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

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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

2 Minute Sector Insight Into The Law

What is the law industry?

The law industry is incredibly varied with hundreds of different career options ranging from judges to secretaries. Its main aim is to uphold the laws that have been stated by the government body and to ensure that all proceedings are fair. Arguably, the three most popular vocations in the law sector are solicitor, barrister and paralegal.

As a solicitor you are representing clients in legal matters and keep them informed of the law, as well as giving any advice they might need. You could be representing a person, group, or company. A barrister is more specialist, with the income to prove it, and may also represent the public. Paralegals are qualified for one area of the law and do not have all the responsibilities of a solicitor, however they do more administrative work.

As mentioned, there is a great number more career paths to take in this industry. Ensure that you do your research before embarking on any studies as jobs in this sector can require very specific qualifications.

What is working in law like?

Famously there is a possibility of quite long hours as well as additional work on weekends, especially at the start of your career. The perk of this is that generally salaries tend to be quite high in law professions, making the time and effort worth it.

You should have some specific skills such as ease with public speaking, the ability to work with a variety of people, as well as doing well under pressure and against strict deadlines. If you have most or all of these characteristics you should do well in the majority of law professions.

The law industry is a highly dynamic environment which constantly changes based on a large number of external influences. This means that there will be an intellectual challenge to your work as you already need to be able to memorise hefty information, nevermind it constantly changing in small increments.


Check out this short interview with Howard Godfrey QC explaining what makes for a good criminal Barrister.

What are my chances of getting a job in the law industry?

Because of things like prestige and the hope for a high salary, there is quite a lot of competition for legal jobs. There are ebbs and flows of available opportunities in this industry, however the fact that there are so many different types of roles to choose from means that there will usually be at least one part of the law sector that is actively looking for new recruits.

Employers in the law sector are generally looking for people with a degree which is 2:1 or higher, but that doesn’t necessarily need to be a law degree. If you have a law degree you will then move on to a one-year Legal Practice Course followed by a couple of years of training in a firm.

If you have a non-law degree you will need to take a professional conversion course called the Graduate Diploma in Law, which is then followed by the Legal Practice Course and two years of training.

Lastly check out this video by the BBC looking at the Supreme Court, a must watch for all you current Law Students.

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.

Look Whose Won These Awesome Shades!

We’ve had many entries into our “Cool Winter Sun Giveaway” competition where we were giving 5 lucky people the chance to win a pair of Designer Sports Glasses.

These athletic, sleek glasses were engineered by Rich Stead (Team GB Bobsleigh) and designed in California, USA.

We’re happy to announce that the following people were chosen at random and are now the proud owners of these bad ass shades!

Therefore please give your congratulations to:

  • Alex Iosif
  • Sophie Mustoe
  • Luke Prosser
  • Perdy Humfrey
  • Raphael Nasif

Keep an eye out for more competitions coming soon!

Lastly, we’d like to wish everyone the best with the rest of your degrees!

Cool Winter Sun Giveaway

It’s term 1! Newbies are freshing it up in their first ever year, seasoned undergraduates are trying their best to repeat the fresher experience, and meanwhile the British weather is turning in that way that makes you wish you were enjoying uni with a little less rain and frost.

But the cool, low winter sun has a beauty in it, and to celebrate we’re giving away 5 pairs of AthletesInsight high-performance athletic eyewear for this week’s competition. All you need to do to enter is comment “Sun & Ski” on the Facebook article.

AthletesInsight is a new Californian start-up from British athlete Rich Stead (Team GB Bobsleigh) and American athlete Sara Aguayo. Rich needed a set of high-performance eyewear to complement every outdoor activity in his demanding lifestyle.

Designed and engineered in California, we love them for their bright, forward designs and the sleek aerodynamic profile that shows you mean business. Suitable for climbing, surfing, cycling, rowing, running, and more, they are crafted to ensure 100% UV protection, are shatter-and-scratch resistant, and come with a hard case and care kit. Our fave design is Carmel, a bright white and orange statement that’s a real cali-throwback – let’s be honest: who doesn’t crave some US West Coast when you’re watching the British weather piss down the windows of your uni bus.

If you’re not lucky in our competition this time, we’ve been able to secure the eyewear for people who like our Facebook Page for only £29.99
To benefit just go to, choose your favourite pair and enter SMARTPIG at the checkout.
Winners will be announced on 9th October 2015, so hurry!
AthletesInsight high-performance eyewear is now available at, shipping worldwide. Follow them AthletesInsight on their social media accounts for the latest info on their collection.

One entry per person irrespective of entry method. Competition closes on 8th October 2015 with the winners announced on 9th October 2015 on Facebook.

We’re Fully Authorised

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

We started 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 their second year of uni.

In recognition of our founding ethos and drive to give students a better deal with advances of their student loan, has become one of the first Short term loan companies (beating Wonga, Satsuma, Quick Quid and Sunny) to become fully authorised by the FCA to lend to students in receipt of Student Finance.

The assessors noted our excellent customer service and policies to safeguard customers from getting into further debt.

We are extremely pleased that our efforts for fairer, ethical short term loans has been recognised by the Financial Conduct Authority and should serve as reassurance to our customers that they are in safe hands and that we truly know student money.

Here is a recap of our founding policies that makes us that little bit different from the rest.

We were the first short term lender to introduce a 10-day grace period and we now have No Late Payment Fees – When other short term loan providers were charging upwards of £30 in late fees, set a late fee to a sensible limit long before the FCA’s recommendation and now we’ve removed the late payment fees completely. Not only that, but you get 10 days’ grace to put things right without any late marks against your credit file

We were the first short term lender to introduce an interest cap – We go much further than the FCA’s new 100% cap. At we don’t allow anyone to owe more than 50% of what they borrowed, regardless of duration and even if you get into financial difficulties. Our daily interest is 0.8% per day which means a loan of £100 will cost 80p per day and will never rise above £50 in interest, regardless of duration.

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; 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 22,000 applicants use us so far, 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 and shopping vouchers as well as providing top tips and advice on everything student.

No One Knows Student Money Like Smart-Pig.

Representative Example APR 1084% based on credit: £200 for 48 days. Interest: £76.80. Interest rate: 292%pa (fixed). Total to repay: £276.80

Warning! Late repayment can cause you serious money problems. For help go to

Loans for Students. Warning: Late repayment can cause you serious money problems. For help, go to: Representative Example APR 1017% based on: £200 for 56 days. Interest: £89.60 at fixed rate: 292% pa. Total to repay: £289.60