Season ticket loans

Train fare price hikes have been outpacing wage growth in the UK in recent years, so it’s little wonder that so many commuters pay for their season ticket with a loan. Here are your options.

Commuting to work can be an expensive business. An annual season ticket to London terminals from nearby commuter town Guildford costs a cool £3,956 in 2024. That’s over £1,000 cheaper than buying 52 weekly tickets, though, so it’s worth stumping up the cash once a year. The further you travel, the bigger the savings you’ll receive by buying an annual ticket. However, many of us simply don't have that sort of cash lying around.

Below, we weigh up your options for financing this purchase. While an interest-free loan from your employer will usually be cheapest, there are other options if this isn’t available. And whichever option you choose, make sure you buy your ticket before the annual fare hike in January!

Compare personal loans for your season ticket

Table: sorted by representative APR, promoted deals first
1 - 11 of 11
Name Product Finder score Total Payable Monthly Repayment Representative APR Link
Novuna Personal Loan
4.5
★★★★★
Check eligibility
View details
Representative example: Borrow £10,000.00 over 3 years at a rate of 7.4% p.a. (fixed). Representative APR 7.4% and total payable £11,142.00 in monthly repayments of £309.50.
My Community Bank Personal Loan
4.5
★★★★★
Check eligibility
View details
Representative example: Borrow £5,000 over 48 months at a rate of 24.9% pa (fixed). Representative APR 27.9% and total payable £7,939.24 in monthly repayments of £165.40.
Fluro (formerly Lending Works) Personal Loan
4.0
★★★★★
Check eligibility
View details
Representative example: Assumed borrowing of £7,500.00 over 48 months at 17.9% APR representative. Monthly cost of £214.79. Total amount repayable of £10,309.78. Interest rate of 16.6% p.a.(fixed) and total fees of £150.00. Available for loan amounts between £5,000 - £25,000.
Lendwise
3.5
★★★★★
View details
thinkmoney Personal Loan
1.5
★★★★★
View details
Representative example: If you borrow £29,100 over 12 years, initially on a fixed rate for 5 years at 8.885% and for the remaining 7 years on the Lender's standard variable rate of 9.285%, you would make 60 monthly payments of £375.53 and 84 monthly payments of £380.29.
Tesco Bank Personal Loan
4.5
★★★★★
View details
Representative example: Borrow £10,000.00 over 3 years at a rate of 6.5% p.a. (fixed). Representative APR 6.5% and total payable £11,003.04 in monthly repayments of £305.64.
Zopa Personal Loan
4.0
★★★★★
View details
Representative example: Borrow £1,500.00 over 3 years at a rate of 22.9% p.a. (fixed). Representative APR 22.9% and total payable £2,028.60 in monthly repayments of £56.35.
Barclays Existing Current Account Loan
4.5
★★★★★
View details
Representative example: Borrow £10,000.00 over 3 years at a rate of 6.3% p.a. (fixed). Representative APR 6.3% and total payable £10,972.08 in monthly repayments of £304.78.
Lloyds Bank Existing Customer Personal Loan
4.0
★★★★★
View details
Representative example: Borrow £10,000.00 over 3 years at a rate of 6.7% p.a. (fixed). Representative APR 6.7% and total payable £11,034.00 in monthly repayments of £306.50.
Plend personal loan
3.5
★★★★★
View details
Representative example: Borrow £8,000 over 48 months at a rate of 16.66% p.a. (fixed). Representative APR 17.99% and total payable £11,013.12 in monthly repayments of £229.44.
Tesco Bank Clubcard Personal Loan
4.5
★★★★★
View details
Representative example: Borrow £10,000.00 over 3 years at a rate of 6.1% p.a. (fixed). Representative APR 6.1% and total payable £10,941.12 in monthly repayments of £303.92.
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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.
Late repayments can cause you serious money problems. See our debt help guides.

How can I finance my season ticket?

  • A loan from your employer

    A lot of employers will offer to finance their employees’ travel costs with an interest-free loan or through a “salary sacrifice” scheme. Although it requires some administration (and capital) on the part of the employer, it can be a valuable way for businesses to entice and retain employees.

    Before considering the options below, speak to your employer to see if they offer this service. Over the long term, it’s likely to be the easiest, safest and cheapest option. If your employer doesn’t offer this, consider asking the HR staff whether this is something they would consider adding as a benefit.

  • A 0% credit card deal

    There’s a whole category of credit cards that includes introductory 0% interest deals in order to encourage customers to apply. With intense competition between banks to offer the longest 0% period, it’s even possible to bag yourself a card charging 0% for 2 years or more.

