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Welcome to Our Blog

Smart-Pig.com is the Student Lender launched in 2012 by students at Warwick and Herts uni , in order to give students looking for a short-term loan a better deal.

We are 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, 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 you due date, for up to 10 days. Just in case.
  • Safety Net – our voluntary, pre-due interest cap (the first in short term lending)
  • 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 really does genuinely 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 student’s welfare in mind.

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The Great Smart-Pig.com Hamper

It’s that time of year when many students will be  returning to Uni or starting University for the first time.

As we all know it can be a hectic time, we’re giving away a Smart-Pig.com Hamper to a lucky student to help you get settled into digs.

Inside the Hampers, you’ll find:

  • £50 Tesco Voucher
  • £50 Amazon Voucher
  • 1 Kettle
  • 1 Toaster
  • 10 Tins of Baked Beans
  • Loads of Tea Bags and Coffee (to help you through the exams)
  • Toilet Roll
  • Student Cook Book

To be in for a chance of winning all you need to do is like our Facebook page and share the post.

The winner will be announced on 29th September 2014, so good luck everyone!

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The Term’s Rent Competition is Back!

The Smart-Pig.com Term’s Rent Competition is back for your chance to win.

The student loan company started by students Shreiff Benaziza and Tom Parks, is giving away a whole term’s rent, up to £3,500, to one lucky student who has Liked their Facebook page!

Last Year we gave £1,200 in cash to winner Rob Berry from Worcester University.

Because no one knows student money like we do, Smart-Pig.com is the trusted Short Term Loans Company used by over 20,000 students.

Here’s why you’re safe with us,

  • Grace Period - 10 days without extra late fees if your payment is delayed
  • Safety Net - Never owe more than 50% of what you borrow in interest, even if something unexpected happens.
  • No Rollovers - Our short term loans don’t turn into long term ones
  • Ethical Pledge - We have made a pledge to always treat our customers fairly
  • Founded by Students for Students- We understand your income and needs

To be in for a chance of winning, just Like us on Facebook.

The prize will be announced on 19th December 2014, and will be the winner’s weekly rent payment (excluding bills) multiplied by the number of weeks in their university or college’s 2014/15 Term 1, to a maximum of £3,500.

Best of Luck from all at Smart-Pig.com

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We’re Ahead of the FCA

Long before The FCA announced rules on capping interest rates and fees and a much needed shake up of short term loan providers, Smart-Pig.com was already ahead of the game.

We started Smart-Pig.com whist at University to give students who use short term loans in emergencies a much better deal. We recognised that there was a lot wrong with the industry and we experienced it first hand when one of the founders took out a short term loan in 2nd year of uni.

We were the first short term lender to introduce a 10 day grace period and cap our late fee’s to £15 – When other short term loan providers were charging upwards of £30 in late fees, Smart-Pig.com set our late fee to a sensible limit long before the FCA’s recommendation. Not only that, but you get 10 days grace to put things right before any late fees are put on at all.

We were the first Short Term Lender to introduce an interest cap – We go much further than the FCA’s new 100% cap. At Smart-Pig.com we don’t allow anyone to owe more than 50% of what they borrowed, even if you get into financial difficulties (plus a £15 late payment admin fee). Our daily interest has always been 0.7%, even lower than the FCA’s new limit.

We were the first one among short term lenders to recognise student spending habits – We allow you to borrow right up until you get your next student loan, meaning you don’t have to keep rolling over loans and paying uncapped interest each month!

We’ve got Sensible Limits – We’re here to help, when we were at uni we understand all the finances you’ll have to juggle. So unlike other lenders, we do not keep upping your credit limit to the point where you’ll owe more than you’ll get.

We’ve got a Community– We’ve had over 19,000 applicants use us and we’re growing fast.  Every term we give away a term’s rent in cash to one of our 13,000 lucky followers on Facebook. We’ve also given away a PS4, an XBOX one, shopping vouchers as well as top tips and advice on everything student.

No One Knows Student Money like Smart-Pig.

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The Do’s and Don’ts of your Interview

Job interviews are nerve-wracking affairs that can leave you struggling to make a good impression at the time you need to most. I remember my internship interview very well and remember feeling like I’m being interrogated by some higher government official. But it needn’t be so and with a little preparation, you’ll find the confidence to keep your head high and woo your interviewer.

POST YOUR INTERVIEW SUCCESS OR NIGHTMARES ON OUR FACEBOOK PAGE TO BE IN FOR A CHANCE OF £100 CASH :-)

Do some practical preparation
If you’re a smart cookie, you’ll have prepared yourself for your interview by rehearsing good interview answers and researching the company thoroughly as well as the job discription, but it’s vital that you do some practical preparation as well. Find out where your interview is being held, how long it will take you to get there and leave enough time in case something goes wrong, which will most likely happen if you don’t do the above!

Do dress smartly
According to the National Careers Service in the first few minutes of meeting, only 7% of your interviewer’s opinion is based on what you say – the rest is based on how you look and act and how you say things. A smart outfit not only looks good, but also makes you feel professional and confident.

Do keep eye contact and smile
Once you’ve sat down, sit up straight, look your interviewer in the eye and smile. Maintaining eye contact shows that you are confident and engaged in what’s going on, and smiling shows that you’re relaxed and personable – no one wants to work with a misery guts! Also, when your interviewer is regaling stories about the company or even their own experiences, make sure you subtly acknowledge as they speak by nodding in agreement.

Do rehearse some questions to ask
The person who says “Uh…no, not really” when asked if they have any questions for their interviewer is doomed. If you have nothing to ask, you’ll come across as lacking interest and a bit on the dim side, to say the least. Think up some things you genuinely want to know (and we don’t mean how much your salary is going to be!).

