Unsecured notes are loans without collateral (such collateral is for example guarantee, cession of receivables, mortgage, pledge or deposit). As such, an unsecured note would be eligible for repayment after the liquidation. Their repayment depends on interest on the loan. Interest is a fixed fee that must be paid, otherwise the company must be forced to liquidate.
Together with debentures and convertible notes make up the issue of securities (A. Mills, W. Woodford, p. 35).
Unsecured Promissory Note
A promissory note is a note signed by the debtor, who promises to pay the claimant the amount of money within a specified period. Signed promissory note is a confirmation by the debtor in writing that he is owed a certain amount of money. This makes it difficult for the debtor to question fees or services rendered (C. Frischer, p. 125).
An unsecured promissory note is a legal document that documents the promise of a future payment. It's best to use this document in the case of memorializing simple business or personal loans.
It doesn't give the lender rights and power, which gives him a secured promissory note (K. Thomas, p. 209). However, taking an unsecured note is better than none (C. Frischer, p. 125).
Determinants of unsecured loans
Factors determining participation in the unsecured loans market are, among others:
- positive financial prospects;
- housing tenure.
Regressions explaining the level of borrowing of individuals suggest that income is the main variable explaining cross-sectional differences in unsecured debts.
The increase in aggregate unsecured debt doesn't seem to be closely related to changes in the debt market conditions and was mainly related to larger amounts borrowed by indebted persons. Income growth, better educational qualifications and better financial outlook have contributed to this result. Most of the overall increase in unsecured debt is not explained by variables at the individual level, but is due to common, unmodified macroeconomic factors (A. Del-Rio, G. Young).
Examples of Unsecured Note
- Credit cards: Credit cards are unsecured loans that do not require any collateral. This type of loan does not require a co-signer or a guarantor. Instead, the credit card company will usually extend a line of credit to the cardholder based on their credit score. The interest rate on this type of loan is typically higher than other types of loans, as the credit card company takes on more risk by not requiring any form of collateral.
- Personal loans: Personal loans are typically unsecured loans that do not require any form of collateral. This type of loan is often used for consolidating debt, financing large purchases, or even paying for a wedding or honeymoon. The interest rate on personal loans can vary depending on the borrower’s credit history and other factors.
- Business loans: Business loans are typically unsecured loans that do not require any form of collateral. This type of loan is often used to finance the start-up or expansion of a business. The interest rate on business loans can vary depending on the borrower’s credit history and other factors.
Advantages of Unsecured Note
Unsecured notes offer several advantages to the issuer and the investor. They include:
- Lower Cost: Unsecured notes generally have a lower cost than secured notes because they do not require the issuer to pledge collateral. This allows the issuer to save on costs associated with providing collateral, such as legal fees and appraisal fees.
- Flexibility: Unsecured notes are more flexible than secured notes as they do not require the issuer to pledge collateral. This means that the issuer can use the money to finance its business without having to worry about providing collateral.
- Lower Risk: Unsecured notes are generally considered to be lower risk than secured notes because the issuer does not have to pledge collateral. This means that if the issuer defaults on the loan, the investor does not have to worry about the collateral being seized.
- Quicker Processing: Unsecured notes typically process quicker than secured notes due to the lack of collateral. This means that the issuer can receive the money faster and use it to finance its operations.
Limitations of Unsecured Note
Unsecured notes have several limitations:
- Higher Risk: Unsecured notes are not backed by any collateral, making them more risky for the lender. The lender has no recourse to any asset if the borrower defaults on the loan.
- Lower Interest Rates: Since unsecured notes are more risky, lenders often charge higher interest rates to compensate for the risk.
- Lower Loan Amounts: Lenders may limit the amount of the loan they are willing to provide due to the higher risk.
- Difficulty Securing Funds: If the borrower has a poor credit rating, it may be difficult to secure an unsecured note from a lender.
- Unpredictable Repayment: Unsecured notes often have variable repayment terms, making it difficult to predict when the loan will be paid off.
One approach to unsecured notes is to issue longer-term debt instruments such as bonds. Bonds are typically issued with a set maturity date and interest rate, and can be sold to investors in the secondary market. Another approach is to issue private placements, which are typically issued directly to investors and are not publicly traded. Other approaches include issuing convertible notes, which can be converted into equity, and issuing asset-backed securities, which are backed by a pool of assets. Finally, venture debt can be used to finance growth or bridge a company to its next funding round.
In summary, unsecured notes can be issued in a variety of forms, including longer-term debt instruments, private placements, convertible notes, asset-backed securities, and venture debt. Each of these financing options has its own advantages and disadvantages, and should be carefully considered before making a decision.
- Del-Rio A. (2005), The Determinants of Unsecured Borrowing: Evidence from the British Household Panel Survey, "Bank of England Working Paper", No. 263
- Frischer C. (2008), Collections Made Easy: Fast, Efficient, Proven Techniques to Get Cash from Your Customers: Easyread Large Bold Edition, ReadHowYouWant
- Horngren C., Harrison W., Oliver S., Best P., Fraser D., Tan R. (2012), Financial Accounting, Pearson Higher Education AU
- Jones C., Finkler S., Kovner C. (2012), Financial Management for Nurse Managers and Executives, Elsevier Health Sciences
- Mills A., Woodford W. (2015), Company Accounting, Pearson Higher Education AU
- Thomas K. (2010), Ultimate Book of Business and Legal Forms for Startups: 200+ Downloadable Forms and Spreadsheets, Entrepreneur Press
Author: Katarzyna Sieczkowska