Comparing personal loan providers: Find the best loan provider in UK

Comparing personal loan providers: Find the best loan provider in UK - Personal loans, also known as unsecured loans, are loans in which you borrow money from a lender and agree to repay it over time in fixed monthly payments.

The lender will charge you interest as a fee for lending you money, so you must repay the amount borrowed plus interest. The benefit is that you receive cash up front but can spread the cost of a purchase over several months or years.

This guide discusses the cheapest personal loans, as well as whether other financing options, such as credit cards, may be less expensive for you. Plus, before you apply, you can use our clever Loans Eligibility Calculator to see which lenders are likely to accept you.

Personal loans are becoming more expensive as interest rates continue to rise. However, there are still some competitive deals available, particularly for borrowings of £7,500 to £15,000, where APRs (annual percentage rates) are at their lowest.

The interest rate is also fixed, so you will know exactly how much the loan will cost you each month.

We conducted some research to identify the best lenders for loans of this size. The APRs listed are indicative, which means you may be offered a higher rate based on your credit score and personal circumstances.

Finally, loan rates are rapidly changing. When you're ready to borrow, start a new search.

What characteristics should you look for in the best personal loans ?

What are the best personal loans available if you need to get your hands on some cash within this borrowing range? We've made it simple to compare the loans that might be the best fit for you by ranking the top providers based on representative APR and loan terms that apply.

We also considered any fees for early repayment, late or missed payments (more on this below), and any other factors that could set one lender apart from the next by just a whisker.

However, keep the following points in mind before you begin:

  1. There is a good chance that the advertised APR will not be the one you are offered. Because these are'representative' APRs, they only need to apply to 51% of successful applicants.
  2. The best personal loans are only available to applicants with good or excellent credit. Before applying, always use an eligibility checker to determine your chances of acceptance. This way, even if you receive a red flag, your credit score remains unaffected.
  3. While some lenders do not charge a penalty fee if you miss a payment, there's a good chance your credit score will suffer, which could have far-reaching consequences than paying £12 or even £25.

Things to consider when looking for the best personal loan.

This is a non-exhaustive list of personal loan features that you can use to differentiate lenders in the UK and begin to zero in on the right products for your needs.

1. Loan terms.

Most of the time, the loan term is simply determined by the affordability of monthly repayments. In other words, if you need to lower your monthly payment to make it more affordable, you may choose to spread repayment over a longer period of time. If you've already used a loan calculator and have a good idea of how long you'll need the loan, make sure the lender you're considering can accommodate this.

2. Fees.

Set-up fees aren't common in the world of personal loans, but they're not unheard of. Where some of the lenders you're considering charge a fee, the total amount payable (the overall cost of the loan) may be your best comparison point.

3. Total amount payable.

This is the big one; if you only compare one factor, make it this one. You'll want to keep the overall cost as low as possible while keeping your monthly payments manageable.

4. Interest rate.

The annual percentage rate (APR) of a loan (an annual summary of the cost of borrowing that all lenders must calculate in the same way) is typically the main. Remember that lenders are only required to offer the advertised APR to 51% of those who apply for a loan.

Others may end up paying more, depending on how the lender evaluates their situation. When you tell a lender a little bit more about yourself and the loan you're looking for, you can usually get a better idea of the cheapest loan a lender can offer you.

5. Turnaround time.

If you're in a hurry, you should look at how long each lender claims it takes to actually withdraw your funds (transfer the money to your nominated account). If you get a loan from a bank where you already have an account, chances are it will be quick, but it almost always pays to shop around.

6. Restrictions.

Personal loans can be used for almost anything, but lenders will almost certainly ask you what you intend to use the loan for, and they may have prohibited loan purposes. Typical examples include gambling, business purposes, and using the loan as a down payment on a larger loan.

7. Repayment holidays.

Some lenders will allow you to skip a month or two of payments. This can be useful if you need a financial break to get back on your feet. The disadvantage of repayment holidays is that they lengthen the term of the loan and increase the overall cost. After all, it's a holiday from repayments, not from interest accrual.

8. Early repayment.

Most lenders will make a big deal out of the fact that there are no penalties for making extra payments or repaying your loan early. That's fantastic, but it doesn't mean we'll charge you less interest. It is common practice to charge an additional two months' interest on any amounts repaid early.

So, if you want to try to make overpayments here and there, or if you have a lump sum coming in but aren't sure when, consider the lenders' early repayment terms when comparing loans. Favorable terms may be more important to you than a marginally lower rate.

Consider the following before applying for a personal loan in the UK :

It is always important to know what your monthly repayments will be when borrowing money. If you aren't certain that you can afford that amount from your regular income, a lender is likely to be skeptical as well.

Rejected applications do not appear on your credit report, but credit applications do; if you make too many of these in a short period of time, prospective lenders may be put off. If you end up taking out a loan you can't afford, you're setting yourself up for problems later on - late payments incur fees and additional interest, and they're also very likely to harm your credit record.


A loan offer will be sent to you once your application has been approved by a lender. This is an opportunity to ensure that you are receiving what you applied for and that you are satisfied with the terms of the agreement. OK, it's not the most exciting document in the world, but read the terms and conditions from beginning to end and make sure you understand all fees and restrictions.

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