Most Internet users are now extremely comfortable using the Internet to research and buy items that we need, mainly because we know that e-tailers probably have the lowest prices and we can avoid heavy sales pitches and crowded stores.
This is most evident in financial services where banks have used the channel effectively although there could be hidden charges and pricing that may make your new bargain personal loan or credit card not quite so much of a bargain. So what can you do to ensure you're getting the best deal on a personal loan?
Make you sure you know how much you want to borrow?
It might sound silly but often you can find that you end up borrowing too much from a bank and why borrow money that you don't need? If you are planning to buy a TV find out exactly how much it will cost and borrow that exact amount. You may find that the bank will try and tempt you with a reduction in interest rate if you borrow more. Don't. Do not borrow more than you need.
Get a quote not a best buy
The amount you want to borrow will determine how much interest the bank will want to charge you, when you look at best buy table the rate displayed will be the best rate available (normally this is for loan amounts of over ?7,000 to ?10,000), avoid applying for a best buy loan only to find out that the rate you are offered is different from the rate you saw in the best buy table.
Get Multiple quotes
Interest rates and charges vary by lender so make sure you know what each lender is offering for the amount that you want to borrow. Price comparison websites will allow you to get quotes from many lenders at the same time and you can enter different combinations of the amount you borrow and the length of time that you wish to borrow over.
Now that you have your quotes and you understand how much a bank would normally charge for the loan you want, apply for your loan on-line. Most banks offer their cheapest rates to customers who apply on line, it reduce their costs so they very kindly (for a bank) pass this saving on to you. The majority of customers can get a decision on-line, when the bank will confirm the exact terms of your loan.
By shopping smart and avoiding the eye-catching banner adverts that promise everything you can find the loan that is truly the cheapest in the market without having to visit bank or get hard sell telephone calls from the bank.
Rhodri James is the Consumer Finance Manager for Decision-Finance http://www.decision-finance.co.uk, a company that specialises in providing customers with on-line quotes for financial services such as bad credit loan and Homeowner Loan