How to know a loans site is safe to use

If you are looking to access credit online, it is now easier than ever before. Many loan providers allow you to sign up and apply online through their websites and transferred to your bank account, making the process very automated and efficient.

Nevertheless, when providing your personal information including your bank details, you want make sure that the loans site you are looking at is safe to use so that you do not end up becoming a victim of a loan scam.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) reported that in 2017, loan fee fraud reports to them had increased by over 44% in just one year, with over £3.5 million lost as a result of fraudulent loan companies targeting borrowers. So, what signs do you look out for when browsing loan websites in order to make sure that it is both legitimate and safe to use? In this guide, we will pinpoint what you need to consider.

Does the website have https

Always check the url of the loan website prior to giving any of your personal information to them. What you should be looking for here, is whether or not the URL begins with ‘https’ or ‘http’, if it is the former this will mean that the site is safe to use and you can go ahead using it, as the ‘https’ signals that the website is secured with a SSL certificate.

These certificates store all your data safely through encryption when it goes through your browser and into the company’s server. Furthermore, getting an SSL certificate requires undergoing the stages of their validation process, further ensuring the site is legitimate.

Is the company FCA registered?

One of the hallmarks of a legitimate loan company and website is whether or not the business is registered, with the Financial Conduct Authority, which enforce a set of regulations that all lenders registered with them must adhere to.

It is possible to check on the FCA’s Consumer Credit Register online to see firms that have permission to offer loans, through checking via their business name, firm reference number or the registered postcode. If you find that the loan company isn’t on this list, it would be wise to research other loan companies who are on it.

The language they use

Some online loan websites will use different language to entice customers into filling in an application. It should be clear whether a site is a loans comparison website or direct lender.

Things like ‘panel of lenders,’ ‘high approval’ and ‘guaranteed payout’ are associated with brokers, so filling in a form will not necessarily result in receiving a loan. Plus, there may be upfront fees involved, which you must check before giving out your details.

Read reviews

Do not go with a loan company that appears to have neither good or bad reviews anywhere online. A loan company that has no discernable trace online should act as a warning sign that this business is going to great lengths to cover up their tracks. Even having a social media presence suggests that it is a real company with activity.

Does the company have a real address?

Before submitting your loan application, check the website and verify the contact details that are available, is it a real address? If very few contact details are given, then this is a another warning sign suggesting you should proceed with caution.