How a Smart-Pig loan could save you money

There are many temptations now in the world of credit.  Student finances are tighter than ever, with rent, fees and cost of living all rising more quickly than student income.

Many people claim short-term loans are expensive.  But the range of credit available to students is growing, including much larger loans at lower interest rates but over long periods of times.  Take this example:

Loan amount £6,200. Duration 12 years 5 months. Total amount paid over life of the loan: £12,350.04. Interest rate during studies 11.30% pa. (variable) Interest rate after graduation 9.30% pa. (variable).  Representative 11.8% APR (variable).

Here’s some things to be aware of:

1.) This 11.8% APR loan costs £6,150.04 in interest and fees.

Lower interest rates add up – especially with compound interest.
After 5 years, a 15% per annum loan  has grown to double what you borrowed.  Low monthly repayments of a few hundred pounds may be  tempting, but this is a huge amount of money.  Are you unwittingly spending the money for your first car or house deposit, before you’ve even earned it?

2.) Student Finance and support from parents are designed to cover your cost of living.

A large loan to improve your quality of life may be tempting, but remember there is no shame to living on a shoestring at university – in fact, it’s a rite of passage and part of the fun. You may see a figure going around that an average student spends around £735 p/month even though the average maintenance loan is £458 p/month, which might make a big loan look more appealing.

But hang on – the average student also receives additional funding which is made up of either a Maintenance Grant or a calculated “family contribution”. Things may be tight, but not THAT tight.

As Mark Twain once said, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics”. Don’t be fooled into dishing out £6,150.

3.) You are signing up a a burden on your finances for the next 10 or more years.

With a longer term loan, you are committing to making payments of perhaps several hundred pounds a month, for 10 years or more.  As a student, how can you be certain that this will work out?  Your loan payments are an obligation that will be reported on your credit file, and any mistake will affect your ability to access other credit.

4.) Small, short emergency loans are much cheaper – even with a higher APR.

At Smart-Pig, we think you should tighten your belt and try to live between your means, instead of resorting to long term finance.  If it doesn’t always go to plan, we’ll be there for you – and the occasional fix will cost you a lot less than £6,150.  A two week emergency loan from Smart-Pig of £200 will cost you just £22.40 in fees, even though the APR would be 1,492%. And what’s more, you can graduate without a long term financial burden from a private loans company.


Not everyone without a maintenance grant can rely on support from their family, so if this is the case a longer term loan might be a sensible option for the confident and the brave. But for the rest of us, why spend £6,150 ? Representative Example APR 1130% based on credit: £250 for 43 days. Interest: £86. Interest rate: 292%pa (fixed). Total to repay: £336. (Rep APRs change, updated 18/05/2015).

How Much Does A Smart-Pig Loan Really Cost?

There’s no need to be confused.  The simple answer is that a Smart-Pig loan costs 0.8% per day.  Once the total interest reaches HALF of what you borrow, no further interest is charged – even if the loan lasts six months or you run into trouble repaying.  Most other lenders have a maximum of 100%, meaning we’ve saved students thousands of pounds in late payment interest and fees.

For example, to borrow £100 costs a maximum of £5.60 per week, but the most you could owe in interest, even if you ran into trouble, would be capped at £50. A 25 week loan would also cap at £50, making the cost £2 per week.

There are no late payment fees or other charges.

How Does It Compare?

To compare, a standard Halifax unauthorised overdraft for this amount would cost £5 per day, with no cap, and does not have to display a representative APR.

Of course, if you are in serious financial trouble you probably don’t need an instant loan – you need money.  There is a big difference.  A loan doesn’t give you “extra cash” – it just moves what you already have around to make your finances convenient, in exchange for a fee. If you need more money, that problem can only be solved by readjusting your income, expenditure, and any existing debt.  Your university is probably able to help with grants and advice, as well as the Money Advice Service.

If the most I can owe is in interest is half what I borrow, even if I’m in trouble, why do you have 1084% on your adverts?

