TSB Classic Plus interest rate to fall to 0%
23 September 2020
Need some quick and easy cash? A payday loan feels easy, but even now the amount of interest you pay has been capped, these loans are still an expensive nightmare. Take one out and you risk scarring your finances, and the possibility of paying back double what you borrowed.
We don't like payday loans. Most people who get them shouldn't. Yet if you're considering one, ensure you can protect yourself. The first step is to consider cheaper alternatives. If that fails, we'll take you through the least nasty of a bad bunch.
Had a payday loan you couldn't afford to repay? It's likely you were mis-sold. There's a rising tide of people seeking compensation, and you may be able to claim £100s or even £1,000s - see our FREE Reclaim Payday Loans guide and tool.
Payday loans are designed to be short term loans of £100 to £1,000 that – as their name suggests – are designed to tide you over to the next payday.
They’re usually used to meet emergency costs, eg boiler repair, that you otherwise couldn’t meet from your monthly salary or savings.
Generally, you will need to agree that the company can take its payment from your debit card on the day your next salary payment falls due, though some lenders will allow you to pay over a longer period - often up to six months.
Payday loans are short-term lending often used by people to tide them over until payday. They're often very easy to get – some even do it on mobiles while drunk, which makes the loan feel convenient. But it's that very ease which is the danger. If you don't think about what you're doing, it can be a nightmare. Irresponsible lending is mis-selling and you should use our guide and tool in Reclaim Payday Loans for Free.
The loans are typically only supposed to last for days, or maximum of a month, for amounts of up to £1,000 or so. The stated cost can be fairly low, especially when compared to unauthorised overdraft charges. But many borrowers get stung by tricks used by payday loan firms, as well as their lending decisions.
While we don't like these loans, for a small sliver of the population (not the millions who get them), they are lending of last resort which, used right, can solve a one-off hole in people's finances.
But please read each and every warning in here, explore every alternative, and consider your options very carefully before deciding a payday loan is for you. For more details, turn to our guide and tool in Reclaim Payday Loans for Free.
Payday lenders usually charge a fee instead of an interest rate. Typically, a £100 loan for a month has a fee of around £25, so you need to repay £125. To put that in context, if you borrowed the same amount on a bog-standard credit card at 20% APR, then provided you didn't miss any repayments, it would cost £20 to borrow £100 for a YEAR - £5 LESS than payday lenders charge for just one month.
If you express the typical charges payday lenders make as APRs most work out as over 1,000%. This is a useful warning against what can be dangerous products, but these APRs are mostly meaningless. That's because if you borrow over a very short term, even a small fee can become an astronomical APR.
Well, it's a legal requirement that if you're offering loans to people, then you have to have your APR marked in large letters on all adverts, and on your website.
But, many have pointed out the pointlessness of this with a payday loan. APR stands for 'annual percentage rate'. Put simply, it's the rate you pay on what you've borrowed over a year, including all interest and charges.
But, here's where it falls down. Payday loans are usually taken out for a matter of weeks, rather than for years. So, the amount you will have to pay back is really more relevant than the APR for these loans. See Martin's blog on how an APR can confuse as much as it can clarify what's really going on.
But, if you're thinking of getting a payday loan, the most important thing is...
The real danger comes if you can't pay back in time – then these horrific APRs start to become close to reality as charges and fees add up.
Payday loans should never be used as a way to fill the gap between your incomings and outgoings in a month. If that's happening to you, there's a fundamental problem that a payday loan will only make worse not better. An irresponsible lender will take advantage of this. If this is happening, you've been mis-sold. Go to our free tool and guide Reclaim Payday Loans for Free.
To stop being sucked in a downward spiral, the most important thing to do is to sort out a budget to try to balance your costs and income.
It's very easy to get one payday loan for a small amount, then another the next month, and before you know it, you're in a debt spiral, as happened to forumite leopardxgirl:
About 8 months ago I borrowed around £90 to pay for a train ticket to see my now ex-boyfriend. What a slippery slope that was. I'm now approx £3,500 into payday loans across four payday lenders. I seem to have got myself into a horrible situation where I can only barely afford the interest repayments on these darn things every month.
If you do go for a payday loan, the crucial point is that you know how you are going to pay it back. If not, then you can't afford the loan. (If you're given one, you've been mis-sold. See our new tool and guide in Reclaim Payday Loans for Free.) No matter how desperate you are, the end result will leave you much worse off (see payday loan alternatives).
If you feel desperate and that it's your only option, even though you aren't sure you'll repay it, you'd be far better getting one-on-one debt counselling help from a non-profit debt counselling agency.
Many payday lenders now give you the option to pay your loan back over three months rather than one. This can help with budgeting, in that you don't have to pay the loan back in one great whack once your next paycheck's arrived.
