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Published 01 February 2024
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Nationwide Personal Loans Review: Pros, Cons & Features

Nationwide is a building society that offers personal loans and joint loans to its members. Find out about the features of a Nationwide loan and 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.

Nationwide personal loans: At a glance

Nationwide loans offer flexibility, a quick turnaround on funds and a broad choice of ways to manage your account. Unlike many lenders we’ve reviewed, Nationwide doesn’t apply any additional interest charges if you settle your loan early. 

But you can only get a loan if you have a current account with the high street building society.

Remember, if you’re considering a 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.

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Nationwide Personal Loan

Nationwide Personal Loan
  • Representative APR
    6.4%
  • Representative Example
    Representative APR 6.4%. Based on a loan of £10,000 over 60 months at an interest rate of 6.4% p.a. (fixed). Monthly repayments of £194.35. Total amount payable £11,661. Maximum APR: 29.9%.
  • Available amounts
    £1,000 to £25,000
  • Available Terms
    1 to 7 years
  • Joint Loans
    Yes

Always check terms & conditions for suitability before applying.

Eligibility Criteria
  • Must have a monthly income of £700 after tax
  • Must live and work in the UK
  • Must be aged between 18 and 79 years old
  • Must be a member of Nationwide
  • For loans longer than 5 years, you’ll need to provide additional details for a personalised loan quote

Learn more about how we bring you our review.

Nationwide loans pros & cons

Pros

  • There are no charges for paying off your loan early.
  • Once the loan agreement is signed (typically done online), you can get your funds transferred into a Nationwide current account within two hours.
  • There are several ways to contact Nationwide: online, in a branch, by phone and via its app or live chat.

Cons

  • Loans are only available to Nationwide current account holders.

The pros and cons featured here are chosen by us based on a combination of our expert opinions from our research of the personal loans market and an exclusive survey of UK consumers conducted on behalf of NerdWallet UK in February 2023 to identify the features of personal loans that people feel are most important. They are unlikely to be the only product features and restrictions that you should consider. Pros and Cons are subjective and you should align them to your own personal circumstances. Information was correct at the time of publication but may have changed since.

Nationwide loans overview

Nationwide is a building society that offers personal loans and a range of other financial products, such as current accounts, mortgages and credit cards. It was founded in 1884 as the Co-operative Permanent Building Society, changing its name to Nationwide in 1970. 

If you have any of Nationwide’s current accounts, you may be able to apply for a Nationwide loan. You could borrow between £1,000 and £25,000 and repay the loan in fixed instalments every month until it is paid off.

However, you can choose to make overpayments or pay off your loan in full before the end of its term. You won’t need to pay any added interest charges if you choose to settle your Nationwide loan early, which isn’t the case with every lender we’ve reviewed.

Nationwide has branches in many towns and cities across the UK, which means you could ask for help or support with your loan from a team member face to face. However, if you prefer to manage your affairs online, Nationwide also offers online banking and a mobile app that you can use instead.

Amount borrowable£1,000 to £25,000
Term lengthOne to seven years
Time to get a decisionInstant
Time to receive funds once approvedTwo hours
Need to have an account with the providerYes
Customer supportPhone, live chat, branch, app and post
Trustpilot rating1.7 stars (26 January 2024)

Where Nationwide personal loans stand out

You could get your funds within two hours

Once you have signed your loan agreement, Nationwide says it can transfer the funds into your Nationwide current account within two hours.

There are no early repayment charges

Unlike many lenders, Nationwide doesn’t apply any early repayment charges if you want to settle your loan before the end of its term. Lenders can charge up to 58 days’ interest to pay off your loan early, but Nationwide allows you to do this without any penalties.

It’s rated highly by Fairer Finance

Among the lenders ranked by independent review site Fairer Finance, Nationwide comes out top with a customer experience rating of 73%. This rating is correct as of 26 January 2024.

Where Nationwide personal loans fall short

Loans are only for Nationwide current account holders

Loans from Nationwide are not available to everybody. You can only apply for a loan if you have one of Nationwide’s current accounts, which Nationwide will pay the loan into. You’ll need to make your repayments from this account, too.

