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Published 15 November 2022

No Credit Check Loans: Can I Get One?

It’s not possible to get loans with no credit check from a regulated UK lender. If you’re searching for no credit check loans because of bad credit, there are other borrowing options you could explore.

A no credit check loan is what you might want to look for if you have been rejected for a loan or have bad credit. You’re probably thinking that if your credit score is holding you back, then why not get a loan with no credit check, where the lender won’t want to review your credit score.

But while it might seem like a perfectly reasonable search , the reality is that getting loans with no credit check from a regulated lender in the UK is not something you can do. Read on to find out why.

Do no credit check loans exist?

Getting a loan with no credit check won’t be an option if you’re looking to borrow through a lender regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). That’s because the UK’s financial watchdog requires all lenders that it oversees to perform a credit check on potential borrowers before they’re allowed to offer you a loan. This is to try to make sure that you can afford the loan and can be relied upon to pay it back.

Against the backdrop of the rising cost of living and an expected increase in the number of people wanting to take out loans, the FCA recently reminded lenders that they shouldn’t use phrases such as ‘no credit check loans’, ‘no credit checks’, ‘loan guaranteed’, and ‘pre-approved’ when advertising their loans.

If a lender is willing to offer you a no credit check loan, it’s highly unlikely they are regulated by the FCA, and you won’t be protected by the regulator if anything goes wrong.

An unregulated lender could be a loan shark. These illegal lenders typically charge high interest rates and often use intimidation and violence to get money from the people borrowing from them.

Pawn shop loans

It may be possible to get a loan from a pawnbroker without a credit check. Pawnbrokers, or pawn shops, allow you to borrow money based on the value of an item, such as jewellery, precious metals and electrical goods.

The pawnbroker values the item and offers a loan based on what it thinks it is worth. You then leave the item with the pawnbroker and, if you repay the loan by an agreed date, you can get it back.

Even though they may not run a credit check, pawnbrokers are still regulated by the FCA. However, pawnbrokers can be an expensive way to borrow and you also risk losing your item if you can’t afford to repay the loan.

» MORE: What is a pawnbroker?

Friends and family

If they can afford to lend you money, borrowing from a friend or family member could be a way to get a loan without a credit check. However, you should only borrow money from someone you know and trust.

If you do borrow from friends or family, be aware of the potential for disputes over repaying the loan. You could minimise the chances of problems occurring if you follow certain guidelines around borrowing or lending money to friends and family.

Can I get a payday loan without a credit check?

Assuming you’re getting a payday loan through a regulated lender, a credit check should always be carried out by the lender as part of its affordability checks. However, given the high interest rates and potential risks often associated with payday loans, they are not a lending option you should enter into lightly.

What is a credit check?

A credit check is when a company, such as a lender, looks at your credit file. They will be able to view information about your finances and how you have managed credit in the past, to help them determine how risky it would be to lend to you, for example.

There are two types of credit checks.

Hard credit checks

A hard credit check is essentially a full examination of your credit history, which will always be conducted before you’re finally approved for credit. It will be recorded on your credit report, which means that other lenders or companies can see you’ve made an application for credit.

Multiple hard credit checks in a short space of time could affect your credit score.

Soft credit checks

A soft credit check could be described as a brief assessment of your credit history, which only looks at certain aspects of your credit report. Lenders therefore often use a soft check to get an idea of whether any credit application you formally make might be successful.

Importantly, a soft search can’t be seen by other lenders or companies that might want to assess your credit situation and will not affect your credit history.

Why do banks and other lenders perform credit checks?

Conducting a credit check gives a lender insight into how you manage your finances and the amount of credit you currently have access to in the form of existing mortgages, loans, credit cards and similar.

A credit check can also highlight any times you’ve missed or made late loan repayments and whether you’ve experienced any more serious financial problems, such as county court judgments, debt relief orders, individual voluntary arrangements or bankruptcies.

All of this information will give a lender a good indication as to your reliability as a borrower, and help inform its decision as to whether you should be allowed further credit.

