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Short Term Loans

Short term loans have become increasingly popular in the UK as a convenient and flexible way to address financial needs. These unsecured credit products typically last less than a year and can be used to borrow amounts up to £3,000, depending on the lender. The loan duration can go up to nine months, making monthly instalments more manageable.

These loans cater to people with various credit histories, including those with poor credit. They generally come with higher interest rates than standard loans, given the higher risk of default. As a result, it is essential for borrowers to fully understand the terms and conditions before applying.

Several lenders offer short-term loans in the UK, such as Cashfloat, which provides instant decisions on loans up to £1,500. Lenders like QuidMarket extend loans between £300 and £1,500 over three to six months, considering applications from those with bad credit. With multiple options available, it is crucial to compare and analyse the financial implications before choosing the right short-term loan option for your situation.

Short term loans

What are Short Term Loans?

Short-term loans, often called payday loans, are a type of financing designed to help you cover emergency costs or temporary financial shortfalls. These loans are usually intended for smaller amounts, typically between £100 and £1,000. They are meant to be repaid within a few months or sooner, depending on the borrower’s ability to pay back the balance plus interest.

The duration of short term loans can vary, with some lenders offering terms as short as one month and others extending up to 18 months or even two years. However, most short-term loans tend to last less than a year. Compared to long-term loans, short-term loans often have higher interest rates due to the increased risk of default.

Borrowers can use short term loans for a variety of purposes. Some common reasons include:

  • Emergency expenses, such as boiler repairs or car breakdowns
  • Unexpected bills
  • Temporary income gaps

It’s important to consider the advantages and disadvantages of short-term loans before deciding whether they’re suitable for your needs. Some of the benefits include:

  • Quick access to funds, with some lenders able to transfer money within an hour
  • Flexible repayment options, with the ability to repay the loan in 3 – 9 monthly instalments
  • Acceptance of all credit scores, making short term loans an option for those with less-than-perfect credit

However, there are also potential drawbacks to consider:

  • Higher interest rates compared to longer-term loans, which can make short term loans more expensive overall
  • The risk of falling into a debt cycle if the borrower is unable to repay the loan on time and needs to take out another loan to cover the initial debt

In summary, short term loans can provide a temporary financial solution for those needing quick cash. However, they should be approached cautiously and only as a last resort after considering other options and carefully assessing the potential consequences of obtaining a short term loan.

Types of Short Term Loans in the UK

Short-term loans are quite popular in the UK, as they offer a solution for those who need a quick cash boost to cover emergency expenses. In this section, we will cover two main types of short term loans available in the UK: Payday Loans and Personal Loans.

Types of short term loans in the uk

Payday Loans

As the name suggests, payday loans are designed to tide you over until your next payday. Generally, these loans are:

  • For smaller amounts, usually between £100 and £1,000
  • Short-term, typically repaid within a month or on your next payday
  • Unsecured, meaning you don’t need to provide collateral to obtain the loan
  • Popular for emergency expenses, such as unexpected bills or repairs

Some key features of payday loans to consider include the following:

  • Interest rates and fees: Payday loans often have higher interest rates than other forms of short-term borrowing.
  • Approval process: These loans usually have a quick approval, making them suitable for urgent financial situations. Lenders may not be deterred by bad credit but will care about affordability.
  • Repayment flexibility: Payday loans must typically be repaid in one lump sum, including interest, on your next payday.

Personal Loans

On the other hand, personal loans are more flexible in terms of repayment and the amount borrowed. Some characteristics of personal loans are:

  • It can be used for various reasons, from consolidating debts to covering significant expenses.
  • Loan amounts can range from a few hundred pounds up to several thousand pounds.
  • Typically unsecured, although some lenders may offer secured personal loans
  • Repayment terms can span several months to a few years, depending on the agreement.

A comparison between payday loans and personal loans is presented in the table below:

Payday LoansPersonal Loans
Loan Amount£100 – £1,000£100 – £25,000
Repayment TermUp to 30 daysUp to 7 years
Interest RatesHigherLower
Loan PurposeEmergency costsVarious
Collateral requiredNoNo

In summary, payday and personal loans serve different purposes and have varying terms and conditions. Choosing the right short-term loan type depends on your needs, borrowing capacity, and financial circumstances.

Understanding Interest Rates and APR

When considering short-term loans in the UK, knowing the difference between interest rates and APR (Annual Percentage Rate) is crucial. The interest rate is the cost of borrowing the principal amount of the loan, while APR includes the interest rate and any additional fees.

The interest rate is expressed as a percentage and is applied to the loan amount. For example, if you borrow £1,000 with an interest rate of 10%, you must pay back £1,100 over the loan term.

