How does Smart-Pig work?

For students, going to university is a major life event. More than half of young people in the UK are now going to university, according to official statistics. And surveys always show a range of reasons for doing so – from building better job prospects to learning all-important life skills.

But the cost of going to university is also on the rise – and the impact this is having is very real. The National Student Money Survey reveals that nearly 80% of students are worried about how to make ends meet. So, what can you do if you need an extra student loan to see you through?

Here at Smart-Pig, we want to help bridge the gap between your student funding. If you’re struggling to secure any additional student finance and don’t know how to make it through until your next student finance date, we might be able to help.

We were created by students after a bad experience with a payday lender – so we know what it feels like. And that’s why our aim is to offer a safer form of borrowing compared to other short-term and payday loans. Here’s how a Smart-Pig loan work – and how one could work for you.

Looking for additional student finance? Why you can count on Smart-Pig

In establishing ourselves as a provider of short-term finance by students for students, we think there are lots of great reasons why you can trust us. After all, we understand what it’s like to be temporarily running low on cash when your next student loan instalment isn’t due yet.

Instead of searching for an additional student loan, why not consider a Smart-Pig loan to see you through until your next student finance date:

  • No Late Payment Fees: We know what it's like to be paid late by the Student Loans Company (SLC). So, that’s why there are no fixed late fees.
  • Grace Period: If your student finance doesn’t arrive on time and your loan payment fails, you’ll automatically enter our 10-day grace period. What’s more, if you haven’t reached the 50% interest cap, you won’t be charged interest during the 10 day grace period and we won’t report the delay on your credit file.
  • 50% Interest Cap: Even if you run into trouble with your loan, it’ll never cost more than 50% of the amount you borrow. This is HALF of the 100% cap most other online lenders can charge for their extra student loans.
  • No Rollovers: We won’t invite you to pay just the interest on your loan to encourage you to borrow for longer than expected.
  • Ethical Pledge: Our underwriting and collections team have your best interests at heart. We’ll always listen and do what's right for you.
  • Founded by Students: Smart-Pig was created after one of our founders was treated badly by a payday lender. No-one gets student lending like we do.
  • Fully authorised: We’re one of the first lenders in our class to be authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK.
  • Satisfied customers: Hear from some of the students we’ve already supported and discover why we’re rated ‘Excellent’ based on independent Trustpilot reviews.

What are the benefits of a Smart-Pig loan?

Our unique understanding of the money worries that students can have is what makes us truly different. If you think it could help to get extra student loan money, some lenders don’t always have your best interests at heart. But we do.

And that’s why our short-term finance option can make great sense – helping you focus on your studies and enjoy your time at university. Don’t let a temporary gap in your finances derail your student experience. Here are some of the key benefits of applying for one of our loans:

Apply for a Smart-Pig loan for students online. It takes just 15 minutes and we’ll walk you through each step to make it even easier for you.

Top up to your limit, change the due date (up to your student loan date) or pay back your Smart-Pig loan early to save money – all online from your account

Get money in your account on the same day – usually within 1 hour

Borrow up to £350, subject to an assessment of what you can afford

Receive finance to cover up until your next student loan payment or sooner, up to a maximum of 180 days

Not sure about something? Still have a question about the benefits of getting an extra student loan from Smart-Pig? No worries. Our UK-based customer services team are here to help. You can call us on 0203 5071 930 or email team@smart-pig.com.

What’s the downside to getting extra student loan money?

If you’re thinking about getting extra student loan money, it’s important to know that it isn’t risk-free. First and foremost, you should always stick to your repayment. If not, it can hurt your credit score and make it harder for you to get finance in future.

But there are also some lenders out there who are more interested in what you can do for them – instead of being other way round. So, what can feel like the ideal short-term solution can turn quickly into a long-term nightmare for some students.

It’s something we saw as students ourselves. And it’s how the Smart-Pig story all started.

