If you have recently encountered an unexpected life event that requires emergency funding, then you might be thinking about obtaining a payday loan. As you might well know, these typically come with extortionate interest rates that can often exceed 1,000% APR.
Moreover, a missed payment can lead to further fees and charges – all of which come with super-high interest rates too. With that being said, there could well be a new option on the table for you in the form of a Creditspring membership.
In a nutshell, the UK lender claims that in return for a monthly membership fee, they offer emergency loans that come with no interest. That’s right, not only do you stand the chance of avoiding the four-figure APR rates charged by Payday loan lenders, but you can avoid paying interest in its entirety.
Sound too good to be true? That’s exactly what we intended to find out in our Creditspring review.
If you’re keen to find out how the Creditspring emergency loan process works – such as how much you need to pay, how much you can borrow, and whether or not the 0% interest rate is credible, be sure to read on.
Please Note: Creditspring is for People in the UK
What is Creditspring?
Creditspring is a UK alternative emergency loan provider that was launched as recently as late 2018. The founders wanted to find a real solution to the ever-growing threats of Payday loan sharks.
By this, we mean charging desperate UK consumers extortionate and unethical fees, charges, and interest rates on short-term financing. The overarching concept of the Creditspring platform is that by paying a monthly membership fee, you will be accustomed to emergency loans at 0% interest.
However, and as we will cover in more detail further down, you will be limited to the amount that you can borrow, as well as the frequency as which you can request emergency funding. In a nutshell, this covers a maximum loan of £500 – twice a year.
Unlike a conventional Payday loan company – which typically targets consumers on low incomes, Creditspring has much higher standards in who it is prepared to lend money to.
For example, you will need to have an annual income of at least £20,000 to join the membership program, and pass a number of credit checks prior to being approved. This is to ensure that the lender engages in sensible and ethical lending.
There are two account types available at Creditspring, with each account dictating how much you can borrow when required, and how long you have to repay the money.
The Creditsping platform is actually owned by Inclusive Finance Limited, which is regulated and authorized by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). This ensures that the team at Creditspring operates within the laws of the UK lending system, and compiles with all respect regulations surrounding ethical lending and anti-money laundering controls.
So now that you know who Creditspring is and what they do, in the next section of our review we are going to explore how you become a member.
Becoming a Member at Creditspring: Am I Eligible?
In order to benefit from the 0% interest emergency funding rate at Creditspring, you will be required to join the platform as a fully-fledged member. As the platform has a set of minimum eligibility requirements, you will first need to make an application. You can do this with ease via the Creditsping website.
When you go through the application process, you will initially need to provide some information about your personal identity. This will include your full name, date of birth, home address, and contact details. Moreover – and much like in the case of a traditional loan application, you will need to provide some information about your financial standing.
This includes details pertaining to your income – such as much much you earn, where you work, and how frequently you get paid. Once you have provided the required data, Creditspring will then run a soft credit check on you – meaning that the initial application stage will not have an impact on your credit score.
Take note, the minimum expectations demanded by the team at Creditspring are as follows:
- You are aged at least 18 years old
- You are a UK resident
- You have an annual income of at least £20,000
- You are not self-employed
- You must not have any CCJs against your name
- Your credit report must not flag an IVA or bankruptcy order
If you are pre-approved, the platform will then proceed with a hard credit check – which will appear on your report. Nevertheless, once you have been fully approved by Creditspring, you will then need to choose which account type you want to opt for. We’ve covered the two account options in the next section.
Creditspring Membership: How Does it Work?
The two membership schemes offered by Creditspring are that of its ‘Core’ and ‘Plus’ accounts.
Creditspring Core Account: £6 per month
The Core membership is the cheapest option available at Creditspring, coming in at £6 per month or £72 per year. The Core membership will entitle you to borrow a maximum of £250 per loan, twice a year. As per the platform’s offering of 0% interest, you won’t pay any fees or charges on the amount that you borrow.
If you do decide to borrow funds from Creditspring via its Core membership, you will be required to pay this back over four months. As a result – and based on the maximum loan size of £250, you will make four equal payments of £62.50.
Take note, you will also need to pay your membership fee of £6 per month alongside your loan repayments. Finally, the Core membership also comes with a regularly updated Financial Stability score, with Creditspring providing tips on how you can improve it.
Creditspring Plus Account: £8 per month
The slightly more expensive membership plan available at Creditspring is that of its Plus plan. In a nutshell, the plan will cost you £8 per month or £96 per year, and affords you a higher amount of emergency financing. While the Core membership allows you to borrow up to £250 twice a year, the Plus plan increases this amount to £500.
Furthermore, you will also get longer to repay the money that you borrow. The Plus plan allows you to make 6 equal payments, meaning that a £500 loan would yield 6 monthly payments of £83.33. As is the case with the Core plan, you will still be required to pay your monthly membership fee as you make your repayments.