You can never owe 1000s of percent in interest.  This is just how the APR calculation works, which is more sensitive to loan duration than cost.

So, how does it actually work? See the example in the table below.

All the fictional loans in the table have the same daily interest rate of 1%, so all would cost 365% a year. (Note: the examples below are NOT our loans. Our loans are cheaper and have an interest cap.)

Duration Daily Interest Annual Interest Actual Cost APR
1 day 1% 365% 1% 3678%
5 days 1% 365% 5% 3422%
10 days 1% 365% 10% 3142%
1 month 1% 365% 30% 2333%
3 months 1% 365% 90% 1251%
6 months 1% 365% 180% 707%
1 year 1% 365% 365% 365%

The loan that costs £1 per £100 borrowed has an APR of 3678% and the loan that costs £365 per £100 borrowed has an APR of 365%.

But There Are Still Pitfalls!

Be careful – companies with lower representative APRs may have higher interest rates or higher interest caps, simply because they write longer loans on average, or structure their loans as “rolling account credit” that you can dip in and out of at high cost but with the APR legally calculated over 12 months.  These companies are often exempt from rules regarding high-cost credit, simply because of the structure of their contracts.

Smart-Pig Representative APR

Representative Example APR 1084% based on credit: £200 for 48 days. Interest: £76.80. Interest rate: 292%pa (fixed). Total to repay: £276.80. (Rep APRs change, updated 23/11/2015)

We recalculate our representative APR each quarter, which will change if our average loan duration changes.  This means the representative APR can change significantly without us changing our pricing.

The representative example APR is not the actual APR of your loan.  The actual APR will vary depending on the duration of your loan.

What Is The APR Calculation?

For a single drawdown, single repayment loan:
x = APR in %
c = Amount borrowed
d = Total amount to be repaid (in one payment on the due date)
s = Duration of the loan in years (the number of days the loan is for divided by 365 days)


What Not To Spend Your Student Loan On: Part 2

What Not To Spend Your Student Loan On: Part 2

With student loans just hitting your account, we’ve come up with another list of items you simply should not buy. Print this off and stick it next to your computer as a deterrent for late-night online shopping.

17th Century Copies Of Black Magic Manuscripts

inside6 (1)

At £3000 this is one to team up with your mate on. You always thought you would experiment at university, but instead of kissing other boys or girls you have instead taken up Black Magic. Suddenly the Uni of Lancaster is your own personal Hogwarts. You too can summon demons to do your bidding, curse lecturers and/or send the flatmate you don’t like insane. A world of possibilities awaits. We advise first checking with your university to see what their policy is in regards to pacts with the devil. *Goat blood not included. 

Fortnum & Mason ‘St James’ Hamper


Coming in at £1000 Fortnum & Mason claim this hamper is fit for a king. The only kingly aspect of getting this delivered to halls is that they will be using a solid silver stilton-spoon to fight the peasants off the foie gras. What’s more, once stashed away in the safety of your room there are only so many days it will sustain you before you are starved out and have to pop round the corner for a Gregg’s pasty.

Buscemi High-tops


In part one you were treated to a Lady-Macbeth-style monologue over my dark desire for a pair of Dior high-tops. The problem has been growing ever since, as now gaze wantonly at this tasteful, nay visionary, pair of Buscemi high-tops coming in at £620. Gold padlocks are no longer for cheap handbags and teenage diaries – the shoe padlock is now a thing. The laces on these babies have NO excuse for coming undone. Don’t buy them with your student loan – I’ll become unhinged by the injustice.

