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Published 25 April 2024
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12 minutes

Salad Money Loans Review: Bad Credit Loans Pros, Cons & Features

Salad Money is a community lender that offers small loans mostly to NHS and public sector workers. It doesn’t run a credit check to make a decision on your application, but it will check your affordability in other ways.

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.

Salad Money loans: At a glance

Salad Money is a short-term lender mainly offering NHS and public sector employees loans from £500 to £1,000. It is a community development finance institution (CDFI), an independent social enterprise set up to serve individuals who may be unable to secure credit through mainstream lenders.

Unlike many lenders, Salad Money doesn’t consider your credit score. Instead, it will use open banking technology to review outgoings, such as your bills, your shopping habits and, for example, whether you spend money on gambling, to decide whether to loan you money.

But Salad Money will still look at common credit score pitfalls such as having no direct debit history, missed direct debits, debt fines, and recent individual voluntary arrangements (IVA) or Debt Management Plans when deciding on your application.

On the plus side, if you get a Salad Money loan, you can make extra payments or pay it off in full at any time, without facing any of the charges many lenders typically apply.

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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Salad Money Personal Loan

3 NerdWallet's ratings

12 or 18 months

£500 to £1,000

79.5%

No

Representative APR 79.5%. Based on a loan of £1,000 over 18 months at an interest rate of 59.97% p.a. (fixed). 17 monthly repayments of £81.64 followed by a final payment of £79.58. Total amount payable £1,592.94.

  • Must be employed by your current employer for at least 6 months
  • Must be over 18
  • Must be paid monthly, rather than weekly
  • Must be earning over £1,400 per month

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 nor 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.

Salad Money loans pros & cons

Pros

  • Salad Money is mainly a lender for NHS and public sector workers with poor or limited credit histories.
  • Your credit score isn’t considered as part of your loan application. 
  • There are no charges to pay off your loan early.

Cons

  • It can take one working day to get a decision on your application, and a further 24 hours before you get the money in your account.
  • More limited in the amounts you can borrow.

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. 

Salad Money loans overview

Salad Money is a community lender specialising in small loans for people with poor or limited credit histories and is a member of Responsible Finance, a national membership body for responsible finance providers. It is authorised by the FCA as a lender and credit broker. 

Salad Money doesn’t run a credit check during the loan application process. Instead it makes its decision based on your income and spending habits, which means you’ll need to give it access to view your banking data, via open banking.

A Salad Money loan is mainly for those employed by the NHS or public sector organisations, and the amount you can borrow is relatively small. 

You could consider using a loan eligibility service to conduct a soft search across multiple lenders to find out your likelihood of a successful application for several different loans, without affecting your credit score. But check how many lenders the service you use checks and make sure it only uses soft searches.

Amount borrowable£500 to £1,000
Term length12 months or 18 months
Time to get a decisionOne working day
Time to receive funds once approvedWithin 24 hours
Customer supportPhone, live chat, email

Where Salad Money loans stand out

There is no credit check when you apply

Salad Money doesn’t run a hard credit check during the application process, which means your credit history won’t be affected if you apply for one of its loans. Usually, lenders will run a credit check, but instead Salad Money uses information from your bank accounts to make a decision via open banking access. This could help you get a loan if your credit history has made it difficult to get a loan elsewhere. But bear in mind Salad Money will still run thorough checks on your finances to make sure you can afford to repay the loan, and will analyse your spending habits.

You can pay off your loan without any charges

If you want to pay off your loan in full before the end of its term, Salad Money doesn’t apply any interest charges or fees. Other lenders may charge up to 58 days’ interest to settle your loan early, but you won’t need to worry about this if you borrow from Salad Money.

You may be able to pay via salary deduction

As well as repaying by direct debit, you can also repay your loan from Salad Money by salary deduction, if your employer is a partner of the lender. This means your repayments are deducted automatically from your salary by your employer. While this repayment method won’t be right for everyone, it could be useful if you’re worried about missing any payments.

Where Salad Money loans fall short

Its loans are mainly available to NHS and public sector workers 

For the most part, you can only apply for a loan from Salad Money if you’re employed by the NHS or public sector. Salad does consider other employers but there are restrictions so visit its site to understand this more.

It could take a day to get a decision on your application

While some lenders may offer an instant decision on your loan application, Salad Money takes longer. It says that it could take one working day to assess your application and decide whether to offer you a loan.

