If you’re looking for a loan, but don’t want to pay the usual 1000%+ Representative APR rates most short-term lenders charge, then Amigo could be an alternative. The only way you can get a loan with Amigo is to have what is known as a ‘Guarantor’, who will effectively underwrite and guarantee your loan with Amigo. They regard a guarantor as a sign that you can be trusted, and consequently you are more likely to be accepted for a loan as a result.
Because Amigo regards the loan as secured, the interest rates are much lower and you’ll typically pay a maximum APR of 49.9% on loans from £500 – £10,000 over terms between 12 and 60 months.
What is a guarantor?
A guarantor is someone who is prepared to take responsibility for the loan should you fail to make the repayments. Don’t think you can simply put someone’s name down at random, either. Amigo goes through a rigorous set of checks before they approve any loan, for both the lender and the guarantor. Your guarantor has to be aged between 18-75, have a good credit history and the ability to pay the loan if you fail to do so. They don’t have to be a homeowner, but it may help the chances of Amigo approving the loan if they are.
Where are they based?
Amigo is a UK-based company with offices in Bournemouth. Like all lenders, they are regulated and authorised by the FCA. However, like the vast majority of loan providers operating in the UK today, they do their business online, so you’ll need access to the internet to set up a loan with Amigo.
You can also apply over the phone, but watch out – you’ll be ringing a premium rate number. There are separate numbers for payments and contacting the collections department, but again they’re premium 01202 numbers so factor that into the overall cost of the loan, as repeated phone calls could quickly mount up, especially if you call from a mobile.
The payment line is open 24 hours. The application line is open from 9am-7pm Monday to Thursday, 9am-6pm on Friday, and from 10am-1pm on Saturday. The Collections department is open 9am-7pm Monday to Thursday, 9am-6pm on Friday, and 9am-1pm on Saturday.
You can contact Amigo by email too, with separate emails addresses for Enquiries, the Operations Director, Complaints, and Introducers.
How to apply
Initially, you choose how much you want to borrow (from £500 to a maximum of £10,000) and for how long (from 12 to 60 months maximum). The more you borrow and for longer, the greater the amount of interest you’ll pay, but you will only pay a maximum of 49.4% APR.
You’ll then be asked to complete a budget plan and submit it to Amigo. If they accept the plan they will then contact your guarantor and, if they accept the person as guarantor for your loan, ask them to do the same.
Amigo will then speak to your guarantor in person to check their details and confirm the loan, and then they’ll speak to you. The money is then paid into the guarantor’s bank account, so they can give it to you. The loan is not paid into your account to prevent guarantors being the victims of fraudulent loan applications. All of this should happen within 24 hours of your initial application.
What if things go wrong?
Both the lender and the guarantor have the right to lodge a complaint if they’re unhappy with the way the process has been handled.
If a payment is missed, both the lender and the guarantor are contacted straight away, and if the situation isn’t resolved within 15 days, Amigo will go to the guarantor for payment to prevent the account from falling too far into arrears and the interest spiralling out of control.
If you have a complaint then contact the company using the complaints email address or by calling them direct. As with all FCA-regulated lenders, Amigo aims to clear up any disputes within 8 weeks of the initial complaint.
Amigo relies on online applications, so you must make sure that you check you are on a secure site before entering any details. Make sure your passwords are strong and not known to anyone else (including your guarantor), and that you never leave your browser open on the Amigo log-in page with your details filled in.
Find out more about Amigo at www.amigoloans.co.uk