Most Nigerians today rely heavily on online loan apps that give them short-term loans to meet their emergency financial needs. To be sure, these online loan apps do provide some succor during emergencies, but the high-interest rates – not to mention the public embarrassment for defaulting – may be more trouble than they are worth.
Life is unpredictable, and it is very much possible to find yourself in a situation where everything can seem to be going hunky-dory – then, out of the blues, the car malfunctions and requires a complete overhaul. Or a loved one needs major surgery immediately – and, horror of horrors, you don’t have the necessary funds available at the moment.
Here are 5 alternatives to consider before you call that predatory lender for one of his short-term loans.
Friends and Family: the best alternatives to short-term online loan apps!
Okay, we understand that you don’t want people up in your business, but, come on, friends and family should be your first port of call for emergencies! Apart from the fact that they care about you, borrowing short-term loans from them is the least expensive of all other alternatives. Neither will they publicly embarrass you if you default…hopefully.
When you borrow from them, ensure you protect the relationship. First, borrow only what you need and – without being asked! – provide an IOU showing how much was lent, the repayment plans, and the time frame for full payment. If possible, provide proof of expenses made – but most importantly, pay them back, no matter what else you might be experiencing. Don’t damage your relationship.
You can get credit cards to make payments or purchases. Personal short-term loans give you a lump sum, but alternative credit cards give you an amount of credit within a specified limit that you can use. You can pay back your debt little by little or all at once. If you are paying in instalments, you can pay as much of your debt as you like – as long as you make the monthly minimum payment. Better still, if you can pay up all your balance within a month, there will be no interest charges for you.
However, you must decide if a credit card is good for you. If you prefer the liberty of offsetting your debt in monthly instalment payments, go ahead. Even so, you would need to have a sure-proof repayment plan to avoid paying unnecessarily huge interest.
Cosigner or Guarantor loans.
This alternative to regular short-term loans is a big deal because it is based on trust. It allows you to borrow using the good credit of someone close – usually friends or family. When that person cosigns with you, it means they are agreeing to take responsibility if you fail to repay. Heavy, right?
When you apply for a cosigner or guarantor loan, the lender looks at the credit histories of both parties. If your cosigner or guarantor has good credit, it makes the release of funds easier because the lenders know they can go after your guarantor if you default.
Just like family and friends, don’t damage this relationship. Don’t allow the lender to contact your cosigner for any reason. Always pay promptly – and try to clear the loan as quickly as you can.
Do you know that you can request for a part of your “future” salary from your employer? Yes, you can ask for a loan or salary advance to offset urgent expenses, instead of borrowing from traditional lenders.
A major plus about this is that you don’t pay interest on the loan. Instead, you pay back in direct instalments or through deductions from upcoming pay-checks.
A downside is that employers approve these loans on a case-by-case basis. So, if your case is not deemed important for a loan, you can be refused.
If this occurs, another alternative is pay-check advance apps that offer emergency loans to salary earners and are safer than traditional short-term loans. You could explore that as well.
This option is for those with functional current accounts. If you don’t have one, get one – and get one that offers overdrafts as part of the account. If you already have a current account, you can simply – and quickly – apply for your account to have an overdraft. Yes, using an overdraft will cost a fee, but it is almost nothing when compared to a short-term loan.
So, instead of rushing to borrow that loan from a short-term lender, why don’t you try out some of these alternatives first?