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If you're in the market for an unsecured personal loan, and you don't mind banking on the internet, then Cahoot's flexible loan should really be at the top of your short list.
Cahoot is the online bank that's part of Abbey National, and unlike most places, they won't accept you at all unless you have a reasonably sound credit history. In return though, you get a fantastic rate on their loan - 7% APR in my case - which is by some way the best in the market. That said, friends of mine have had 8% and 9% offered, so I guess the precise rate depends on your exact risk rating.
Not only is the rate v.competitive, it doesn't change if you only want to borrow a small amount, so whether it's £1000 or £10000 you still get charged 7% - neat, huh? The other great feature about the loan is that you can change the amount you repay each month (if you so choose), although there is a minimum of £50 or 1.75% to repay. So in this respect it's a bit like a credit card without the plastic.... BUT, the big difference is that you can use this loan like an overdraft and transfer lump sums to a current account to use as cash - v.handy when things are getting tight!
However, if you are, say, buying a car, you can just set up the direct debit to repay the same each month like a normal loan - flexible isn't the word! I want another one....