But, remember, the longer you borrow for, the more interest you'll have to pay - though there is a limit. The price caps on payday loans mean you won't ever pay back more than double the amount you borrowed.
But, don't just rely on this cap. If you're in a situation where you need a payday loan, always, always have a plan for how you'll pay back the money so the costs don't spiral towards that cap. See How to Budget for help to manage your finances.
If you do repay on time, there's still a big danger lurking. The payday loan company knows you're a 'good' customer - it's successfully made money from you. So it knows if it lends you more money you're likely to be able to repay, making it even more money.
This is a major concern. You may have only taken a £100 loan to pay a few bills until your next payday. Then after repaying, the lender tries to tempt you by offering a larger amount with even bigger charges. Always resist this, even if you're offered a 'discounted fee!' It's often just a ploy to get you to borrow more. If you've been irresponsibly pressurized, you have been mis-sold. Turn to our free tool and guide Reclaim Payday Loans for Free.
Apply for any credit, and lenders 'score' you to predict your likely behaviour. They use data from credit reference agencies as part of this (see the Credit Scores guide). But a payday loan on your credit report can have a striking effect. All credit reference agencies differentiate payday loans on your credit report. They’re in a different section, so underwriters (who make lending decisions) can tell how much and how often you've used payday loans.
A few mortgage lenders, including GE Home Lending and Kensington Mortgages, have publicly said applicants who have used payday loans won't be accepted for a mortgage with them - even if they were fully repaid on time.
Yet even those who haven’t spoken up are likely to behave in a similar way. One of the UK’s top technical experts on mortgages, Ray Boulger from broker John Charcol, says:
Most lenders will run a mile if an applicant has had even one payday loan in the last year.
This is because the presence of a payday loan on the credit record of a mortgage applicant implies there's some underlying problem with their budgeting and money management. That throws serious doubt on their ability to consistently meet a monthly mortgage payment.
Some payday loan firms claim getting it has a positive effect.
Of course, if you get a payday loan, paying it in full and on time is important. It'll certainly give you a relatively better score than not doing so. Similarly, missing a payment or late payments will harm your credit score.
Yet payday lenders' claims that getting one will help your credit score are likely to be overblown. It can boost indicative scores from the credit rating agencies – but this isn't the same as making lenders more likely to give you conventional credit cards or loans.
Each lender scores you differently, based on its own wishlist of what makes a profitable customer. Some will see a marginal improvement from payday loans – but equally, others may follow the path of mortgage lenders and see it as a big no-no.
If you need to rebuild a bad credit history there are other, better ways to do that, with specific Credit Cards for Bad Credit.
Some, especially smaller, payday lenders don't share your payment data with credit reference agencies. These are generally the ones that advertise "payday loans with no credit checks".
This can seem like a good thing, as it won't "ruin" your credit rating by putting the payday loan on your file (though a future lender could ask you).
But it also means the payday lender's not lending responsibly as it's not checking you can afford to repay. It also means other lenders won't be able to see the loan, so as a consequence, their lending may not be responsible either. Irresponsible lending is mis-selling. See our free tool and guide Reclaim Payday Loans for Free.
The 'responsible' payday lenders - the ones which credit check each applicant – say they turn down between 60% and 90% of first-time applicants because their credit records show they're already too indebted to have a good chance of paying their loans back.
Think carefully if you're going to a payday lender because it advertises 'no credit checks'. Can you really afford to repay it?
A common tactic of payday lenders is to ask you to pay using something called a continuous payment authority (CPA, also known as a recurring payment). This is where you tell it the 16-digit number on the front of your card. This gives the lender the right to take a payment whenever it wishes (though payday lenders are now limited to two attempts to collect payment). It can be dangerous, especially if you have other, more important bills to pay.
You have a right to cancel CPAs simply by asking the bank which runs your account. (Read the full Recurring Payments guide). We're not advocating reneging on your payday debts, but the lack of control these types of payments give you is scary - it's far better to call them and pay up as and when you owe the money.
This also affects parents or friends who may make a payment for you
The fact continuous payment authorities are used isn't just a problem for the borrower themselves. Often parents or friends agree to pay back the loan (or just one repayment) on the borrower's behalf. We've had reports of payday lenders keeping details of these, and then using them both for that loan and any future loans - even without an agreement - and taking from the other account.
Use your rights to cancel recurring payments if that happens.
Payday loan companies, though they may lay traps for you, have a credit licence (check at the FCA Register). So if things go wrong, you have some limited room for recourse. But loan sharks are a completely different beast. They're unlicensed, they break the law, often go knocking door-to-door and at worst they use horrific methods - including violence and threats of violence against the borrower, their family or children - to get their money repaid.
