Five easy ways to borrow money quickly!
We look at the cheapest options for borrowing over short periods of time.
Sometimes you need to borrow for short periods of time. At other times, the cost of borrowing is so low that it makes sense to borrow even if you don't need to! I'll explain in a moment...
Spend interest-free for nine months
With a 0% on purchases credit card, you can borrow interest-free for an agreed period, providing you pay off the minimum amount each month (typically 2% to 5% of the outstanding balance). Just make sure you pay off the whole debt before the 0% deal expires, or you'll be hit with a massive interest rate - probably 16% APR or more.
The great thing about a 0% on purchases deal is that it enables you to keep your money in the bank longer. So you can earn interest on money you've already spent, and be quids in because you're not paying any interest on your debt. This is why it can make sense to borrow when you don't even need to. Just make sure you keep the money set aside in an easy access savings account to pay the debt off.
There are quite a few cards to choose from that allow you to spread payments out over nine months or longer. Take a look at some of them here.
Borrow for 45 days
Almost all credit cards offer 45 days or so interest-free on purchases, even if they have no 0% deal. This means that each month you can keep your money in your account earning interest for longer. Over a year, this interest will add up if you have a decent current account, as some pay 6% or more! You can even do this using a cashback credit card.
Just be aware there are many traps to watch out for with credit cards. If you get caught by one you may be fined or find your 0% deal is cancelled. You may also be charged interest on your entire debt - even if you've paid some of it off. Read more in Beware these 19 credit card tricks!
Get rid of your debts for a year
I've no doubt you'll have heard of these cards before: you can give yourself a little more time to pay off existing debts with a 0% on balance transfer card, typically paying a fee of 3% for the privilege. A £3,000 transfer would likely cost around £90.
Try to pay off the whole thing as quickly as possible. Don't use it as an excuse to prolong your indebtedness. Remember, the longer you're in debt (and the more debt interest or debt transfer charges you pay) the less stuff you'll be able to buy in your lifetime! Conversely, the quicker you pay off your cards, the more stuff you can buy.
There are a hundred or so cards that let you borrow for six months or longer, with some cards lasting longer than a year. Take a look here.
Borrow for a year
If you need to borrow £2,000 or less, a good strategy is to consider switching your current account.
The Alliance & Leicester Premier Current Account, for example, has a 0% overdraft for a year, up to a maximum of £2,000. Plus, from 11 January, Alliance & Leicester will give you £100 cashback, just for opening an account. It also comes with free European travel insurance.
Just be aware you must switch over all your direct debits from your existing current account, and pay in £500 a month (which you can then immediately withdraw). When the year is up, you'll be charged 50p a day for the overdraft, up to a maxium of £5 a month.
If you need to borrow more than £2,000 and can pay in £1,000 a month into your account, Abbey offers an interest-free overdraft for 12 months as well, but it will match your previous overdraft up to £5,000 (depending on your individual circumstances). After the year is up, the rate jumps to 12.9% APR, so be sure to pay it off in full by then, or use a 0% card to transfer money into the account and pay it off that way.
It starts to get more expensive as you leave 0% deals (even when taking into account balance transfer fees). Still, during a short-term emergency it is worth considering some of the more flexible loans. What you're looking for is a loan that allows you to pay off the entire debt early without any penalties. At present, your best choices are Zopa and the Post Office. The Post Office has some nice features, such as no default fees, but Zopa deals in smaller loans.
Loans with these companies are available for around 9% to 10% for the borrowers with the best records. If you find the only loan you can get is for more than 12%, you might want to consider alternatives or seek advice from such free charities as Citizens' Advice, because you're getting into expensive borrowing territory.
If all you can get are payday loans, do not take them. Having read, without exaggeration, thousands of messages and emails from people in debt, and after interviewing debt collectors and consulting with debt consultants, one thing is abundantly clear: if all you can get are payday loans then your debt problem is too serious to solve by taking on more debts. Doing so will simply delay resolution of your debts, make your problem worse and prolong the stress.
Your best tactic is to get personalised advice from a debt charity. After reading the advice and testimonials of all the major debt advice charities, I believe that National Debtline is the real stand out one. A great online alternative is to ask for help via our free Q and A facility. Remember that there is a debt solution for everyone.
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