What is a benefit loan?
The term "benefit loan" is a term used to describe loans suitable for those that receive or rely on benefits as a source of income.
What to expect
As you’d probably imagine, finding a loan whilst on benefits is going to be more challenging than if you had a regular income from employment. Nonetheless, there are plenty of lenders that consider applicants on benefits and for those that are savvy, there are still deals to be had.
Will I be accepted?
Acceptance criteria will vary from lender to lender. However, as a minimum you'll need to be at least 18 years old and be able to demonstrate that you can comfortably afford the repayments.
Types of benefit loan
If you're receiving benefits and looking for a loan a guarantor loan is an option worth considering. You will require a guarantor to support your application and they will be expected to cover your repayments if you're unable to do so. However, in return you will receive an APR of around 40-50%, which although more expensive than that offered by the banks and supermarkets is considerably lower than many other options available to you.
High cost short term loans
A number of high cost short term loan providers will consider applicants that receive benefits. As the name suggests, high cost short term loans are designed for a one off emergency and not for long term or sustained borrowing. Although advertised rates are often north of 1000%, interest is capped at 0.8% per day.
Doorstep loans are also known as home collect credit. Doorstep lenders generally pay you in cash and will deliver the loan and collect repayments from your home. When applying for a doorstep loan you will be given a personal agent that we decide whether or not to grant you the loan. Due to the personal nature of this product, they are generally more lenient towards your credit status. Saying this, doorstep loans are an expensive form of credit and should be considered a last resort.
Should I even get a loan?
That’s a good question and really one that only you can answer. Never, ever take out loans or any sort of credit if there is a chance you won't be able to afford the repayments. That will only postpone whatever financial difficulty you’re experiencing and make things worse in the long run, with further damage to your credit file. If you do find yourself in a position where you're struggling to afford basic living costs then borrowing more is not the answer. Instead, there are a number of debt charities, such as stepchange.org that will be able to assist you.
If you're receiving benefits and looking for a loan then you do have options. It's vitally important that you compare your options before you apply to ensure you're meeting the lender's acceptance. Failure to do will result in you being declined, making your search for a loan even harder.