If you know of loan sharks near you, report them on 0300 555 2222 (you can also text LOAN SHARK and lender's details to 60003, or visit StopLoanSharks (England only). If you're elsewhere in the UK, contact details to report loan sharks are on the Government's Report a Loan Shark page.
When borrowing, always check whether the lender has a credit licence. But don't rely on that alone. Most consumer credit licences only cost £1,000 to get, so they don't necessarily guarantee a legitimate business with wholesome practices. Google the company as well, and do whatever else it takes to find everything you can about it.
My payday loan spiral started in 2010/11. It started with one payday loan, which I failed to repay on the repayment date due to an unexpected bill.
I then thought stupidly to borrow from another lender and again, couldn't afford to repay. I borrowed £1,000 from different lenders, but in the end it cost me over £4,000.
You may think I'm stupid, but it happens and you can't control it; it makes you feel helpless and depressed.
Happily my family could afford to pay my debts for me (which I am paying back now). Some people aren't as lucky and can't get that help, so before you take out one of these ludicrous loans that could possibly destroy your finances, stop and think... 'Do I really need that money?
I originally got a payday loan because my son was in hospital and it costs me about £30 a day in parking, petrol and food when he is in there!
I started off borrowing £120 and have to keep taking it out each month. But with interest it's £175, so I took that out then next month £220 and I am up to £388 because I can't manage without that money each month!
Not everyone gets into difficulty with payday loans. Some people use them, pay them back on time, and don't take another out...
Needed to pay a bill before payday was due, found it fast and friendly, but you HAVE to pay it back when you say. If you can't, tell them and get an extension, would use again.
If you're struggling for extra cash, there's a heap of options to try before plumping for a payday loan. In fact, you may not need to borrow at all.
First of all, take a look at the following...
If you're getting a payday loan because you need to buy something, you need to consider if that purchase is appropriate. Martin has two Money Mantras: one for if you're skint, one for those not skint. If you're getting a payday loan we will assume you're skint, or you shouldn't even be considering getting one.
In which case, before you buy anything ask yourself these three questions…
Do I need it?
Can I afford it?
Have I checked whether I can buy it cheaper elsewhere?
If the answer to any of these is 'no', then don't buy it.
Shops and business do stock control, considering their assets as cash, ensuring they're utilised. We need to adopt a similar system. If you've things in your house you've not used or worn in a year, ask if it's worth keeping. If not, flog it and release the assets.
Even if there are things you use occasionally, if you're considering getting a payday loan – are you sure there aren't things you can sell? Old gadgets, clothes, toys or other old items you have sitting around at home could raise the cash you need without affecting you too much.
Payday loans may seem to offer a quick solution, but they only postpone the problem. If you've borrowed £200 this month, and £250 is taken out of your salary on your next payday, how are you going to make sure you're not short again at the end of next month?
Spending more money than you earn is a classic reason people get payday loans. Doing a proper budget will give you a clear picture of where you are overspending.
Use our full online Budget Planner – get all your bank account and credit card statements, plus bills from the last six months to a year. Ensure you include everything and are totally honest.
Plus look at everything you spend money on, whether car insurance, existing credit card debts, gas and electricity, or water bills and see if you're paying more than you need. Full help on this in our Money Makeover guide.
Even if you don't think you're due any benefits, or if you're already claiming, it's worth checking to see if you could be eligible to claim payments.
The main thing to remember is benefits are NOT just for the unemployed. Many families are entitled to Government cash but aren't aware they're eligible. In some cases, even those earning up to £73,000 may get help. See the Benefits Check-Up guide to see if you're eligible.
Over the last few years, a number of ways that banks, insurers and arms of government have unfairly taken cash off us have emerged. This money can be reclaimed, and can be in the £1,000s, or even £10,000s, but you need to take action to get it back. Click on our free tool in our Reclaim Payday Loans for Free.
Some utility companies offer help if you have large arrears on your gas, electricity or water bills. You'll need to be a customer, so if yours isn't listed, ask if it has a similar scheme.
If you're really struggling, know a payday loan would be damaging for you but can't think of any other options, then it's time to get some one-on-one help from a non-profit agency.
If you're existing debt problems, read though our Debt Crisis Help guide for ideas or speak to Citizens Advice, National Debtline, StepChange Debt Charity or if you're struggling to deal with it emotionally too, CAP UK.
They're not there to judge you, just to help – and we get incredible feedback on how they turn many people's finances around.
If you're not in debt but need a bit of general money guidance to help you out of a hole, try calling the Government-funded Money Advice Service on 0300 500 5000.
