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Published 15 April 2024
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Bamboo Loans Review: Bad Credit Loans Pros, Cons & Features

Bamboo is a lender that offers unsecured loans, and it may consider applicants with a less-than-perfect credit history. Find out more about the features of a Bamboo loan and some of its pros and cons.

Many or all of the products and brands we promote and feature including our ‘Partner Spotlights’ are from our partners who compensate us. However, this does not influence our editorial opinion found in articles, reviews and our ‘Best’ tables. Our opinion is our own. Read more on our methodology here.

Bamboo loans: At a glance

WARNING: Be aware that the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is warning that unauthorised clone firms are posing as Bamboo Loans that ask for a fee before you can take out a loan. Bamboo says it will never charge an upfront fee.

Bamboo is a direct lender that offers loans of £2,000 to £15,000. It considers applicants who may not have the best credit history, although Bamboo will only approve your application if it thinks you can afford to repay the loan. 

Depending on when you apply, you may get the money paid into your account on the same day your application is approved.

Unlike other lenders, you can’t repay a Bamboo loan through direct debit. Instead, you make repayments through a continuous payment authority (CPA), which is when recurring payments are taken using your debit card details, instead of your bank account details.

Nerdy tip: As with any loan, it’s sensible to only borrow what you need and pay it back as quickly as possible, based on what you can comfortably afford to repay each month. Before applying for a bad credit loan, it’s important you consider your alternatives and whether you could keep making the payments if an unexpectedly high bill landed on your doorstep or you lost your job, for example. Missing payments will make an already bad credit score worse.

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Bamboo Personal Loan

3.5 NerdWallet's ratings

1 to 5 years

£2,000 to £15,000

49.7%

No

Representative APR 49.7%. Based on a loan of £2,500 over 24 months at an interest rate of 41% p.a. (fixed). Monthly repayments of £154.38. Total amount payable £3,703.74.

  • Must be aged 18 or over.
  • Must be a UK resident.
  • Must be able to afford monthly repayments.
  • Must not be bankrupt.

Nerdwallet has partnered with Monevo. Check your eligibility with this lender and from a range of loan providers without affecting your credit score.

Late repayments can cause you serious money problems. Consolidating multiple debts into one loan can extend the term of your borrowing and increase your cost of borrowing. 

Important information: Neither the review or star ratings considered lending rates, and therefore does not reflect how much it costs to borrow from these lenders. Loans for bad credit consumers can come with very high interest rates. Always check and compare a lender’s rates against others on the market when considering a bad credit loan. The rate you are offered will be dependent on your circumstances, loan amount and term, and may differ from the advertised rate. If you have poor credit, only borrow if it is necessary and you can comfortably afford repayments.

Bamboo loans pros & cons

Pros

  • You could get the money in your account on the same day your application is approved.
  • You can change your payment date during the loan term.

Cons

  • You may need to pay interest charges to settle your loan early.
  • You can’t apply for a joint loan.

The pros and cons featured here are chosen by us based on a combination of our expert opinions from our research of the bad credit loans market and an exclusive survey of UK consumers conducted on behalf of NerdWallet UK in February 2023 to identify the features of bad credit loans that people feel are most important. They are not the only product features and restrictions that you should consider. You should align them to your personal circumstances. Information was correct at the time of publication but may have changed since. Rates have NOT been considered in our review of this product.

Bamboo loans overview

You can apply online for loans of £2,000 to £15,000 from Bamboo, and repay the money over one to five years. These loans can be used to cover a range of costs, such as holidays, home improvements, a new car and to consolidate debts.

You don’t need to have a good credit history to get a loan from Bamboo, but you will need to be able to afford to make the repayments in full and on time. Bamboo allows you to make extra payments or repay your loan early, which could help you to save money on interest. But the lender may apply several days’ interest charges if you want to settle your loan in full before the end of the term.

