The best and worst loan providers for customer service

Consumer pressure is shaking up the loans market with the Office of Fair Trading announcing a clampdown on upfront fees to credit brokers for loans that are never arranged. Because of this it's not surprising consumers are looking to alternative loans providers they can trust.


Our readers voted for a loan provider that does things a little differently, Zopa, which picks up the award for a second year running

Zopa launched in the UK in 2005, cutting out the banks and setting up a marketplace to bring lenders and borrowers together.

Although there's the risk of borrower default, lenders benefit from rates that are higher than those on savings accounts, while borrowers enjoy low rates and no early repayment fees.  

And the model's proved a hit with its customers. One describes it as "shaking up financial services," while another said "it just works. No nasty bankers". There's also praise for the service Zopa providers: "They are friendly and care about their members. Service is fast, reliable and efficient."


Santander and Halifax jointly share the title of worst personal loan providers, taking over from a fellow big bank that held the title last year.

While some of Santander's customers reported they were happy with the service, others had a completely different experience. "Customer service was dire," said one. Another commented that they'd experienced admin errors and "a lack of responsiveness" when problems had been escalating.

Issues with Halifax were slightly different, with lots of customers saying the mis-selling of payment protection insurance was their main bugbear. In a statement, Halifax adds: "We'd like to work with Moneywise to take the feedback on board and make improvements and changes where appropriate."


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I have a different gripe against the Halifax - their Annual Mortgage Statements!
I'd welcome others' views before I complain.
The interest figure on my statement doesn't correlate to the 12 month period of my mortgage each year. It relates to the 12 mths ending 31st of January - which
seems to be Halifax's Financial Y/E! I would like to see the actual interest figure for MY mortgage Y/E - is that too much to ask? After all, it's supposed to be an Annual Statement - NOT interest for one 12 month period..... and repayments for another!

Zopa is a poor place for lenders. Their platform is to market borrowers, many with distinctly dodgy credit backgrounds (via Zopa listings). Foolish and naieve lenders assume that because they appear on Zopa, they are inherently safe. The rates offered by these naieve people beggar belief. High risk borrowers are offered loan rates that any sensible lender would never contemplate. Zopa have done slick marketing. Mr UK Joe public has swallowed it hook, line..etc. Zopa take no risk - they collect their borrowing fee (added to the loan), and then 1% of all payments. For this, they get accolades. The average Zopa lender is someone who would rate a Ponzi scheme as a good investment. Zopa exploit naieve investors.

What a very cynical and completely unjustified attitude.

As a Zopa lender I am achieving far better rates than I could in any savings account at over 7% after Zopa take their 1%. The risks of default are very clearly explained when you start out, and are actually very low. You set your own rates.

Personally I am lending to in excess of 600 people, have zero bad debt, and I am a typical lender. Zopa listings no longer exist. High risk borrowers are denied loans. No brainer.

Happy zopa lender since 2009.

No issues -- good customer service and it cuts out the banks.

Easy to lend, risks are clear and projected returns clearly include bad debt.

Great model. Listings no longer exist.


When short-term loans are use only as they are intended, like for financial monetary emergencies they turn out to become an absolute life saver. Actually, I've needed to use them in the past. My car did break down and I didn't have any other appropriate solution how to get to work and I could not afford to miss any more days. So I feel the online lenders can help me very much to keep my job. But I paid it off on time and didn't go back to get another one next week.

Cut through the thicket by shopping broadly and then narrowing your focus as you learn more about what type of lending environment makes you most comfortable. Begin to familiarize yourself with various lenders and the deals they're offering. Then take your shopping a step further. Go to the bank or credit union where you already have a checking or savings account and ask what types of mortgage deals they offer current customers. And be sure to ask friends and family members for referrals to loan officers and brokers who gave them good, professional service and helped them find the most competitive online loans.

The worst personal loan provider must not take this as personal but a lesson to better improve their services. And speaking of customer service, there is another service provider for a different type of loan. This loan is called online pawn loan. It is the online version of pawn loans. You just need an item which has an appraised value and apply for it online.
An example of a trusted online pawn shop. Read it here.