Alexander McQueen ‘Tech’ Backpack


There are several reasons why this McQueen backpack is a no-go. Referred to as the ‘Tech’ backpack, and costing £1295, once bought you will be unable to afford to put any tech inside it. Forget the iPad – you’ve already taken that down to CEX to fund the weekly food shop because of this. Also for that price, just look at it – it’s so boring! For this amount of money you would expect it to cook you breakfast, give you family planning advice, write all your essays and produce gold goose eggs daily. Instead, it will just sit in the corner mocking you and pretending to be a much, much cheaper backpack.

iPhone Leg Mount

Smart pig

The website that reportedly sold these has disappeared from the internet, so if you really want to be the sort of utter bellend who straps their iPhone to their leg in a lecture you’re simply going to have to make it yourself. We estimate £30 for supplies. It’s not going to break the bank but it will destroy your reputation, and more than one person is going to wonder what the hell you’re doing under the table. We’re not really sure of the appeal of this, but we think it’s designed for private home use where you might need a hands-free viewing experience. Use your imagination.

Welcome To Our Blog is the student lender launched in 2012 by students at Warwick and Herts Universities , in order to give students looking for a short term loan a better deal.

We’re not the same as other short term lenders.  Smart-Pig was actually a spin-off from a protest against short term lending that thought out of the box – we rolled up our sleeves and went to head-to-head with the big, ugly giants. One of our founders had a terrible experience with a certain straight-talking lender after they talked his balance straight up to silly levels and sucked his whole student loan away without permission.

Smart-Pig was started partly using one of the government’s fantastic youth Start-Up Loans.  We were a nominated in 2013 for Rockstar Youth Best Overall Business and in 2014 were a finalist for Alternative Lender of the Year.

What we do differently

  • Grace Period – no extra fixed late payment or penalty fees if you miss your due date, for up to 10 days. Just in case.
  • Interest Cap – our voluntary interest cap is HALF the cap introduced by the FCA
  • No Rollovers – our short term loans don’t turn into long term ones
  • Ethical Pledge – the way we treat our customers is never going to change!
  • Founded by Students for Students – no-one knows student money like we do

Payday Loan Alternative

We see Smart-Pig loans as a payday loan alternative and not regular payday loans  (although they do come under the FCA definition).  This is because our company genuinely does work very differently – especially when it comes to the hidden stuff you don’t really see. It’s all because we were set up as an ethical lender from the ground up, meaning our pricing, loan terms, tangible ethical safeguards and internal procedures all have students’ welfare in mind.

Representative Example APR
1024% based on credit: £200 for 55 days. Interest: £88. Interest rate: 292%pa (fixed). Total to repay: £288

Grow Your Mo! Do it for the Bros!

Smart-Pig is proud to be supporting Movember this year. We would like you all to get involved to win donations for your Mo! All you have to do is upload a photo of your facial fluff in all it’s glory onto our page and we will donate on your behalf on the Movember website. (Remember to tell us who to make the donation out to!)

For the Ultimate Mo there will be a big prize at the end of the month, we will select the best Mo to win so make sure you share your final master piece again on the 30th November.

The winner will be chosen on the 3rd December so watch out for the announcement!

Happy Growing!

Make Your Money Go Further

We remember the days at uni when our student loan came in. Those were the days in which we felt as rich as we’d ever be during term. We’d become the most generous guys on a night out, peruse Ebay & Amazon placing orders galore and maybe even venture into Tesco’s Finest range at the supermarket. Though with 3 weeks of fun, great nights out and lovely food, you’d soon realise that your student loan is dripping away fast and – oh, wait – you still have Christmas to worry about! (Yes, we’ve mentioned Christmas already).

So, with your student loan not hitting your account until January and your overdraft already having been extended several times, you’ll need to be a little more careful with your money. This shouldn’t mean that you’ll have to tactically disappear into the loo when it’s your round, or that you can’t have fun. However, there are a number of little things you should be doing to make your money go further this term.

We’re also giving you the chance to win one of 10 £50 Tesco Vouchers. All you need to do to enter is like our Facebook post and comment with your suggestion for saving money during term. Winners will be announced on 29/10/2015

Plan Your Supermarket Visit!

