UK Loan Comparison Websites Exposed - Useful Tool, Or Marketing Gimmic?

UK loan comparison websites would, at first glance seem to be the obvious place to go when looking for a low rate loan UK.

Since they advertise that they compare large number of lenders, it is logical to assume that they should, in general, be expected to come up with the lowest of the low low rate loan UK.

And if they are all as good as each other, there should be a high level of agreement between the UK loan comparison sites as to which company should be crowned as offering the 'best low rate loan UK' - in the UK.

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So we decided to put this to the test and 'compare a number of UK loan comparison sites' and find out either, which is the best, or whether all the UK loan comparison sites tested are in agreement, so in theory it shouldn't matter which of the 'low rate loan UK' comparison sites you use to find the lowest APR.

Initially, we planned to test a much larger sample than taking Google's top 3 UK loan comparison sites from our search, but it soon became apparent that using a loan comparison site to compare different loan amounts, periods and loan products (whether they are an unsecured personal loan or a secured loan) is actually much more time consuming than we expected.

So, in the end, we just looked at the top 3 loan comparison services - according to Google (in terms only of the order Google placed them in response to our search term).

At first glance would appear to have the upper hand, in terms of being, when we tested, more dominant among Google's search results than their peers.

We were also impressed with the high ranking on Google's search results of and

So, the next thing we did was to compare these 'UK loan comparison' websites in terms of their recommendations. We looked at an unsecured UK loan of £3,000 over 3 years, £5,000 over 5 Years, and £10,000 over 5 years.

One of the first things which was immediately apparent was that just about every lender (returned by the search) based the real interest rate that you would actually end up paying, on your application credit score - so you won't know what interest rate you're expected to pay until after you've applied for a loan, and after the lender has registered a search against your address with the credit reference agencies. (So what's the point in comparing interest rates which might not even apply? I hope I hear you ask!)

In fairness, Moneysupermarket appeared to have a tool to 'do a quick check' on your creditworthiness without leaving any trace on your records - the others may also have such a facility, although we didn't immediately spot it. And it wasn't apparent whether the Moneysupermarket facility would, in any way influence the lending decision of your chosen lender.

The big elements which are focused on are whether you are a home owner and whether you have any county court judgements or late payment history with any UK loan you may have had in the past. - The UK loan comparison websites are also keen to know, whether you would like to have your search prioritised to see those facilities available through them.

Call me cynical, but I couldn't help wondering whether I was being presented more with the loan facilities which would pay the best commission to the UK loan comparison website for my click-through and application, than the genuinely best lender. (But as I say, call me cynical!)

Call me 'double cynical', when this was strengthened by my search results for an 'unsecured loan' containing (for loans over £5,000) adverts for 'secured' loans - temptingly nestling among the unsecured loan search results! - but I can't tell you which site this was on, because their legal department is bigger than mine!

At least it was reassuring to see that featured highly with all three UK loan comparison sites, and if you are looking for a low rate loan UK, theirs appears to be an excellent low rate loan UK service, 'sticking its tongue out' at the traditional banks and direct lenders, which is well worth checking out.

All that being said, has a nice feature, showing the acceptance rate of the different products on offer, and the customer service rating of the different companies. Among this, Moneyback bank seemed to have a particularly high rating for acceptance and service - although it wasn't made clear how this rating had been arrived at.

In summary, and by all means, I would say, "look at what the UK loan comparison sites have to offer" - but whatever you do, check their advice out for yourself with a range of lenders independently, before you make your decision about where to apply.

The UK loan comparison sites may highlight lenders you hadn't even thought of, but my advice to you would be to 'be a healthy cynic' yourself and take any on-line advice and easy loan search 'short-cuts' with a serious pinch of salt! - This is one area where, despite the Internet, you'll still have to do a lot of legwork your self.

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