Don't automatically assume you're frozen out by ‘normal' banks, so payday loans are your only option. The methods below may be able to give you what you need instead of a payday loan. We've listed them in rough order of which to try first - though scan all of them first to see what's suitable.
It's worth noting we wouldn't normally suggest a few of these techniques. But in comparison to payday loans, they're not so bad.
If you spend on a credit card and CLEAR THE WHOLE CARD IN FULL next month, it's interest-free so there's nowt cheaper. So if you have this option, it's both the cheapest and easiest – as you needn't apply for anything.
Two important warnings though…
Even in these circumstances, provided you repay the debt in the same time as a payday loan – it's likely to be far cheaper – but there are other options below to try first.
If you don't have a card you can clear, and can't get any other form of credit that's cheaper, the next question is: do you have any credit card at all you can use? Almost every credit card, used right, is far cheaper than a payday loan.
Of course, you'll need room on your credit limit. If you don't have any, speak to the card provider and see if it can increase it. If you try to spend over your credit limit you'll either be declined or will usually be charged a £12ish fee, which can be almost as costly as some payday loans.
How to make best use of your card:
For more things to try, look at our Low Income Grants guide.
Even if you don't have a card you can clear, if you need to borrow money, doing it interest-free is the best way. There are plenty of 0% credit cards available and the right one for you depends on what you need the money for. Applications take between one and three weeks. Here's what you need to know.
If you've a good credit score, go for the longest 0%. Many cards offer over a year's 0%. This is worth considering if your credit score is decent as it means you have longer to repay, and can have the card ready in case you need to use the 0% again. For full help, see Top 0% Credit Cards - our Eligibility Calculator shows which ones you're likely to get.
Poor credit score? There are still options. A few deals are usually available for those with a poorer credit history. Yet these offer far shorter 0% deals, then again they still last far longer than a payday loan.
The rub is that these cards punish you harshly for overstaying your welcome. Once the 0% periods end for spending or debt shifted from other cards, the interest you'll be charged typically jumps to over 25%. So it's doubly important you try to repay these before that happens (though that still is likely to be cheaper than payday loans).
For a full list, see Credit Cards For Bad Credit.
If you need the loan to buy something. Simply get the card, then use it to purchase whatever it is the payday loan was for.
If you need the loan for cash. Don't withdraw cash - that won't be at the 0% and there'll be a fee. Instead, get one of these cards then use it for your normal spending (don't overspend and carefully budget). The equivalent amount of unspent income will build up in your bank account which can then be used as cash.
Warning – follow the golden rules for 0% spending cards.
a) Always pay at least the monthly minimum else you'll lose the 0% deal.
b) Clear the card before the 0% ends, or you'll pay hefty interest.
c) Don't balance transfer - that's not usually at the cheap rate. If you are trying to clear expensive debts, you need different cards. See Best Balance Transfers.
Get cash: 2-4 weeks
Credit unions and Community Development Finance Institutions are independently-run local co-operative organisations which aim to assist people who may not have access to financial products and services elsewhere. For many, they're a welcome and cheaper alternative to payday loans, often doing loans that are similar.
See the best buys for credit unions now offering payday loans (some may require you to save with them first, so check).
Get cash: 1-3 days
If you've often found yourself on the brink of payday loans, and need to find a cheaper way, there's one way to arm yourself with a permanently cheaper measure.
Credit cards, while not great, are far cheaper than payday loans, provided you repay both within the same amount of time. For example, a month’s £200 payday loan costs just under £50, but on a credit card repaid in full, it's free. Even when it's not free, a credit card costs around £3-£10 a month in interest (depending on your APR).
So apply for a credit card for use in emergencies (the roof falling in, not new shoes). If you’ve a decent credit history, go for a 0% spending card. If not, then even poor-credit credit cards at what we’d normally say are horrid 30-50% APRs are much cheaper than payday loans.
To ensure this is kept for disciplined emergency use only, not willy-nilly spending, once you get the card, put it in a waterproof bag, then put that bag in a bag full of water & put it in the freezer. If you need it, you’ll need to smash the ice – which should give you serious pause for thought as you hack away to get the card.
Get cash: 2 minutes (time taken to hack away at the ice)
Although borrowing from family (or a close friend) can be tricky, if you're in a bad way it may be worth asking for help, even if it's just going around for dinner to save on costs. Plus, often talking about your money problems can be a huge relief (see the Debt-Free Wannabe board on the MSE forums).
To make you and them feel better, do it formally. Write down the amount and when you'll repay them – along the same terms.
If it is a close family member (such as a parent) and they don't have the cash, but they do have a better credit score than you, then as long as they're willing, it would be better for them to try some of the alternatives above to get the cash to lend to you. But they must be aware the debt is then legally theirs, not yours.