Amount borrowable£2,000 to £15,000
Term lengthOne to five years
Time to get a decisionA few working days
Time to receive funds once approvedSame day (if approved before 3pm)
Customer supportPhone, email

Before applying for any loan, it’s worth using a loan eligibility service. It will carry out a soft credit search to see how likely you are to get a loan from different lenders, without affecting your credit score. But check the details of the service you use to make sure it only uses soft searches and to see how many lenders it checks.

If you apply for a loan you’re unlikely to get, your application will probably be rejected and this could affect your credit score.

Where Bamboo loans stand out

You could get your money on the same day

If Bamboo approves your application, you may get the funds in your bank account on the same day. You will need to sign and return your loan agreement before 3pm that working day to get your money before the end of the day, although Bamboo says this isn’t guaranteed. If you return your agreement after 3pm or on a weekend or bank holiday, you should get your money on the next working day. 

It offers loan terms of up to five years

You can repay a Bamboo loan over one to five years. Not all lenders that cater for people with poor credit histories offer a term as long as this. But even though repaying a loan over a longer term can mean smaller monthly repayments, it could cost you more in interest overall.

Where Bamboo loans fall short

It charges higher interest rates 

Like most lenders, it charges higher interest rates when lending to people with poor or bad credit scores. Bad credit loans come with higher interest rates than standard loans because they’re seen as riskier by lenders.

You can’t make payments by direct debit

Bamboo only allows you to make repayments via continuous payment authority, instead of direct debit. Both repayment methods work in similar ways, except a CPA authorises the lender to take payments using your debit card details, whenever a payment is due, while a direct debit is set up through your bank. 

With a CPA it is your right to ask your card provider to stop making payments, but missing loan repayments can have a negative effect on your credit score. 

The smallest amount you can borrow is £2,000

The minimum amount you can borrow from Bamboo is £2,000, which is higher than some other lenders we’ve reviewed that may allow you to borrow £1,000 or even less. You should only borrow what you need, so, if you only need a smaller loan, Bamboo may not be the right option for you.

You could pay interest charges if you pay off your loan early

Bamboo may apply several days’ worth of interest charges if you want to settle your loan agreement early. Several other lenders also apply these charges, but some don’t.

Even with these charges, you could still save money on interest overall if you clear your debt before the end of the loan term.

What type of loans does Bamboo offer?

Bad credit loans

Bamboo can offer loans if you have a bad credit score or haven’t managed to build up a good enough credit history to be accepted by other lenders. However, the lender will still run a credit check and other affordability checks to assess whether you can afford to repay the loan before deciding on your application.

When you apply for a loan from Bamboo, you will need to provide the lender with information about you and your financial situation. Bamboo may also ask to see scans or photographs of some documents to support your application, such as proof of ID and your income.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that you are likely to face a higher rate of interest if you are approved for a loan with a poor credit history, compared to someone with a better credit score. As a result, you may want to work on improving your credit score before applying for a loan.

Joint loans

Bamboo doesn’t offer joint loans, so you can only apply to borrow money from this lender as an individual. 

If you want to submit a joint application, there are other lenders that can provide joint loans.

Am I eligible for a Bamboo loan?

To be eligible for a Bamboo loan you need to:

  • be aged 18 or over
  • be a UK resident (excluding Channel Islands and Isle of Man)
  • have a valid UK debit card
  • be in full or part-time employment or retired and able to afford the repayments
  • provide a personal mobile phone number and email address
  • be able to afford the monthly repayments and be in a generally good credit standing

Bamboo loan features review

Most of the features of a Bamboo loan are typical of other lenders. However, there is a difference in the way that you make your monthly payments.

Making payments

You can only make repayments on a Bamboo personal loan via continuous payment authority (CPA), which is when you give permission for the lender to take payments via your debit card.

To set up the CPA, you will need to give Bamboo your card details. The lender will then take the payments from your card each month. In this respect, a CPA is similar to a direct debit.

