Consumers find personal loans confusing and struggle to choose the right one, according to a new Economic Social and Research Institute report. 

The report on personal loan choices said that consumers find it difficult to understand how the length of a loan affects the size of monthly repayments and the overall amount it costs to borrow. 

The economic think-tank said this was leading to consumers making inconsistent choices.

The report also examined whether consumers' decisions were affected by which information was made clear in the offer.

The results showed consumers chose to pay the loan back over a longer period when the size of the monthly repayments was highlighted rather than the overall financial cost.

The ESRI said that in some cases this equated to thousands of euro over the course of a loan.