Loan websites lend money to borrowers, who can range from just individuals to existing or growing companies who would like to expand their operations. However, it is always important to check whether a loans website is secure, and thus safe for use. A lack of security may result in financial, personal and private details and information falling into the wrong hands. A loans website that is not safe for use may steal this information or spread viruses on your software.
This guide has outlined five important signs to look out for when working out whether a loans website is safe for use:
1 – It is incredibly important to look out for the HTTPS in the loan website’s URL
There is a significant difference between HTTP and HTTPS. The S at the end of the latter signals that the loan website is encrypted, indicating that its security is provided through an SSL certification. This ensures that private and sensitive information used on that particular loan website is protected as it travels through a service, like this example from US lender, Pheabs.
Loan websites without this SSL certification may expose this information, meaning it could fall into the wrong hands. Consequently, it is extremely important to ensure that you check that the loan website’s URL begins with HTTPS before entering and handing over any details.
2 – Check the loan website’s contact information
In an ideal situation, a loan website that is safe will have a real phone number, email address contact, physical address location, and so on – like this example from Fund Ourselves. While these contact details may not provide actual protection, it shows the borrower that there is a contact they can reach if they have any queries concerning their privacy and security. Loan websites that fail to provide official or proper contact details should be avoided, especially if they themselves are asking for your personal information.
3 – Check the loan website’s external reviews
The internet is filled with review websites where users can share their experiences with websites, including loan websites, including discussions and reviews of their customer service and products. These reviews can be encouraging, but in the instance of unsafe loan websites, it can be reviews of warnings of avoidance and scams.
Significant websites to check for reviews include Trustpilot, Facebook and Google to name a few. It should not take too long to work out whether the majority of experiences of the loan website in question are positive or negative, and thus whether it is likely to be safe or not.
4 – Especially when dealing with loan websites, it is important to check that they are FCA registered.
The Financial Services Register is a public record that documents whether a firm is regulated by the FCA. This means that the loan company abides by and follows a set of strict rules to protect the interests of the UK financial system and their customers. It also means that money is protected if the loan company goes bust. As such, when taking out loans, it is important to first check that the website displays an FCA certification. If you cannot find this, it is possible to check through the FCA’s register. If the loan website is not legitimate, then your financial products cannot be cross-checked and your security will not be protected.
Finally, always take time to check through terms and conditions. This is where important points can be missed, such as repayment dates and interest rates which can help inform your final decision.