Payday loan firms ‘should be avoided’

Berwickshire residents tempted by payday loans over the past year were asked by their local CAB to take part in a Scottish survey.

The results of that survey are now in and show that many lenders are still ignoring the code of conduct.

A spokesperson for Berwickshire Citizens Advice Bureau said: “This survey was run by CABs across Scotland. What we found was that many payday lenders are still continuing to operate in ways that cause people to fall into huge debts that they can’t repay.

“The government has now announced it will move to cut the cost of such loans, but those changes won’t come in for months. So we want to get the message to local people that payday loans can cause huge problems, with all sorts of hidden costs and late payment fees etc.

“If you need to borrow money, there are other lenders available - such as credit unions - which are easier to re-pay and more sympathetic when you can’t make a repayment.

“We strongly urge everyone in Berwickshire to avoid using payday loans, unless you have read all the small print and know exactly what you are getting into. And dont forget you can get free confidential advice here at the CAB.”

Nearly 200 Scots completed the survey: 65% of them applied for their payday loan online and 21% did so at a shop. Over half (53%) are under 34 years old, and over a third (36%) were using the payday loan for essentials like food, fuel and rent. Exactly half of the sample were in full-time work.

A cap on charges that lenders can make was announced by the UK Government this week, a move that was welcomed by Scottish Government enterprise minister, Fergus Ewing, who said:“The Scottish Government has been calling for a cap on payday loans for a considerable period of time so this is a welcome, if overdue, move.