On the other hand, APR is a more comprehensive representation of the actual cost of your loan, taking into account both interest rates and any additional fees, such as origination or administration fees. It helps you compare different loans by presenting a clearer picture of the total cost of borrowing.

It’s important to note that APR can vary significantly based on the loan term and additional fees. For example, two loans with the same interest rate might have different APRs if one has higher administration fees than the other. So, when comparing short-term loans, looking at the APR rather than just the interest rate is essential.

Remember that some lenders might advertise a lower interest rate but charge additional hidden fees, resulting in a higher APR. Therefore, always scrutinise the loan documentation and ensure you understand all fees and charges associated with the loan before deciding.

In the case of credit unions, loan rates are capped, with a maximum APR of 42.6% (equivalent to 3% per month). Most credit union loans have lower APRs than this; the highest rate is typically used for very short-term loans.

To summarise, when considering short-term loans in the UK, compare the APR of different loans to understand the true cost of borrowing. Doing so lets you make informed decisions and select the right loan for your needs.

Eligibility and Application Process

First and foremost, eligibility for short-term loans depends on several factors. These factors may include:

  • Income
  • UK residency or nationality status
  • A UK bank account for the loan transaction

Prospective borrowers must be UK residents and have a valid UK bank account. This ensures a smooth transfer of funds, enabling lenders to verify your identity and income easily. Regular income is crucial for approval in most cases, as it demonstrates your ability to repay the loan promptly.

The short-term loan application process is typically quick and straightforward. To apply, you should follow these steps:

  1. Research and compare lenders: Choose a reputable lender with favourable terms and conditions. Creddio specialises in loan comparison for easy loans, payday loans and fast loans in the UK.
  2. Submit an online application: Most lenders have an online application form where you provide personal details, financial information, and the desired loan amount.
  3. Review loan offers: After applying, you may receive an instant decision or offers from competing lenders. Compare the terms and analyze the repayment schedule.

Remember that some lenders run a soft search to check eligibility without affecting your credit rating. This could be particularly beneficial if you have a less-than-stellar credit score.

The steps above outline a relatively simple application process. Upon approval, lenders usually transfer the approved funds to your bank account almost immediately, often within 15 minutes, thanks to the Faster Payments system.

In summary, to be eligible for a short-term loan in the UK, you must have a stable income, UK residency, and a UK bank account. By researching your options and following a streamlined application process, you can secure a short-term loan to help you manage unexpected financial needs.

Credit and Affordability Checks

When applying for a short-term loan in the UK, lenders will assess your eligibility based on two main factors: your credit history and your affordability. These checks help lenders determine if you can manage the loan and make repayments on time without causing financial stress.

Your credit score reflects your borrowing history and your ability to make repayments. If you have a poor credit score, it may be due to missed or late payments, defaults on previous loans or high debt levels. Lenders use credit scores and credit history to gauge your lending risk. A higher credit score often leads to better loan offers and interest rates, whilst a lower credit score might mean more limited options.

Affordability checks focus on your current financial situation. Lenders analyse your income, expenses, and debts to determine whether you can comfortably manage the loan repayments. This involves assessing your:

  • Income sources and stability
  • Monthly living expenses (e.g. rent, utilities, groceries)
  • Existing financial commitments (e.g. credit card balances, loans, overdrafts)

Some lenders may perform a soft credit check during the affordability assessment, which will not impact your credit rating. This allows them to review your credit history and financial behaviour without leaving a mark on your credit file. You can also look for no credit check loans.

To improve your chances of getting approved for a short-term loan, consider:

  • Checking your credit report for errors and disputing them if necessary
  • Making sure you have an accurate and up-to-date record of your income and expenses when applying
  • Ensuring you have a realistic repayment plan for the loan
  • Reducing existing debts and improving your credit score where possible

Loan Terms and Repayment Options

Regarding short-term loans in the UK, borrowers often have several options for loan terms and repayment methods. Loan terms for short-term loans can range from as short as two weeks to up to six months, depending on the lender and your specific needs. The loans are generally smaller, ranging from £100 to £1,500.

Repaying a short-term loan involves making regular payments or instalments throughout the agreed-upon loan term. It is essential to understand your repayment obligations, as failing to meet them could lead to additional interest or fees.

In most cases, loan repayments for short-term loans in the UK are made through monthly repayments. These repayments consist of both the principal amount borrowed and any accrued interest. Monthly repayments are typically set up as direct debits, allowing automatic deductions from your bank account to ensure timely payments.

There are various repayment options available to borrowers, including:

  • Fixed instalments: Under this method, borrowers make equal monthly repayments throughout the loan term, which helps simplify budgeting and planning for the expense.
  • Variable instalments: Some lenders may offer loans with varying repayment amounts, where the instalments may increase or decrease according to a predefined schedule or agreement.

