Compare self-employed personal loans

When you're self-employed, it's still perfectly possible to get a personal loan, and you may not have to compromise on rate.

Compare self-employed loans

Good or bad credit histories considered

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Name Product Finder score Finder score Customer rating Eligibility requirements Documentation required Link
Novuna Personal Loan
Finder score
★★★★★
4.5
★★★★★
★★★★★
User rating
  • You do not have any CCJs
  • You get paid at least £10,000 per annum
  • You are 21 years or older
  • Address details for last 3 years
  • Bank statements corroborating income declared
  • Bank account details
  • Employment details
Check eligibility
More Info
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.
Finio Loans Personal Loan
Finder score
★★★★★
4.0
★★★★★
Not yet rated
  • You have a UK personal bank account
  • You are a UK resident
  • You do not have any CCJs
  • You are 18 years or older
  • Residential address(es) for last 12 months
  • Proof of identity
  • Bank account details
  • Proof of income
Check eligibility
More Info
Representative example: Borrow £10,000.00 over 3 years at a rate of 39.9% p.a. (fixed). Representative APR 39.9% and total payable £16,091.64 in monthly repayments of £446.99.
Everyday Loans Personal Loan
Finder score
★★★★★
4.0
★★★★★
Not yet rated
  • You do not have any CCJs
  • You regularly get paid at least £10,000 per annum
  • You are 18 years or older
  • Proof of where you live
  • Proof of identity
  • Bank account details
  • Proof of income
Check eligibility
More Info
Representative example: Borrow £10,000.00 over 3 years at a rate of 99.9% p.a. (fixed). Representative APR 99.9% and total payable £24,451.56 in monthly repayments of £679.21.
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Can I get a personal loan if I’m self-employed?

Yes, you can get a personal loan if you’re self-employed, but you might have a more limited range of options to choose from. Several of the mainstream lenders with headline-grabbing rates are willing to lend to self-employed individuals, provided you meet their requirements for affordability and can show supporting documentation.

A number of specialist lenders have also focused their efforts on more niche areas of the market, such as sole traders and the self-employed, and these are worth keeping in mind if you’re looking to take out a loan.

How to apply for a self-employed personal loan

  1. Don’t hit apply until you’ve checked your eligibility.

    Pretty much all lenders now offer an eligibility checker facility. You’ll need to provide enough info for the company to run a “soft” credit search – which won’t affect your credit score but allows the lender to tell you whether it’s worth applying. It’s when you actually apply that you normally consent to a “hard” credit check, which does impact your credit score (a little).

  2. Even better, check your eligibility with multiple lenders in one go.

    Using each lender’s eligibility checker takes time, but a good loan matching service can do most of the leg work for you. You’ll enter your details once, and it’ll run the checks with each lender in its panel in a matter of seconds to find out which would approve you and what rate they’d offer.

  3. Check your eligibility with popular lenders
  4. Weigh up your options.

    Don’t just apply with the first lender you find, even if it’s with your existing bank. Always compare a range of personal loans to find the one that best suits your financial situation. There are also alternative types of credit, such as secured loans and credit cards, which could better meet your requirements.

Can I get a self-employed loan with bad credit?

Yes, it’s still possible to get a personal loan even if you’re self-employed and have poor credit history, but you could find that your options are quite limited. You’re also unlikely to be offered the most competitive rate and may not be able to borrow as much as someone with good credit.

As with any loan, you can use an eligibility checker, and this will give you a good idea of whether you’ll likely be approved for a personal loan.

Will it cost me more because I’m self-employed?

Not necessarily – especially if you meet a lender’s criteria for having the supporting evidence and documentation needed for a standard personal loan and have financial records dating back at least 3 years. However, you may be offered a higher rate if your circumstances suggest you’re a high-risk borrower – particularly if you haven’t been trading for long.

As competition has grown, you may find personal loans for self-employed applicants are no more expensive than a standard bank loan. Just be sure to compare all the options available to you and the features of and conditions applying to your chosen product before you sign up with a particular lender. The APR that a lender offers you may differ from its advertised “Representative APR” and will be based on factors such as your credit score, income and expenditure.

Secured loans for self-employed

If you don’t have the employment history or documented income to get an unsecured personal loan, you could consider a secured loan. This type of loan uses the equity in your house as security against the loan’s cost. Because it’s a lower risk for the lender, secured loans generally offer lower rates of interest than unsecured loans.

If you’re self-employed and work from a home that you own, a secured loan could be easier to get accepted for. But the downside is that if you can’t repay your loan, the lender has the right to repossess your property and sell it to recoup its money. So, secured loans should always be considered with care.

What are my other self-employed loans options?

If you don’t meet the eligibility criteria for a secured or unsecured loan or can’t find the right loan to meet your needs, you still have a lot of other options available.

Credit cards for self-employed

Depending on your credit rating and the purpose of the loan, you might find a suitable credit card for your needs. With a 0% purchase credit card, for example, you can make purchases and pay no interest for a set period. In the best cases, this can be as long as 21 months. However, you should avoid using your credit card for cash withdrawals, as these can be expensive.

Alternatively, a 0% money transfer credit card lets you transfer funds from the card to your bank account and again pay no interest for a set period. You will usually pay a transfer fee of around 4% of the amount you’re transferring. You can then use the funds for whatever you need them for and withdraw the cash with your debit card.

With both a 0% purchase and a 0% money transfer card, you need to set, and always stick to, a repayment schedule to make sure you repay the money before the 0% deal ends. If you don’t, you could find yourself paying a hefty amount of interest over a prolonged period.

