It can seem impossible to get a fair result when you are battling a financial issue alone. But never fear! The AOL Money Fixer is here to help.
I urgently need to borrow about £1,000 to pay for some repairs to my roof, but I am not sure what is the best way to go about it.
All the personal loans I can see on comparison websites seem to either be for much larger amounts or to charge very high rates of interest.
And I cannot use a 0% credit card because the company I want to do the work does not accept credit card payments.
As I need the work doing within the next few days to stop any rain coming in, I am also worried that a standard loan will take too long to come through.
Can you offer any advice as to the best way to borrow £1,000 at short notice?
P Uppington, Nottingham
Dear Mr Uppington,
As you have noticed, the cheapest loan rates are generally reserved for those borrowing between £7,500 and £15,000 over a period of between say three and five years.
Borrowing £1,000 over one year, for example, is likely to mean paying interest of at least 18% - although the shorter term would mean that the overall cost would be less than £100 even at this interest rate.
What's more, while some lenders will process small loan requests very quickly, and get the money to your account within three days or less, you may have to wait up to a few weeks for the cash.
Fortunately, there are other ways to get your hands on the extra cash you need. These include asking a relative or close friend to lend you some money in the short term and having a clearout and selling unwanted possessions online, for example on auction website eBay.
Another option is to use the overdraft facility on your current account, if you have one. Most authorised current account overdrafts charge interest at about 18%.
However, some charge less – First Direct, for example, currently offers a £250 overdraft buffer, after which it charges 15.9%, while Nationwide's FlexAccount gives new customers three months at 0% before its 18.9% rate kicks in.
Overdrafts can generally be arranged immediately, so getting the money quickly should not be a problem, as long as you are creditworthy.
And if you are disciplined, you may also be able to pay off an overdraft more quickly than a personal loan, reducing the amount you pay in interest.
Whatever your financial problem, write to firstname.lastname@example.org and The AOL Money Fixer will get on the case.