Get cash: 1 day
Usually we suggest people avoid using their overdraft facility if they'll incur interest charges. However if you stay within your ARRANGED overdraft limit (even if you extend your overdraft to do so) this will be cheaper than using a payday loan.
Our Best Bank Accounts guide tells you the best accounts if you're overdrawn - and some even have 0% overdrafts for limited periods, which'll allow you to sort out your finances.
If you're already at your limit with overdrafts (and can't extend), and have maxed out your credit card, then consider getting help with your debts. Don't think a payday loan is the answer - it may make your situation worse rather than better.
Get cash: same/next day
If you've jumped straight here - please scroll up and read the alternatives first.
Payday loans are dangerous and only ever a last resort.
However in the very limited circumstance that you've tried everything else, need cash quickly and KNOW you can repay the loan in full when you need it, this short-term lending can fill a hole. If you're not sure you can repay in full, charges will roll up and this could be a financial nightmare costing you many times more than you borrowed – so don't do it. Sadly, plenty have. That's why we've launched a free tool and guide Reclaim Payday Loans for Free. You've been warned.
If you still feel a payday loan is right for you, this information will help you compare payday loans.
Charges vary from company to company. On average, it's around £24 per month per £100 borrowed. Yet there's no one cheapest here, as it depends on the exact amount and length of borrowing.
So always ensure you know:
A. What you repay if you repay on time – compare based on that.
B. Just in case - what would happen if you couldn't repay? If this is a realistic possibility (obviously we'd prefer you didn't get a loan at all in these circumstances), factor this into your decision very carefully.
Payday loan brokers will look like payday lenders, but they won't be able to lend to you. Instead, they'll charge you up to £70 for referring your application to a payday lender.
If you are going for a payday loan (and make sure you've checked none of the alternatives above are suitable first), don't fall for this scam.
Adverts for payday loans are everywhere - especially online, so it's tricky to know where to go. Before applying, check the company's registered with the FCA - see if it's licensed under the Consumer Credit Act at the FCA Consumer Credit Register. It's important to do this as some payday lenders have been operating illegally.
This varies from lender to lender, but you'll need to be over 18 years old, have a full bank account with debit card, a regular income and with most payday lenders you will have to pass a credit check (some say they reject as many as two-thirds of first time applicants). You'll also need some proof of your identity and your income.
Some lenders have marketing opt-outs/ins on their application forms. If you say you're happy to hear from them and 'selected' third parties, then it means they're able to sell your data to whoever they like. Always make sure you say no to marketing.
Retailcure credit union offers loans to people working in retail (or their families). This actually goes a lot wider than you'd think - eg it includes transport drivers and cleaners - so check if you'd qualify. When you join, you'll need to open a savings account with the credit union, and agree to save regularly (either £5 or 10% of your loan repayment figure each month, whichever is higher). Retailcure's representative APR ranges from 9.9% to 28%. For a six month £500 loan at 28% representative APR, the monthly interest is £6.17 but before you get too carried away, remember the monthly bill also includes loan repayment so it tots up to £89.50.
Loans from Retailcure are a minimum £250 for a minimum term of three months, though you'll be able to repay early.
6 Towns Credit Union offers loans (as well as savings and cards) to people living or working in Sandwell, Worcestershire or South Birmingham.
This credit union has stopped providing payday loans but it does offer loans from three months to two years with an APR of 42.6% APR to members. Its loans can be repaid weekly, fortnightly, four weekly or monthly so for example if you borrow £500 for a year and repaid £11.49 on time every week, you'd pay back £597.02 in total.
Wessex Community Bank offers loans to people who live or work in Hampshire. You can apply online for a loan; just choose the amount you want - it lends from £350 up to £4,999, depending on your employment and credit rating. If you've a good credit history, loans up to £3,000 have a representative APR of 11% and you can borrow for between six months and five years (larger loans can be as low as 5.1% APR though need to be secured against savings).
As a nice touch, some of your repayment goes to 'saving' which comes back to you as cashback once your loan's paid back.
Partners Credit Union offers loans to people and their family or household members living or working in Merseyside, or UK-resident members of Spirit of Shankly (Liverpool supporters union) and members of certain Trade Unions in the North West.
When you join, you'll need to pay a £20 fee to start saving with the credit union but you can apply for £100-£500 as long as you meet a number of conditions and repay within 6 months. The representative APR is 34.5%. If you borrow £500 for one month via the credit union's Payroll Perk loan and pay it off in one go at the end, the interest will cost £13.
Partners also offers other borrowing options and interest rates. You can choose the amount and term of your loan up to 5 years and you can repay early without penalty.