You will also receive updated Financial Stability reports throughout your Plus membership at Creditspring, alongside handy tips on how to improve it.
Which level is right for you?
When we look at Creditspring’s two membership types, we need to consider a few factors before making a decision. First, we should think about what kind of unexpected bills we have received in the past. If you find yourself falling behind just a little bit at a time, the 250 pound core tier just may be enough. On the other hand, if you’d like a little more flexibility and padding from financial risk, the plus membership may just be the ticket for you.
Next, we need to consider the cost of each membership level. The core membership has a lower monthly fee. But in exchange the amount that can be borrowed is half of the next tier up. Members in the core tier will end up repaying 572 pounds per year for their two 250 pound loans. This, Creditspring claims, gives you a representative APR of 87.4%.
On the other hand, the plus membership clocks in at 8 pounds per month, just two more than core membership, and results in a representative APR of just 38.6%. With that in mind, it’s clear to see the difference between the two. Core has a lower monthly fee but a higher APR. The opposite is true of plus which has a higher monthly fee but a lower APR. Even if your borrowing requirements are lower than what the plus membership offers, it might make sense to get a plus membership. Even if it’s just to benefit from the lower representative interest rate.
Is Creditspring Really Free?
On the one hand, Creditspring is true to its word, insofar that you will never pay any interest on the funds that you borrow. However, it is crucial that you also make considerations for the monthly membership fee, as this is effectively built in to your funding costs.
For example, let’s say that you utilize the Plus membership in its entirety, by borrowing the maximum amount of £500 twice a year. With each loan being paid off over a 6 month period, you are effectively borrowing £1,000 over the course of the year – albeit at 0% interest.
When you then factor in the £8 monthly membership fee, your 0% interest loan now comes at an annual cost of £96 per year. Breaking this example down further, this means that your 12 monthly payments of £8, plus your 12 monthly repayments of £83.33, amounts to a total cost of £1,096 – even though you only received £1,000.
As a result, you are effectively paying an APR rate of 38.6% on the borrowed funds. The theoretical APR rate would increase even further if you were to borrow less than the maximum entitlement, as the membership fee remains constant.
Ultimately, you need to ask yourself how likely you are to drawdown the emergency loan funds, and how much you think you will take. This is because other options might be more financially conducive, such as a 0% interest credit card that comes with a long introductory period.
If you have a good or excellent credit profile anyway, you shouldn’t have any issues being approved for the best 0% interest credit cards in the market. On the other hand, if you require cold-hard cash as opposed to a credit card limit, you might be better off going with Creditspring.
14-day Cooling-Off Period at Creditspring
It is also important to note that Creditsping utilizes a 14-day cooling-off period when you are first approved for a membership. This means that you won’t be able to obtain an emergency loan until the two-week period has passed. This is somewhat problematic, as some consumers are likely to apply with Creditspring because they need funding in the here and now.
This further highlights the point that Creditspring is best suited as a financial safety net. In other words, if you do require an emergency loan with immediate funding, you might need to consider other options.
Unexpected bills are becoming commonplace for millions of people in the UK and around the world. That’s why instant credit services like payday loans have become increasingly in demand. It seems more people are relying on them each year.
Unfortunately, quick and easy credit comes with a steep cost. Typically, that cost comes in the form of high interest rates and steep fees. Worse than the oft reviled payday loan are unplanned overdraft fees.
Overdraft fees are a punishment that banks will charge you if your account has insufficient funds. Luckily, a startup company called Creditspring has created an alternative that might just be a better fit for when times are tough. Or for when a surprise bill shows up in your inbox. Join us as we take a look at Creditspring and whether or not it’s a good value.
Boosting your credit score
The kind of service offered by Creditspring is designed in part to appeal to individuals that are looking to build, rebuild, or repair their credit scores.
According to Creditspring, all activity their customers have with them is reported to the relevant credit bureaus. This means that as long as all your payments are made on time, your score should see steady improvement and growth. If you are a young person who is new to credit, this could prove as a starting point towards building a more secure financial future through having a better score.
Creditspring themselves admit that they are not the cheapest option. Specifically, they aren’t the best for borrowing 500 pounds twice a year with a 6-month repayment schedule.
They note in a graph that having a near-prime credit card will yield a somewhat lower interest rate. However, understandably not everyone is able to get such a credit card for any number of reasons. It is conceivable, however, that by using a service like Creditspring, a lower interest rate credit card or loan could eventually become something that is within your reach as one’s score and history continue to develop and improve.
Approved in advance
Another major difference with the Creditspring business model is that each time a member takes a loan, they never need to worry about whether or not they will be approved. Instead the company works by approving you once when you begin your membership.
Subsequently, loans will be automatically approved and disbursed on request. That means you will never need to worry about whether or not or loan request will be approved.
