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Credit Unions

  • A credit union is a profit sharing, democratically run financial co-operative that offers convenient savings and low interest loans to its members.
  • It is an easy and convenient way to save and borrow.
  • It offers fairly priced loans, and insurance at no direct cost.

For more information on credit unions, please visit Money Helper


Budgeting Loans

You could get a Budgeting Loan to help pay for essential things like furniture, clothes, moving costs or hire purchase debts. The smallest amount you can borrow is £100.

Budgeting Loans are interest-free so you only pay back what you borrow; you normally have to repay the loan within 104 weeks.

The repayments will come from your benefits, be careful though as you would have to agree another way to repay were you to stop getting benefits.

You can apply for a loan if you’ve been getting income-related benefits for at least 26 weeks, and you must still be getting income-related benefits when your application is assessed.

More information can be found on the Government’s website.



There are various grants and funds available from a range of organisations, you may qualify for some funding from a support agency or at least be able to get some advice from them.

There are numerous national support agencies who may be able to help, such as the Salvation Army and, for older residents, Age UK.

You can also contact your landlord, who should be able to provide a list of smaller agencies local to you.


Loan Sharks

An estimated 310,000 families in the UK use illegal moneylenders or loan sharks.

To lend money lawfully in the UK, you must be authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). People who lend money without being FCA authorised are commonly known as loan sharks.

Loan sharks charge very high rates of interest and don't give you much paperwork to confirm the arrangements they have made with you.

They sometimes take other illegal action to collect the money they have lent you, such as threatening violence or taking away your credit cards or valuables, but often technically stay within the law; this is what can make them so dangerous!

If a loan shark threatens you or acts in a violent way, contact the police straight away.

There are many online services available who can help and provide further information, such as Citizens Advice.


Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) 

There are many companies offering these types of loans now such as Klarna, Clearpay, even PayPal. BNPL loans allow you to buy goods and can be an effective way to spread the cost of your purchases over a period of time. They also have the added benefit of being interest free and fee free as long as the payments are made on time and as per the agreement. 

Remember this is still a debt and it is vitally important that when considering utilising any BNPL loan that you can afford to repay this. You can normally repay the BNPL loan provider over a few weeks or months, meaning that you can spread the cost of your shopping. The repayments are normally paid fortnightly, weekly or monthly. The length of the loan will also determine whether you have any consumer protection. 

Klarna for example have 3 types of repayment plans so always check which one is best for you. 

Remember: Never miss a payment as this can harm your credit score. If you default on your payments(s) your debt could be passed onto a debt collection agency. They will pursue claims for monies owed very quickly and have been known to charge high ‘late payment fees’. 

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House Exchange is a joint initiative between Clarion Housing Group and 101Smart Ltd.

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