CUOK Loans is the payday loan section of the London Mutual Credit Union Loans, which is for people who live or work in the boroughs of Camden, Lambeth, Southwark and Westminster. As it's a credit union, its APR on loans is limited to 42.6%, meaning that £400 borrowed for one month will cost £12 in interest.
You can choose at the outset to pay loans over one to three months, but you can repay early without penalty. If you need cash the same day you apply, there's an £11 fee. If not, there's no charge.
Leeds City Credit Union offers loans of between £250 and £1,000 at a 42.6% APR to be paid back after between one and 12 months. Borrow £500 and you can repay £515 a month later.
To get a loan, you'll need to live or work in Leeds, Wakefield, Harrogate or Craven, be a resident of certain housing associations, or work for one of these employers. Some trade union members in Yorkshire and the North East are also eligible.
Drafty's a loans service offering payday-style loans at a low-ish (for this type of lending) 89.7% rep APR. We say payday style, as you actually apply for a line of credit rather than a specific loan - you're only charged when you're using it.
You can borrow from £50 to £3,000 - but as it's a line of credit, there's no minimum or maximum repayment period. You just need to make a minimum repayment each month. Using Drafty will need financial discipline to pay off the credit and not use it again, so if you don't have that, and you only want the one-off loan, set fixed repayments each month, then shut down your account once the loan's paid off.
Borrowing £500 with Drafty for one month will cost you around £25 in interest. Cash should arrive the same day you apply.
Street UK describes itself as a a not-for-profit community interest company - its charges are only to cover the cost of providing credit. You can only apply if you live within 15 miles of a Street UK branch, which are in Birmingham, Coventry, Walsall, West Bromwich and Wolverhampton.
You can borrow between £200 and £1,000 and pay it back over up to 12 months (though you can pay back early with no penalty charges). Cash will be paid to you on the same day, or the next day, depending on what time you apply. Its APR is 120%, meaning to borrow £500, it will cost around £33 if you paid it all back at the end of the month. Payments are taken via direct debit and you can opt to pay it back weekly, fortnightly, four-weekly or monthly, so it fits in with how you're paid.
Check out Find Your Credit Union or Finding Finance for community based lenders close to you to see if you can borrow from them first. We're expecting more credit unions to adopt this model in the coming months & years - and we'll add details of those who do into this table. If you find one that offers payday-style loans, please let us know in the credit union payday-style loans forum.
For the rest, in all good conscience, we don't feel it's appropriate to call most payday lenders 'best buys' here - we don't like any of them - although costs have come down as the Government has forced payday lenders to cap their interest & fees. There are three elements to this cap, so make sure your lender's not breaking them:
Lenders can only charge 80p interest per £100 per day. So, if you borrowed £100 for 30 days, you shouldn't pay more than £24 in interest.
Lenders can't charge more than £15 as a fee if you pay late.
You'll never pay back more than double what you borrowed. So, if you borrow £100, you will never pay back more than £200 when all interest, late fees and charges are taken into account.
We've picked two of the 'least worst' payday lenders...they're ordered alphabetically, as we don't rate one over another, but here's the things you should be looking for in each column:
Rep APR: Higher APR is worse, but focus on cost more than this.
Total repayment: The sums in the table are the total repaid incl original borrowing.
Rollovers: Rollovers are dangerous. Avoid.
Allows early repayment: Look for lenders that reduce the cost if you repay early.
We've deliberately not linked to this lender – to give you time to pause for thought.
(But we've included the website addresses, as searches tend to find similar paid-for links.)
Warning: Beware of being guided by representative APRs - the rate you actually get could be much higher. Including lenders here is no guarantee of service. Approach with caution!
|LEAST WORST PAYDAY LENDER - does credit checks and reports repayments to credit reference agencies|
|Buffa.co.uk||1087%||£222||£592||Yes - and will reduce cost.|
First of all, again, please don't take out a payday loan if you think you might not be able to pay on time. Or at the very least, schedule the repayment so it's a bit later, when you KNOW you’ll have the cash. Many short term lenders now let you take cash over a few months - though, of course, the longer you have the loan, the more interest you pay.
If something does go wrong, lenders' policies vary, yet all those above have signed the payday lenders' Good Practice Charter.
This has some requirements, though it's open to debate how well policed it is. It means lenders shouldn't pressure you to roll over or increase your loan, and they should…
Always, always tell your lender as soon as you know you're not going to be able to repay. It does work. Be firm, make a fair offer and be willing to answer questions about your income and expenditure honestly. It worked for forumite p4nc4ke:
Recently my total payday loan debt was at £2,655 and I had run out of options as my monthly pay just wasn't enough.
I contacted the companies asking for a repayment plan. I worked out how much I could afford to spend on payday loans and then divided it between each company in proportion to how much I owed them.