That’s why our loans for students aren’t like other types of additional student finance you might be thinking about. We specialise in offering short-term finance to help you through to your next student loan date. And, as a responsible lender, we’ll only lend to those who can truly afford it.

Why do I need additional student finance?

Are you studying at university? Is your bank balance looking a bit lean? It can seem like a long wait until your next student loan payment. So, when you’re in that position, it’s useful to know a) you’re not alone and b) it’s possible to obtain additional student finance that works for you.

Based on the 2019 National Student Money Survey, it’s not unusual for students to run low on money every now and then. It happens – but it’s how you deal with it that matters.

To bridge that gap, you could take on a part-time job (or two). But this can affect your studies and that’s not always the best idea. So, why not let us help take some of the strain? When you apply for a Smart-Pig loan, we could be able to help you bridge that short-term funding gap.

What can I use a Smart-Pig loan for?

Life at university means there’s a wide range of things that you can end up spending money on. But, as the cost of living increases, it can be hard to make your student loan last through to the date of your next student finance payment.

Here are some of the things that a loan from Smart-Pig can be used for:

Textbooks and other course materials

Energy, internet or mobile phone bills

Car, coach or rail travel to/from home

Groceries

No matter your reason, you can apply to Smart-Pig for our alternative to an extra student loan online. Our loans for students could be the ideal solution to your short-term cash concerns.

Can I consolidate private loans for students?

Are you struggling with the cost of an extra student loan you’ve already taken out? Smart-Pig’s loans for students are a short-term solution for when you’re running low on money and need to bridge the gap until your next student loan payment.

We always look at each application we receive carefully. This is part of our pledge to make sure that our loans are a good fit for you and that you can afford to pay it back. If we don’t think it’s the safest option for you, it might be that we can’t help you on this occasion.

If you’re worried about debt you can’t afford to pay, you can get free and impartial advice from StepChange or the Money Advice Service.

How much can I apply for with Smart-Pig?

Here at Smart-Pig, we’re dedicated to being an ethical student lender. That’s why the most you can apply for is a £350 loan. We believe this is the best way of making sure that you don’t take on too much. After all, there’s so many better things to be thinking about while studying.

How does interest work on a Smart-Pig loan?

Interest is applied daily on your Smart-Pig loan – but it won’t rise once your total interest is half the amount you borrow. It’s charged at 0.8% every day until you reach the 50% cap or the loan is repaid – whichever comes first.

To give you a real-world example (because we know interest can be confusing), it costs £150 to borrow £100 over a 25-week period. That’s around £2.00 each week. Our representative APR is 1017% – and we can help you find out more about what APR means if you’re unsure.

How long can I get a Smart-Pig loan for?

With Smart-Pig, you can apply for a loan to cover you for anywhere between 1 week and 6 months. We don’t allow rollovers either – so your short-term support never turns into a long-term problem. That’s part of the reason we’re not like other lenders.

Who can apply for a loan from Smart-Pig?

At Smart-Pig, we might be able to provide you with the additional student finance you need in the form of our dedicated loans for students if you:

  • Study at a UK university.
  • Receive a student loan, grant or bursary from Student Finance England/Wales, Student Awards Authority Scotland (SAAS) or the NHS.
  • Live in the United Kingdom.
  • Are at least 18 years of age.

Can I get a private loan for students with bad credit?

Yes, you can. We know it’s very unlikely that many students have a record of using credit – let alone a spotless one. While we do run a credit check when you apply for a loan from us, it isn’t all we think about. More important to us is that you can pay back what you borrow.

Can I get a private loan for students without a job?

Some students may look to get a part-time job when studying. But it’s not always a great idea – especially if you have a busy timetable or loads of work to do. So, yes – you can get a Smart-Pig loan without a job. The only income you need is your regular student loan.

What do I need to apply for a Smart-Pig loan online?

Taking out a Smart-Pig short-term student loan is simple. But you do need to have a valid UK bank account and debit card to apply.

It’s also helpful to have either a paper copy of your student loan payment timetable from the SLC or login details for your SLC online account.

