The dangers of multiple payday loans
Payday loans can fulfill a role as a one off. But for too many borrowers, that one off turns into a payday loan habit.
Payday loan companies have received a lot of stick recently. A bishop says their interest rates are sinful, they’ve been derided for advertising to toddlers, they’re alleged to have lent to under 18s and there’s been a big hoo-hah over sponsorship of Newcastle United which has led one company to be accused of targeting the most vulnerable.
Typically these loans are for small amounts of money for short periods of time. If you borrow long term, then they will cost you a disproportionate amount of money. The APR for these loans seems astronomical, but as you know, APR is a measure of annual interest and payday loans are not designed to last that long.
In their favour, when the fees involved are clearly stated upfront and they are used for only a short time these loans can be useful in certain situations.
The rise of payday loans
Payday loans become a problem when they become a habit. We’ve seen a huge rise in the number of people contacting us for help, to the extent that we take five times more calls about payday loans than we did three years ago. The number of people with more than ten payday loans has shot up; more people have called us with ten or more payday loans in the first six months of this year than the previous three years combined.
The payday loan cycle
Many of the people we speak to with multiple payday loans have used them in a similar way:
- Your income isn’t quite enough to cover your living costs one month so you take out a payday loan to plug the gap.
- The next month your financial situation is still strained, so you recycle the loan by paying another month of interest instead of repaying the balance.
- The cost of recycling the loan just adds another expense to a budget that is already over-stretched, so the money runs out sooner and another payday loan is needed to help cover essential living costs.
- Every month you go back to step two and repeat the cycle.
We’ve spoken to thousands of people who have experienced this pattern. It would be easy to think that those taking out payday loans are using them to fund a reckless, carefree lifestyle.
Our experience is that most of the time it’s actually stressed-out people in a difficult situation who just want to support their families or pay the utility bills. Taking out many payday loans offers an immediate solution, but all too often they make a bad situation worse.
CCCS call for action
One of the things that make payday loans so tempting is the speed and ease that you can borrow money. However CCCS would like to see the payday loan industry taking more steps to prevent people from getting into trouble with these kinds of debts.
Delroy Corinaldi, our external affairs director, has said: “Multiple payday loans can very quickly become unmanageable and CCCS sees the consequences of people trying to manage numerous payday loans.
“Measures must be put in place to ensure that more people don’t find themselves in this situation and CCCS calls on the payday loan industry to address this issue urgently.”
How to deal with multiple payday loans
If you’re considering a payday loan, it might be prudent to take a step back and consider what other help is available. As we say on our own blog, it can be painful but avoid the payday loan headache, and we recommend searching for other sources of short-term finance.
If you find yourself with multiple payday loans and don’t know how to repay them, get in touch with us. You can get free debt advice using our online tool, Debt Remedy. We can help you make a realistic plan to get your finances back on track, even if you’ve got multiple payday loans.
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