A logbook loan is a British term for a bill of sale securing a loan on a debtor's vehicle (with the lender retaining the vehicle's "logbook", or vehicle registration certificate). Logbook loans are secured in a similar way to pawn broking logbook will be retained by the lender until the loan and any outstanding interest is repaid. The structure of the loan means that the lender can repossess the debtor's vehicle without a court order. This distinguishes it from a car title loan, as used in the United States.
Logbook loans have gained notoriety in the United Kingdom due to their often very high interest rates and potentially unfair terms and conditions. Logbook loans are used for people that have bad credit that need cash quickly. Logbook loans can be completed in as little as 15 minutes. The applicant must have proof of a steady source of income to be approved for a logbook or V5 loan.
Logbook loans secured by a Bill of Sale are generally for amounts ranging from £500 to £2,000 (sometimes more). The average across the industry is estimated to be £1,000 (based on lenders’ submissions to the consultation), typically repaid over a 6- to 18-month period. APRs vary according to lender but tend to range between 200% and 500%, which is similar to other high-cost credit products where loans are taken out over a similar period (e.g. home credit).
In December 2009, the UK government announced a consultation on whether to outlaw logbook loans. A Logbook Loan may only by issued by a company if it holds a "Consumer Credit Licence". The loan is secured using legislation from 1878 known as a Bill of Sale. This legislation allows companies to seize the asset i.e. in the case of non repayment of the loan. Following the consultation, logbook loans were not outlawed, but a voluntary code of practice was introduced.