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.
The best UK payday loans of 2023
The best short term loan for you will depend on your circumstances – here are the questions to ask.
Summary: Finder’s best payday loans in the UK
- Lending Stream: Best payday loan for fast transfers
- Drafty: Best no-fuss payday loan
- QuidMarket: Best payday loan for bad credit
- Fund Ourselves: Best for repaying early
Which payday loan is best?
We all experience times in life when we need money quickly, but if possible, it’s best to avoid payday loans. Before you start comparing payday and short term lenders, you should make sure you’ve exhausted other options.
Here’s a handy list which includes obvious suggestions like deferring your expenses or borrowing from friends, but also less obvious ideas like arranging a payment plan with your creditors or requesting an overdraft limit increase.
But if you’ve already considered these and have decided to take out a short term loan, how do you find the best one? Or, with the eye-watering interest rates involved, should that be the least-worst one? We’ve pulled out some picks from the lenders we work with. But generally, the best loan is the cheapest you can get approved for, and you can use our table to compare typical rates.
Best fast turnaround payday loan: Lending Stream
If you need money at extremely short notice, it’s possible to get approved for a loan and funded within minutes. Providers like Lending Stream offer flexible loan amounts, instant decisions, and extremely quick funding, so you can have the money almost immediately, but may not be receiving the best rate available to you.
Finder's pick for when you need cash fast: Lending Stream
- Borrow £50 to £1,500 over 6 months
- Instant decisions in most cases
- Money streamed to your bank in under 90 seconds on approval
Representative example: Borrow £200 for 6 months at a rate of 292% p.a. (fixed). Representative 1,333% APR and total payable £386.61 in 6 monthly payments of £64.44.
Best no fuss payday loan: Drafty
If you need ongoing access to additional funds but want to avoid the hassle of having to apply for a new loan, you could consider flexible revolving credit facilities like Drafty. Instead of borrowing a single lump sum, Drafty will allow you to borrow up to your credit limit as often as you want, as long as your account is in good standing and you are on-top of repayments.
Finder's pick for an automatic line of credit loan: Drafty
- Fast and flexible credit up to £3,000
- No late fees, no early repayment fees
- Find out if you’ll be approved without affecting your credit score
Representative Example: Assumed credit limit: £1200. Representative 96.2% APR (variable). Annual interest rate 69.4% (variable).
Best payday loan for bad credit: QuidMarket
If you have bad credit, it can be hard to get approved for a loan with a traditional lender. However, short term loan companies like QuidMarket are still willing to lend to you even if you have poor credit history, and offer loans up to £1,500 with no additional fees.
Finder's pick for when you have bad credit: QuidMarket
- Fast and flexible loans of £300-£1,500 over 3-6 months
- Applications from bad credit considered
- No application or late repayment fees
Representative example: Borrow £300 for 3 months at a rate of 292% p.a. (fixed). Representative APR 1297.5% and total payable £454.38 in 3 instalments of £151.46.
Best payday loan for repaying early: Fund Ourselves
Most payday lenders let you repay early without penalty, but the best lenders only charge interest on the days you borrow, which is a little different. That means that repaying early offers guaranteed savings, which is pretty handy when you could be paying up to 0.8% interest each day.
Finder's pick for flexibility: Fund Ourselves loans
- Repay early at any point without penalty
- No hidden costs or fees
- Instant decision
Representative example: Borrow £200 for 122 days at a rate of 208% p.a. (fixed). Representative 504.7% APR and total payable £286.62 in 4 monthly payments of £71.71.
Do payday loans ruin your credit?
No, taking out a payday or short term loan will not necessarily ruin your credit score, as long as you repay the loan in full and on time. In fact, if you successfully pay off a short term loan this will demonstrate to lenders that you can be a responsible borrower, which can actually help improve your credit rating.
However, taking out a payday loan that you then fail to repay on time, or applying for multiple payday loans, can have a large negative impact on your credit score. So if you need money quickly, it’s important to make sure you’ll be able to pay off your loan before you apply, as otherwise you may find it even harder to get a loan in future.
What is the best online payday loan?
Almost all payday loan providers offer their loans online, and many will only let you apply for a loan online and not in person. Most payday lenders will also let you apply online in minutes, and generally give you a decision on your application almost instantly, so it’s hard to separate the “best” online payday loan.
Instead, you should look for the payday loan that best suits your financial situation, which generally means the loan that lets you borrow as much as you need, at the best rate, and with favourable repayment terms.
10 ways to find the best payday loan
Here are ten simple questions you can ask while searching for a short term loan:
- What’s the overall cost? Since these loans are far from cheap, the most important thing to consider is usually the total cost of borrowing. The APR of payday loans can be confusing, but lenders must also tell you the projected cost upfront. Look to keep the overall cost as low as possible, while making sure the repayments are affordable for you.
- Is the lender legit? Only borrow money from loan companies authorised and regulated by the FCA (that’s the Financial Conduct Authority). It’s quick and easy to check that the lender you’re considering is in the FCA register.
- Does the lender offer a loan term that suits you? As a general rule, the longer you borrow for, the more a loan will cost. But sometimes it’s necessary to spread repayment of a loan, in order to make each instalment manageable. When you borrow for longer, although it’ll cost more, you’ll usually be able to access better rates. If a payday/short term lender doesn’t offer the length of loan that you’re after, then try another – there are plenty of them in the market.