It is crucial to be aware of the fine print of your loan agreement and any conditions attached to your repayment arrangements. Knowing your loan terms and repayment options will help you choose the most suitable short-term loan for your needs and manage your finances more effectively.

Direct Lenders versus Brokers

When looking for a short-term loan in the UK, borrowers have two main options: direct lenders and brokers. Understanding the differences between the two can be essential in making an informed decision on the best route to obtaining a suitable short-term loan.

Direct Lenders

Direct lenders lend money directly to the borrower without the involvement of intermediaries or third parties. This makes the loan process more streamlined and often faster, as no middlemen are involved. Some advantages of using direct lenders for short-term loans are:

  • Faster turnaround time: Direct lenders can approve and fund loans more quickly than brokers, allowing borrowers to access funds promptly when needed.
  • Reduced fees: Since no intermediaries exist, direct lenders can generally offer lower fees, as they don’t need to pay referral or broker fees.
  • More control: Borrowers deal directly with the loan provider, meaning that the process is more transparent and easier to control from start to finish.

However, there are some limitations to using direct lenders, such as:

  • Limited options: Direct lenders offer only their own loan products, meaning borrowers have fewer options than they might have with a broker.


Brokers act as intermediaries between borrowers and loan providers, helping individuals find the most suitable short-term loan for their needs. Brokers receive a commission from lenders for their services. Some benefits of using brokers include:

  • Wide range of options: Brokers work with a panel of lenders, often offering more options and better deals for borrowers.
  • Convenience: Brokers can save time and effort by searching for loans on behalf of borrowers, making the process more straightforward and less stressful.
  • High acceptance rates: Many brokers offer high acceptance rates for loans, even for individuals with poor credit histories.

However, there are also some considerations when choosing a broker:

  • Fees: Brokers may charge fees in addition to the loan provider’s charges, making loans more expensive overall.
  • Possible delays: The involvement of a broker can cause delays in the loan process compared to working directly with a lender.

In summary, both direct lenders and brokers can assist borrowers in obtaining short-term loans, but each option has advantages and drawbacks. The choice between the two will depend on factors such as turnaround time, fees, choice of loans, and the borrower’s circumstances.

Secured and Unsecured Loans

Secured and unsecured loans are the two main types of short-term loans available in the UK. Both options have advantages and drawbacks, depending on the borrower’s needs and circumstances.

Secured loans are secured against an asset the borrower owns, such as a property or a vehicle. This provides the lender with a guarantee and lowers their risk. Some common types of secured loans include:

  • Mortgages to buy a property
  • Vehicle loans to purchase a car or other vehicle
  • Home improvement loans secured against your home

A secured loan’s main advantage is that it usually comes with lower interest rates than unsecured loans. This is because the lender has collateral to fall back on if the borrower fails to repay. The amount you can borrow with a secured loan generally ranges from £1,000 to £2,500,000.

Unsecured loans, on the other hand, are not tied to any asset. Instead, they are granted based on the borrower’s creditworthiness and repayment ability. Unsecured loans generally have higher interest rates, as the lender carries more risk if the borrower defaults. Typical examples of unsecured loans include:

  • Personal loans for various purposes
  • Debt consolidation loans
  • Short-term loans, such as payday loans

Unsecured loans are usually available for amounts between £1,000 and £25,000, with the best interest rates found for loans between £7,500 and £15,000. To qualify for an unsecured loan, you usually need a fair to good credit score, as lenders want to ensure you pose minimal risk.

In summary, the choice between a secured and unsecured loan depends on the borrower’s needs, personal circumstances and credit history. Secured loans often have lower interest rates and allow for larger loan amounts, while unsecured loans come with higher interest rates but do not require collateral.

Dealing with Financial Emergencies

When dealing with financial emergencies, knowing your options for short-term borrowing is essential. Emergencies can include unexpected expenses such as car repairs or urgent bills. Here are some common sources of short-term loans in the UK and guidance on making the best choice for your situation.

Payday Loans: These are small, short-term loans, usually for two weeks to one month. Loan amounts can range from £100 to £1,000, depending on your needs and eligibility. Remember that payday loans can be expensive due to high-interest rates, so consider alternatives if possible.

Bank Overdrafts: Overdrafts can provide a safety net in an emergency. Many banks offer interest-free buffers or arranged overdrafts with limited fees. However, unplanned overdrafts can result in substantial charges, making this an expensive option if misused.

Emergency Loans: Providers like Dot Dot Loans offer emergency loans ranging from £100 to £1,000, catering to emergency expenses. Another option is Lending Stream, which considers bad credit loans. Although these services are convenient, they can be costly, so assess your repayment ability before applying.

