Smile Loans Review | www.smile.co.uk
Address: 1 Balloon Street, Manchester, M60 4EP.
Branding: Smile Loans. Also known as: Smile.co.uk Loans.
FCA Licence: 006110.
From: Co-operative Group Ltd.
Related: The Co-operative Bank.
Bad credit considered: Fair-to-good score required.
Manage: Smile login provided via www.smile.co.uk.
Offers: Personal loans.
Pricing: £287.84/£10,000 (12) £558.32 (24).
Sums: £2000 to £25,000 (new and returning).
Terms: 12 to 60 months (84 on request).
Notes: This is a subsidiary of The Co-operative Bank and so most of the product specs are matched such as the 5.4% rate. Important: This loan is available to existing Smile customers only who have held their account for a month. There is also a minimum age requirement of 21 in place that is one such key difference. The payout process is delayed for several days due to the requirement of signed forms. You can spread your payments over 1 to 5 years, with the 7 year option being available on request and so there may be restrictions based on how much you borrow, or they may look at your credit score. The Bank’s head office is listed above. If you wish to correspond, then this can be done at: PO Box 600, Delf House, Skelmersdale, WN8 6GF.
– Amounts: You’d prefer to see them start smaller than £2000. They do at least stretch as high as £25,000.
– Branches: This is an internet-only operation. You can however pay cheques in at any of The Co-operative’s banks. There was 324 of these, but there has been closures. More are planned as well, but the current tally would sit at around 300.
– Experience: Famed as the UK’s first complete internet bank when they launched in the year 1999. Others had arrived before them, but they were the initial company to offer a complete service made up of credit cards, current accounts, investments, ISAs, savings etc. Behind this brand is of course the banking arm that has been trading since 1872, whilst the Group owner dates back further to 1844.
– Operations: Have won awards for their customer service. Advisors can be reached 24/7 that we’d assume operate from the King’s Valley Pyramid in Stockport. Their Wikipedia entry also references that in surveys they have come out with the highest satisfaction rates amongst banks.
– Ownership: The owner needs little introduction, with this being the largest mutual business in the UK. More than 8 million users are in charge. Food has been at the core that makes up 2800 stores and they have been leading the market for funerals with FuneralCare. The actual Bank has been around for a long time, but they aren’t quite bringing too much of a challenge to the Big 4.
– Profile: A TV ad campaign helped to unleash this first complete internet banking service. Competition has been fierce in recent years though that hasn’t helped this brand to stand out. Most of the leading players now offer account servicing and a complete span of financial products. 24/7 customer support may not have been imitated much, but many competitors do have advisors operating for a select number of hours on Saturdays and Sundays. The important distinction is that you can find lower rates across the market. The £10,000 rate here is 5.4%. Elsewhere, you can get between 3% and 4%. There has been rumours in the press that this company may be phased out. We’ll just have to wait and see on that, but you have to remember that there are half a million loyal customers banking here.
– Terms: The standard range is 1 to 5 years, but 7 years is possible.