Safe and manageable ways to borrow money | Tenant news

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Safe and manageable ways to borrow money

The Money Charity reported that UK credit card debt came to £70.3 billion in March 2024 which is 8.2% more than last year and an average of £2,476 per household and £1,311 per adult.

Not everyone wants to borrow money, but if you think you may need to, there are safe, affordable and manageable ways to do it on a short-term basis - even if you have a low credit rating.

We’ve put together some information and online tools that could help you find safe alternatives to borrowing from high street banks.

Credit Unions

Credit unions are not-for-profit financial co-operatives, which are owned by the people who use their services, not shareholders or other businesses.

Credit unions offer loans at reasonable rates, which can range from shorter term loans of a few hundred pounds to larger loans for holidays, buying a car, home improvements or even a mortgage.

Go to the Find Your Credit Union website and type in your postcode to find your local credit union.

Not-for-profit finance providers

Check out Finding Finance’s list of not-for-profit personal lenders, who offer simple affordable loans when banks can’t help.

Finding Finance is run by Responsible Finance, a national membership body for responsible finance.

Its members include Conduit, which is owned by the Five Lamps charity which specialises in social and financial inclusion activities, and Fair For You, which offers fair, flexible, affordable loans for household essentials, such as washing machines and fridge freezers.


MoneyHelper is a free service provided by the government-backed Money and Pensions Service. It has a tool that shows you the range of credit options available.

The tool shows you ways to borrow up to £50,000 that could suit your needs and gives you the pros and cons of each, so you can decide which option is the best for you. Check it out.

Avoid high interest and illegal lenders

It’s best to avoid using pay-day loan companies, as they charge very high interest rates, so you’ll end up paying much more than you borrowed in the first place.

All money lenders must be authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and you can check that a money lender is legally authorised via the FCA website. Go to their Financial Services Register and search by name or reference number. This is very important if you’re thinking of borrowing from a ‘doorstep lender’ as they may be operating illegally and charging extremely high interest rates. The Citizens Advice website has a useful page on how to deal with Loan Sharks if you are worried.

Interest rates

Almost all lenders will charge you interest as a fee to borrow money, so it’s important to find the best option for you. And ensure that you read and understand the terms and conditions of the loan agreement.

If you don’t understand the terms and conditions of a loan agreement, you can ask Citizens Advice for help.

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