There’s a lower maximum loan limit than other lenders

You can borrow between £1,000 and £25,000 from Nationwide, so there may be other lenders who can offer larger loans than this. However, it’s important to only borrow the amount you need, so this lower maximum limit may only be a problem if you need a larger loan.

What type of loans does Nationwide offer?

Unsecured loans

Nationwide offers unsecured loans between £1,000 and £25,000, which you can choose to repay over one to seven years. This is typical of many lenders, but there may be lenders that may offer larger loans if you need to borrow more.

Unlike secured loans, unsecured loans don’t require a property or other high-value item to act as security, which means both homeowners and tenants can apply.

You can use a loan from Nationwide to cover different costs, such as a new car, a wedding, home improvements, or to consolidate debt.

» MORE: Compare personal loans

Joint loans

Nationwide doesn’t currently allow you to apply for a joint loan, but it says that it will reintroduce this ability soon.

Loans for bad credit

Loans from Nationwide are designed for borrowers with a good credit history. In its eligibility criteria, Nationwide specifies that it won’t offer you a loan if you’ve missed three or more payments over the last 12 months, or have actions such as county court judgments (CCJs) or individual voluntary arrangements (IVAs) on your credit file.

As a result, if you have a bad credit history, you’re unlikely to qualify for a loan from Nationwide. Don’t apply for loans you are unlikely to get because unsuccessful applications will hurt your credit score. However, some specialist lenders can cater for people with poorer credit histories, so it may be worth considering these options if you need to take out a loan.

Am I eligible for a Nationwide loan?

Nationwide loans are currently only available to people who have a Nationwide current account. So, to be considered for one of their loans, you would need to have an account such as:

  • FlexPlus
  • FlexDirect
  • FlexAccount

As well as being a Nationwide current account holder, you will also need to meet the following criteria:

  • live and work in the UK
  • aged between 18 and 79 years old
  • have missed no more than three credit commitments over the previous 12 months
  • have no IVAs, CCJs, bankruptcies, or similar actions on your credit file
  • your monthly income is at least £700 (after tax)

If you are self-employed, you need to supply Nationwide with documents, such as an accountant’s certificate or HMRC online tax calculation, to show your income over at least one year.

Nationwide won’t be able to offer you a loan if you are applying from the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man.

Your final eligibility for a loan will be subject to a credit check and affordability checks conducted by Nationwide.

Nationwide loan features review

While the process of making payments on a Nationwide loan is much the same as other lenders, Nationwide stands out from the competition as it doesn’t apply early repayment charges if you want to settle your loan early.

Making payments

When you take out a Nationwide loan, you need to make your first monthly payment one month after Nationwide transfers the money to your account.

It’s possible to choose the date that Nationwide transfers the funds, effectively meaning you can pick your first repayment date. However, you have to call Nationwide’s sales team to have them do this for you.

It’s possible to change your repayment date during the loan term if another day would work better for you. You will need to request this change over the phone or in a branch, at least six working days before the payment is due to go out. By changing your repayment date there could be an impact on the interest you pay, either more or less depending on the change, so make sure you check. 

Overpayments

You can currently make overpayments on a loan from Nationwide at no extra cost. Doing this won’t change your monthly payments but it can help you to pay off your loan faster.

You can make overpayments online, via Nationwide’s banking app, by cheque, or by visiting a branch.

Many providers have limits on the amount of overpayments you can make. Always check this beforehand.

Paying off a loan early

Nationwide allows you to pay off your personal loan early and, unlike many other lenders, it won’t apply any interest charges if you want to do this.

Almost half (49%) of respondents to our survey said that the ability to settle your loan without paying any penalty charges was an important feature, so this is where Nationwide sets itself apart from most other lenders.

While lenders are permitted to charge up to 28 days’ interest when you request a settlement figure to clear your loan in the last 12 months of its term, or even up to 58 days’ interest if you settle before that, Nationwide doesn’t do this. 