Sometimes, it may not be possible for us to confirm your bank details. If that’s the case, we’ll ask for some extra information to double check your identity and complete your application.

Unsure? Need help? No problem – our friendly team are on hand to answer any questions you have. Call us today on 0203 5071 930 or email team@smart-pig.com.

  • Be studying at a UK university.
  • Receive a Student Loan, Grant or Busary from Student Finance England/Wales, SAAS or the NHS.
  • Be a resident of the United Kingdom.
  • Be at least 18 years of age.

How to apply for a Smart-Pig loan

Applying for a loan from Smart-Pig is easy. And it only takes about 10 minutes.

First, tell us the day you expect to get the next part of your student loan. This must be accurate and match the date that you’re due to receive your next student finance payment. You can find this online – see How To Get Your Student Finance Document.

A letter from Student Finance England/Wales, SAAS or the NHS also tells you this. It should look like the examples – so make sure you have the right page.

Use the loan calculator on the Smart-Pig homepage to choose how much you need and for how long. Then click apply now and follow the simple steps to create an account and complete your application.

You don't need to set your repayment date to the same day as your student loan payment – it can be earlier.

What happens next?

Once you complete your application, we’ll check your details are correct and that your student loan is genuine. We also check that you can afford the loan based on your current credit report.

You’ll hear from us very shortly if your application has been approved or not.


Your online Smart-Pig account lets you extend your loan to up to 180 days from the date you took the loan or your next student loan date – whichever comes first. It also lets you choose to pay back early, or borrow more up to your limit.

How do I pay back my Smart-Pig loan?

Like many online services such as Amazon, Netflix and JustEat, we use a type of regular automatic payment on your debit card called a Continuous Payment Authority (CPA). And this is how you pay your loan back to us.

A CPA lets us debit the amount from your bank account using your card details. This is subject to specific terms that you’re made fully aware of, and agree to, during the application process.

This isn’t a direct debit, standing order or similar payment method, however, it relies solely on your card details. Once agreed, a CPA lets us take a series of agreed payments from your debit card or credit card without needing permission for every payment.

How does a CPA work when paying back my Smart-Pig loan?

The CPA means that we can charge your card without the need for you to log in to give us your details again. That’s because we kept hold of them from the application process.

We’ll try to take the full balance using your card details at 7am on the due date. If this isn’t successful, we’ll make one further attempt at 7am two days later. Any further charges to your card will be agreed with you.

You’ll also receive an email receipt from the payment service provider each time your debit card is charged. So, you’ll know exactly what you’ve paid and when.

You can cancel this CPA yourself under the "Banking" tab in My Account, however, you’ll still be required to repay your loan manually using a different debit card or bank transfer. Your account also lets you change the due date of your loan – subject to your loan terms. This could be to extend your due date or change/cancel individual CPA payments by getting in touch.

Can you default on private loans for students?

At Smart-Pig, our aim is that no student defaults on a loan that we provide. As part of our Good Practice Customer Charter, we’ll remind you that – if you choose to cancel your CPA – you’ll still need to pay back what you owe. You can do this if you provide an alternative payment method.

We’re a responsible lender and that means we believe offering private loans for students is a two-way street. We aim to make sure we only lend to students who can afford it. And we ask that you’re sure you can afford it too. If you do default, we won’t lend to you again.

It may also hurt your credit score and make it harder for you to get credit elsewhere.

How can I find out more about a Smart-Pig loan? Where can I find out more

We want you to feel comfortable and in control when looking for an extra student loan online. If there’s something you’re not sure about or would like to know more about how Smart-Pig could help instead, why not try our frequently asked questions as a first port of call?

Still need help? Our UK-based customer service team are easy to get hold of. You can either call 0203 5071 930 or email team@smart-pig.com. Our contact page has more details if you wish to get in touch.

Already a Smart-Pig customer? You can log in to your online account 24 hours a day, no matter what device you’re using or where you are.