When it comes to short term loans UK residents are spoilt for choice by the number of lenders around.

Short term loans can last for any length of time - from one month to a year - not just spread over the one or two month period typical of payday loans.

This means you should be able to find a loan term that suits your timeframe.

However, this doesn't mean that short term cash loans are always the best option for you. Even short term loans that aren't in the 'payday' bracket can be an expensive way to borrow if you're not careful.

If you decide to take out a short term loan, keep a clear idea in mind of what you need it for, the minimum amount you'd need, and your minimum timeframe:

How to find the best instant short term loans

Many people take out short term loans to cover a one-off bill or unforeseen expense. If that's the case for you, only look at loans for that amount and don't be tempted to go higher.

Then, compare the minimum and maximum limits for each provider and exclude those that don't fit.

You should also check the representative APR declared by each company. Remember that this is an indication of the amount you'd pay if you borrowed a certain amount; it's not the rate you're guaranteed to get.

Many lenders use 'risk based pricing' which means the rate you'll pay will ultimately depend on your credit history.

If you have a poor credit history, bear in mind you may be offered a higher APR to reflect that risk.

Many providers will still advance you a short term loan, but you may be more likely to be accepted if you search for companies that declare short term loans for bad credit.

Next, consider how long you need the loan for. Remember: the longer your loan, the more you're likely to pay in interest so take the shortest term possible in which you'll realistically be able to repay your borrowing.

Most lenders require you to have a bank account so that for short term loans easy repayment is possible by direct debit - this means you effectively make repayments automatically each month, all you need to do is make sure you have the funds available to cover it.

If you need the loan immediately, look for short term loans paid into your bank today to make sure you'll get it quickly enough - do bear in mind that this option isn't available with all lenders and on all loans. It's possible you may also have to pay an extra fee for a same day loan.

Terms and conditions

Always check each loan's conditions and make sure you're happy with them as well as how your loan can be managed before you apply. For instance, whether early repayment is possible and if there is a charge for this.

Many lenders also require you to have a fixed income, and while short term loans for people on benefits are available from some, there are likely to be conditions attached and/or state you need to be a homeowner.

Some lenders do offer short term loans for students but if you're considering taking one out you should consider how you will repay, if you really need the money and whether there's a cheaper form of borrowing available to you.

Once you've prioritised what features you need for your loan, compare your options on our short term loans comparison table to find the cheapest lender that can give you the loan and the service that you require.