Loan providers: Who can you trust?
Looking for a personal loan can be a daunting task. Especially since there are so many lenders out there these days. It can be difficult to sift through them all and figure out which one to choose.
Like with all financial matters, you will want to think things through and do a few comparisons before making any commitments. In addition, it’s always worth being well informed about all of the options available to you.
But when there are so many lenders in the market all offering seemingly similar solutions and packages, and a lot of information for you to sift through, it’s hard to know who you can trust. There are things to look out for such as loan scams, and it’s important to be street wise. Luckily, we’ve put together this blog post to help clear a few things up for you.
Here we have a created a list of criteria that will help you identify a good lender from a not so good lender. If you choose to apply for a short-term personal loan through us, we’ll take a look at the loan providers that are most suitable for you and give you just one company to deal with, to help you in your decision making.
So, don’t worry if you’re not sure who to trust and what to look for in a loan provider, by the time you finish reading this you’ll be feeling a lot more confident.
What makes a good loan provider?
There are several things that make a loan provider a good one. Here are just a few things to look out for that will help you to identify whether a lender is trustworthy or not:
They’re transparent with fees: One sure way to pick out a trustworthy lender is that they will be up front with their fees. This means that before you enter a loan contract with the lender they will clearly outline the costs involved with taking out the loan.
There are also legal standards that the Australian government has set-up that personal loan lenders must comply with for small amount credit contracts (SACCS). For instance, they can charge no more than 20% for an initial establishment fee plus no more than 4% per month.
In addition, they should clearly point out what penalty fees will be incurred for missing any payments, and help you set us any direct debits in line with your salary payments so that you are not at risk of having penalty fees added to your total repayment amount. These additional fees are called dishonour fees. This is because responsible lenders will want to help you to pay off the loan in the most efficient way.
To find out more about the legal standard of personal loan charges visit: https://www.moneysmart.gov.au/borrowing-and-credit/payday-loans/
They won’t lend you more than you can afford: Another way to distinguish a responsible lender from an irresponsible lender is that the former will not lend you more than you can afford. Responsible lenders are legally required to perform checks on your financial situation. They need to verify your financial situation by checking documents outlining your income – they can’t just take your word for it.
For instance, as a part of your application they will probably ask for bank statements showing regular income. Or they may ask for you to provide copies of your payslips and may even do a reference check to ensure that you are employed. Don’t worry – they don’t disclose the reason for the check or any personal information.
Trustworthy lenders won’t let you borrow more than you can afford because there are severe penalties associated with not complying with the responsible lending rules.
They won’t contact you first: This is a clear warning sign of an untrustworthy lender. One telling sign of a loan scam is that they will contact you first. If you haven’t contacted a lender to make a credit inquiry you shouldn’t hear from a lender.
Thus, if you are contacted out of the blue, you could assume this might be a scam. Furthermore, if you are asked to make any payments before you receive the loan this is another warning sign of a loan scam.
A responsible lender won’t ask you to put forward any money before you receive the loan. Once you have received the loan into your account – that is when you will start having to make the repayments.
Another sign of a loan scam is that a lender may advertise very low interest rates. This is a trap that is important not to get caught up in.
If you want to find out more about identifying loan scams visit: https://www.moneysmart.gov.au/scams/banking-and-credit-card-scams/loan-scams/
They are licensed and accredited: any credit providers must be licensed with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). This means that not just anyone can be a lender, you need to first receive approval from the government. Once a creditor has been licensed with the ASIC they must operate under the terms and conditions of the licence.
Something else to look out for is whether they have an Australian Business Number, or ABN. This will be displayed somewhere on their website. If you can’t see this anywhere, stay away from them.
If they are not directly licensed, they must be licensed under the umbrella of another licensee. If you want to find out if a provider is licensed or not visit: https://connectonline.asic.gov.au/RegistrySearch/faces/landing/ProfessionalRegisters.jspx?_adf.ctrl-state=qael5366v_4/
Offers good customer service: check online for reviews or head over to their Facebook page to see what people are saying about them to find out if they offer good customer service. This is important because if you have any questions or problems you need help with, you’ll want to know for sure that you will have someone to turn to when things crop up.
If they have a direct contact number that you are free to contact whenever you need to ask a question, this is a good thing. You want to make sure you are dealing with a person and not a computer or robot. While you’re checking out their service, you’ll have a good opportunity to check out the legitimacy of the business, too.