It’s possible to choose your monthly repayment date when applying for the loan, and change it during the loan term. However, changing your payment date could affect how much interest is charged depending on how this is calculated for your loan.

Overpayments

Bamboo allows you to make extra payments on your loan, in addition to the amount you regularly pay each month. This can help you to pay off your loan faster and reduce the amount of interest you pay overall. You won’t be charged a fee for overpaying.

You can make an overpayment through your online account or by contacting the Bamboo team via email or phone.

If you don’t want to make an overpayment but you want to make your standard monthly payment early, Bamboo also allows you to do this. You can make the early payment and find out more information on your online account.  Before making overpayments always check your loan terms to see if there are limits on the amount you can pay.

Paying off a loan early

Paying off your loan early, before the end of the loan term, could save you money on interest. You can request to settle your loan early via your online account, and Bamboo will provide you with a settlement figure that you have 28 days to pay if you still want to clear your debt.

Bear in mind that Bamboo is entitled to charge several days’ interest, in accordance with the Consumer Credit Act. Many lenders apply these charges, so it’s worth taking this into account when deciding whether to settle your loan early.

» MORE: Paying off a loan early

Additional borrowing

If you already have a loan with Bamboo, it may be possible to apply to borrow more. This will involve closing your current loan and taking out a new loan agreement to cover the amount you currently owe and the extra amount you want to borrow. This is known as refinancing your loan and it means you will still only have one repayment to make each month.

But you may be charged a different rate of interest on your new loan agreement and you may be paying off the loan over a longer period. This means that borrowing an additional amount by refinancing your existing loan may be more expensive in the long term.

Bamboo will run the same checks as an application for a new loan, so you will only be approved if Bamboo thinks you can afford to repay the new loan in full based on your circumstances when you applied for additional borrowing.

If you decide to refinance your Bamboo loan, you can apply to do this through your online account.

Customer support

You can get in touch with Bamboo by phone or email. Along with live chat, these were rated the top three most important forms of customer support by respondents to our NerdWallet survey.

Bamboo is an online-only lender, which means there’s no option to speak to the customer support team in person.

Customer ratings

Bamboo has a rating of 4.9 stars on Trustpilot, based on over 30,000 customer reviews.This information is correct as of 12 April 2023.

Help if you’re struggling with debt

Late repayments can cause you serious money problems. Consolidating multiple debts into one loan can extend the term of your borrowing and increase your cost of borrowing 

If you are struggling with debt, you can seek advice from a debt advice service, such as:

Bamboo loans frequently asked questions

Is Bamboo a payday lender?

Bamboo is not a payday lender. It is an online, direct lender that offers unsecured loans.

Do Bamboo Loans contact employers?

Bamboo doesn’t state that it will contact your employer during the application process.

Is Bamboo safe?

Bamboo is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Does Bamboo charge an upfront fee?

No, Bamboo will never charge an upfront fee. But beware of clone firms posing as Bamboo Loans, which may ask for a fee before you can take out a loan.

Review methodology

At NerdWallet UK, we base our reviews and our ‘Best’ pages on the results of surveys we undertook about what was important to people who use these products. This allows us to look at products impartially of any commercial arrangements we have and fairly rate the products on the same set of criteria.

Best means our ‘Best’ and is based only on what products we have aligned to our surveys, which form the basis of our reviews and ratings. This means that there will be other products on the market that we have not included in our ‘Best’ pages. Best does not mean it’s best for you, nor does it mean the ‘cheapest’.

Our reviews may display lenders’ rates. This additional information has not been included in our evaluations but is still very important when choosing a product. Rates offered can depend on circumstances, amount and term. Always check details before proceeding with any financial product.

Product details reflect the information that was available at that time but may have changed since. We strive to give you a review on as many products as possible, but there will be products not included on the market. The review is our opinion, but it does not constitute advice, recommendation or suitability for your financial circumstances.

You can view our full review methodology here.

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