit but applying for an Elastic line of credit is very fast and easy. You may be eligible for an Elastic Account if you meet the following criteria:

    • You're at least 18 years old
    • You’re not a Covered Borrower under the Military Lending Act at the time of the application
    • You reside in a state where we offer Elastic
    • You have a regular source of income or benefits
    • You have an active Checking Account
    • You provide information required to verify your identity
    • You provide a valid email address and consent to receive electronic disclosures
    • You meet our credit underwriting standards
    • You agree to the Terms and Conditions

Next, you can submit an application online. Often, you’ll know within minutes or even seconds if you’ve been approved for an Elastic line of credit.1

What does “pre-selected” mean?

If you have received a pre-selected offer for an Elastic line of credit, please note “pre-selected” means you have met our initial selection criteria to qualify for this offer of credit. When you respond to this offer of credit, we will confirm that you continue to satisfy the pre-selection criteria, including income requirements. We will also verify your email address and identity, which may include a confirmation of your Checking Account activity.

What will an Elastic line of credit cost?

Elastic doesn’t charge interest like other traditional credit products. Rather, you pay a Cash Advance Fee of 5% or 10% for every Cash Advance you request, depending on your Billing Cycle. We understand you may need more than one Billing Cycle to pay your Balance. If you choose to pay your Balance over time, you are required to pay a portion of your Balance each Billing Cycle. Additionally, for each Billing Cycle that you have a Carried Balance of over $10, you will be charged a Carried Balance Fee ranging from $5 – $350. Please review the Terms and Conditions for details on the Cash Advance Fee and Carried Balance Fee.

Elastic: The flexibility of a cash line of credit

There are many circumstances when having secured lines of credit, home equity lines of credits, or unsecured loans are the right call. However, when you have unpredictable cash flow needs or sporadic bills to pay, a line of credit can offer you short-term cash advances to handle the ups and downs of your expenses.

Line of Credit FAQs

How do payments work on the Elastic line of credit?

With Elastic, you have several payment options. It's easy to make your payments electronically through Elastic.com. You may make payments biweekly, monthly, or semi-monthly, depending on your identified pay frequency in your application. See the Terms and Conditions for additional information at www.Elastic.com/Terms-And-Conditions.

How is a cash advance credit line different from a credit card cash advance?

A line of credit is a bank product that gives you the ability to request cash advances up to a certain limit. In other words, a cash advance is a feature of the loan — not the standalone product. There are some similarities between cash advance credit lines and using your credit card for a cash advance:

    • Both have a credit limit, which is the maximum amount you can borrow at one time.
    • They are both revolving accounts. As you pay down your balance, you can reuse that portion of your credit line or credit card.
    • In both cases, when you take out cash, you may have to pay an upfront fee, often a percentage of the amount you borrow.

There are also differences to consider:

    • The limit with a line of credit may be higher than a credit card’s cash advance limit, which is often just a portion of the card’s overall credit limit.
    • Credit cards may have lower minimum monthly payments. Depending on the amount you borrow, if you only make the required payments, it could take years to pay off the credit card cash advance.
    • Getting a cash advance from your credit card account is often as easy as using the nearest ATM; however, the card issuer or ATM owner may charge cardholders an additional transaction fee. Applying for a line of credit can take a few days up front, but once you’ve been approved the lender will typically transfer funds to your account as soon as the next day after each cash advance request.

You can read more about Elastic’s cash advance credit line to learn more.

1 We will charge a 5% or 10% Cash Advance Fee, depending on your Billing Cycle, for each Cash Advance you request. We will deduct the Cash Advance Fee from the amount of the Cash Advance you request, and deliver only the Elastic Cash amount to you. You are required to pay a portion of your Balance each Billing Cycle, and if you have a Carried Balance of greater than $10, a Carried Balance Fee of $5-$350 will apply. See the Terms and Conditions for additional information at www.Elastic.com/Terms-And-Conditions.

2 Cash Advances requested by 5:00 p.m. ET are typically made available to your bank the next Business Day if you elect to receive your Cash Advance by direct deposit, or mailed within 2 Business Days if you elect to receive your Cash Advance by a check in the mail. Consult with your bank for information on when funds will be available.