Read some reviews: it’s worth checking out what reviews have been written about lenders. Consumers give star ratings based on their past experiences with lenders. These are a good starting point to determine which one you should choose or not. If there rea bad reviews you know that it might be good to steer clear of them.
Where can you find reviews? Good places to find reviews on personal loan lenders, are places like Facebook. Another useful source is product review on Google. Just remember that some bad reviews may be the result of people being declined loans. Sometimes, despite wanting to help everyone and provide the best possible service, lenders cannot approve loans because the applicants wouldn’t be able to pay them back. Remember all that stuff about responsible lending?
This is a popular place to lodge reviews so it’s a good place to start: https://www.productreview.com.au/c/personal-loans.html/
There are also various awards out there, many of which are awarded based on public votes. Those awards can indicate that they are trustworthy lenders.
Have legitimate contact details: another good indicator is how legitimate their contact details are. If they look like a registered business they should have a proper email rather than a Gmail or yahoo account. It’s also important to check that they have an actual address. This indicates that they have a legitimate physical location.
Do you really need to get a loan?
Before you go out looking for a lender and finding out whether they are legitimate or not, it’s worth taking the time to consider whether getting a personal loan is truly the right option for you. Below is a list of a number situations in which you may think you need a personal loan but may actually do not.
5 times you might think might need a loan but don’t
- Car repairs or buying a car – You may be taking out a personal loan in order to buy your first car. Or, you may have to do an unexpected car repair. Getting a personal loan to pay for either might be the first option that comes into your head. However, there may be another option. For instance, if you are buying a car, dealers are often able to set up a payment plan for you. This is where you pay your car off over a certain period of time.
Even if you just have to make a car repair it’s often possible to set up a payment plan with your mechanic where you pay off the repair in installments.
If those aren’t options, apply for a personal loan now using the form above and we’ll help you find a lender you can trust.
- Utility bills – Another common reason people think they need a personal loan, is to pay for expensive utility bills. This can be very stressful, but taking out a personal loan is not the only option. It may be worth negotiating for an extension or setting up payment plan with creditors. Often creditors can be very reasonable with this situation and would rather you contacted them to do this than default on your payments.
Another reason this could be a better option is because it very likely to be much cheaper than paying back interest or loan fees.
- Household options – Another common reason people take out personal loans is to pay for necessary household items. These are normally more expensive household items such as fridges, washing machines or other large household items. You can purchase these, by setting up an interest free monthly payment plan, where you make payments in instalments over time until you pay off the total amount for the item.
This could be a better alternative to getting a personal loan as you don’t have to pay as much in interest.
- Loan consolidation – If you are taking out a personal loan to pay off multiple debts, consider looking at other debt consolidation options. This could include a debt agreement or declaring bankruptcy. These are more serious situations, but could be much more reasonable financial choices are you will not have to pay nearly as much in interest rates as they are interest free.
There are various consequences of declaring bankruptcy so it’s important to check what these are before going ahead with this option.
- Medical or dental bills – If you have to finance a medical expense or dental expense you may be eligible to apply for a No Interest Loan Scheme. They are designed to help low income earners pay for necessary expenses such as dental bills or medical bills.
These types of loans are also available for expenses such as funeral costs, household items or school fees.
The following is a list of terminology to keep an eye on for when you are looking for a loan:
|Lender||A financial institution that lends you money|
|Loan term||It refers to the period of time over which you repay the loan|
|Credit rating||A credit rating is a score you get based on your previous financial history, and tells lenders whether they should lend credit to you or not|
|Annual Percentage Rate (APR)||Is the rate of interest|
|Unsecured Loan||A loan that is not secured by an asset and therefore has higher interest rates attached to it.|
|Secured Loan||This type of loan is tied to a financial asset as security|
|Creditor||Someone you owe money to|
So, in the end, there are many ways to identify a trustworthy lender. There are a few specific tell-tale signs that will help you to pick one out. Responsible lenders have a number of criteria they have to stick to. Some of these are legal requirements. Another thing to help you determine whether a lender is trustworthy or not is to look for reviews about what customers think.
Finally, before you go out looking for a lender it’s important to consider whether taking a personal loan is actually the right option for you. The above list might help you in making a decision because there might be some better alternatives out there.
Still not sure? Apply through us and we’ll help you find the lender you need.