What credit score do I need for a loan?

There is no specific credit score that will guarantee anyone getting a loan. However, it’s usually the case that having a more favourable credit score can improve your chances of getting a loan.

» MORE: The role your credit score plays in getting a loan

What is a pre-approved loan?

A pre-approved loan is where you get a preliminary indication from a lender as to whether you’ll be eligible for a loan and the rate, amount and repayment term you might be offered. The decision will be based on the specific information you’re asked to provide and, importantly, a soft credit check, which won’t affect your credit score or appear on your credit history.

Getting pre-approval doesn’t guarantee that you will get the loan – this will ultimately depend on the other checks a lender needs to make and the outcome of a hard credit check, which does have the potential to affect your credit score and will be visible on your credit report. However, if you’ve answered the pre-approval questions honestly, it can give you a pointer as to the likelihood your application will succeed or not.

» MORE: Learn about pre-approved loans

Alternatives to no credit check loans

If you’re looking for a no credit check loan because you have a credit problem, the following might be easier to arrange if you have a less favourable or bad credit score.

Bad credit loans

Designed specifically for those with a poor or limited credit history, bad credit loans will usually have a higher interest rate than other types of loan, but in the right circumstances could help meet your borrowing needs.

Secured loans

If you have an asset, such as your home or a vehicle, that you’re willing to use as collateral against a secured loan, your chances of getting a loan could be improved, as the lender knows it has some security to fall back on if you don’t make your repayments. However, if you fall behind on repayments, the lender could repossess your property.

Guarantor loans

With a guarantor loan, you’ll need to ask a family member or close friend if they are willing to be your guarantor for a loan, meaning the lender could ask them to step in and make your loan repayments if you don’t.

Credit cards

While you’ll usually need a good credit score to secure the credit cards with the lowest interest rates, you can also get credit cards for bad credit designed specifically for those with credit problems.

Bank overdraft

If you have a bank account with an overdraft, you’re allowed to borrow money from your bank through your account if the balance on it is at zero. You’ll need to check with your bank if this facility is available to you and the interest rate you’ll have to pay.

How to improve my credit score

If you can improve your credit score you’ll give yourself a better chance of getting the credit you want, whether that be a loan, credit card or mortgage. Some of the steps you can take to try to boost your credit score include:

Make payments on time

Making repayments when you should shows lenders that you can be relied on to meet your obligations as a borrower and manage your finances sensibly.

Don’t open unnecessary lines of credit

Applying for too many loans, particularly in a short period of time, can give lenders the impression that you’re over-reliant on debt and borrowing. If this leads to your applications for credit being rejected, it could damage your credit score.

Clear any outstanding debts

Paying off what you owe might help you build your credit history if you have little or none. It can also lower your credit utilisation, a key indicator that lenders use to judge how responsible you are as a borrower. For example, if the limit on your credit card is £1,000 and you use it to borrow £400, your credit utilisation on the card is 40% – ideally, aim to keep it below 30% overall.

Monitor your credit score regularly

Keeping track of your credit score means you’ll know if and when action to improve it is required. Regularly checking it can also highlight errors and any instances of fraud that may negatively affect your credit score.

» MORE: How to check your credit score

How to compare loans with bad credit

NerdWallet, in partnership with Monevo, can help you compare bad credit loans.

Without entering any details, you can see a selection of the loans available today, including the potential loan amounts on offer, representative annual percentage rates (APRs), and the range of terms allowed.

Alternatively, if you tell us how much you want to borrow, over what term, and for what reason, you can check your eligibility for these loans. It’s quick, easy and won’t affect your credit score.

Image source: Getty Images

About the Authors

Tim Leonard

Tim is a writer and spokesperson at NerdWallet who has over 20 years’ experience writing about almost all aspects of personal finance. During his career at Moneyfacts, Virgin Money and…

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Rhiannon Philps

Rhiannon has been writing about personal finance for over three years, specialising in energy, motoring, credit cards and lending. After graduating from the University of Cambridge with a degree in…

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