Key features of logbook loans and the market

Read about the features and trends in the logbook loans market.

This page was published in 2015.

Logbook loans range in size from about £500 to £50,000 (MoneyHelper),  with an average amount of about £1000 (BIS (2011)). 

Amounts that can be borrowed depend on the value of the vehicle: our research with firms indicates loan-to-value (LTV) ranges from 60% to 100%.  The time taken to approve a loan varies from a few hours to a few days.

Loans usually last between 6 to 18 months. Interest varies, but APR is typically around 400% or higher (MoneyHelper). 

Consumers can incur additional fees and charges, such as default charges and fees for letters and/or telephone calls. Consumers can also be charged other costs, for example, if their vehicle is repossessed.  

Loan repayments are on a weekly or monthly basis.

How big is the market?

The logbook loan market is a small, niche market, aimed at consumers with a poor credit history, who own a vehicle and who need a relatively large amount of credit quickly. There is limited evidence on market size.

Logbook loan market size estimates (2006 - 2010)


Registered Bills of Sale










38,753 (estimate based on 19,356 loans from January to June)

Source: BIS (January 2011), Data based on High-Court registration figures

Logbook loan market size estimates (2011-14)


Registered Bills of Sale








59,286 (predicted from January and February

Source: Citizens Advice (CAB), Data based on High-Court registration figures

Department of Business and Skills - BIS (2011) - estimates an average loan size of £1,000 for 2010, while Citizens Advice (CAB) cite an average loan size, for loans currently reported to them, of £1286. 

Taking the latter estimate as the current average loan size, we estimate (from the 2014 CAB estimate of the number of loans that will be registered) that total logbook lending in 2014 will be between £59m and £76m. 

How do providers earn money from logbook loans?

Our research with some logbook lenders  identified two high-level business models: emerging/online lenders; and more traditional in-branch lenders, including those that sell logbook loans through affiliates. 

For both types, borrowers have to go to the office of the firm for the lender to appraise the car and for borrowers to sign the agreement. 

We also found:

  • Emerging/online lenders tend to lend loans with higher LTVs (up to 100% for more credit worthy borrowers) and appear to lend to borrowers with slightly stronger credit history than the in-branch lenders.
  • For emerging/online lenders the value of the car also appears to be the key consideration when granting a loan. Credit checks appear frequently not to be carried out or are inadequate.  
  • In-branch lenders reported that they see employment status as more important in deciding whether to grant a loan.  
  • Lenders claimed they follow the trade-body (CCTA) code of conduct. In-branch lenders reported, however, that there were numerous other lenders who were less scrupulous.
  • Lenders argued that low complaint levels, low repossession rate and high-levels of repeat custom are evidence that their affordability assessments were appropriate.
  • Most revenue derived from interest payments rather than fees.
  • Lenders see repossession as a last resort. Where repossession occurs, the costs of repossession and sale are passed to the consumer. Outstanding costs following the sale of the vehicle are also charged.

Market share appears to be held largely by a few firms that are active on a national scale. There are also a large number of smaller, local lenders.

Page updates

: Editorial amendment page update as part of website refresh
: Information changed Money Advice Service to MoneyHelper