Short term loans come in handy when financial emergencies occur and your funds are running low. Stepstone Credit is a provider of such loans in the UK, but is it the best lender for you?
Our comprehensive review of the platform takes you through everything you need to know about the platform. By the end of it, you should be well placed to make an informed decision on whether or not to borrow from this lender.
Read on to find out all you need to know and make the right choice.
Table of Contents
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What is Stepstone Credit?
Stepstone Credit is a direct lender offering a vastly different take on short term loans. It differs from both the traditional payday loan and the usual short term installment loan.
The company is a trading name of Hymarc Ltd. and has its head office in Tunbridge Wells, England. It is a regulated and authorized entity operating under the purview of the Financial Conduct Authority.
Hymarc Ltd. is a registered data controller under the terms of the 1998 Data Protection Act.
Pros and Cons of a Stepstone Credit Loan
How does a Stepstone Credit loan work?
As mentioned above, this lender works using a completely different model from most traditional lenders. To start with, you can only borrow amounts ranging from £200 to £500. The loan terms are up to 114 days or about 3 months.
You can access the credit facility either via a mobile device app or on its website. No matter your choice of platform, you get to borrow in the form of a line of credit.
A line of credit refers to an ongoing credit facility which has a maximum limit. Depending on the amount for which you qualify, you can withdraw any amount from your line of credit. It is also possible to access the funds repeatedly, as many times as you need funding.
When you get funding from the lender, you have to work with set out minimum repayment conditions. For as long as you pay back this minimum on the due date(s), your account remains in good repute and the line of credit remains accessible.
During your very first application, the lender will assess your ability to repay the loan on agreed terms. Based on the results of the assessment, they will give you a credit limit, which refers to the maximum amount you can access at any given time.
If you get approved for the loan, then you get what they refer to as a Running Account Credit Agreement. To illustrate, you may qualify for the maximum loan limit of £500. Following your approval and funding, you choose to withdraw £200.
After a number of days, you may choose to repay the principal amount, £200. And this will leave a balance of the interest due. You have the option of paying this interest back using the app, via the BOOM button.
Alternatively, you can wait for the lender to withdraw the balance on the due date shown on your loan agreement. In the meantime, you can still withdraw up to £500 and repay it as many times as you wish during the term of the credit facility.
During the period, borrowed funds will only attract a daily interest charge, and this will only be on the amount you borrow, not the entire line of credit. The lender automates the repayment process using a Continuous Payment Authority (CPA) for convenience purposes.
A CPA is an agreement between you and the lender to make withdrawals directly from your account on your loan due date. For as long as you ensure the bank account you register during the application process has the required funds by this date, you should have no problems.
This approach differs remarkably from the traditional payday or short term installment loans which are among the most popular lending options in the market. For a payday loan, you get the full credit amount upfront and have to repay the capital and interest at the end of a month, or on the next payday.
Short term installment loans, on the other hand ,work more or less the same as payday loans, but you can access a higher amount and pay back over a longer period.
The main advantage of the Stepstone Credit loan is that you only pay interest on the sum you need to use at any given point. Additionally, you only pay for the days when you actually have the funds, which are not necessarily equal to the full term of the loan.
Another highlight is the fact that you can make full repayment at any time and this will not close the facility. This means that for as long as the agreement term is active, you can access funding again and again.
However, the lender strives to balance flexibility and responsible lending. With this in mind, they keep the loan term short (3 months). As they explain, the facility should not be considered a long term solution for financial difficulties. And it should not become “a long term inclusion in your personal finances.”
Therefore, even the short loan term can be termed a disadvantage, it is in the spirit of healthy financial habits.
When you apply for a loan with Stepstone, the platform makes use of an automated system to process the application. It takes only about half an hour to have the funds in your account in case you get approved. This makes it ideal for financial emergencies.
Its services are also well suited for users who are always on the move. With that in mind, they have created a mobile device app that allows you to get full control of your account on the go. For as long as you have an internet connection, you can make withdrawals and repayments on the move. The app is available for both Android and iOS devices.
Stepstone Credit Account Creation and Borrowing Process
Creating an account and borrowing for the first time from Stepstone credit is a smooth and seamless process.
1. To get started, visit the website and click on the “Apply Now” tab at the top of the screen.
2. Start by submitting your personal information.
Here, you will need to fill out your name, mobile number, date of birth, marital status, email address and the credit limit you want to access.
3. Next, enter information about your employment, including employment status, where your wages are paid and how much you take home monthly.
You will also need to provide the name of your employer as well as their contact and your length of employment.
4. The next section will require your expenses including rent or mortgage, credit card or loan repayments, utility bills, travel costs and any other expenses.
You will also need to provide details about where you live starting with the postcode, time at property and residential status among other things.
5. Finally, enter your bank account details such as the sortcode, account name and account number.
6. Proceed to the next step and fill out the required details and then submit your application.
Note that if you submit the application after working hours, it will be handled on the next working day.
If it is within working hours, expect a response almost immediately, and funding within half an hour of approval.
Eligibility Criteria for Stepstone Credit Loan
Here are the qualifications required in order to access funding from Stepstone:
- Be a UK resident
- Be over the age of 18
- Have a UK bank account with online banking capabilities
Information Borrowers Need to Provide to Get Stepstone Credit Loan
You will be required to provide a number of details in order to get a Stepstone line of credit. Take a look at some of the requirements:
- Bank account statement
- Bank account
- Debit card
- Online banking details
- Residential details
- Monthly income and outgoings
- Marital status
- Email address
- Date of birth
- Employment details
What are Stepstone Credit loan borrowing costs?
