Personal loans are one of many financial products where savings can be made by searching for the best deal.
Loan rates can vary from 5.5% to over 20%. On a loan of £10,000 over five years this makes a difference of over £50 on monthly repayments – over £3000 over the term.
This shows that you should not take out the first personal loan you see. However, not everyone will receive the attractive headline rate, so you should check the actual rate you are offered and whether this is still a good deal. The rate you are given can depend on your credit rating. This is a scoring system that lenders use to show how creditworthy people are.
If you are switching from one loan to another, you should check whether you would have to pay an early settlement penalty, as this can wipeout any potential saving. This applies to fixed-sum loans taken on or after 31 May 2005 and that are regulated by the Consumer Credit Act 1974. If the loan is paid off early, the lender may charge an interest penalty (subject to a set formula) of 30 days or one calendar month. This applies when the original loan term is more than one year and the advance is £25,000 or less. For terms of one year or less, no redemption penalty is payable. This penalty is set out in the rules governing repaying loans early and is covered by the Consumer Credit (Early Settlement) Regulations 2004. Loans taken out before this date may have higher penalties.
You should also carefully consider whether to take out payment protection insurance with your loan. This covers monthly loan repayments if you are unable to work due to accident, sickness or unemployment. This can significantly increase the monthly repayments on your loan. Insurance is always provided by the lender, but can also be obtained from a stand-alone broker. With a stand-alone provider you can be assured that the insurance has not been added to your loan and interest charged on the resulting balance, as happens with some lenders’ insurance. Prices on this insurance also vary greatly, so it is certainly worth doing some research first.
Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.
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