The Citizens Advice website has the information you need before you sign up to anything. It tells you how to shop around for the best deal, how to compare the cost of credit deals, including APR, how to look out for extra costs such as arrangement fees and fees for late or missed payments and how to check you can afford the repayments.

Scam loan companies 

Watch out for loan companies who ask for upfront fees to find a loan for you but then fail to provide credit or offer totally unsuitable choices.

Be on your guard when dealing with, or taking calls from, loan companies that want upfront fees and who are not interested in your previous credit history. They may just take a fee and then disappear.

There has been a 50% rise in complaints about loan scams, particularly credit applications which involve the consumer sending upfront fees, sometimes through money transfer companies.

Loan sharks 

Have you been approached by a loan shark? Lending money without a licence is illegal. 

What to watch out for:

Be cautious of anyone cold calling offering a loan.


If you are facing financial difficulties there are several agencies that may be able to help:

Firms have to be authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to carry out consumer credit activities. Find out more about authorisation.