Doorstep loans

They're one of the most controversial forms of high-cost credit around, but do doorstep loans have any redeeming features?

Learn about doorstep loans How doorstep loans work
Alternatives to doorstep loans Compare short-term loans

Warning: Late repayment can cause you serious money problems. For help, go to moneyhelper.org.uk.

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.

Not to put too fine a point on it, doorstep loans don’t have a great rep. So what exactly are they? How do they work? What are their pros and cons? And perhaps more importantly – if they’re best avoided, what are the alternatives?

What is a doorstep loan?

A doorstep loan is a short-term, unsecured personal loan where each transaction – from application, through issuing of funds to loan repayment – takes place on your doorstep. And just to clarify, “on your doorstep” doesn’t refer to your local high street or somewhere just up the road, but literally at the door to your residence.

How do they work?

Most doorstep loan companies let borrowers begin the application process online, but will want to meet face-to-face before – or at least at the point of – issuing funds. Loans are typically for amounts between £100 and £1,000 (but don’t expect to be approved for a £1,000 loan the first time you use a company), take a few days to be issued and are normally repaid in weekly instalments.

Rates are generally fixed (so you’ll know in advance exactly how much the loan will cost overall) but are very high. An agent will visit you to collect the repayments at an agreed time each week until the original sum, plus interest due, has been repaid. Home visits are often sub-contracted to self-employed agents who live in the area.

What to look out for with doorstep loans

Doorstep loans have taken a lot of flack, perhaps because they haven’t been reined in by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the same way that “payday” loans have.

In response to widespread concerns around high-cost, short-term credit, the FCA introduced a raft of measures to protect borrowers, such as a cap on the amount of interest that can be charged by lenders each day, and overall. For some reason however, what the FCA terms “home credit” (which covers doorstep loans) was specifically exempted from these new tighter rulings.

As a result, borrowers that opt for a doorstep loan can still face eye-wateringly high interest rates and loans that can be rolled-over into new, larger loans multiple times, allowing debt to snowball.

Do loans at home do a credit check?

Not all home credit lenders will perform a credit check on you when they offer you a doorstep loan, but many will still do a “hard” credit check when you apply, which will show up on your credit file.

However, doorstep loans are one of a number of financial products that typically serve those with poor credit, and your eligibility may be more a question of what you can afford to borrow, as opposed to how good your credit score is.

While doorstep loans may seem like a good option if you have bad credit, it’s still important that you check your eligibility for other types of credit before committing to a doorstep loan.”

Tom Stelzer, personal finance expert

What are the alternatives?

Doorstep loans can offer a fairly quick fix when you get into difficulty with finances, but should only be considered as a last resort. Before you apply for one, make sure you’ve considered other options. Is the expenditure you’re planning urgent and essential? If you’re struggling to pay a bill for example, you could try talking to your utility provider about a payment plan.

There’s a wealth of free information on alternatives at the government’s moneyadviceservice.org.uk, plus sound advice on managing debt generally.

A couple of options that you might want to consider are listed below. It’s crucial to note however, that this is not an exhaustive list, and focuses more on financial products available to borrowers than on options like borrowing from friends/family or selling off assets.

  • Credit builder credit cards. These credit cards have lower credit limits and higher interest rates than standard credit cards, but come with less-demanding eligibility criteria and are designed to help build/rebuild a positive credit history. In some cases, credit limits can be reviewed in as little as four months. This option is likely to take a little longer to arrange, but could provide a more practical long-term strategy.
  • Guarantor loans. With a guarantor loan, a friend or relative of the borrower promises to repay the loan in the event that the borrower doesn’t. The guarantor will normally need to have a good credit score and a history of repaying debts on time.
  • Logbook loans. Logbook loans must be secured against a vehicle, so if you fail to repay, you’ll lose your car. However, because the lender has a form of security, they are more likely to consider applications from borrowers with bad credit, and to lend larger sums.
  • Online short-term loans. High-cost, short-term credit including “payday” loans has also come under fire, but lenders have been forced to clean up their act following intervention by the FCA. This type of loan now has a maximum interest rate of 0.8% per day, and borrowers must never be asked to pay back more than twice the original sum borrowed. Unlike a doorstep loan, funds are simply transferred to your nominated bank account, and repayments collected automatically on prearranged dates.
  • High street loan shops. High street lenders typically fall into the same category (high-cost, short-term credit) as online payday/short-term lenders, and are subject to many of the same restrictions.

