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Unsecured Note


An unsecured note is a type of loan that is not backed by the borrower’s assets or collateral. Instead, it solely relies on the borrower’s creditworthiness and ability to repay the loan. As it carries more risk for the lender, the interest rate on such notes is typically higher compared to secured loans.


The phonetics of the keyword “Unsecured Note” is:ʌn-siˈkjuərd noʊt

Key Takeaways

<ol> <li>An unsecured note is a type of loan that is not backed by the borrower’s assets or collateral. It relies solely on the borrower’s promise to repay.</li> <li>Because unsecured notes pose a greater risk to lenders due to the lack of collateral, they typically come with higher interest rates to compensate for the increased risk.</li> <li>Unsecured notes can be more challenging to qualify for as they generally require the borrower to have a high credit score. They may also be subject to more stringent approval processes.</li></ol>


An unsecured note is an important term in business/finance as it refers to a loan that is not protected by an underlying asset or collateral, thus presenting a higher risk to the lender. In case of default, investors or creditors do not have a claim on any specific asset of the borrower. This means the lender must rely heavily on the borrower’s creditworthiness and promise to repay. As a result, the issuer of the unsecured note tends to have a good credit rating, high reliability, and solid profitability. This is critical in terms of increased risk for lenders, often leading to higher interest rates for borrowers, and typically indicates the borrower’s strong creditworthiness. This can impact loan approval rates, borrowing costs, and overall market liquidity and efficiency.


Unsecured notes play a significant role in the business and financial world as they operate as lending methods that do not require any collateral or security from the borrower. They primarily serve the purpose of providing an avenue for companies to raise capital to fund various operations or pursue different investments. An unsecured note is an attractive option for businesses due to the speed at which funds can become available, as it avoids the lengthy asset evaluation process needed for secured loans. Thus, companies may use unsecured notes to finance short-term liquidity needs such as working capital, inventory purchases, or bridge financing.These notes, however, do come with risk for the lender since they are not secured by any collateral. Therefore, the interest rate on these notes is generally higher to compensate for the increased risk. The issuer’s creditworthiness is a key factor in determining the interest rate, along with the term of the note. Lenders might still consent to provide unsecured loans given a high rate of interest or the borrower’s good credit history. Also, in case of a borrower’s bankruptcy, creditors of unsecured notes rank lower in priority for repayment, receiving payment only after secured creditors have been reimbursed. This underlines the decision-making process of lenders – scrutinizing the creditworthiness of the borrower before granting an unsecured note.


1. Credit Cards: One of the most common examples of unsecured notes are credit cards. When a bank or credit card company issues a credit card, they are essentially providing the cardholder with an unsecured loan. The bank or credit card company does not require any collateral from the cardholder. The cardholder’s promise to pay back what they borrow is based solely on their creditworthiness.2. Personal Loans: Some banks or financial institutions offer personal loans without requiring any collateral. These loans are often used for purposes such as home improvements, consolidating debt or medical expenses. The borrower is simply trusted to meet their repayment obligations based on their financial history and credit score.3. Corporate Bonds: At times, corporations may issue unsecured notes or bonds to raise capital. These notes are backed solely by the full faith and credit of the issuing corporation and not backed by any assets or collateral. In the event of a default, holders of these bonds are considered unsecured creditors and are among the last to receive any remaining funds after secured creditors are paid. An example could be Tesla Inc.’s issuance of $2 billion in convertible senior notes in 2019, which were not backed by any specific assets of the company.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is an unsecured note?

An unsecured note is a loan that is not protected by a collateral or security. In other words, it’s a type of credit extended solely based on the borrower’s credibility and promises to pay.

How do unsecured notes work?

When a lender provides an unsecured note, they do not have direct claims on any specific assets of the borrower if they default on the loan. Instead, they become general creditors and must take a place in line with other general creditors during default.

What is the risk level of unsecured notes?

Unsecured notes are generally considered riskier, because they are not backed by any securities. If the borrower defaults, the note holder often has a lower priority claim on the borrower’s assets than secured note holders do.

Can anyone get an unsecured note?

No, in general, unsecured notes are typically only available to borrowers with high credit ratings or established relationships with the lender. This is due to the high risk associated with unsecured lending.

Are unsecured notes common?

While riskier, unsecured notes are common, often seen in the form of credit cards, personal loans, and student loans. These usually carry a higher interest rate as compared to secured notes.

How are unsecured notes different than secured notes?

The difference lies in their structure. Secured notes are backed by an asset or form of collateral, which the lender takes possession of if the borrower defaults. Unsecured notes, on the other hand, do not involve collateral, making them riskier for the lender.

Can interest rates of unsecured notes change over time?

Yes, unsecured notes may come with fixed or variable interest rates depending on the terms of the agreement. This could potentially lead to changes in the interest rate over time.

What happens if I default on an unsecured note?

Defaulting on an unsecured note will adversely affect your credit score and history. The lender may also take legal action to recoup their funds, including wage garnishment or property liens, after obtaining a court judgment.

Are there potential benefits to unsecured notes?

Yes, unsecured notes often offer fast approval processes and lower upfront costs, making them attractive for borrowers who need quick access to funds and do not have or want to put up collateral.

What is the repayment period for unsecured notes?

Repayment periods for unsecured notes vary widely and are typically stated in the loan agreement. This could range from a few months to several years.

Related Finance Terms

  • Principal Amount: The original sum of money borrowed in a loan, or invested, separate from any interest or fees.
  • Interest Rate: The proportion of a loan that is charged as interest to the borrower, typically expressed as an annual percentage of the loan outstanding.
  • Credit Risk: The risk of default on a debt that may arise from a borrower failing to make required payments.
  • Debt Maturity: The time at which the issuer of a debt promises to repay the principal to the investor.
  • Default: The failure to pay interest or principal on a loan or security when due.

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