Also, you usually need a good credit history to get accepted for the best deals. If you don’t have one, you could consider a credit builder credit card, which is designed for those with low credit scores to improve their score over time. These usually have lower credit limits and higher interest rates, so it’s important to pay off your balance in full each month.

Self-employed guarantor loans

With a guarantor loan, a third party (typically a family member or friend) commits to paying the loan off if you default on repayments. Your guarantor will need to have good credit (and ideally be a homeowner), and frustratingly, the interest rates on guarantor loans aren’t usually the most competitive (often around 40-50%).

If the loan is to fund the purchase of business equipment or materials (but not stock), you could use asset finance or invoice finance. With asset finance, a lender will loan you money against the value of goods used for your business that you own, such as buildings, vehicles, machinery or office equipment. With invoice finance, you’ll be advanced a loan against the money which is owed to your business and which has been detailed on outstanding invoices. However, both of these options are likely to be more expensive than a regular personal loan.

Also, a small number of innovative new lenders, such as Drafty, offer alternative takes on shorter-term borrowing for borrowers who struggle to get approved by more mainstream lenders. Drafty was primarily designed to help people avoid expensive unauthorised overdraft fees.

What documentation do I need?

Your would-be lender will usually need to see some or all of the following:

  • Tax returns (SA302). Once you’ve submitted your tax returns, you can simply log into your HMRC online account and download your SA302 calculation. You should be able to produce copies of your SA302 calculation for at least the last 2 years to help prove the income that you declare as part of your application.
  • Bank statements. These are likely to be requested so the lender can corroborate the earnings shown in your SA302 calculation and get a picture of your overall financial position (regular income and pattern of outgoings).
  • Confirmation of 3 years’ addresses. This is usually acceptable in the form of bank statements, or council tax or utility bills
  • Proof of any rental income. This should be declared and evidence provided, again through your bank statements or mortgage documents and statements, and you may need to produce any lease/tenancy agreements.
  • Details of any shareholdings and dividend payments.
  • Company/business information. Such as the status of the business (sole trader, partnership, limited company, etc) and details of anyone other than yourself with a financial interest in the business.

Benefits and drawbacks of using personal loans when you’re self-employed

Benefits

  • Fixed monthly instalments over a set term. This can make it much easier to budget, which can be handy when you’re self-employed.
  • Upfront lump sum. Applying for a personal loan can give you access to funds to help pay for essential home improvements or a new car, for example.
  • Competitive interest rates. If you have good credit, interest rates on personal loans can be much lower than a credit card, particularly on sums of £7,500 to £15,000.

Drawbacks

  • Certain restrictions. You can’t usually use the funds to start a new business – you will need to apply for a business loan instead.
  • Less flexible compared to a credit card. If your income fluctuates from one month to the next, it could be harder to meet your monthly loan repayments. Credit card repayments, on the other hand, are variable – you can pay as much or as little as you want to as long as you meet the minimum monthly repayments.
  • Harder to get accepted for. If you’re self-employed, you’ll also likely need to jump through a few extra hoops to prove your income compared to an employee in a company.

Types of loans you can apply for if you’re self-employed

Here’s a quick run-through of the types of loans you can consider if you’re self-employed:

  • Personal loans. These provide you with a lump sum of cash and are typically repaid over a period of 1 to 7 years. You won’t need to secure the loan against an asset, but you’ll need a good credit rating to get the best deals.
  • Secured loans. These can be worth considering if you have a low credit score or you can’t provide the necessary documents to get a personal loan. However, you’ll need to provide an asset as collateral, which is usually your home. This is at risk if you can’t meet your repayments. Secured loan terms are longer than unsecured loans, typically up to 25 years or more. You can usually borrow more, too.
  • Guarantor loans. If you can find a family member or friend willing to step in and make your repayments if you cannot, a guarantor loan is another option to consider. These can be easier to get accepted for, but interest rates are usually higher.
  • Business loans. If you need to take out a loan for business purposes, it’s best to apply for a business loan. However, the lender will consider your business accounts before deciding whether to let you borrow.

Bottom line

If you’re self-employed and looking for a personal loan, you might feel daunted by eligibility requirements. But there’s a good chance you already have the evidence of income you need in the form of tax returns, accounts or bank statements. It’s also possible to get a quick decision, with some lenders able to process and approve your application in less than 48 hours. You’ll improve your chances of making a successful application if you know what your options are, how the application process works and what documents you’ll need as evidence to support your application.

Frequently asked questions

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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Written by

Rachel Wait

Rachel Wait is a freelance journalist and has been writing about personal finance for more than a decade, covering everything from insurance to mortgages. She has written for a range of personal finance websites and national newspapers, including The Observer, The Mail on Sunday, The Sun and the Evening Standard. Rachel is a keen baker in her spare time. See full profile

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2 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    PatNovember 11, 2018

    As a self employed person who let hi house for £625 pcm is it reasonable to ask to borrow approximately £13,000 over 7 years to replace wooden window and soffit/fascia in the rental property. LTV is approximately 50%. My income is circa £30000 pa including rental yield.

      AvatarFinder
      JoshuaNovember 25, 2018Finder

      Hi Pat,

      Thanks for getting in touch with finder. I hope all is well with you. :)

      Basing on the numbers you gave, there’s a chance for you to get a personal loan. What you can do is directly get in touch with any of the lenders on this page. Click on the “Go to site” green button to be redirected to their website. From there, you can then check your eligibility and know their requirements.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Joshua

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