There are many lenders available these days and if you want to borrow money, it can be difficult to know which one to choose. Even when you have decided what sort of loan will be the best for you, you will still find that there is a lot of choice.
Many people will go to a comparison website to pick between lenders. This can be a good idea but it is worth being aware that most sites will only show results for companies that pay them commission. This means that they may not necessarily be showing you the best or cheapest but just the ones that they want you to sign up with. If you do decide to do this, try to find a comparison website that looks across more than just those lenders that pay them; there are a few out there. Also look at more than one, as they may not always include the same lenders. There are also some companies that never appear on comparison websites. It is worth trying to find them and getting quotes from them as well as they could be cheaper.
If you want to get expert advice then a financial advisor could be a good idea. They will look at all companies, as long as they are independent, and they may even have access to different deals than you can use yourself. They will charge you though, usually a fixed hourly rate, but this could be well worth paying if they find you a really competitive rate. If you are buying a mortgage, for example, then this will be very costly in the long term and so paying a bit for financial advice will be worth it. If you are getting a short term loan then it may not be worth it as the differences in cost could be quite small.
It is worth considering that price should not be the only factor you consider when comparing lenders. Although looking at price is very important as differences in interest rates and fees could be significant, it is worth noting that there are other factors that you should consider as well. One still related to costs is any additional fees that might be charged. As well as a set up fee or administration fee, there could be an early redemption fee, non-payment fee, late payment fee and things like this. It is worth looking in the terms to check for these and compare them. Hopefully you will not be paying late or missing payments, but there is a chance that this could happen and it is worth checking out the cost. Hopefully you may want to pay the loan back early, so it is worth looking to see how much that will cost you.
It is also worth thinking about the lender themselves. Consider their reputation, what you know about their customer service and what other people might think of them. Chat to friends and family about their borrowing experiences and read online reviews. You will find negative reviews of all lenders as no one is perfect, but the good should hopefully outweigh the bad on the ones that you like. Also speak to their customer services and get a feel for what they are like to deal with and how helpful and friendly they are. Find out more about them, ask about charges and rates and things like that so that you can easily compare them. Make sure that the advertised rates are the ones that you will be given should you sign up with them. Take a look at their website as well and get a feel for them. Consider whether having a local branch is important to you and if I is, then visit it and chat to staff there to see how you feel about it. You will be able to judge how friendly and helpful they seem, how busy it is and generally what you think of the place.
It can be difficult picking a lender, but many people do it very quickly. If you are borrowing a lot of money then you need to consider that you will be dealing with them for a long time. It is worth making sure that you are making the right decision as it may not be easy to change lenders once you sign up. Although swapping may be possible, if you have a large early redemption fee or your credit rating goes down, it may be very difficult to do this and therefore it is best to get it right to start with.