The basics of borrowing

If you need to borrow money, this whistle stop tour will help you understand the differences between credit cards, loans and overdrafts. We'll focus on their key features and important information to note. 

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Loan calculator

Estimate how much you could borrow, your representative interest rates and monthly payments, with no impact on your credit rating. Eligibility applies. Over 18s only.
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Overdraft calculator

Use our overdraft calculator to see what an overdraft could cost. Eligibility applies. Over 18s only.

Credit rating explained

We all have a credit file that gives information about our borrowing – if you want to see your credit file you can get a copy from a credit reference agency like Experian. Your account conduct will affect your credit rating, so it's good to know how you're doing.

Lenders use your credit rating to decide whether to lend you money, how much to lend to you, and sometimes, how much interest to charge. Credit is used for more than just credit cards – you might need it to buy a house, apply for a loan or get a mobile phone contract, among other things.

There are a number of ways your credit score can be negatively impacted, such as:

  • Applying for credit too often
  • Always having a big balance on your credit and store cards
  • A history of missed or late payments on your credit cards or loans
  • Failing to pay your mortgage on time

Remember, if you get a bigger credit card limit than you want, or if your lender increases it without you asking for it, you can ask them to lower it. This is a good way to avoid the temptation to spend.

Representative examples explained

Purchase rate

p.a (variable)

Representative APR


Assumed credit limit


Annual fee

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Borrowing needs tool

If you're still not sure on the right type of borrowing to go for, use our borrowing needs tool.