RE: Loans or investment which should be first
I don't know if you have similar products, one thing I did was invest in low-volatility securities, income funds, to park my savings. This way I would still earn interest. Then, my broker allows borrowing up to 50% of the value of my investment via margin loans. In this way, I can grow my savings, which also results in growing my credit. The margin interest is lower than bank loans. And the margin loan does not have to be paid back on a fixed schedule.
The reason I chose a bond fund rather than exciting stocks was to lower the risk of a margin call. If I wanted some upside exposure, I might consider adding 10% in stocks. But I'd have to rebalance the allocation periodically to reduce my margin risk.
In other words, you can have both.