Getting a Small Loan, Fast

A small loan can give a borrower access to finances quickly. They come in a variety of forms, but are designed to be in a person’s account fast and to be repaid quickly as well. To receive a small loan, a person will have to be approved based on an affordability assessment and a credit check. If they are, the money can be in their account by the next working day.


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Representative 49.7% APR. Representative Example: Amount of credit: £1,200. Interest rate: 0.34% per day for up to 75 days (25.5% (variable) per annum). Representative 49.7% APR (variable). For example, if you borrow £150 for four days, the interest per day would be £0.51 and the total interest would be £2.04 representing four days at £0.51 per day.
Choose Wisely is a trading style of Choose Wisely Limited and is a free to use price comparison website. Choose Wisely Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority as a credit broker not a lender, firm reference number 730574 and is registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office number Z3106681.

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Representative 49.7% APR.

How to get a small loan in 3 simple steps.

Affordability assessment.

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If approved, the cash can be in your account in as little as 15 minutes.[†]

Table of contents

Written by Sarah Banks
Read time: ~5 mins
Published: 4th April 2016 Updated: 9th September 2020

What are small loans?

Small loans are a form of personal loan that can be used to cover the cost of an emergency situation. They are designed to provide cash quickly for people who need it and usually can be for any amount up to £1000. The cost of having fast access is that the repayments usually have to be made quickly as well, within 12 months in most cases, as well as paying back interest on top of the original loan amount.

Small loans are most commonly paid back within a three to twelve month period. This is because their primary purpose is to help individuals with cash flow problems, they aren’t designed as long term solutions to debt. If you have an unexpected bill that you are unable to pay another way, a small loan means you don’t have to take out a larger loan that ties you in for a long period of time.

A small loan can stop your household from struggling up until your next payday. The size they come in means that borrowers can repay them easily, either at the next paycheck or in small installments over a few months. Taking out one of these loans can allow unexpected situations to be fixed straight away.

If you are looking at small loans, UK citizens must remember that the earlier you repay the amount, the less interest you will have to pay. This option is always available, but be sure to check with your lender whether they charge any fees for early repayment. The benefit of a small loan is it provides the borrower with options to choose the amount they need to borrow and how long they need to borrow it for.

When to use small loans? And what do you use them for?

Small loans are there to help people that are short of cash near to payday because of an unexpected expense. Before applying for a small loan it is worth exploring alternative options to cover your costs, such as savings or asking for help from a family member.

When applying you will have to submit a purpose for the loan. When taken out in a responsible way, a small loan means you can pay urgent bills that cannot be put off until a borrower is next paid. Missing payments on vital costs can be a very stressful situation and can create further stress if not addressed properly.

Some common examples for people taking out small loans include:

  • Repairing damage from a leaking roof
  • Fixing a car that’s broken down
  • Paying household bills that were higher than expected
  • Small business loans to smooth out problems with unpredictable cash flow
  • Making payments for urgent health treatments
  • Your income and outgoings

Alongside the above points, there are many situations that leave a person unable to pay bills which their savings or credit card can’t cover. The main theme between all of them is that people have to pay for these expenses immediately and there is no way of putting them off until the next paycheck.

Where to get small loans?

Some loans can be taken from more traditional lenders such as banks and building societies, however they are not the only places to borrow from. Online lenders can provide hassle free options and an overdraft may also be an option to consider.

It’s very important when taking out a loan to do your research and get one that is right for your situation. It is easy to do this with Choose Wisely, you can compare which small loans have accepted your application by filling out a short 3 step application process:

  • Fill out a Choose Wisely application form, it takes only a few minutes.
  • Choose Wisely will provide a list of lenders that have approved your application in principle.
  • Analyse these options and determine the best lender for your situation.
  • Finalise your application with your chosen lender and if approved you could receive your small loan within an hour.

Where to get small loans for bad credit?

It is possible to get small loans with bad credit. However, your credit rating is part of the consideration process. Borrowers who do have bad credit should not be entirely put off by this, because lenders do take other factors into the equation when evaluating a loan application. These factors create an affordability assessment that concentrates on a borrower’s current situation, and their ability to pay back the loan amount within the required time scale.

What are the best small loans?

The best small loan lenders won’t always provide you with the best loan for your situation, so remember to compare offers through Choose Wisely. Your eligibility with lenders will be checked for you and the cheapest options of loan providers that you can borrow from will be listed clearly.

That being said, there are some lenders out there that are well respected and offer a good service. Some of these are:

  • Safety Net Credit
  • Likely Loans
  • Cash4unow
  • Creditspring
  • Tappily

There are a variety of small loans available on the market.

