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Smart-Pig short-term loans for students

If you’re a student and need a cash boost to help you through to your next student loan payment, you might be considering Smart-Pig, which offers short-term loans of £50 to £350.

Smart-Pig specialises in short-term loans for university students who need financial help before their next student loan is paid.
The company was founded by Tom Parks and Shreiff Benaziza while they were studying at the University of Warwick and University of Hertfordshire respectively. The idea came after one of the founders got into trouble keeping up with payments on a traditional “payday” loan. The experience was so bad that the two friends decided to create their own lender to provide a more affordable deal for students.

If you are receiving a student loan, grant or bursary from Student Finance England or Wales, Student Awards Agency Scotland or the NHS, you could borrow £50-£350 from Smart-Pig over 7 to 180 days.

Smart-Pig aims to offer a fair deal for students, with no late fees and a 10-day grace period on your repayment dates. It also caps interest at 50%, so you will never pay back more than half of what you borrowed in interest – this is half the 100% cap allowed by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Smart-Pig is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Key features of a Smart-Pig loan:

  • Borrow £50 to £350. Decide how much you need to get you through to your next student loan payment. The amount you are offered will be subject to what you can afford.
  • Quick application. It should take you less than 15 minutes to apply for a Smart-Pig loan.
  • Fast payment. Once your application’s approved, you could have the money in your account within two hours.
  • Top up your loan. Top up your loan to your approved limit, change the due date (up to your student loan payment date) online from your account. Please note that the longer you take to pay off a loan, the more you will pay in interest.
  • Fixed, high interest rates. With high interest rates charged daily, this is realistically an expensive way to borrow money.
  • Early repayment. Repay your loan early at any time at no extra charge.
  • No late fees. Smart-Pig will not charge you if you are late making a payment. The founders say they are understanding if a student loan is late being paid into your account.
  • No rollovers. You’ll need to stick to the repayment schedule.
  • Ethics pledge. Smart-Pig promises that its underwriting and collections team will listen to your personal circumstances and do what’s right for you when it comes to repaying your loan.
  • Text reminders. You will receive a reminder by text when your next payment is due.
  • Grace period. If you make a repayment within 10 days after it is due, it will be classed as a payment on time.

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

warning icon Please note: High cost short term credit is unsuitable to support sustained borrowing over long periods and would be expensive as a means of longer term borrowing.

How does a Smart-Pig loan work?

  1. First enter the day you expect to get your next student loan. This must be accurate and match the date you have been given by the loans company.
  2. Use the tool on the Smart-Pig homepage to choose how much money you need and for how long. Then click “Apply now” and follow the simple steps to create an account and complete your application. You don’t need to set the repayment date to the same day as your student loan payment – it can be earlier.
  3. Smart-Pig checks that your details are correct and that your student loan is genuine. It will also conduct checks for the loan’s affordability based on your current credit report. You should receive a decision on your loan within 90 minutes.

How do I pay back my loan?

Like most short-term loan providers, Smart-Pig uses a Continuous Payment Authority (CPA) to collect the repayments from your bank account on your chosen dates.

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What is a Continuous Payment Authority (CPA)?

A CPA is a recurring payment in which you give a company permission to withdraw money from your account on a regular basis.

A CPA differs from a direct debit because it gives the company being paid the ability to withdraw money from your account whenever it wishes, and to take payments of different amounts without consulting you. Most payday loan companies will use a CPA to collect your repayments, although you can cancel this at any point by either consulting with your provider or your bank.

How much money do you need to borrow?


How long do you need to borrow over?


Name Product Available Amounts Monthly repayment Total payable
£50 to £800
Representative example: Borrow £200 for 6 months at a rate of 292% p.a. (fixed). Representative 1333% APR and total payable £386.61 in 6 monthly payments of £64.44.
£150 to £5,000
Representative Example: Borrow £350 for 6 months at a rate of 220% p.a. (fixed). Representative 651.4% APR and total payable £605.55 in 6 monthly payments of £100.93.
£100 to £1,000
Representative example: Borrow £400 for 6 months at a rate of 259.33% p.a. (fixed). Representative APR 947% and total payable: £750.78 in 6 monthly payments of £125.13.
£100 to £1,000
Representative example: Borrow £250 for 30 days at a rate of 292% p.a. (fixed). Representative APR 1270% and total payable: £310, in 1 payment of £310.
£50 to £1,000
Representative example: Borrow £250 for 74 days at a rate of 292% p.a. (fixed). Representative APR 1300.5% and total payable: £398.00, in 1 payment of £74.00 and 1 payment of £324.00.
£300 to £1,000
Representative example: Borrow £500 for 5 months at a rate of 292% p.a. (fixed). Representative APR 1,297% and total payable: £867.05 in 5 instalments of £173.41.
£100 to £1,000
Representative example: Borrow £480 for 9 months at a rate of 133.1% p.a. (fixed). Representative 535% APR and total payable £959.04 in 9 monthly payments of £106.56.
£50 to £200
Representative example: Borrow £80 for 29 days at a rate of 292% p.a. (fixed). Representative APR 1281.8% and total payable: £98.56, in 1 payment of £98.56.

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Important information:
You should always refer to your loan agreement for exact repayment amounts as they may vary from our results.

Is high-cost, short-term borrowing a good idea?

Short-term or “payday” loans can offer a temporary fix when you get into unexpected trouble with your finances, but they are a very expensive method of borrowing. Therefore, you should only consider this option as a last resort. Short-term loans are unlikely to solve your money problems in the long term, and are not suitable for borrowing over longer periods, or for people with serious debt problems.

Before you apply for a short-term loan, make sure you have considered all other options carefully. Is the expenditure that you’re planning a necessity? If you can put off a purchase even for a few months then you could save yourself money in the long run. Read more about alternatives to short-term loans at moneyadviceservice.org.uk.

What are the eligibility requirements?

You should only apply for a Smart-Pig loan if you are certain you can meet the repayment terms. You must also:

  • Have a valid UK bank account and debit card
  • Be studying at a UK university
  • Receive a student loan, grant or bursary from Student Finance England/Wales, SAAS or the NHS
  • Be a UK resident
  • Be at least 18 years of age

Did you know?

In 2015 the Financial Conduct authority (FCA) capped interest and fees on all high-cost short-term credit loans at 0.8% per day.

It also capped all default charges at £15 and the total cost (interest, fees) of loans at 100% of the original sum. This means you’ll never have to pay more than double the amount borrowed.

Frequently asked questions

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*Disclaimer: The offers compared on this page are chosen from a range of products finder has access to track details from and is not representative of all the products available in the market. Unless indicated otherwise, products are displayed in no particular order or ranking. The use of terms "Best", "Top", "Cheap" including variations, are not product ratings and are subject to our terms of use. You should consider seeking independent financial advice and consider your personal financial circumstances when comparing products.

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