Almost all of the larger, well-known supermarkets now have banking licenses and offer unsecured loans to UK consumers. To be honest there isn’t a huge difference on paper between supermarket loans and bank loans.
Supermarket loans are unsecured loans, which like bank loans rely solely on your promise to pay back your loan rather than asking for any additional security such as a car or guarantor. Supermarkets will establish your trustworthiness to pay back the loan primarily based on your credit score and whether you're able to afford the repayments. They’ll only lend to customers who have a spotless credit history, so if you’ve got fair credit or bad credit then forget about getting a supermarket loan and check out our bad credit loan comparison table.
What not to do
Firstly - DO NOT apply for a supermarket loan if you don’t meet all of their minimum acceptance criteria, as you will almost certainly be declined. Generally speaking, making multiple applications and consistently getting declined will harm your credit file, making it more and more difficult to get accepted for the best rates when applying in the future. If you know you have bad credit, then rather than applying for a supermarket loan, check out our comparison table for bad credit loans.
Pricing and things to watch out for
Supermarkets are lending at low rates, comparable to that offered by the banks. Supermarkets typically lend between £1000 and £25,000 over periods ranging from 1 - 7 years. It’s worth noting that longer repayment periods will only apply to the higher loan amounts. You may also be offered the opportunity of taking a payment holiday at the beginning of your loan for up to 3 months. This means that you don’t need to make any repayments for the first one, two or three months. This is a double edged sword and you need to be aware that during your payment holiday at any point whilst you have a balance outstanding you will accrue interest which you will have to repay at some stage. Look out for preferential rates for existing customers and those with loyalty cards (Tesco Clubcard & Nectar Card holders get involved!).
Be aware that due to the large range of loan amounts supermarkets offer, you will receive different rates for borrowing different amounts. You may therefore not always get the advertised rate that they choose to display.
Before you apply for a supermarket loan make sure you meet their minimum acceptance criteria. You’ll need to be over 18, have a spotless credit history, be in full-time employment, have lived in the UK for at least 3 years and have a UK bank account with direct debit facilities.
Much like bank loans, supermarket loans offer some of the most competitive rates available. If you have a perfect credit history and can afford the repayments then a supermarket loan is a suitable choice when looking for personal finance. However if your credit score isn’t great then applying for a supermarket loan will do more harm than good, instead, check out our comparison table for bad credit loans.