Home > Personal Loans > Can I Get a Loan to Buy a New Computer?

Comments 0 Comments
Advertiser Disclosure


A new computer, for as low as $24 a month! That might sound like a steal, but — as with any type of financing — make sure you do the math, and research your options.

It may be tempting to buy a new PC in August, particularly with back-to-school sales. Even if you don’t need a new laptop for the college classroom, there’s the new version of Windows 10 to consider, along with a host of thinner, faster and more powerful machines.

The latest technology can cost you, however. Maybe you don’t have $1,000-$2,500 to plunk down on a tricked-out machine. But you probably won’t be surprised that many PC sellers will front the money so you can get the gadget of your dreams.

Borrowing money for a new computer can be a challenging, however. There are literally dozens of options, but if you aren’t careful, you could end up paying two or three times the value of the machine by the time you’re done with payments — and you might be making those payments long after your new machine becomes old and out of date. So here’s a look at some laptop financing offers, and how much they can cost you over time.

Crunching the Numbers

At Dell, all purchases come with an offer for Dell financing. Here’s one example: An $800 desktop comes with the option “or as low as $24 a month.” Take a closer look, using Dell’s payment chart, and you’ll see that $24 monthly payments mean that $800 PC will take nine years to pay off and ultimately cost $2,170. Why? The interest rate is 29.99%. In another example, a $3,000 PC, with a $90 monthly payment, would take 30 years to pay off and cost $14,734. Pay a little extra each month — just $50 more — and that $3,000 PC will cost $4,886 and be paid off in five years. The mathematics of a minimum payment can be eye-opening.

Apple Macbook buyers have two financing options, each with their own drawbacks and benefits. A shopper who picks a $1,200 Macbook Air will also see the message, “From only $57.57 for 24 months.” Getting that deal involves applying for PayPal Credit, which comes with a 12.99% interest rate. (Note that if you use PayPal Credit for any other purchases, the rate is 19.99%.) Buyers can pay $57.57 per month for a total of $1,381. Or $210 a month for a total of $1,257. Those terms aren’t bad at all, but remember, you’ll now have a PayPal Credit account you may or may not want.

Apple’s other offer involves opening a Visa credit card offered by Barclays. The benefits are obvious. There’s a deferred interest option — you’d have 18 months to pay off the purchase and pay no interest. And you also earn points that can be used toward Apple product purchases. But this offer has a few potential “gotchas.” Like most credit cards, the interest rate can range from 13.99% to 26.99% — consumers won’t know which rate they’ll get until they apply. And if you fail to pay the entire balance within the promotional period, or make a single late payment, all that interest will be applied to your account. In other words, a no-interest deal could quickly cost you $100 or $200 in interest if you don’t follow the rules.

Retailers like Best Buy have their own credit deals you can use to fund laptop purchases. Amazon.com offers its own deferred interest plan — 12 months long, if your purchase exceeds $599. The rate on Amazon’s card was 25.99% at the end of July.

Finally, you can rent computers, too, or rent to buy them. Rent-A-Center offers many makes and models, and here’s how they pencil out. A Toshiba 2-in-1 laptop that’s for sale at Best Buy for $249 cost $26 per week (not per month) at Rent-A-Center when I checked. Renters have the option of buying the gadget for a total of 65 payments — $1,689 — or $844 if purchased within 90 days.

How to Decide

Bottom line: As with all credit, it is possible to use funding from Dell, Apple or other sellers and get a decent deal, as long as you pay the loan off early and make much more than the minimum payment. Some people use deferred interest responsibly and it works for them. But know that one payment misstep can cost you a whole lot of money.

A personal loan is another option, but do your research and make sure you understand the terms and can meet the obligation. The same goes for low-interest credit cards. Or, you may be better off using your own credit card if you don’t have the cash to buy a computer, and you really need a new one, but the same rules apply there, too. Carry a balance for two or three months? No big deal. Make a habit out of it, and the costs can add up. Keep in mind that these options will require a credit check, and may not be available if you have no or bad credit. You can get a free credit report summary on Credit.com to see where you stand before you apply.

Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.

More Money-Saving Reads:

Image: iStock

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

Credit.com receives compensation for the financial products and services advertised on this site if our users apply for and sign up for any of them.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team