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If you know that you need to borrow money then you may be looking for a loan from somewhere. The trouble is, it’s not as ‘easy’ as it used to be. Years ago, you would have simply walked into your bank and spoken to your bank manager about borrowing money. Nowadays, there are many borrowing options, and many don’t involve your bank at all.

How much do you want to borrow?

The type of loan, and therefore where you go for the loan, depends mostly upon how much you want to borrow. You may only need a ‘small’ amount, say £500, or you could be keen to borrow tens of thousands. There are many products on the market which all offer different amounts. Some lenders will specialise in lower amounts, whereas others will be able to lend higher ones. Comparison sites can give you a good idea about which lenders are lending certain amounts.

Can you afford the repayments?

Once you find a lender who can offer the amount you want to borrow, you should check what the repayment amounts would be. This often depends on how long the repayment term is, and in many cases you can choose how long you want to pay the loan back over yourself. Remember that the length of time you choose will be the amount of time it takes to pay off your loan, unless you can make larger repayments to clear it early. Taking on credit is a commitment.

Do you have a good credit history?

Although you may have found the perfect lender for you, you may not be the perfect customer for the lender. Unfortunately, when it comes to lending money, companies are picky about who they do business with. If you have a bad credit score, then you may find that the options available to you are fewer than if your credit score is good. In the UK, you can check your credit score with either of the three credit scoring agencies: Experian, Call Credit or Equifax.

Are your circumstances going to change any time soon?

Before signing on the dotted line, you’ll need to consider whether you’ll be able to make your repayments in full for the full term of the loan. If you know that you’ll be changing jobs, incurring more costs as the result of a lifestyle change or losing money in the near future then you may want to consider your ability to meet the repayments every month. Failure to do so will impair your credit score and will make it harder for you to borrow again in the future.

How long do you want to make repayments for?

The repayment term is important – at the time of applying 5 years’ worth of repayments may not seem so bad, but when you actually consider this as it applies to your life, it may make you think twice about having such a long repayment term. Of course, the longer the term, the less you’ll have to pay each month. This is because the full amount is spread out more.

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