    Obviously a rate of 0% is hard to beat, but there are a few provisos to consider.

    First, you need to get approved for a card with a high enough credit limit – you’ll need a decent credit rating to be eligible for the market leading 0% deals, and the repayments would need to be affordable for you.

    Secondly, you’ll need to be organised about how you use the card. The rate on the card will rocket after the introductory offer period, so it’s important to work out what you need to pay each month to stay on top of the debt. Card issuers only require you to make a small monthly payment, and it’s in their interests for the debt to continue as long as possible. There’s also a temptation to use the card for other spending.

    If you can get your hands on one of these deals, you could finance your season ticket purchase at no extra cost.

    Compare 0% purchase credit cards

  • A personal loan

    If you can get approved for a loan with a competitive rate, this will allow you to pay for an annual ticket upfront, and spread the cost over 12 months. You’ll need to get the calculator out for this one, but if the total cost of the loan is less than the cost of 12 monthly season tickets (or 52 weekly tickets, depending on how you’d otherwise purchase the tickets), it could be a smart way to save money.

    Bear in mind that if you move on to pastures new, you’ll still have the loan to pay off. If you think that’s a possibility, you should check out the early repayment terms of the loan you’re considering before applying.
    Compare personal loans

  • A commuter scheme

    With a commuter scheme you effectively take a loan from the scheme to buy an annual ticket, and then pay it back monthly. Like a loan from a traditional lender, your application will be subject to a full credit search.

    Check that any scheme you consider is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and weigh up the overall and monthly costs against the other options listed above. Again, you should check the cancellation terms of any scheme before applying, particularly if there’s a chance you won’t need the full year of travel.

How should I compare my season ticket loan options?

Here are some of the key factors to consider when comparing your finance options.

  • Overall cost. The total amount you’ll pay to a lender including the capital you owe, interest and any one-off fees. If you only compare one factor, it should be this one! Aim to keep the overall cost as low as possible, while ensuring the repayments are affordable.
  • Interest rate. This is the amount of interest you’ll pay on your loan over the course of a year, expressed as a percentage. If you’re lucky enough to have an employer offering interest free loans, this isn’t an issue, otherwise seek out products with the lowest possible interest rates.
  • Fees. Some lenders add a one-off processing fee to their products, which can be payable upfront or added to your outstanding balance. Again, this is unlikely to be an issue if your employer has a scheme.
  • Eligibility criteria. Each lender will list its own minimum criteria for applications. Ensure you meet these before you apply, but remember that meeting the eligibility criteria is not a guarantee of application approval. Each lender has its own methods of assessing your creditworthiness and may still reject your application if it considers you too much of a risk as a borrower.
  • Loan durations available. The term of a loan is how long you can borrow the money for. As a general rule of thumb, the quicker you pay back your loan, the less it costs you in interest – so if you can pay for your annual ticket in 6 months, in theory it’s likely to cost you less than paying monthly. Lenders can offer different rates for different loan terms however, which is why it’s smartest to focus on the overall cost.
  • Early repayment. Some lenders may charge a fee if you pay a loan back early, or charge interest for a set period beyond the date on which you overpaid. If there’s a possibility you’ll be moving on to pastures new, this factor will take on more importance in your comparison.

Am I eligible for a season ticket personal loan?

If you’re considering using a personal loan to finance you season ticket, the eligibility criteria typically cover some or all of the following:

  • UK resident
  • Minimum income
  • Good credit rating
  • UK based bank or building society account that can pay direct debits

Even if you are deemed eligible by the lender, it’s up to you to ensure you can meet the repayments offered. Missed payments could incur a charge and could have severe consequences on your ability to obtain future credit. If you manage to get a loan through your employer, good news: the repayments will be deducted before your salary reaches your account, so you’re unlikely to miss a repayment.

The bottom line

Commuting may not be your favourite activity, but at least you can rest easy knowing it doesn’t have to cause you huge financial stress. If you put in a little work now to compare your options, you can feel smug in your seat on the train (provided you can get one) for the remaining 12 months!

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. Most of the data in Finder's comparison tables has the source: Moneyfacts Group PLC. In other cases, Finder has sourced data directly from providers.
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Head of publishing

Chris Lilly is Head of publishing at finder.com. He's a specialist in personal finance, from day-to-day banking to investing to borrowing, and is passionate about helping UK consumers make informed decisions about their money. In his spare time Chris likes forcing his kids to exercise more. See full bio

Chris's expertise
Chris has written 612 Finder guides across topics including:
  • Loans & credit cards
  • Building credit
  • Financial health

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