Please note: High-cost short-term credit is unsuitable for sustained borrowing over long periods and would be expensive as a means of longer-term borrowing.
We can’t always predict what’s around the corner, and sometimes unexpected costs like a broken-down car can leave us short until payday. If you’ve found yourself in this kind of situation and need to borrow money, a short term loan is one way to bridge the gap. Unfortunately, while these loans are fast and convenient, they’re also extremely expensive.
We compare payday/short-term loans from
How do 1 month loans work?
A number of specialist lenders (such as those listed above) offer fast, easy but very expensive loans online. Companies like Wonga, with fairly relaxed eligibility criteria, made their names offering this service to people who might struggle to get credit elsewhere.
Applying for and receiving your loan can take as little as a few minutes – it’s scarily convenient. When you apply or a one month loan, the lender will run affordability and credit checks to make a decision on whether or not to formally offer you the loan. The lenders aren’t expecting perfect credit histories by any means – but they must be careful to only lend responsibly. In other words, they’ll need to be sure that your regular income and outgoings would make the repayment manageable. You may find that the lender is willing to lend to you, but is only willing to lend a smaller sum than you’d initially hoped for.
In most cases, you’ll make a single repayment at the end of the month – on or just after your payday, using something called a “continuous payment authority” (in other words you won’t need to log-in and make a payment – the funds will be automatically transferred from your account on a pre-agreed date). You’ll pay back the original sum you borrowed, plus a hefty chunk of interest on top.
Ok, so how expensive is “expensive”?
High cost short term credit is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which states that borrowers should never be charged more than 0.8% interest each day. Unfortunately, most lenders have opted to set their rates right on, or fractionally under, this limit.
That means that if you were to borrow £100 for 30 days, then provided you used a legitimate, authorised lender and you paid the loan back on time, you would pay a maximum of £24 in interest. £200 borrowed over 30 days would cost a maximum of £48 in interest, and so on.
You can use the one month loan calculator above to get estimates of the overall cost.
Am I eligible?
Most lenders in this space aren’t looking for flawless credit records, but you will need to meet the following criteria:
- You’ll need to be 18 or over.
- You’ll need to be a UK resident.
- You’ll need to have a UK bank account with a debit card
- You’ll need to have an email address and a mobile.
- You’ll need to be able to afford the loan – so you’ll need a verifiable source of regular income.
What are the pros and cons of 1 month loans?
- They’re fast.
One of the major selling points of a one month payday/short-term loan is how quickly you can access your cash. As well as generally giving quick decisions on your loan, providers are often able to transfer funds the same day, with some transferring your loan in just a few minutes.
- They’re easier to get approved for.
It is often easier to get approved for a small short-term loan from a specialist lender than a large and long personal loan, or a credit card, from a bank. Some lenders specialise in providing loans to those with poor credit, by focusing on affordability rather than credit scores.
- They’re really expensive.
One month payday/short-term loans typically have very high interest rates compared to other forms of credit. If you can repay earlier than planned, you can usually reduce the amount you pay in interest.
- There are some fairly predatory lenders out there.
You can check if the lender you’re considering is authorised and regulated by the FCA by searching its register. Even the legit lenders can be predatory however – it’s in their interests to keep customers coming back for more.
Do I have alternative options?
You more than likely do. In fact we’ve written an article looking at payday loan alternatives.
First off, you should only use payday loans as a last resort – don’t take out a payday loan if it’s not for a truly essential expense.
Borrowing from friends or family can be awkward but it’s invariably a cheaper option.
If the expense is big, one-off bill, then you might also be able to come to an arrangement with the company billing you – it’s often worth a quick call to the customer service department to see if a payment plan would be an option.
An authorised overdraft will usually work out cheaper – so you could contact your bank and ask them for this facility (or if you already have the facility, you could ask for a limit increase). You do have to be careful with overdrafts however – they often involve fairly high interest rates and because there’s no deadline involved, if you end up paying off your borrowing over several months, the costs could soon spiral.
Frequently asked questions
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