It is important to note, however, that if a member fails to make their repayments on time or has a change of employment (such as job loss) it could affect their standing. According to Finder.com, losing ones job and not informing Creditspring could cost you your membership and loan access.
It isn’t for everyone
Unlike payday loans which are given out without much ceremony, there are a few requirements to join Creditspring.
First, members must be willing to wait 14 days before they are able to request their first loan. This is because the company does not want to appear as though they are a payday lender. This requirement for 14 days also contributes to their ability to report to credit agencies as though they are a high Street loan (which is better for credit scores) as opposed to an on-the-spot payday loan.
Unfortunately, if you need cash right now, Creditspring is not going to be a good choice unless you are already a member.
Second, members need to meet a few income requirements such as they must be employed full-time and be earning a salary of at least 20,000 pounds per year. This means part-time workers such as university students are likely not able to take part in Creditspring’s offerings.
Finally, the company requires that all prospective applications have no CCJs, IVAs, or bankruptcies on their recent record. Even having accounts past due could lead to membership being declined.
The company doesn’t specify exactly what this means, but it is safe to say that any major hiccups on your record with in the last year or two will likely prevent you from joining. But if the events happened long enough ago, you should still be able to join up.
Considering the alternatives
Creditspring is fundamentally different from other quick lenders. Some examples include their membership model and 14-day waiting period requirement for first loan disbursement. But now that we know how much it costs to borrow with them, how does it compare to payday loans?
According to Creditspring, borrowing 500 pounds twice a year with a payday lender would cost about 600 pounds in interest and fees. They came to this number by calculating a daily interest rate of 0.8%. That means each repayment takes six months (which is how plus membership repayments work).
However, paying 600 pounds in interest and fees on a 500 pound loan is definitely not cheap. The cost of one year of Creditspring membership in the plus tier clocks in at 96 pounds, effectively less than 1/6th the cost of a payday loan with similar terms.
If you are able to get a mainstream credit card with an interest rate of around 23% APR, the cost of putting 500 pounds on that card for six months will be noticeably less.
We calculated that putting 500 pounds on a credit card with 23% interest would cost around 60-70 pounds over the course of six months. In contrast, Creditspring would cost 96 pounds per year. However, it comes with the limitation of only being able to borrow twice.
As long as you foresee needing to borrow no more than two times any year and for no more than a total of 500 or 1000 pounds per year, Creditspring could save you quite a bit of money while providing you with a fair amount of peace of mind in the event that an unexpected bill or charge shows up.
Better than a credit card?
Another thing we need to consider when comparing Creditspring to a main stream credit card is the utility of the two options. Some bills need to be paid in cash, not credit. For example, often times rent and home loans cannot be paid with a credit card. Instead, these loans can only be paid with a direct bank transfer. That means if you don’t have the cash in your account, you are out of luck.
While a credit card may be cheaper in some cases, a Creditspring loan will be the superior choice when a card cannot be used.
It is also very conceivable to imagine that your typical Creditspring user is also a credit card holder. If the bill that is causing one problems in the first place a credit card bill, then another credit card would be useless. Creditspring again would once again end up the top option for this type of repayment situation.
Types of Credit Cards
Interest in Advance
Another downside that needs to be factored in is how interest is handled with Creditspring versus a traditional credit card. With a credit card, we won’t need to pay any interest as long as we either don’t use the card, or pay off the balance within the grace period – typically one billing cycle.
With Creditspring, on the other hand, the customer will always need to pay the maximum amount of interest (in the form of the monthly fees). This is true whether or not they actually take out a loan from the service. That means if you have a relatively stable year financially, you could end up paying what is essentially interest on a loan you never actually took out.
In other words, before you join up with Creditspring make sure that you will need to take out at least one of the two allotted loans per year. Otherwise you could end up on the losing end of the deal.
This potential cost can be somewhat mitigated, however. Specifically, Creditspring memberships can be cancelled at any time. So if your financial situation improves greatly, you can step away from the service at any time. You will still be out any fees that you paid to the company up until that point, whether or not you actually took out a loan before.
For people that periodically struggle with financial stability, Creditspring could be a very attractive alternative to more expensive options like payday loans or overdrafts. However, it is definitely not for everyone. The employment and income requirements may keep some individuals out of the program.
The limit of only being able to borrow twice per year may also be a constraint that needs to be considered before joining. Additionally, those who are already facing financial difficulties may find themselves left out in the cold.
However, as long as your credit needs fall roughly in line with Creditspring’s offerings, they could be a way to improve one’s credit score while providing some stability in times of need.
Lastly, Creditspring is certainly not the cheapest means of getting a loan. Instead, it is one of the cheaper options for individuals that may have difficulty finding loans through more traditional routes.
If you are able to get loans through traditional routes such as big banks or through a credit card, you will likely spend a little less (or a lot less) money.
But if you had difficulty interacting with traditional bank and credit card issuers, Creditspring could be an attractive alternative.