What is Bamboo?
Bamboo Limited is a direct lender that provides unsecured personal loans between £1,000 to £8,000. These loans can be used for a variety of purposes, including home improvements, buying a car or consolidating existing debt. In the past, Bamboo also offered guarantor loans aimed at those who couldn't secure a loan in their own right. However, it has now withdrawn guarantor loans from its range and only provides personal loans.
Bamboo markets itself as providing an accessible service, with a straightforward application process, quick decision and, if you are approved, fast transfer of the money into your nominated account. The lender considers applicants with less-than-perfect credit scores, including those with CCJs and recommends potential customers use its eligibility checker that gives a clear idea of whether they are likely to be approved for a loan, without it featuring on their credit report or affecting their credit score.
Bamboo loans - key features
- Unsecured personal loans of between £1,000 to £8,000
- Repayment period of between 1-5 years
- Interest rate between 26.9% - 69.9% APR (variable)
- Considers applicants with poor credit scores
- Borrowers can repay the loan early without paying any charges
- Potential for borrowers to apply for a top-up to their existing Bamboo loan
What types of loans does Bamboo offer?
Bamboo offers unsecured personal loans. This means the debt isn't secured against a high-value item, such as your home or car. This reduces the risk if you can't make the repayments, although you would still damage your credit rating and, in the most serious cases, the debt could be passed on to a debt recovery agency.
Unlike many lenders, Bamboo provides loans to people with poor credit, including those who have made financial mistakes in the past, such as defaults or CCJs, as well as those who haven't built up a credit history. Applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis.
For more information on the types of loans available from other lenders, read our article "Which is the best type of loan for you?"
How much can I borrow with Bamboo?
Borrowers can take out a loan for between £1,000 and £8,000, which can be repaid over a period of between 1-5 years. The amount you will be permitted to borrow will depend on your individual circumstances and Bamboo will assess the affordability of the loan and your capacity to make the repayments.
While you can't have more than one Bamboo loan at a time, there is the option to apply for a top-up to your existing loan, although this will also be subject to affordability assessments.
How much does a Bamboo loan cost?
A drawback of Bamboo is that its interest rates are relatively high, with an APR of between 26.9% and 69.9%. In the representative example it gives on its website, someone borrowing £3,000 over 30 months, with a representative APR of 59.7%, can expect to repay £5,190.50, in 29 monthly payments of £173.02 and a final payment of £172.92. This means £2,190 will be paid in interest alone.
The actual interest rate you have to pay will be subject to status and dependent on your individual circumstances.
Am I eligible for a Bamboo loan?
In order to be accepted for a Bamboo loan you need to be:
- a UK resident (excluding Channel Islands or Isle of Man)
- be at least 18 years old
- be able to afford the monthly repayments
In addition, while Bamboo will consider applicants with poor credit scores, you will not be approved for a loan if you are bankrupt.
How do I apply for a Bamboo loan?
Before you apply for a loan with Bamboo, it is a good idea to check if you are likely to be approved by using its eligibility checker. This uses a soft search of your credit files, which won't have an impact on your credit scores or be visible to other lenders. If it indicated that you have a strong chance of being approved and you meet the basic criteria for the loan, you can then complete a full application on Bamboo's website.
To apply for a Bamboo loan, you will need the following documents:
- Proof of identity, such as a passport of driving licence
- Proof of address, such as a bank statement or utility bill letter
- Proof of income, such as bank statements, payslips or tax returns
You then select how much you want to borrow and over what period of time. Bamboo will then complete a hard check of your credit files with the main credit reference agencies before deciding whether to approve the loan. If you are approved, you will be told the APR payable on the loan and the agreed repayment period, which will be tailored to your specific circumstances. If you accept the conditions and take out the loan, the money is likely to be paid into your nominated account on the same day or the next working day.
How long does Bamboo take to pay out loans?
Once a loan has been approved, it is usually paid out on the same day if it has been signed off before 3pm on weekdays, or the following day if it is after 3pm. This excludes Bank Holidays and weekends, with funds signed off at those times paid by 1pm on the next working day.
There can be delays with some cases and Bamboo doesn't guarantee it will always pay out on the same day or next day, although it does in the vast majority of cases.
Can I repay a Bamboo loan early?
There are no charges for paying off your Bamboo loan before the end of the term. Borrowers request a settlement figure, which details the outstanding balance on the loan, including interest owed. You can then either opt to repay in full or, alternatively, make additional lump-sum payments.
Similarly, if you want to make your monthly payment early you can do so without any penalty. All of these transactions are actioned through the borrower's Bamboo account.
Are Bamboo loans safe?
As a lender, Bamboo is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which provides borrowers with a high level of protection, including access to the Financial Ombudsman and the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. However, in 2021 the FCA reported that a "clone firm", Bamboo Loans, which is not a legitimate lender and is unregulated, had been set up as part of a scam, targeting customers of Bamboo Limited. Bamboo Limited is working with the regulator to warn people of this potential scam, urging them to check the details of any company who contacts them to ensure it is from Bamboo Limited rather than a "phishing" email from a clone company.
Bamboo Pros and Cons
- Apart from late payment fees, Bamboo doesn't level any additional charges on its loans, including for early repayment
- People with less-than-perfect credit reports will still be considered for a loan
- Bamboo has good customer reviews, particularly focused on the fact it is easy to use and borrowers receive the loan quickly once they have been approved
- Its loans have a relatively high APR, which means you will pay a significant amount in interest
- The maximum loan size is £8,000, which isn't as high as with many other lenders
- Bamboo no longer offers guarantor loans, which narrows its audience, although it does consider applicants with poor credit without needing a guarantor
Bamboo customer reviews
Bamboo is rated "excellent" on independent customer review site Trustpilot, securing 4.9 out of 5 stars. This is based on almost 27,000 reviews. The positive reviews centred on the quick and easy application process and the helpful nature of the customer service team.
Summary: Should I take out a Bamboo loan?
Bamboo is a popular lender and it is highly rated by its customers. It may be a good option if you are looking to borrow up to £8,000 and have an impaired credit history, which makes it challenging to secure a loan with a prime lender. However, you need to keep in mind that the interest rates for these loans are high and you may be able to get a better deal elsewhere, particularly if you have a good credit score.