The UK's Bradford & Bingley has launched an online personal loan service which searches the market for the best priced and most appropriate deals via its MarketPlace Web site.
Customers logging onto the site can access a range of loan providers from some of the UK’s leading names, including Halifax, Marks & Spencer Financial Services, Tesco Personal Finance and Intelligent Finance.
Users are asked a few questions before being presented with a best buy table with a selection of loans that suit their needs, outlining APR, the monthly payments and the total cost of the loan. Once a loan is selected, customers are taken to the lender’s Web site to fill in an application form.
Matthew Brodrick, The MarketPlace, Bradford & Bingley, says currently over 50% of online personal loan applications are rejected: "We have designed the process to reduce the chance of applications being turned down, thus avoiding so called credit footprints which can potentially damage people’s chances of getting a loan in the future."
He adds: "We hope to reverse this trend and expect the site to deliver an 80% success rate going forward."
The site also features specialist loan providers to help customers who have had credit problems in the past.
Research conducted by Bradford & Bingley claims that customers are losing more than £1.2bn a year by not shopping around for personal loans. Only 24% of people admitted they would hunt for the best deal and 43% would simply visit their own bank to arrange a loan, even though they may not be the most competitive.
The research also showed that younger people are more likely to do their homework, with 40% of 18-24 year olds saying they would shop around before committing to a deal, compared to only 19% of 45-54 year olds, 17% of 55-64 year olds and 8% of over 65s.