Often, loans are for larger amounts or longer durations. This term is also readily used for real estate financing.
But what really distinguishes a loan from a consumer loan?
In Swiss law, the loan contract, like the consumer credit contract, is regulated by the Code of Obligations or the corresponding decrees. The loan as a special case of borrowing can be granted against payment (against the payment of interest) or free of charge (without interest).
Generally, a loan consists of the payment of a sum of money with an obligation to repay it, but other goods (eg securities or new mass-produced goods) can also be used. the subject of a loan. In the case of private individuals, a loan only earns interest when it has been agreed upon. In the commercial sector, however, it must be assumed that interest is always due. It is also possible to take out a loan with no fixed term. Such a loan must be repaid within six weeks of the first invitation to pay.
Consumer credits are a special form of financing
Not only loans but also payment periods and other financial aid are considered as such, which also include leasing contracts or the use of credit cards and customer cards. A characteristic of the consumer credit contract is that the lender grants these consumer credits in a professional manner (within the framework of the exercise of commercial activity) and that the consumers – that is to say, only natural persons – conclude these credits for purposes which cannot be linked to a professional or commercial activity.
Even if the above conditions are met, we are not in the presence of consumer credit in the following cases:
- Credits guaranteed by real estate pledge (mortgages)
- Credits covered by sufficient assets (pledge loans)
- Interest-free loans
- Credits of less than 500 francs or more than 80,000 francs
- Credits to be repaid within three months
The provisions of the Federal Law on Consumer Credit and the mandatory provisions it contains, as well as the regulations aimed at preventing consumer over-indebtedness apply for consumer credit.
In summary, it appears that the loan contract and the consumer credit contract are not opposing legal terms. A loan can thus be qualified as a consumer credit contract insofar as the legal conditions mentioned above are met.