I’ve done it a many times, starving after the last set of lectures in the evening, have nothing at home to cook and HAVE to visit the supermarket. My brain (after paying 100% attention in the lecture) is craving ever single piece of junk food available. You name it and I’ve bought it. Crisps, Jaffa Cakes, Christmas Mince Pies (yes they’re out now) ready-made sausage and mash. Trouble is, this costs a fortune and not only that, will not fill your tums up for more than 20 minutes. Therefore the trick is to plan your meals, work out what you need and just buy that. Buying your ingredients in bulk for the meals you want to cook (or can cook) will be less expensive and you can save the left overs for other meals. Some shops will give you big discounts if you shop online and it’ll save you having to pop to the shops. Currently Ocado are giving you £20 off your first shop and Tesco up to 50%.



Sharing Is Caring

Whether it’s milk, condiments or butter, it’s probably not worth everyone in your house having one each unless you live with someone who leaves toast bits in the butter and drinks the milk straight out of the carton. So put some cash into a kitty and buy one for all of you when you need it. Plus, you could all cook for each other in turns, so you only have to buy the ingredients for one big meal instead of a few little ones each week. Why stop there? Instead of buying new clothes all the time, see if you can swap with your housemates. This will expand your wardrobe without you having to spend a penny!

Never Pay Full Price!

With the amount of discounts around and with most companies wanting to target students, you can get money off pretty much everywhere. Most high street retailers will have student discounts or discount codes running at any given time. You can easily find discounts on things like restaurants, cinema tickets and activities online. Student Hut always has all the top student discounts and offers for everything from eating out to booking a holiday. If you are out and about there are apps, like VoucherCodes, which give you top deals on the go at the touch of a button.

Drink in the Right Places

When you’ve had a few, it’s easy to be the most generous guy at the bar. That’s great, but you may not like yourself too much when you un-crumple your card receipts the next day. Make sure you take advantage of student nights and, when it’s not a student night, each club is likely to have deals on certain drinks. Whether it’s 2-4-1 cocktails or £1 Jägerbombs, go for the drink deals and you may even have enough cash left for a late-night kebab! If you’re a regular at a particular student haunt, it’s worth getting to know the bar staff because it might just be lucky enough get yourself the odd free shot!

Get Cashback

It’s not just very wealthy owners of American Express credit cards who can get cashback on purchases nowadays. You can too, on pretty much anything you buy online. If you are booking hotels and plane tickets for a holiday, it is definitely worth your while doing it through cashback. Each cashback website has different deals with different companies, so it’s worth having a look around. Plus, there are usually really good introductory offers, like £10 off a DVD or full cashback on a takeaway, which you can take advantage of. Quidco and Top Cashback are good websites to check out first.


This may be one of the insanely boring things to do with your time, but it really can work. Just thinking about what might be coming in and going out of your accounts in the next few weeks will lead you to prioritising what you spend and reducing the amount you waste. You don’t need to be obsessive, especially as you never know when a spontaneous night out will happen, but having a greater awareness of what’s going on will help you keep on top of things. Not checking your bank balance, as a ‘out of sight, out of mind’ style tactic, will only work in the short term!

Take Advantage of Freshers’ Week

In Freshers’ week everyone wants to be your friend, and this is the case for brands as well. Just go to the Freshers’ Fair and you’ll be signed up to 100s of things in return for freebies, discount vouchers and much more. The start of the university year is the best time to get money off things for just being a student. Don’t just go in your 1st year; there is plenty on offer throughout your time at university. Even online, most retailers will increase student discounts and restaurants will be more likely to run student promotions in the first few weeks of term.

Feel the Summer Heat with £400 Cash!

Summer 2015 is looking to be a good one for us Sun Loving Brits!

As students, we used to love the months after the main exams. It meant you’ll have the whole summer for that well deserved break from studying. If only money troubles and shortages could take a break, too.

That’ why we’re running a competition where you can win £400 in cash to help with your summer expenses, such as your rent or travel costs.

To enter the competition, please click here and fill in your details!

Competition closes on 31/07/2015 and the winner will be announced on 01st August 2015 on Facebook and by e-mail.

We’d like to wish everyone the best of luck and also the very best with your exam results.

