Affordability is simply the ability to pay back a loan. It has rightly become one of the most important parts of the underwriting process in recent years. We know a lot about affordability due to our close work with guarantor loans lenders.


How affordability is calculated

Affordability is calculated by taking your total personal income and subtracting your total fixed expenditure. The amount you are left with is your disposable income in which you need enough to meet your new loans repayment. An simplified example of this could be:

Income TypeAmount
Monthly wage:£1,200
Tax Credits£200
Rental Income£600
Expenditure TypeAmount
Utility Bills£100
Mobile Phone£25
Car Running Costs£100
Credit Commitments£200
Total Income£2,000
Total Expenditure£1,025


This example gives a disposable income of £975 per month, so if the prospective loan repayment was £200 per month the lender would certainly be happy the the loan was affordable for you. If however it was a lot closer, and perhaps the disposable income was £250, then the lender would need to make the decision as to leaving you with £50 disposable income after the new loan is a responsible thing to do.

Every lender calculates affordability in different ways, but they all do it. If your income and outgoings leave you with not much left over, you may want to see if there is perhaps an alternative way to source the money you need – or look at a consolidation loan to decrease your monthly commitments.

Savings can also be taken into account when looking at affordability, however if you have savings you may be in a better position to spend this rather than taking out finance.

Piggy Bank Affordability


Proving your income

Part of affordability is proving your income. Luckily a lot of lenders make this very simple through electronic means and automation. There are ways for lenders to confirm your income in a similar way to a credit search. Banks share information about your income with credit reference agencys so if your income is stable, and it all goes through your bank, you may get lucky and not have to provide any paper documents to support your application.

However, if the automated checks fail, or the lender does not use them, you will most likely be required to send in a recent payslip or bank statement to prove your income. This is a simple process and can generally be faxed, scanned, photographed, posted directly to the lender.


Debt to income ratio

Another part of affordability is your debt to income. This is the amount of debt you have to repay monthly vs your gross income (before tax). So for example:

DebtMonthly Payment
Vanquis Card£200
118 118 Money Loan£150
DFS Sofa£40
Total Debt£990
Gross Monthly Income£1,500
Disposable Income£975

Now let’s work out your debt to income ratio. We take your total debt payments (£990) and divide it by your gross monthly income:

900 / 1500 = 0.6

You then multiply this by 100:

0.6 * 100 = 60

This gives you a debt to income ratio of 60%, which while not really bad (think 80%+) this could cause you some problems when accessing finance. Ideally you would want to keep your ratio under 50%, you can do this by either reducing your amount of debt, or increasing your income (easier said than done I know!).

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