How do payday loans affect your credit report?

How do payday loans affect your credit report?

If you’ve been looking into payday loans, you may be wondering how one is shown on your credit report and the effect it could have on your credit score and ability to borrow in the future. The short answer is that this can vary depending on your circumstances, how you manage the loan and ultimately if you pay it off on time.


Some points to remember, before taking on a payday loan:

  • These loans are intended as short-term fixes and so should only be taken on if you need to pay an expense immediately and have exhausted all other options to obtain the money you need.
  • Payday and short-term loans are a type of high cost credit, so before you apply for one you should take the time to review your finances and make sure you’ll be able to make the payment or payments that you’ll be required to with a loan like this.  
  • You should always look for a lender who is regulated by the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) to ensure they adhere to industry rules.
  • Even among lenders providing similar loan amounts, there can be key differences in the service they offer, like how long you have to repay. Some lenders will expect you to repay in full as soon as your next payday arrives. Others, like Sunny, offer longer repayment periods, which can help you spread the cost, while also allowing you to pay back early at any time to save on interest.


In this guide, we take a look at how long payday loans stay on your credit report and how to deal with them to avoid a negative impact on your financial future.

What is a credit report?

Your credit report – sometimes referred to as your credit file – details your financial status and history. You are entitled to request a copy of your statutory credit report from one of the Credit Reference Agencies – TransUnion (formerly CallCredit), Experian and Equifax – for free.

To help you understand how good your financial history is, or is likely to be seen in the eyes of a lender you apply to, Credit Reference Agencies will assign you a score based on your history and behaviour. To view this score and get ongoing access to your credit report, you can use a free service such as Noddle or Clearscore, which are powered by the information the Credit Reference Agencies hold.

Everything from your mortgage to your mobile phone contract and energy bills can be found on this report – as well as any personal or payday loans you may have taken out. As long as you are making any payments that come due on time and settle your accounts in full, then over time you should find that this positive financial behaviour contributes towards improvements in your credit score.

When you apply for a loan, the lender will evaluate your credit history and other information, and use this information to determine whether or not to let you borrow money from them. For example, if you apply for a loan with Sunny, we conduct a credit check and carry out an affordability assessment to decide whether or not to approve your application.

Whether we approve your application, and, in turn,  how much we offer to lend to you, is determined by a combination of the information in your credit report and what we believe you can afford to repay.

How long do payday loans stay on a credit report?

Lenders are required to regularly report to the Credit Reference Agencies on the status of your account while you’re making payments to show that you’re meeting your obligations. Once you’ve paid back the loan in full and closed the account, there will still be a record on your credit report that shows that you once had this loan, and that you paid it back on time.

Typically, these records that show you paid the loan back in full and closed the account are on your credit report for six years.

If you miss a payment, are late with one or if the payday loan account is defaulted – if you haven’t paid in 3-6 months – this will be shown on your credit report, too. Like positive records in your credit report, a late or defaulted payment will also remain on your credit report for six years from the date it was recorded.

Defaults recorded on your credit report will have an impact on your ability to be approved for credit in the future.

Can a payday loan affect your chances of being accepted for credit in the future?

In some cases, a payday loan can impact your chances of getting credit in the future. Mortgage lenders, for example, look carefully at the full length of your credit history available to them, among other things, and if they see one or more payday loans listed in your credit report, no matter how long ago it was, that you once had need of one may cause them to question your ability to manage money and likelihood to keep up with payments on a mortgage.

Of course, all mortgage providers have their own lending criteria and usage of payday loans will be viewed differently between lenders. If you’re unsure of how a particular mortgage provider will view you having used payday loans, then this is something to enquire about with them before putting in a formal application for a mortgage.

How can you avoid taking out a payday loan?

Here are some alternatives to applying for a payday loan, when you need cash fast:

  • Use your savings – This is the first place to turn when you need cash fast. Even if you’ve been saving up for something big like a holiday or a new car, it’s better to use money that you already have than take on more credit.
  • Borrow from friends or family – This isn’t always the best option but if you have friends or family who have spare cash and can help this could be better than applying for a new loan.
  • Sell something to get the cash – While you might begrudge having to sell something valuable, if you can do without it and it gets you the money you need to pay for an emergency it’s a better option than a payday loan.

Looking for a speedy loan?

If you need a short-term loan, but don’t feel like a traditional payday loan is the right choice for you then Sunny could be able to help. Apply for one of our loans today, receive an instant decision and if approved, you’ll enjoy money in your account within 15 minutes, no late payment charges and an flexible repayment schedule that allows you to pay back what you’ve borrowed over an agreed term, or pay back early to save on interest.

Looking for further information on lending options?

We’ve created some in-depth guides, taking a look at the circumstances around when you may need a short-term loan. These can help, when it comes to making a decision on who to work with and how to handle an emergency.