Salad Money is an online loans company specialising in providing short- and long-term loans of up to £1000 to NHS workers. We understand that, for you, the process of securing a small loan can be stressful. That’s why we’ve tried to make our services affordable and our processes stress-free.
We also thought it would be helpful to outline some of the questions to ask before using an online loans company - so you can be as prepared as possible.
Why should you research your online loans company?
This is the most important step in the process. How much do you really know about your prospective lender? They may claim to offer the cheapest loans for NHS employees, but are they fully regulated?
1. Are they accredited?
Salad Money is FCA-accredited. This means customers can use our services with peace of mind - knowing they’re protected and that we’re fully accountable.
If your lender is registered with the FCA you next need to check what services they’re permitted to sell. This information can be found under the ‘What Can This Firm do in the UK?’ section on the FCA’s website.
Other recommended actions:
Is a credit check required? Traditional banks credit check their applicants, but if you’re using a firm that has open banking (like Salad Money), you’ll be judged on your current finances, not your credit score.
Are the fees and costs transparent? Make sure the interest rate is competitive and research whether early cancellation penalties exist.
Are you being pressured to buy? If the advisor is hard-selling to get you to sign on the dotted line, walk away. You’re under no obligation to proceed.
2. Do you really need a loan?
Every borrower is different. As such, they will have a minimum and maximum limit. You could also be refused, depending on what criteria your online loans company uses to make decisions.
Presuming you’re eligible, ask yourself why you need the money. Do you want to take a vacation with friends? If so, setting up a savings account with your bank could be a better move.
On the other hand, if you need to consolidate your debts to make them easier to repay, borrowing could be the right move. The trick is not to overstretch yourself. Only take out as much as you need - otherwise you will be tied-in for longer (and accrue more interest).
3. How do I find out what my credit score is?
This is an important question. Many online loans companies will use this information to accept or decline your application. That’s because your score will strongly indicate your ability to pay them back.
There are different types of credit scoring systems. Typically, the range will fall between 300-850. The higher the score, the more creditworthy you are, so it’s important to do your research.
You’re entitled to a free copy of your credit report every 12 months from one of the top three providers. But a charge could apply. If there are any inaccuracies, you can dispute them in your credit report. The Citizens Advice Bureau offers free impartial advice on the subject, too.
If this all seems fairly complicated, then don’t bother! Salad Money doesn’t need your credit score when it considers you for a loan. Instead, we judge you on your current financial situation, so you’re not beholden to a complicated credit score process.
4. How much will my loan cost in total?
Make sure you’re clear on this before signing anything. In most cases, an online loans company will make the cost clear - but unscrupulous lenders might bury this figure in complex jargon and tie you up in knots using hard-to-fathom terms and conditions.
It’s worth doing your own calculations first, then checking them with your proposed lender. That way, you’ll know if their projections align with your own, giving you recourse to query if there’s a discrepancy.
Bottom line: don’t take any chances. Make sure you’re 100% certain before committing with an online loans company.
5. What happens if I make an early repayment?
Tempting as it can be to clear a loan (that’s one less thing to worry about) you could find yourself saddled with early-repayment penalties. That’s because online loans companies will make money off the interest you pay.
Such charges, if they exist, will be buried in the terms and conditions of your agreement. The wording will probably be bloated with jargon and hard to decipher, making it harder to determine the financial repercussions of paying off your loan early.
Before using an online loans company, ask what repayment charges apply. If your advisor is vague, glosses over the particulars, or tries to apply undue pressure, refuse and explain you want time to read through the small print first.
At Salad Money, we don’t have any early repayment charges, and we make sure our interest charges are clear, so you can get all the information you need in a couple of clicks.
6. What documents do I need to prepare?
Your online loans company will need sight of specific documents before agreeing to lend you money. The paperwork may vary from lender to lender but, in most cases, expect to provide bank statements or payslips.
Try and find out what’s required in advance, so you can save time. If you require money urgently, you won’t want unnecessary delays.
If you can’t face rooting through a drawer full of disorganised paperwork to find an old bank statement - you don’t have to! With Salad Money, you don’t need any physical documentation, as we get the details we need from Open Banking access.
7. Can I really afford to take out this loan?
This is the most important question of all. Presuming your credit score is good, and that your lender is happy to proceed, you need to be sure you can afford the monthly repayments.
Prior to using an online loans company, go through your bank statements and note down your outgoings - including utility bills, shopping, and how much you’ve spent on going out.
After deductions, how much is left? If it’s tight, you won’t have money for unplanned emergencies. What if your boiler broke down or your car developed a fault?
If in doubt, don’t. Not being able to pay back a loan will affect your credit score and make it harder to secure credit in the future. Unless that is, you use Salad Money. Whatever happens, a loan from us won’t affect your credit score in any way. With no risk to your credit score, why not have a look at our loans today?
Salad Money: Your No. 1 Choice For NHS and Public Sector Loans
We’re not your typical online loans company. For example, we won’t judge you based on your credit score. Instead, we’ll use our technology to look at other factors to determine if you can afford your loan. This is done using Open Banking Data, a new industry practice that is fast catching on - and which, we anticipate, will reshape the industry.