Overdraft Vs Personal Loan: Which Is Better For Short- And Long-Term Needs?

Overdraft Vs Personal Loan: Both overdrafts and personal loans have their merits, and your choice between a personal loan and an overdraft facility should be based on your expenses and the financial goals you aim to achieve
A Stack Of Coins
A Stack Of Coins

In the financial landscape, individuals often face a crucial decision when they need funds for various purposes, whether it’s for the short term or the long term. There are two common options for securing funds – an overdraft (OD) facility and a personal loan. Both have their advantages, but determining which one suits your specific needs is essential.  

Let’s delve into this financial dilemma to help you make an informed decision.  


An overdraft facility is a financial product where your bank extends you a line of credit linked to your account. It allows you to withdraw more money than you have in your account, up to a predetermined limit. OD facilities are often favoured for their flexibility and quick access to funds.  

Personal Loans

A personal loan is a lump sum loan offered by banks and financial institutions. It comes with a fixed rate of interest, a specified repayment period, and a predefined equated monthly instalment (EMI) schedule.

Personal Loans Vs Overdraft Facilities

Here are the major differences between personal loans and overdraft facilities.

Availability: When obtaining a personal loan, you need to provide the necessary documents during the application process. You receive the loan amount in your account and repay it over a set period. To apply for another personal loan, you will have to start the process again from scratch. In contrast, with an overdraft facility, once approved, you can withdraw the available amount at any time.

Rate Of Interest: Personal loans come with a predetermined rate of interest applied to the loan amount once sanctioned.  

In the case of an overdraft facility, if you don’t withdraw any funds, no interest will be charged.  

“However, overdrafts usually have a higher rate of interest compared to personal loans,” says Adhil Shetty, CEO, BankBazaar.com, a financial services website.  

Modification In Credit Limit: With a personal loan, you agree on a fixed loan amount with the lender, and this amount cannot be modified once sanctioned. On the other hand, with an overdraft facility, you can withdraw varying amounts based on your needs.

Tenure: Personal loan repayment tenures can extend up to five or seven years, depending on several factors. In contrast, the repayment tenure for an overdraft facility is typically shorter, usually a fortnight or a month or some months.

Mode Of Repayment: Personal loan repayment is structured through EMIs or a format defined by the lender. With an overdraft facility, repayment is more flexible and at the discretion of the account holder.

Prepayment Charges: If you decide to repay a personal loan before the scheduled period, the bank may impose prepayment charges. Usually, there are no prepayment charges for an overdraft facility.

Both these financial products have their merits, and the choice between a personal loan and an overdraft facility will depend on your specific financial needs and goals. As such, you should consider your expenses and financial aspirations before deciding which option aligns better with your specific needs.

Making The Right Choice

The decision between an overdraft and a personal loan will depend on your specific financial situation and needs.

Short-Term Needs: If you require funds for a brief period and can commit to repaying the amount quickly, an overdraft can provide you with the flexibility that you would need.

Long-Term Needs: For larger financial commitments and more extended repayment periods, a personal loan is often the better choice due to its lower rate of interest and structured repayment.

Financial Discipline: Consider your financial discipline. If you are prone to impulsive spending, the structured repayment that a personal loan offers can help you stay on track.

Credit Score: Your credit score will play a crucial role in deciding whether the bank will extend you with an overdraft facility or grant you a personal loan. So, ensure your creditworthiness matches the product you are aiming for.

Whether you choose an overdraft or a personal loan, it’s vital to assess your financial goals, repayment capability, and the specific purpose for which you need the overdraft or the loan. Both options have their merits, and making an informed decision will not only meet your immediate financial needs, but also pave the way for a secured financial future. Remember, financial well-being begins with making informed choices.  

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