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Simon Read: Vulnerable need protection from unscrupulous lenders

  • @simonnread

Payday lenders say their loans offer people convenience.

The convenience of being able to get at emergency cash whenever they need it and wherever they need it. That's great for those who can afford the companies' high charges.

The worry is – and there's increasing evidence to support it – that rogue lenders appear to be targeting people who can't afford to borrow. Look at it this way. If you can't afford to repay £140 a few days after borrowing £100, you shouldn't use a payday lender.

Unscrupulous firms will roll over the loan, adding more interest and charges. Within a few months that £100 will have turned into £500, a debt that can push vulnerable people into debt disaster.

We need strong rules to stop payday lenders exploiting vulnerable people. Rather than taking months over an investigation, the OFT should be given powers to crack down on rogue lenders now. It should start by suspending firms that don't play by the rules.