You can only borrow up to £1,000

Salad Money only offers smaller loans of £500 to £1,000. This can be useful for many things, such as paying for emergency repairs. If you need to borrow more than £1,000, you will have to see if you’re eligible for a loan from another lender.

What type of loans does Salad Money offer?

Bad credit loans

Salad Money offers small unsecured personal bad credit loans, but the choice of loan amount and repayment terms is more limited than some lenders offer.

Salad Money has partnered with some NHS trusts and public sector employers and offers financial education and support to all applicants, for example by letting them know whether they’re entitled to benefits that they may not be claiming.

Salad Money doesn’t use your credit score to decide to offer you a loan, which means you may be able to get a loan even if you have a bad credit score

It’s important not to apply for loans you are unlikely to get because unsuccessful applications will harm your credit rating, making it harder to borrow money in the future.

Even if you are eligible for a loan, it’s still worth considering whether borrowing money is the best option for you. Another course of action, such as improving your credit score or seeking professional advice, could be more suitable.

Joint loans

You can’t get a joint loan from Salad Money. You can only apply as an individual.

There are other lenders that can offer joint loans, so it’s worth looking elsewhere if you want to apply with someone else.

Am I eligible for a Salad Money loan?

In order to be eligible for a Salad Money loan, you must:

  • be over 18 years old
  • have been employed by your current employer for at least six months at the time of your application
  • be earning more than £1,400 a month
  • have an online login to the bank account your salary is paid into
  • agree to use open banking for your application

You may be eligible for a loan if you have a patchy credit history. For example, if you have an IVA that was activated at least 12 months ago or a county court judgment (CCJ) that’s at least six months old, Salad Money may still consider your application. 

Salad Money loan features review

Salad Money loans have a number of features that can be useful for customers, including the ability to pay off your loan early without any charges.

Making payments

When you take out a Salad Money loan, the date of your repayments are automatically set according to your pay pattern, as determined through open banking. However, you can contact its customer service team if you want to change your repayment date for any reason.

Keep in mind that changing payment dates could cause you to pay more or less in interest as a result.

You can repay your loan from Salad Money in a couple of different ways. Usually, repayment is by direct debit, which is how most lenders work.

However, because Salad Money partners with some employers, you may be able to make repayments through salary deductions. This is when your payments are taken directly from your salary, so you don’t need to make the payments yourself. Be aware that if you pay by salary deduction your employer will know about your loan.

Overpayments

If you want to make an additional payment towards your loan, Salad Money allows you to do this at no extra cost. There are no limits on the amount you can overpay.

You can make an extra payment through your online Salad Money account or by bank transfer.

Paying off a loan early

One of the stand-out features of a Salad Money loan is that you can pay it off in full without needing to pay any extra charges. Half of respondents to our NerdWallet survey thought that this was an important feature of a loan.

Lenders are permitted to charge several days’ worth of interest if you want to settle your loan early, but Salad Money doesn’t set these charges. You can simply pay off the amount you owe via your online account or by bank transfer.

» MORE: Paying off a loan early

Additional borrowing

You can only have one loan at a time from Salad Money, but you may be able to top up your existing loan if you want to borrow more.

You may become eligible to top up your loan around the halfway point of an existing loan term, as long as you’ve made your payments on time by direct debit. Salad Money will text you when you’re eligible for a top up loan.

If a top up loan has a higher interest rate or you extend the term, it will cost you more in the long term. 

Salad Money will decide if you can top up your loan on a case-by-case basis. Any additional borrowing is likely to be based on an assessment of your circumstances at that time rather than when you applied for your initial loan.

Customer support

Salad Money doesn’t offer face-to-face contact, but there are still several ways that you can get in touch.

For example, you can contact its customer support team via email or live chat. There is also a phone number that you can call if you have any queries or problems. These options were considered the three most important forms of communication by respondents to our survey.

Customer ratings

Salad Money has an ‘Excellent’ rating on Trustpilot, based on more than 6,800 reviews.

This information is correct as of 25 April 2024.

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:

Salad Money loans frequently asked questions

Is Salad Money only for NHS workers?

You can currently apply for a loan from Salad Money if you are an NHS worker or a public sector employee. Salad Money does consider other employers but there are restrictions and it does not consider applications from the self-employed. There are other requirements too, including a minimum income of £1,400 a month.

Does Salad Money contact your employer?

Salad Money says it won’t contact your employer as a matter of course. However, if your employer is a Salad Money partner and you choose to make repayments via salary deduction, your employer will know about your 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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