Loan TypeLoan AmountsSuitable forPoints to Consider
Payday Loans£100 – £1,000Urgent short-termHigher interest rates; short repayment period
Bank OverdraftsVaries by bankUnforeseen expensesUnplanned overdraft fees; interest on overdraft
Emergency Loans£100 – £1,000Various emergenciesHigher interest rates; consider repayment ability

When dealing with a financial emergency

Regulations and Financial Conduct Authority

In the UK, short-term loans are governed by strict regulations to protect consumers from excessive charges and unmanageable debt. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is the regulatory body responsible for overseeing, licencing, and monitoring financial services firms and consumer credit providers, including high-cost short-term credit (HCSTC) providers.

The FCA has implemented various rules and restrictions to ensure responsible lending practices for short-term loans. Some key regulations include:

  • Interest rate cap: Interest and fees for high-cost short-term credit loans must not exceed 0.8% per day of the amount borrowed. This means any potential charges for a loan are capped, thereby preventing excessive costs for consumers.
  • Fixed default fees: If a borrower struggles to repay a loan on time, default charges must not exceed £152. This protects consumers from excessive penalty fees, which can cause indebtedness to escalate.
  • Financial promotions: Loan providers must also include clear risk warnings on high-cost short-term credit promotions to educate consumers on potential risks associated with these loans.
  • Responsible lending: Firms must adhere to the FCA’s ‘Mortgages and Home Finance: Conduct of Business guidelines when determining the affordability and suitability of a loan for a customer. This includes assessing a customer’s financial situation and ensuring that the loan does not lead to financial hardship or over-indebtedness.

Overall, the Financial Conduct Authority is essential in maintaining a fair and transparent short-term loan market in the UK. By regulating the industry, the FCA helps safeguard consumers from irresponsible lending practices, excessive fees, and unmanageable debt situations. Consumers can check the FCA’s Warning List1 to ensure they deal with an authorised firm when considering short-term loans.

Alternative Sources of Income

When considering short-term loans, it is important to explore alternative sources of income that may be available. These alternatives could help to avoid the high-interest rates commonly associated with short-term loans.

  • Benefits and pensions: One option to explore is income-based benefits, such as income support, pension credit, and employment & support allowance. These benefits are designed to provide financial assistance to those in need and can be a useful way to supplement your income. You can use online tools, such as the government’s benefits calculator, to determine eligibility for any benefits.
  • Credit unions: As an alternative to short-term loans, credit unions are not-for-profit organisations that offer low-interest rates for borrowing money. By choosing a credit union, you can avoid the high costs usually associated with short-term loans whilst still having access to the funds you need. Credit unions are member-owned and operated, meaning they work solely for the benefit of their members.
  • Family and friends: Borrowing from family or friends may be an option to consider if you cannot access loans through traditional channels. Whilst this should be approached cautiously to avoid damaging relationships, it could provide a more affordable and flexible source of funds. Ensure that any agreements made are documented in writing to avoid misunderstandings.
  • Salary advances or personal loans: Depending on your employment situation, you may be eligible for a salary advance from your employer. This could provide instant access to additional funds without the high interest rates commonly associated with short-term loans. Personal loans from banks or other financial institutions may offer a more competitive interest rate and longer repayment terms than short-term loans.

In summary, exploring alternative sources of income, such as pensions, benefits, or borrowing from a credit union, can help to avoid the costly nature of short-term loans. Awareness of these options can lead to more informed financial decisions and promote better financial well-being.

Seeking Financial Advice

When considering short-term loans in the UK, seeking professional financial advice is crucial to ensure you make informed decisions. Independent financial advisers can provide valuable guidance on the best loan options tailored to your needs and circumstances.

Before committing to a short-term loan, it’s essential to understand the various options available and their associated fees, interest rates, and repayment terms. Some common short-term loans in the UK include:

  • Payday loans: These are typically borrowed for a few months (or less) and are intended to cover emergency expenses. They usually range from £100 to £1,000.
  • Secured loans: To qualify for this type of loan, you’ll need an asset, such as home equity, to back it. Specialist lenders typically offer secured loans.

Here are some key points to consider when seeking financial advice:

  • Ensure your financial adviser is properly qualified and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
  • Be open and honest with your adviser about your financial situation and requirements.
  • Compare costs and fees to ensure you get the best value for your money.
  • Remember that professional financial advice is just one aspect of making informed decisions – it’s essential to research and carefully consider your options.

It’s vital to take the time to understand the implications and long-term consequences of short-term loans before deciding to proceed. Seeking professional financial advice can provide you with the knowledge required to make the best decision for your unique circumstances.


Financial Conduct Authority | FCA

PDF Consumer Credit sourcebook – FCA Handbook