Don’t be disrespectful
You want to look good to your employer, so don’t do any of the following: be late, swear, slouch in your chair or lean on a table, look at your phone, chew gum or turn up smelling of cigarettes .

Don’t criticise former employers or colleagues
Even if your previous boss was a monster who made your life miserable, being critical of them in your interview is a big no-no. It will mark you out as a troublemaker and a gossip, which no employer wants, so save your venting for home.

Don’t let nerves get the better of you
A few nerves are normal and expected, but if they seriously get in the way of your interview you need to take control. Try breathing techniques to calm you before you get in there and try to keep some perspective – it’s not the end of the world if you don’t get the job. And if you don’t, ask for feedback so you can hone your interview style and feel more confident.

Don’t talk too much
Of course you should answer the questions that you’re asked, but don’t bang on ceaselessly and don’t stray off the point. Answer questions fully, but succinctly and don’t try to shoehorn in something that you think will impress them if it isn’t relevant to what they’ve asked.

 

Uni Exams Smart-Pig

10 Top Tips To Get You Through Your Exams

It wasn’t too long ago (May 2011) when we, (founders of Smart-Pig), were cramming like mad for our exams! Everything looks easier in hindsight and it’s much more obvious what we could have done better when you’ve got time to reflect.

Anyway we thought we would share some useful, tried and tested advice for your exams. We know from a lot of our customers that they’re just around the corner, so get revising and stay clam.

1. Prepare your study area

Make sure you have enough space to spread your textbooks and notes out. Have you got enough light? Is your chair comfortable? Is Minecraft out of sight?

Try and get rid of all distractions, and make sure you feel as comfortable and able to focus as possible. For some people (including me), this may mean almost complete silence; for others, background music helps. Some of us need everything completely tidy and organized in order to concentrate, while others thrive in a more cluttered environment (my room looked like a bomb had hit it…) Think about what works for you, and take the time to get it right.

2. Give yourself enough time

Don’t leave it until the last minute. While some students do seem to thrive on last-minute ‘cramming’, it’s widely accepted that for most of us, this is not the best way to approach an exam. Set out a timetable for your study. Write down how many exams you have and the days on which you have to sit them. Then organize your study accordingly. You may want to give some exams more study time than others, so find a balance that you feel comfortable with.

3. Use flow charts and diagrams

Visual aids can be really helpful when revising. At the start of a topic, challenge yourself to write down everything you already know about a topic – and then highlight where the gaps lie. Closer to the exam, condense your revision notes into one-page diagrams. Getting your ideas down in this brief format can then help you to quickly recall everything you need to know during the exam.

4. Practice on old exams

One of the most effective ways to prepare for exams is to practice taking past versions. This helps you get used to the format of the questions, and – if you time yourself – can also be good practice for making sure you spend the right amount of time on each section.  Find out how many past papers are available, and plan time to do all of them – twice.  Uni academics can be lazy setting questions, so there is a good chance something familiar will get you some safe points.

5. Explain your answers to others (and to yourself!)

Parents, little brothers, and sisters don’t have to be annoying around exam time! Use them to your advantage. Explain an answer to a question to them. That will help you to get it clear in your head, and also to highlight any areas where you need more work.

It may seem obvious, but when you find yourself repeating answers verbatim, pause and think about what they actually mean.  Do you really understand what you’re talking about?  Good exam questions will try to challenge your real understanding, not your short term memory.

6. Organize study groups with friends

Get together with friends for a study session. You may have questions that they have the answers to and vice versa. As long as you make sure you stay focused on the topic for an agreed amount of time, this can be one of the most effective ways to challenge yourself.

7. Take regular breaks

While you may think it’s best to study for as many hours as possible, this can actually be counter-productive. If you were training for a marathon, you wouldn’t try and run 24 hours a day! Likewise studies have shown that for long-term retention of knowledge, taking regular breaks really helps.  BUT, if you do take planned breaks no cheating. Break time is break time, study time is study time.

Everyone’s different, so develop a study routine that works for you. If you study better in the morning, start early before taking a break at lunchtime. Or if you’re more productive at night time, take a larger break earlier on so you’re ready to settle down come evening.

Try not to feel guilty about being out enjoying the sunshine instead of hunched over your textbooks. Remember Vitamin D is important for a healthy brain!

8. Snack on ‘brain food’

Keep away from junk food! You may feel like you deserve a treat, or that you don’t have time to cook, but what you eat can really have an impact on energy levels and focus. Keep your body and brain well-fuelled by choosing nutritious foods that have been proven to aid concentration and memory, such as fish, nuts, seeds, yogurt and blueberries. The same applies on exam day – eat a good meal before the test, based on foods that will provide a slow release of energy throughout. Sugar may seem appealing, but it won’t help when your energy levels crash an hour or so later.

9. Plan your exam day

Make sure you get everything ready well in advance of the exam – don’t leave it to the day before to suddenly realize you don’t know the way, or what you’re supposed to bring. Check all the rules and requirements, and plan your route and journey time. If possible, do a test run of the trip; if not, write down clear directions.

Work out how long it will take to get there – then add on some extra time. You really don’t want to arrive having had to run halfway or feeling frazzled from losing your way. You could also make plans to travel to the exam with friends or classmates, as long as you know they’re likely to be punctual!

10. Forget water…Mix up some squash

As a final tip, remember that being well hydrated is essential for your brain to work at its best. But against popular belief, don’t drink plain tap water. Instead, mix up some orange squash (The sugary type, NOT diet!). Squash (non diet versions) actually hydrate you quicker than water. Secondly, having a stable supply of sugar is good as your brain consumes a lot of calories during studying.

From me and Tom, the very best of luck to you all in your exams and assignments, we’ve got our pig tails crossed for you.

Got more study tips to share? Pass on your own top study tips on our Facebook page.