All agreed to freeze the interest and accepted the monthly amount I offered.
So, I just want people to know that there IS a way out, even if things look extremely bad. Do not get depressed, you CAN get it sorted. And don't put it off and off like I had - I could have saved myself a lot of money
The story above's about financial hardship, while you may only need a few extra days to pay. Each company has a slightly different policy on late payments, although no payday lender's allowed to charge you more than £15 as a late payment fee. Here are the specifics for Buffa Loans and Sunny:
Get in touch if you can't pay, both will discuss repayment options with you. If not:
Be registered with the FCA.
Perform a credit check. This means that it is at least checking some basic affordability criteria before it lends.
If things go wrong, it's important to contact your lender as soon as possible and let it know you’re having difficulty repaying. Don’t try to front it out. Things might be going off the rails from the start because you were mis-sold. For guidance and a tool, go to our Reclaim Payday Loans for Free. You should also consider contacting a non-profit debt help agency.
All the lenders above have committed to offering reasonable repayment plans if there are problems. And now it's the case that when their interest and late fees take your total debt to double the amount you borrowed, they have to stop charging.
However, they will pursue you for payment, and will report your non-payment to credit reference agencies, which will damage your future borrowing chances.
Don’t just take it. You have a right to take them to the free Financial Ombudsman Service which can adjudicate.
See our Reclaim Payday Loans for Free guide for full help and a free complaints tool to get you to the right people at the firm. If the firm doesn’t give you a satisfactory answer, then don’t give up. The tool will prompt you at the right time to see if you want your case taken on to the Ombudsman.
You can call the Ombudsman direct on 0300 1239 123 but it can't help fully unless you've followed the correct process and timetable. Alternatively you can ask it a question in the MSE forum or head to its specialised Payday Loan Help page - where you can chat online too.
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If you've already got a payday loan, don't panic. There are some things you can try to get out of the cycle. Why do we call it a cycle? Well, if you needed to borrow £400 this month to see you through to payday, and you need to pay it back on payday, it'll likely mean you're £400 short next month too, probably requiring you to borrow again.
The methods below may help you ditch the payday loan, and - crucially - give you a longer time to repay. Have a scan through them all to see what's suitable. It's worth noting we wouldn't normally suggest paying off debt with other debt. But in comparison to payday loans, these debts give you time to repay....
If you've an existing credit card that has at least some of its limit left, this is a much better option than taking out a payday loan, even if you'll pay interest.
To pay off the payday loan, you need to use the credit card for your all normal spending for the rest of the month (don't overspend and carefully budget). The equivalent amount of unspent income will build up in your bank account, which can then be used as cash to pay off the loan
Then pay off the card as quickly as possible - ideally the same month so you don't pay interest. If this isn't possible, then just pay it as fast as you can. A few months at 20% interest is much less than you'll pay on an equivalent payday loan.
Warning: only spend on the card, don't make ATM cash withdrawals - you pay a fee and interest on those, so spending on a card is always cheaper than getting a cash advance.
No credit limit left? If you're maxed out, speak to the card provider and see if it can increase it. If you try to spend over your credit limit you'll either be declined or will be charged a £12 fee, which can be almost as costly as some payday loans.
This may not be a solution for everyone, as most payday lenders won't lend to those on income-based benefits, and you need to be in receipt of these to qualify for a Government budgeting loan.
If you're on income-based benefits (such as universal credit or one of the legacy benefits income support, pension credit, employment & support allowance or jobseeker's allowance), you may be able to get an interest-free loan of up to £812. Technically, these loans are for essential items for your home or other necessary things that you need a lump sum for such as rent, furniture, clothing or debt repayments.
So, you'll need to use the loan for these - ie living expenses. Meanwhile, use the other income you have that you're now not using for living expenses to pay off the payday loan. Repayments depend on what you can afford, though loans last for two years at most.
How to apply: Apply online at Gov.uk. Or, you can download the form from there, or pick one up from your nearest Jobcentre Plus.
How easy are they to get? Demand is extremely high and there isn't a bottomless pit of money, so if it's decided your circumstances aren't urgent or you're not struggling, you may not get anything. But if you think you qualify and really need the cash, it's definitely worth a shot. You'll get a decision within 20 working days if you apply online - other ways take longer.
These cards are the holy grail of paying off a payday loan cheaply. After all, if you need to borrow money, doing it interest-free is the best way. Here's what you need to know...
If you've a good credit score, get a 0% money transfer. This is where they pay cash into your bank account for you, for a small fee. You now have money in your account (use it to pay off the payday loan) and you've a debt on the card. Use the period at 0% to clear the debt from the card. For full help, see 0% Money Transfers.