- Does the lender let you repay on a date that suits you? The best loans allow you to specify the exact date(s) on which you’d like to make a payment. You’ll usually want to align this with when you receive your income. If you get paid weekly, the best loan for you might allow weekly repayments.
- How long does it take to process the loan? Some of the best short term loans ensure that you have access to the approved funds the same day, within hours or even minutes, while others, for example, might not approve and issue loans outside of office hours. If the turnaround time is important to you seek out a lender offering faster loans.
- Are you aware of all the fees? While some of the best short term loans provide quick access to funds, take the time to find out just how much you’ll have to pay in the form of fees. The best short term loan company in this regard is the one that charges the lowest fees. It’s rare to find admin/product fees in this game, but fees for late payments will be anywhere from £0 to £15. Missing a repayment is a terrible idea – you’ll damage your credit record, annoy your lender and find it harder to borrow in future.
- Does the lender accept bad credit applications? If you’re looking for the best bad credit short term loan, take into account that most short term lenders accept applications from individuals who don’t have good credit history. If the lender you’re looking at requires good credit history and you aren’t eligible, you could simply move on to the next.
- Can you save money by repaying early? The best short term loan company should let you repay early at any time, and should only charge you for the days on which you borrow.
- Is there a store network and online presence? Any lender that calls itself the best short term loan company should offer you convenience when it comes to borrowing. This may mean they have a wide network of stores across the country or that they let you apply for and manage your loan online.
- Is it easy to track and manage your loan? Staying on top of your loan is important. If you live on your mobile, then the best lender might offer a decent app for tracking your loan, making payments etc.
Compare short term loan costs
Here are some loan providers you can apply with. Note that the max loan amount is based on the lender’s max amount and will vary based on your state.
What are the pros and cons of short term loans?
- You can get your money quickly. When you’re applying for a short term loan, you can often get your money immediately after approval if you apply in-store, and many online lenders transfer approved funds to your bank account the same day.
- Freedom to use the money as you like. You apply for a short term loan for almost one-off expense.
- Bad credit is OK. Short term loan providers will usually consider applications from people with poor credit histories. They’ll typically focus more on how affordable the loan would be for you.
- Really, really expensive. While interest is capped by the FCA, it’s capped at 0.8% per day. That’s 80p per day for every £100 you borrow. Disappointingly, a large proportion of the lenders operating in this space do simply charge the maximum
- Disreputable lenders. If a short term lender sounds great and is offering rates too good to be true, be sure to find out if they are. Ensure the lender complies with all relevant regulations and that they are operating legally.
- Small loan amounts. If you’re using a new lender for the first time, it’s likely they’ll only offer you a small sum.
Anything that isn’t “the best” with these loans?
Before you apply, ensure that you won’t have problems repaying the loan. If you think you might have trouble, don’t take out the loan. Late or missed payments usually lead to fees and additional interest, and negatively impact your credit profile. Always work the repayment schedule into your budget, and the best loans will remain the best.
Even the best short term loans can end up costing much more than originally anticipated, especially if you don’t repay your loan on time.
Bear in mind that while the best short term loans will give you quick access to the money you need, there are a number of competing short term loan providers vying for your attention, so compare all your options before applying.
Questions you might have asked
We understand that you may be cautious when applying for short term loans. Here are some of the frequent questions our users have asked.
More guides on Finder
Loans like Credio
Credio was a popular source of short-term credit online until the lender stopped issuing loans in 2018.
Sites like cashasap.co.uk
Looking for loans like Cashasap? Check out our list of UK lenders offering similar payday loans and services to Cashasap.
Top reasons for payday loan rejections
Had a payday/short-term loan application declined? Wondering why? We take you through the top reasons payday lenders say “no” plus what to do next.
Compare 6-month short-term loans
If you’re experiencing a financial shortfall, you might be considering a six-month loan. Use our guide to compare loan rates and overall costs from a range of lenders, and to learn more about how short-term loans work.
Sites like Cashfloat
Looking for sites offering similar loans to Cashfloat’s? Browse popular short-term lenders offering a comparable service. Compare rates, fees, eligibility and estimate the total cost of borrowing.
Compare £1,000 short-term loans
Experiencing unexpected costs and considering a £1,000 short-term loan? Use our in-depth guide to compare rates between lenders and to get a fast and simple estimate of costs.
Compare 3-month short-term loans
Sometimes unexpected costs pop up and leave us temporarily short of cash. If you need a helping hand for three months then you might be considering a short-term/payday loan. Use our guide to compare rates and total costs of borrowing from a range of UK lenders and to find out more about how short-term loans work.
Compare £300 short-term loans
It’s not always possible to see what costs are around the corner. If you’ve found yourself £300 short then you might be considering a payday/short-term loan. Use our guide to learn more about payday loans, to compare lenders and to calculate the cost of a £300 loan.
Compare £100 short-term loans
Need £100 to cover an unexpected shortfall? Before taking out a payday/short-term loan it’s smart to compare rates from a range of lenders. Use our fast and simple repayment calculation and learn more about short-term loans.
Can you repay your short term loan early?
Why not repay your payday loan early if you can? Find lenders that let you close your loan early without charging you a penalty or fee.