Nationwide reveals barriers to personal loans shopping

24 May 2005
Shopping around for the best personal loan is not as simple as it should be, according to a survey by Nationwide.

The building society's recent mystery shopping study found that in 41 per cent of the calls made to major financial institutions, mystery shoppers could not find out the loan rate that would apply to them.

A range of excuses was offered for this withholding of information. More than a third (38 per cent) of those refused a quote were told they would have to open an account first, whilst a quarter (25 per cent) heard that they could not receive a quote unless they took out the loan during the call.

According to Nationwide, such refusals to offer an informed quote combine with the difficulties in credit scoring and loan applications to make taking out a personal loan unnecessarily difficult.

"The findings are very disappointing - so much for transparency in financial services," comments Stuart Bernau, executive director at Nationwide.

"My advice to those shopping for a personal loan is to look for a provider, like Nationwide, which puts consumers' interests first."

Unlike most other lenders, Nationwide offers the same rates to all its personal loan customers - currently 6.7 per cent APR.


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