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The annual percentage rate (APR) for short-term loans can be much higher than for longer-term alternatives. And, because you’re repaying your loan over a much shorter period of time, your monthly repayments can be considerably higher too.
Therefore, when comparing short-term loans, it’s important to look for the one with the lowest APR and ensure you understand exactly how much you will have to pay back each month. If you know you won’t be able to afford this amount, look at alternative borrowing options instead (see below).
Short-term loans can be a quick and easy way of getting hold of extra cash in an emergency, but they can also be expensive and should generally only be used as a last resort.
If you need to borrow in this way, ensure you would be able to afford the monthly repayments and aim to pay off your loan as quickly as you can.
Rachel Wait - Personal Finance Journalist
If you’re not sure a short-term loan is right for you, there are other short-term borrowing options to consider:
Some lenders offer flexible borrowing where you can withdraw money whenever you need it and then repay the amount borrowed in monthly instalments.
This can be useful if you’re not sure how much you need to borrow, but interest rates can be higher than for personal loans.
You can typically repay a personal loan over one to seven years, but most lenders will allow you to repay your loan earlier if you choose to.
Early repayment charges usually apply but if you can find a lender with a lower fee, this could be an option worth exploring.
With a zero-interest purchase or money transfer credit card, you can avoid paying interest for a set number of months. Purchase credit cards allow you to spend directly on the card, while money transfer cards enable you to move funds from your card into your bank account.
There will usually be a money transfer fee to pay of around 4% and keep in mind if you don’t pay your balance off before the 0% deal ends, interest will be charged.
Some current accounts offer zero-interest overdrafts which can come in handy if you need some extra money fast.
Even if your overdraft charges interest, you may find this still works out cheaper than taking out a loan if you can repay it quickly.
These are not-for-profit organisations that accumulate members’ savings and lend them out to others. Borrowing terms tend to be more flexible, but you’ll need to be part of the community to qualify.
Many short-term loans do not require you to have a guarantor – this is usually a friend or family member who guarantees they will repay the loan if you are unable to.
However, if you have had credit problems in the past, a guarantor could increase your chances of getting accepted for a short-term loan and you may be able to access more favourable interest rates.
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