Check before you borrow

If you do decide to take out a loan, whether from a doorstep loan company, an online payday lender, a high street money shop or elsewhere, make sure to check that the lender is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). It only takes a minute to search the register of authorised companies.

Bottom line

Doorstep loans may be a convenient form of borrowing, but can also be very expensive and lack the same level of regulation as other recognised types of loan. Before taking out a doorstep loan, it’s important to check their authorisation, and make sure you’ve also compared your other borrowing options to make sure you can’t find a better deal elsewhere.

Compare short-term loans

Table: promoted deals, sorted by total payable

You can use the table below to estimate the costs for the loan that you have in mind from a range of popular online loan companies.

How much do you need to borrow?


How long do you need to borrow for?


Name Product Available Amounts Monthly repayment Total payable Link
Lending Stream Instalment Loan
£50 to £1,500
Go to site
More Info
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.
The Money Platform Short Term Loan
£250 to £1,000
Check eligibility
More Info
Representative example: Borrow £500 for 6 weeks at a rate of 255.5% p.a. Representative APR 839.20% and total payable: £647 in 1 payment.
QuidMarket Short Term Loan
£300 to £1,500
Go to site
More Info
Representative example: Borrow £300 for 3 months at a rate of 292% p.a. (fixed). Representative APR 1,301% and total payable: £454.37 in 3 instalments of £151.46.
CASH4UNOW Short Term Loan
£150 to £1,000
Check eligibility
More Info
Representative example: Borrow £200 for 4 months at a rate of 292% p.a. (fixed). Representative APR 1306% and total payable: £332.00, in 4 payments of £83.00.
Mr Lender Short Term Loan
£200 to £1,000
Go to site
More Info
Representative example: Borrow £200 for 6 months at a rate of 292% p.a. (fixed). Representative APR 1,256.0% and total payable £367.40 in payments of £81.33, £73.23, £65.13, £57.33, £49.24, and £41.14.
With this loan your monthly repayment decreases over time. Our 'Monthly repayment' above is a representative figure designed to help compare lenders side by side.
Moneyboat Short Term Loan
£200 to £1,500
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More Info
Representative example: Borrow £400 for 4 months at a rate of 255.5% p.a. (fixed). Representative APR 939.5% and total payable: £597.48 in 4 payments of £149.37.
Fund Ourselves (Welendus) Short Term Loan
£100 to £1,500
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More Info
Representative example: Borrow £200 for 122 days at a rate of 211% p.a. (fixed). Representative 501.2% APR and total payable £286.82 in 4 monthly payments of £71.71.
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Please note: You should always refer to your loan agreement for exact repayment amounts as they may vary from our results.

We compare payday/short-term loans from

Lending Stream Instalment Loan
The Money Platform Short Term Loan
QuidMarket Short Term Loan
CASH4UNOW Short Term Loan
Mr Lender Short Term Loan
Moneyboat Short Term Loan
Fund Ourselves (Welendus) Short Term Loan
We show offers we can track - that's not every product on the market...yet. Unless we've said otherwise, products are in no particular order. The terms "best", "top", "cheap" (and variations of these) aren't ratings, though we always explain what's great about a product when we highlight it. This is subject to our terms of use. When you make major financial decisions, consider getting independent financial advice. Always consider your own circumstances when you compare products so you get what's right for you.

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    Formed in 1880, Provident is one of the UK’s longest-standing providers of short-term loans. Today a number of similar lenders exist – here’s our list of lenders providing a comparable service.

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