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If you need a source of funding for something essential and need money quickly, a salary loan can be a useful option. They are designed to be used for short term solutions to many of life’s little emergencies. Salaries can sometimes to fail to cover the cost of living, especially for working families and those on a lower wage. This type of loan is essentially a way using your following month’s income a little earlier. If you need to buy groceries, get the car fixed, pay for medical treatment or deal with an unexpected bill, salary loans can help. Borrowers need to be aware that short term loans such as this can carry high interest rates and ensuring you can afford the repayments is essential. Here are seven question to ask yourself before applying for a salary loan?

1. Are there any alternatives?

A loan is a serious commitment and should not be something you sign up for without thinking carefully first. If you can potentially increase your income by taking on short term work or perhaps selling unwanted goods, you may be able to avoid using this option. Though it can be a great way to find the cash you need in the short term, it is not designed to be a long-term solution to debt. Once you have considered other options, you will feel more confident when deciding to use this method of borrowing. As with all financial decisions, it pays think things through carefully, rather than being impulsive.

2. How much do I need?

This can be difficult to work out at first. It’s tempting to borrow a small amount initially, but thinking practically, you will need to make sure that you can afford to cover all your expenses for the coming weeks, including the repayments you’re going to have to make. Work out how the money is going to be used and, how you intend to pay it back. Providing you can meet the repayments in the future, there shouldn’t be any cause for concern, but it is important not to borrow too much.

3. Which Provider Shall I Use?

Choosing a loan provider is a critical part of the borrowing process and is something you should research very carefully. The competition between creditors can be fierce and there are often special offers and perks that you can take advantage of. Percentage rates can vary considerably, too. So, it pays to shop around as much as you can before making any decisions. In some situations, especially for those with bad credit or other financial issues, there will be a limited number of options to choose from, but it is still important to make sure that you are getting the best deal you can. Comparison sites can help you get an overview of what is “average” for people in your situation. This means you can avoid being sold a product that isn’t appropriate for you.

4. What are the penalties for missing repayments?

This should be part of your thinking process when you’re going through the last step, but it is also worth mentioning as a point. Every provider will have specific terms and conditions that stipulate they can charge you for missing an agreed payment. This can result in things like a severe increase in interest and additional charges. Many of the lending firms don’t make this information as clear it could be, so ensure you read through everything carefully. It is also important to remember that beyond the financial penalties imposed by the lenders, you could potentially damage your credit rating by incurring penalties in this way. Essentially, borrowers must be responsible and understand the terms of the agreement they are entering in to.

5. Can I repay the loan early?

If your financial situation improves or you enjoy an increase in income, may be able to pay off your debt sooner. Some providers of salary loans charge a fee to customers who want to do this and many of them can be quite significant. This is standard practice for most providers, though it is not something that is usually mentioned in the bulk of the advertising you usually see. A very small number of lenders may waive the charge or offer different terms, but you will need to check this before you sign up. To avoid early repayment fees, simply set aside enough funds to cover the full amount.

6. Have I got all the information I need to apply?

Loan providers will ask their customers for a fair amount of information, so potential borrowers will need to make sure they have everything they need to complete the application before they start. Most providers allow you to apply online, but it can be extremely frustrating to get halfway through an online form, only to realise you don’t have a document to hand. Spend some time getting yourself organised before you sit down to do the loan application itself. Previous addresses, bank details, photo I.D and sometimes details of a guarantor may be needed, so make a list of what you need to gather before you decide to start filling in any forms online.

7. Which term is right for me?

Ideally, salary loans should be paid off as quickly as possible if you are going to benefit from using them, but in some cases, a longer borrowing term is necessary. Consider what you can realistically afford each month but also think about your current financial situation and how it may change. Are you expecting any money in the future? Are you likely to be given a promotion at work? All these factors can affect your income and should be considered. Borrowing for longer can be expensive, but if you know are in period without income which is only temporary, it can be a good way of covering your costs.

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