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).

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

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!

Winners of our Tesco Competition

Here at, we’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading through the many entries to our Tesco Voucher Competition.

From Onion Rings to Green tea and Smarties (yes, both together!) you’ve had us going out for more than one lunch a day to buy some of your weird and wonderful revision snacks.

We’re pleased to announce that we’ve chosen 3 people at random and therefore, please give your congratulations to:

  • Amy Skelton
  • Bradley Thompson
  • Amy Brown

You’ve all won a £50 Tesco Voucher, what you buy is up to you ;)

Please can you PM us on our Facebook account with your postal address for us to send the vouchers to.

Once again congratulation and for the rest, keep an eye out for more competitions coming soon.

We’ve Done It Again!

Our efforts for ethical, safe, short term student loans have been recognised by the judges at the Credit Today Awards. has been made a finalist for “Alternative Lender of The Year – Specialist Lender” 2015!

We’re thrilled that our 10-day grace period, 50% interest cap and the way we do business were recognised for innovation and treating our customers fairly.

With over 96% of our customers saying that they would recommend to a friend, we think they’ll approve, too.

We’ve been on an epic roller coaster of a ride since starting from our student bedrooms at university some 4 years ago, but the journey has been well worth it and we’re proud that we’ve been able to help thousands of students through their degrees.

So keep your fingers crossed for us! :)

Tom and Shreiff, Co-Founders of

Mother’s Day Give Away

Here at we know that Mum’s always right (even when she might possibly be wrong). We also know that she’s the one we turn to for help, for love and the one who helps us get through exams and the stress of university with a good home-cooked meal – yum!

So with all that our Mums give us, we’re giving you the chance to win £150 and a £50 Boots voucher to help you make Mother’s Day that extra little bit special.

All you need to do to be in with a chance of winning is comment on what you would spend £150 on for your Mother.  Please see full terms and conditions below.

Maybe a special evening meal, maybe you’d hire a semi-naked cleaner to do all the house work? (My Mum would love that.)

The winner will be announced the morning of Sunday 15th March, with the money sent directly to your bank. So keep an eye out, as it may be you, and all the best of luck.

Lastly from everyone here at we wish all Mothers a truly special day. Mother’s Day Give Away Competition – Terms And Conditions

The promoter is FCL Consumer Finance Ltd trading as, registered address 12 Hamilton Terrace, Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, CV32 4LY.

The promotion is open to all residents of the UK, including the Channel Islands, aged 18 years or older, except the Promoter’s employees or contractors and anyone connected with the promotion or their direct family members.

The closing date for entries is 23:59 on 14th March 2015.

By entering the promotion, the participants agree:

(a) to be bound by these terms and conditions;
(b) that their first name and county of residence may be released if they win a prize; and
(c) that should they win the promotion, their first name and likeness may be used by the Promoter for pre-arranged promotional purposes.

Entrants should enter by 23:59 on 14th March 2015.  Entries must be received via the Facebook page, by commenting on the relevant article or on the page itself.

Entries received after the closing date of the promotion will not be considered.

The Promoter will use entrants’ personal details in accordance with the Privacy Policy.

Only one entry will be permitted per person, regardless of method of entry. Bulk entries made by third parties will not be permitted.

The winning entrant(s) will be the first correct entry drawn at random from all the correct entries after the closing date.

The Promoter’s decision as to the winner is final and no correspondence relating to the promotion will be entered. The winner(s) will be notified within 14 days of the close of the promotion by post/telephone/email.

The prize is £150 in cash (to be paid in GB sterling) and £50 Boots voucher.  There is no cash alternative for non-cash prizes and the prize will not be transferable.  Prizes must be taken as stated and cannot be deferred. The Promoter reserves the right to substitute the prize with one of the same or greater value.

The name and county of residence of the winner(s) will be available online within two months of the closing date of the promotion.

The Promoter reserves the right to amend these terms and conditions or to cancel, alter or amend the promotion at any stage, if deemed necessary in its opinion, or if circumstances arise outside of its control.

The Promoter does not accept any responsibility for lost, delayed or fraudulent entries.

If the winner is unable to be contacted within 30 of the promotion’s closing date, the Promoter reserves the right to offer the prize to a runner up, or to re-draw a new winner.

The Promoter excludes liability to the full extent permitted by law for any loss, damage or injury occurring to the participant arising from his or her entry into the promotion or occurring to the winner(s) arising from his or her acceptance of a prize.

The promotion is subject to the laws of England.


Loans for Students. Warning: Late repayment can cause you serious money problems. For help, go to: Representative Example APR 1130% based on credit: £250 for 43 days. Interest: £86. Interest rate: 292%pa (fixed). Total to repay: £336