Each of them tailored to slightly different situations. These include:

  1. Payday loans

  2. Emergency loans

  3. Credit line loans

  4. Short-term loans

Applying for a small loan

Applications for a small loan will vary slightly between lenders, but most will have lending criteria similar to this example:

  • You have to be aged 18 or above
  • You can provide proof of UK residency and a permanent address for the last three years
  • You have a bank account and a debit card
  • You have an email address and mobile phone
  • You agree to a credit check, this will be conducted when submitting an application with a lender
  • You are not bankrupt or insolvent

How to get small loans fast?

One of the big benefits of a small loan is the speed with which the funds can be within your account. There are a few factors to consider when working out how long a loan will take to be paid. These include how quickly you can decide on a lender, which Choose Wisely can assist with. As well as how long it takes a borrower to provide documents and the particular lender's speed. If done correctly some lenders are able to deposit funds the same working day.

Choose Wisely’s Get Accepted process can fast forward the time it takes to get a loan by doing the research around lenders that will accept your application for you.

To begin your journey, fill out a quick and easy form. Then compare the lenders that will accept your application. Once approved, the payment could be in your account in under an hour.

How to get small loans with no credit?

The Financial Conduct Authority requires lenders to conduct robust credit checks on all small loan applicants. The FCA exists to protect the public from illegal or immoral lenders that are looking only to make money - often by increasing people’s debts in the long run through charging very high repayment fees.

If a borrower has no credit, they should not be completely deterred from taking out a small loan. As well as looking into your credit history, lenders consider your present situation when deciding if a person can repay a loan. This means a person can still be approved for a loan despite having no credit.

Alternatives to small loans

If a small loan isn’t right for your situation, there are other options to consider. Some of these should be looked into before considering a small loan, such as using savings or your overdraft. This is as well as carefully considering your monthly income and outgoings, is there a way to readjust budgeting to pay for the new expense and not take out a loan?

A discussion with your bank, a credit union, or financial advisor could also help you decide an appropriate course of action that is dependent on your circumstances.

How soon do you have to pay back a small loan?

To find this out, you will have to check the repayment schedule that a lender offers in your loan agreement. With most small loans, interest begins immediately once the funds are in your account. To avoid paying back more than you have to, be sure to check your lender’s policy on any early repayment fees.

How much does a small loan cost?

This amount will vary depending on the deal you find. This is why it’s important to make sure the loan is right for your circumstances. You will have to repay the full amount you have borrowed plus an amount of interest added on top.

How do small loans affect your credit score?

Taking out a small loan and repaying it in full and on time won’t impact credit score negatively. In fact, showing effective money management and financial discipline to repay the loan can be looked on favourably by lenders. However, if you do not pay the loan back on time or to the full amount, your credit score could be impacted negatively.

From time to time, most people will need some help financially. If a person doesn’t have the help of family or friends to rely on in these situations, then small loans can be extremely useful and relieve some of the stress caused by life’s unexpected events. If you would like to take back control of your finances and find a small loan that is right for you, start our 'Get Accepted' application process by clicking anywhere on one of the buttons on this page.

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Small Loans FAQ's

How to repay a small loan?

Generally, loans under £1000 will require quick repayment. These small loans are designed to bridge a financial emergency and therefore are usually repaid in 3 to 12 months.

How much can I borrow?

Only borrow the amount you’re able to repay swiftly. In terms of the amount that a lender allows you to borrow, that depends on the lender and your personal circumstances. Specifically, what your credit score is and how much disposable income you have.

Does ChooseWisely credit check?

Choose Wisely works with a panel of lenders who will perform a soft credit search when we ask them if they will accept your application. That soft search won’t leave a mark on your file. Once you decide which lender’s offer you want to go with, they will perform a hard credit search as soon as you complete the application. That hard search will leave a mark on your credit file, therefore you don’t want to make multiple applications at the same time but use the ”get accepted” button on Choose Wisely to see which lenders will accept your application before you apply.

Written by
Sarah Banks
Finance writer at Choose Wisely

Sarah joined Choose Wisely in July 2017, whilst still studying for her degree. Learning the ropes across different departments in the business including Customer Service Advisor for a period of time- making her the company’s closest link to their consumers experience with their finances.

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Important Information.

All of the information in this guide is correct at the time of writing.

Rates shown are quotes based on your personal circumstances, are subject to status and are available to those aged 18 and over. Rates available range from a minimum of 3.9%APR to a maximum of 1575%APR Representative and loan repayment periods range from 3 to 60 months.

[*][†] Once accepted, your loan can be transferred to you in as little as 15 minutes. The time that it takes for the loan to show in your bank account will depend on your lender and your bank.

If you need financial advice you can visit stepchange, speak to citizens advice, call the national debtline or speak to

If you've been declined, please refer to your credit report to gain an understanding of why before making further applications.
Your score can be accessed for free via any of the main credit reference agencies such as Credit Karma, Clearscore or Experian.

Warning: Late repayment can cause you serious money problems. For help, go to