Short-term loans

Compare short-term loans and check your eligibility in minutes[1]

What are short-term loans?

Short-term loans are any sort of borrowing with a short repayment period. Personal loans, like the ones you’ll see when you compare rates with us, typically have terms of 12 months upwards.

Although a loan of just one or two years could still be considered a short-term loan, if you need to borrow money for even less time, you might have to look at some alternatives to traditional personal loans.

Why take out a short-term loan?

You might need a short-term loan to cover urgent bills. Loans for short-term use tend to be available quickly because they’re unsecured and require no collateral, such as a house or a car.

You can usually apply online, with a decision in minutes.

How to find a short-term loan

Be careful searching online for short-term loans – the results you find are likely to point you towards payday loans. And it might not be obvious that that’s what they are. Payday loans usually have very high rates of interest, as well as fees, so they’re a very expensive form of borrowing. 

They’ll also show up on your credit record. And that can make it hard to get other types of credit, like a mortgage, if a lender sees that you’ve had a payday loan in the last few years.

You can compare loans with us by choosing the repayment term, but these will typically be loans with terms of one year or longer. If you need short-term borrowing, you might want to consider some alternatives to a traditional loan product.

Alternative types of short-term borrowing

Look into some of these alternatives to short-term loans that’ll help you avoid the high interest rates and fees that come with a payday loan.

Flexible loans

A few lenders will offer flexible loans. These allow you to draw down the loan money as and when you need it and choose how much you repay each month, subject to a minimum repayment amount. You won't be charged for repaying the loan in full early, so they can be used as a short-term loan.

The APR is likely to be higher than on a typical, inflexible personal loan. A borrowing fee may also apply which will need to be paid whether you repay the loan early or not. Some payday loans are also marketed as ‘flexible’, so take care not to take one out thinking it’s a more standard loan product.

Personal loan with early repayment

You could take out a personal loan then just repay it early. You’re always allowed to repay a loan early, but there’s usually an extra charge for this to compensate the lender.

Check terms and conditions so you know how much early settlement will cost you if you’re considering using a personal loan in this way.

Credit card

IF you’ve got a good credit record, you might be able to take out a 0% credit card to use as a short-term loan. So long as you can use a credit card to pay for what you need the money for.

If you use it correctly, it’ll function as an interest-free and flexible loan. But you need to make sure you can repay at least the minimum amount each month and pay back the full amount before the 0% term is up.

All credit cards give you at least a month interest free, so if you only need a very short-term loan, any credit card could be an option if you can pay it off in a few weeks.

Low APR credit cards might be another option that could have a lower rate of interest than a payday loan or other forms of short-term borrowing.


Some current accounts have a 0% overdraft on relatively small amounts of money. You could consider switching if your current account doesn’t have this feature.

If you don't have a 0% overdraft, check whether the interest or fees on a normal authorised overdraft would still be cheaper than taking out a loan – if it’s a small amount over a very short-term it might still be the cheapest form of borrowing.

Don’t exceed your overdraft limit, or fees and interest are likely to prove very expensive.

Peer-to-peer lending

One option that you may want to explore is peer-to-peer lending, which lets you borrow money directly from investors and savers.

Some peer-to-peer lenders allow you to repay early without penalty, so they can work as a short-term option.

When you compare loans with us you can filter your results to see just peer-to-peer loans.

Credit unions

Credit unions are not-for-profit organisations which pool members' savings and lend them out to other members.

They tend to be quite flexible, so they might allow borrowing of smaller amounts over shorter terms, or early repayment on loans.

You'll need to be part of the community. And some ask you to save with them for a certain amount of time before taking out a loan.

Who can get a short-term loan?

Whether you opt for a standard short-term loan product or other types of short-term borrowing like a loan or overdraft, the requirements will be similar: 

  • 18 or older
  • UK resident
  • Proof or regular income
  • Proof of address for the past three years
  • Details of bank account
  • Email and mobile details
  • Must not be bankrupt
  • Can pass credit and affordability checks

How much can I borrow with a short-term loan?

It’ll vary with each lender and depend on how long the loan is for. But specialist short-term loans will typically allow borrowing of £100-£5,000

How to find the right short-term loan

Whatever type of product you choose for a short-term loan, compare these features to find a suitable and cost-effective option for you:

  1. Compare annual percentage rates (APR)

    That’ll help you do a like-for-like comparison of the cost of interest on your borrowing

  2. Repayment schedule

    Will you have the flexibility to take the loan over a shorter term or to repay early?

  3. Fixed or variable interest rates

    Could the interest rate go up or down over time? Think about how an increase in interest could affect your ability to repay the loan

[1] introduces customers to Runpath Regulated Services, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.’s relationship with Runpath Regulated Services is limited to that of a business partnership, no common ownership or control rights exist between us. Please note, we cannot be held responsible for the content of external websites and by using the links stated to access these separate websites you will be subject to the terms of use applying to those sites