Taking out a loan is a serious commitment with long term consequences, especially if you choose a secured loan deal, and so it's important that you only deal with reputable loan providers and brokers. But how can you tell if a particular site is trustworthy? While it's impossible to be 100% sure, the following pointers will give you a very good idea of whether you should proceed with an application or look elsewhere.
Firstly, you should never be asked to pay a fee up front, merely for making an application. These kind of loan sites are often scams, promising more than they can deliver, and you may well find that you pay the fee and get either nothing in return, or an offer of a loan that's so expensive that it's pointless taking it out. You might however be charged an arrangement fee once your loan has been agreed and you've signed on the dotted line - this is perfectly okay and normal, especially where there's an element of bad credit or self certification involved.
You should also avoid dealing with sites who insist on you telephoning a premium rate number as part of the application process. In these cases, it's very likely that you'll be kept hanging around listening to pointless but official sounding messages, all the while racking up a hefty bill. If you need to phone the loan arranger, it should ideally be on a freephone number, or at least a standard rate one.