Poor credit score? There are still options. You can still get a 0% card to help you pay off your payday loan, it's just going to be a bit more complex, as these are 0% on spending rather than on money transfers. But, importantly, they still give you a few months with no interest to allow you a bit of respite.
If you can get one of these cards, use it to pay for everything you buy where cards are accepted - but don't overspend, and carefully budget. The equivalent amount of unspent income will build up in your bank account, which you should use to pay off the payday loan.
Only see the 0% period as a respite, though. On these cards, once the 0% period ends, the interest you'll be charged typically jumps to around 35%.
For a full list, see Credit Cards For Bad Credit.
Credit unions and Community Development Finance Institutions are independently-run local co-operative organisations which aim to assist people who may not have access to financial products and services elsewhere. For many, they're a welcome and cheaper alternative to payday loans, often doing loans that are similar.
Credit union loan rates are capped, and the maximum you can be charged on a loan is 42.6% APR (equivalent to 3% per month). Most loans are cheaper than this, and the highest rate is generally only used for very short term loans. If you can find a local credit union doing payday-style loans, borrow cash from them to pay off your 1,000%+ APR payday loan, then you'll have between one and six months to pay the credit union back.
See the best buys for credit unions offering payday-style loans.
Although borrowing from family (or a close friend) can be tricky, if you're in a bad way it may be worth asking for help, even if it's just going around for dinner to save on buying food. Plus, often talking about your money problems can be a huge relief (see the Debt-Free Wannabe board on the MSE forums).
If someone will help you out, do it formally. Write down the amount and when you'll repay them. Hopefully they won't charge interest (or if they do, see if they'll accept a pint as thanks, or a token sum at the end of the loan).
If it is a close family member (such as a parent) and they don't have the cash, but they do have a better credit score than you, then as long as they're willing, they could try some of the alternatives above to get the cash to lend to you. But they must be aware the debt is then legally theirs, not yours.
Usually we suggest people avoid using their overdraft facility if they'll incur interest. But if you stay within your ARRANGED limit (even if you extend your overdraft to do so) this is cheaper than a payday loan. Use the extra amount of the overdraft borrowing to pay off the payday loan.
Our Best Bank Accounts guide tells you the best accounts if you're overdrawn - and some even have 0% overdrafts, which'll allow you time to sort out your finances.
If you're already at your limit with overdrafts (and can't extend), have maxed out your credit card, and have a payday loan that you're struggling to pay off, then consider getting help with your debts. See the full Debt Help guide.
It'll be no surprise by now that we're not big fans of payday loans. This industry has seen the UK as a crock of gold. Huge money has flooded into the UK due to our weak regulations while other countries, notably the US, have cracked down and regulated their industries. However, with January 2015's total cost cap, we may see a decent amount of change in the industry.
Our Founder and Chair Martin Lewis has campaigned on our behalf for much stronger regulation – giving evidence at the Business, Innovation & Skills select committee of MPs, addressing the Government's Payday Loan summit, as well as media appearances and working alongside the likes of payday loan-campaigning MP Stella Creasy.
Here's Martin's quick list of some of the changes we'd like to see…
Ban advertisements for these loans on children's television. This is an attempt to target hard-pressed families – even though lenders claim they are not their target market.
Restrict the nature of the adverts. Payday loan advertising is pervasive. They make it look like this is a fun, little transaction rather than a hardcore form of debt. The ads should have much more prescriptive content rules about how they're presented.
A lower total cost cap should be introduced. Good news. The regulator has brought in a total cost cap for payday loans. So, for every £100 borrowed, the lender shouldn't be charging more than 80p in interest per day. If they are, do report them to the FCA, as they're breaking the law.
And, the total cost cap means you'll never pay back more than double what you borrowed. So, for example, if you borrow £100, you'll never have to repay more than £200 in interest, fees & capital repayment, including the original cash lent. However, MSE has called for a lower total cost cap, so you'd pay at most £150 for every £100 borrowed.
There should be a delay between applying for a loan and receiving the cash. These loans sell themselves on convenience, but they are too easy. In some cases, the money can appear in bank accounts within 15 minutes.
While there's a 14-day cooling-off period, as for any credit agreement, it's relatively meaningless as you have to repay the capital plus interest/fees for that period (so at these rates it'd still be expensive).
Therefore a one-day delay before receipt of the cash, at least giving people a chance to reconsider before there are any charges (especially those who apply when intoxicated), would be useful.
Mandatory affordability and credit checks. Many payday loan providers already do credit checks. But some advertise their loans predicated on the fact that they do not credit check you. It should be mandatory for all payday loan lenders.
Affordability checks should also be mandatory - Wonga has already been rapped by the regulator for not properly assessing some customers' ability to make repayments.