Please read our T&Cs for entry conditions on the competition entry page.


Summer Holidays – What Next?

The grades are nearly in and the term is out…so what now?  There’s the obvious answer of ‘PARTY. HARD.’, but beyond that, and to a more constructive end, what are your options as a student or immediate grad?

Many of us have the local cafe, pub, bar, restaurant, sports club that we can head back to in the summer months for some part-time work – possibly even in another country (Magaluf, we’re looking at you).  It’s tempting, and often necessary, to go straight back there after you finish the year – but it’s important to consider the long-term goals as well and think about how to get into a career you’ll enjoy.

DO…get a part time job


Lots of places will be willing to take on workers for the summer season, even if they aren’t openly advertising a position, and it’s not just holiday towns.

With the graduate jobs market ever more competitive (we won’t dwell on this for long) and the need to demonstrate in job interviews that you’ve spent your whole life building up to being an *insert job role here*, the long university holidays can be an excellent time for work experience.  They won’t necessarily be formal internships, and could be as short as a day’s worth of work, but you’ll be surprised how much you can get out of just 8 hours.

Use all your connections, take up every opportunity that sounds even remotely interesting (at least you’ll find out either way), and don’t be snooty – even spending a day making tea in the right place can help you identify what you do or don’t want to do.  Plus, you can always big it up on your CV…


Image of a no entry sign
Don’t even try it. Especially in Greece.

Unless you’re booked into a grad scheme/job right from the beginning of September, or going on a family holiday, it would be silly to travel in British summer time.  It’s the height of the holiday season meaning that a) it’ll be more expensive and b) most places will be busier.

If you’ve got the availability to travel before or after the school holidays then do – make the most of being able to at this point in your life.  You’ll get more for your money, which might even open up the possibility of going to places you hadn’t thought you could afford to get to.

Doesn’t mean you can’t plan though – there are tonnes of useful blogs out there for cheap travelling, like this one.

DO….do internships 

Modern city office buildings
Go on, you break that ceiling one unpaid week at a time

Sadly this is going to be a fact of life for consideration in a lot of job roles, especially creative ones. Having said that, you should always try to get paid as much as possible for them because this drives up the wages for everybody – it’s more of a standard now in larger cities, including a London Living Wage.  The more we stand for fair pay the better, and if it’s really worth it to do an unpaid one then make the most of living at home if you’re able to, and of being able to work weekends and evenings so you can do internships during the working week.

Make the most of your contacts and the fact that summer is a quiet time for businesses – less of a critical time with fewer key decision periods, where employees are more likely to be able to spend time talking you through a company, different job roles and the industry.

DO…try new things

Artist working a pottery wheel
Pottery – not just for the recently retired since 2300 BC

Be curious, be nosy, be open-minded, be adventurous.  Explore things to do for free (TimeOut has a dedicated section for several UK cities) whether a budget is forcing you to or not!  If there’s a hobby or sport you’ve always wanted to try then see if there are intense short courses locally.

DON’T…ignore your uni buddies 

It’s all too easy to assume you’ll be best mates again by the time you get back to university in the autumn, but don’t use that as an excuse to keep in touch.  Especially if this is your last summer of freedom before you have to start thinking about ACTUAL LIFE.

Consolidate the friendships you’ve made in the term by making the effort to visit in the holidays.  It’s another good way of getting to places you’ve not been to before (potentially with a free place to stay) even if you just hang out – the intensity of university friendships can quickly dissipate, so avoid the awkward reunions when you realise the last time you saw somebody, three months ago, was when they were naked and painted like an Avatar for the Wednesday social…

DO….enjoy it!  This freedom won’t last forever.  Trust us.

Congratulations to everybody who has received their final grades and passed their degrees.  Now go and celebrate!

Loans for Students. Warning: Late repayment can cause you serious money problems. For help, go to: Representative Example APR 1084% based on credit: £200 for 48 days. Interest: £76.80. Interest rate: 292%pa (fixed). Total to repay: £276.80