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Barclays Bank Loan

With no early redemption fees, a Barclays Bank loan may be useful for big expenses where you don't know the final cost (a car or a cruise, for example); but you'll only get the best rates if you're already a Barclays customer, and you'll need to head for a branch to find out more, get a quote, and find out about payment protection- all of which sounds a bit shady and obtuse.

Barclays Bank Loan examples (correct at publication date, uninsured):

  Monthly Repayment APR
£3000 across 2 years N/A N/A
£5000 across 5 years N/A N/A
£10000 across 7 years N/A N/A

We've always moaned here about the banks offering a worse deal than specialist or internet-only lenders- a Barclays Bank loan isn't perfect but does a better job than the other banks.

To begin with, you can borrow as little as £500- nice if you're suffering a little financial hiccup perhaps (but an overdraft might still be more effective). The Barclays Bank loan rates are fairly competitive (10.9% typical APR) and most interestingly there are no early redemption fees so if you have an unpredictable level of debt, this might be of interest. If you're going on holiday for example, and you don't know what the final expenditure will be, knowing you can pay back a surplus without being stung for it is very useful indeed. (You could also use the extra for spending money)

Beware the "typical APR", though- this needs a little explanation, and is applicable across most lenders. This is a term designed to hide the reality of personal credit scoring. A typical APR is the best rate for a particular amount (e.g. £5000) and term (e.g. 5 years) that you can be offered. The actual rate you get depends on your credit rating; which is a fairly black art which banks like to keep to themselves. It is perfectly possible, for example, to have a bad credit rating because you simply haven't borrowed enough over the years for banks to be able to assess you effectively. The net result of all this is that only when you get in touch will you be told the actual rate that the lender is prepared to offer you. In the case of the Barclays Bank loan, that means you have to go to your local branch (where a legitimate amount of pressure will be exerted on you to sign up). So despite a typical APR of 10.9%, there's no guarantee that's the rate you'll be offered.

Also a word about the "Barclayloan" payment protection policy- there's no clue as to the cost of the product, nor, strangely, precisely what the benefits are; which makes comparing rates very hard indeed. All of this is designed to ensure existing Barclays customers get the best deal, and to try to get you into a branch.