The lender is transparent regarding borrowing costs. Here are some of the fees you can expect to pay:
- Daily interest charge – 0.8% (80p for every £100)
- Application fees – nil
- Account and transaction fees – nil
- Early repayment fees – nil
- Annual interest rate – 292%
- Representative APR – 1,188%
Stepstone Credit Customer Support
The Stepstone support team gets an above average rating from previous customer. There are a number of reviews hailing the team as polite, excellent and helpful. However, there are some complaints about slow response. It gets a rating of 6.8 out of 10 on TrustPilot.
Is it safe to borrow from Stepstone Credit?
Stepstone Credit is a regulated and authorized lender under the oversight of the FCA. It is also a direct lender meaning that it does not share your sensitive data with any third parties. They hold all information including internet banking log-in details securely and in encrypted form. They also abide by data protection laws.
Stepstone Credit Review Verdict
Stepstone Credit is a reliable choice of lender for emergency financial situations. Though their loan limit is low, the fact that you can access it repeatedly is a major highlight. It is also advantageous that in spite of having high borrowing costs, you only need to pay for the days when you actually access funding.
Some customers complain about the fact that you have to reapply after only 3 months and have no guarantee of qualifying again. But as the lender explains, this should be a temporary financial fix and not a long term solution.
Their mobile app comes in handy for accessing funds and making repayments on the go. But the greatest disadvantage is the fact that you have to share your internet banking login details with them. In some cases, users have shared this sensitive information only to get their applications declined.
Overall it is a good lender, but watch out for the high rates.
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Glossary of loaning terms
A credit score shows your creditworthiness. It's primarily based on how much money you owe to loan or credit card companies, if you have ever missed payments or if you have ever defaulted on a loan.
Guaranteed Approval is when, no matter how bad, your credit score its, your loan application will not get declined.
A Credit Limit is the highest amont of credit a lender will lend to the borrower.
Collateral is when you put up an item against your loan such as your house or car. These can be repossessed if you miss payments.
A Cash Advance is a short-term loan that has steep interest rates and fees.
Your Credit Rating is how likely you are to fulfill your loan payments and how risky you are as a borrower.
Fixed Interest Rate is when the interest rate of your loan will not change over the period you are paying off you loan.
The Interest is a percentage based on the amount of your loan that you pay back to the lender for using their money
If you default on your loan it means you are unable to keep up with your payments and no longer pay back your loan.
If you miss a payment the lender will charge you for being late, this is known as a late fee.
An Unsecured Personal Loan is when you have a loan based solely on your creditworthliness without using collateral.
A Secured Loan is when you put collateral such as your house or car up against the amount you're borrowing.
This is the Interest Rate used by banks for borrowers with good credit scores.
The Principal amount the borrower owes the lender, not including any interest or fees.
A Variable Rate is when the interest rate of you loan will change with inflation. Sometimes this will lower your interest rate, but other times it will increase.
An Installment Loan is a loan that is paid back bi-weekly or monthly over the period in which the loan is borrowed for.
A Bridge Loan is a short term loand that can last from 2 weeks up to 3 years dependant on lender.
Having an AAA Credit Rating is the highest rating you can have.
A Guarantor co-signs on a loan stating the borrower is able to make the payments, but if they miss any or default the Guarantor will have to pay.
LIBOR is the London Inter-Bank Offered Rate which is the benchmarker for the interest rates in London. It is an average of the estimates interest rates given by different banks based on what they feel would be the best interest rate for future loans.
Home Equity Loans is where you borrow the equity from your property and pay it back with interest and fees over an agreed time period with the lender.
Debt Consolidation is when you take out one loans to pay off all others. This leads to one monthly payment, usually with a lower interest rate.
If you obtain a Student Loan to pay your way through College then you loan is held with the Department for Education U.K.
Financial Aid in the form of grants is funding available to post-secondary education students throughout the United Kingdom and you are not required to pay grant
Why do you need my internet banking details?
The lender requires this information so as to assess your affordability and sustainability for their line of credit. Providing these details will give them access (read-only) to your bank history going back 90 days.
Does borrowing from Stepstone affect my credit rating?
Yes. The lender will perform a credit check before approval which will leave a footprint on your record. It also reports your repayment habits to credit reference bureaus. Thus if you pay back on time, you can improve your rating, and vice versa.
Can I access the service when I am overseas?
Yes. You can still use the app to withdraw funds and you will see them reflect in your UK bank account, in the same way as it would if you were in the UK.
Will you access my internet banking log-in details?
No. When you enter your log-in details on the site, they are stored in their data center and can only be used to generate the read-only data required to approve your application.
What is the minimum and maximum amount I can withdraw from line of credit?
You can withdraw a minimum of £20 and the maximum is your “available credit” which you can view on your app or in the client zone.
What loan products does Stepstone Credit offer?
Stepstone offers a line of credit.
What other store services does Stepstone Credit offer?
The lender does not offer any other store services.
What countries are accepted for Stepstone Credit loans?
Stepstone Credit offers services throughout the UK.