You can pay off your loan online, via Nationwide’s banking app, by cheque, or at a Nationwide branch.

After you have requested a settlement figure from Nationwide, online or via phone, you will have 28 days to pay it. Nationwide won’t charge any interest during this time, but if you choose not to pay off your loan early, Nationwide will reapply the interest to the outstanding balance left to pay.

» MORE: Paying off a loan early

Additional borrowing

You may be able to borrow more from Nationwide, on top of your existing loan. However, you will need to meet Nationwide’s requirements and pass its checks as it will want to make sure you can afford to take on the extra repayments. This assessment will be based on your circumstances at the time of applying for your new loan and not your original loan.

If you want to borrow more, you could apply for a new loan that will pay off your existing loan and give you the extra amount you want. This means the interest rate on your loan may be different to your existing agreement, but you would have one monthly payment to keep track of.

Alternatively, you could apply for a second loan and repay two separate loans. This means the interest rate and repayments on your existing loan would stay the same, and the new loan would be a completely separate agreement with a different repayment schedule.

You can only have a maximum of two loans from Nationwide at any one time, which can’t add up to more than £25,000 in total.

Customer support

There are several ways you can get in touch with Nationwide if you have a general query or want to talk about your loan.

For example, you can contact Nationwide by phone, live chat, or, if you are close to a branch, you can ask for help in person. Many online-only lenders don’t offer face-to-face support, Nationwide is one of the options available to you if you want a loan from a lender that you can visit.

You could contact Nationwide on its social channels, such as X (formerly Twitter), although the team is likely to direct you to other forms of customer support that can offer more specific help.

If you have the Nationwide banking app, you could also manage your loan through this.

Customer ratings

On Trustpilot, Nationwide has a rating of 1.7 stars based on over 5,400 reviews. 

Bear in mind that these reviews are for Nationwide as a whole, not just its lending products.

Fairer Finance provides a rating based only on Nationwide’s personal loans, and the building society performs well in this ranking. It has a 73% customer experience rating, top out of all the lenders listed.

This information is correct as of 26 January 2024.

How can I apply for a Nationwide loan?

Before applying for a loan from Nationwide, you can use its calculator to see how much your monthly repayment would be, based on the amount you want to borrow, the repayment term, and the representative APR

APR stands for annual percentage rate, which tells you how much a loan will cost you, taking into account the interest rate and any standard fees. The representative APR tells you the maximum rate that 51% of people who successfully get a loan from Nationwide receive, so your personalised APR could be higher than this.

If you choose to apply for a loan, Nationwide will run some final checks, including a hard credit check, to make a formal decision on your application. A hard credit check will be recorded on your credit history, so you should only apply if you are confident of being accepted.

You could also consider using a loans eligibility service to conduct a soft search across multiple lenders and provide you with results of your likelihood of a successful application against several different loans, without affecting your credit score. But do check the details of the service you use, to make sure it only uses soft searches and how many lenders it checks.

What information do I need?

As part of your application, you will need to provide Nationwide with information, such as:

  • your address history for the past three years
  • your monthly income and expenses
  • how much you want to borrow

Nationwide will use this information and run a credit check to decide on your application.

In some cases, Nationwide may ask for further documents to prove your identity, address and income, for example. You can send these by email or post, or visit a Nationwide branch.

How long does it take to apply?

If you apply for a Nationwide loan online, you will typically get a decision immediately. However, if Nationwide requires more information or your application needs to go to an underwriter to review, it will take longer than this.

Once your application is approved and you’ve returned the signed loan agreement, you should receive the money in your Nationwide current account within a couple of hours.

Nationwide loans frequently asked questions

Is Nationwide safe?

Nationwide Building Society is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). It is also authorised and regulated by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA).

How long does it take for a Nationwide loan to go into your account?

Once you’ve signed and returned your loan agreement, Nationwide may be able to transfer the loan into your account within two hours (if it’s a Nationwide current account). For other Nationwide accounts or accounts with other providers, it could take up to five working days.

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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