Short term loans can serve a genuine and viable purpose, as long as you are sensible with how you use them and ensure that you repay them on time. For students, a short term loan can be used to bridge the financial gap until your next student grant check or student loan check is paid, enabling you to meet necessary bills, buy books, or cover any unforeseen expenses. However, there are some factors to consider when choosing a short-term loan.
Look Beyond The APR
Loan companies, including those offering short-term loans, are required to advertise the APR associated with a loan. However, these short-term loans are designed to be used over a short time frame, and even a small fee can attract a huge APR because it is calculated over the space of a year. If you need the money, have the means to repay it, and can stick to the agreement, then borrowing money in this way can prove less expensive than missing payments or failing to have the money you need.
APR does not take interest caps into account either. A few companies have now set an interest cap on the loan, which means that you will never have to pay more than this amount, even if you run into financial difficulties and are unable to make the repayment as expected.
Most online lenders have to offer a 100% interest cap, although Smart Pig has a much lower 50% cap. This means that, if you do run into trouble, you will never have to repay more than half the money you borrowed.
Check For Hidden Costs
Whichever loan company you use, and whatever type of loan or credit you take out, you need to pay attention to hidden costs. For example, if you want to repay a loan early, you may find that there are fees for doing so. Late payment fees, extension fees, administration fees for sending out debt chasing letters, and various other fees may be levied by some lenders. Even £20 fees can add significant sums to a small loan of £250, and you should ensure that you are aware of any potential costs and hidden costs before taking out the loan. Read the small print, ask for confirmation, and look elsewhere if you are unsure of the responses you receive.
Ensure You Will Have The Money To Repay
Short term loans and student short term loans are designed as a means of borrowing money for a short period of time, typically up to a month from the date that you receive the money. They are best used for emergencies, and should only be used when you know that you will have the money to meet the required repayment.