Getting a payday loan in the UK can be a bit overwhelming, especially with all the lenders out there. To make sure you’re in safe hands, we’ve put together some handy tips on how to know if a payday lender is the real deal. We’ve got your back and want to ensure your financial safety and security.


7 sure ways to know if an online lender is legitimate

1. Check the FCA Register

  • The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is like the guardian of financial services in the UK. A legitimate payday lender should be registered with them.
  • To find out if a lender is legit, just pop over to the FCA’s official website and search the FCA register here.
  • Most important tip: Ensure the website you’re on matches the one listed on the FCA register exactly. This simple step can save you from falling into a scam!
  • Another resource you can use on the FCA website is the FCA Warning list of Unauthorised firms.

2. Be Wary of Upfront Fees

  • Real payday lenders don’t ask for money upfront to process your loan application. If a lender is demanding cash before you even get your loan, it’s a warning sign.
  • Watch out for things like “application fees” or “processing fees”.

3. Use Review Sites as Your Guide

  • Review sites can be a great way to see what other people think of a lender.
  • Avoid making decisions based only on 1-star reviews that don’t explain why they’re unhappy. These might not be reliable.
  • It’s a good sign if the lender responds to reviews – it shows they care about their customers.
  • Don’t rely only on reviews from the lender’s website. Check out different review sites for a balanced view. You can also use an independent review platform not endorsed by the lender for an unbiased perspective.

4. Check Out the Website

  • A well-put-together website is a good sign that the lender is serious about their business.
  • Take a peek at the website’s design and content. Trustworthy lenders invest in making their website look good and work well.
  • Make sure you can easily find their contact details, like a physical address and phone number.
  • Legit lenders are transparent about their loan terms, interest rates, and how you’ll pay them back.

5. Don’t Fall for Unrealistic Promises

  • If a payday lender is promising things like guaranteed approval or no credit checks, it’s time to be cautious. Legit lenders always check your credit.
  • Be extra careful if a lender offers loans without checking your income. This could be a sign of bad lending practices.

6. Verify Licensing and Regulation

  • Apart from the FCA, check if the lender is licensed by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) for data protection. This is important for keeping your personal information safe.
  • A legit website will have an ICO registration number in the footer. Input that reference into the search engine located here.
  • You do not need to fill out all the details, only the Registration reference number.

  • Just as with the FCA register,make sure that the website URL appears on the page just as you see it on your device. You can look at our registration page as an example.

7. Look for the Representative APR

  • Legit payday lenders in the UK must show a representative APR (Annual Percentage Rate) on their website. It’s like a price tag that helps you compare different lenders easily.
Crystal Evans is a contributing author for QuickLoansExpress. Crystal started her career in finance doinng merchant cash advance pricing for a boutique USA lender. She then moved to the UK where she worked as a payday loan underwriter for several years before leaving her job to freelance as a personal finance writer. She can be reached via her Linkedin profile.

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