Thinking of taking out finance? Take note of our checklist first
Whether it’s a credit card, a loan, a store card or a finance arrangement, taking out a financial product should never be an easy decision. In fact, if you fail to get the very best deal you possibly can, you could end up spending more than you bargained for or needed to.
Whatever the finance arrangement you’re shopping for, you shouldn’t sign up until you’ve followed these steps:
Never sign on the dotted line without careful consideration. Take time to make sure you actually need the finance and that you can make the repayments comfortably, without having to scrimp and save or cut back. If you can’t afford it, don’t take it. It’s really that simple.
Terms and conditions
They might be lengthy, they might look boring, and they might even look the same as everyone else’s terms and conditions but this is a contract you’ll be expected to stick to and so it’s vital that you read and understand it. This is what the company you’re entering into an agreement with will use throughout their relationship with you, so if you want to see what they’ll expect of you, you’ll need to be familiar with them.
Of course you’ll be given the figures on how much your monthly or weekly repayments will be, but it’s also worth finding out if they impose any early repayment charge to you, should you decide to clear the loan or credit amount in one lump sum.
When you take out any arrangement, the likelihood is that you’ll be offered insurance on the product. This means that if you’re unable to pay due to illness or change of circumstances, your repayments will still (in theory) be paid. However, not all insurance policies are the same. Firstly find out what their limitations are. For example, some might cover a serious illness but others might not. Some might only cover you if you’ve paid the premiums for a set amount of time, and were you to be taken ill a month after the inception of the policy you wouldn’t be covered. Make sure that your own situation and circumstances fit the criteria. It’s also worth ensuring that you can’t get a better insurance policy elsewhere.
It’s like buying a dress or a coat. The first one you try on may be the one you end up with but until you’ve checked out all of the other options will you really know? Doing a little comparison and ensuring you’re getting the best possible deal and best possible terms and conditions from your financial product provider will ensure you’re not left paying the price.
Despite there being far more scrutiny on financial providers than ever before, there remain some unscrupulous institutions out there. Before you commit to any relationship with a provider, scope out their reviews and their reputation to ensure they’re reliable, honest and can be trusted. After all, if you were to have a problem with a repayment, would you want an honest company who would listen to your situation and try to work with you to find a solution or a cowboy outfit who’d refuse to assist?