Payday loans are regularly under scrutiny by the press and rightly so.
An estimated one million families take out payday loans every month in their struggle to make ends meet, with over half unable to cover the cost of repayments – according to a poll by consumer organisation Which?
The latest reasons for scrutiny are the “catchy” adverts that have been apparently causing children to repeat the slogans and even go so far as to nag parents to get a loan to pay for toys and games.
This is of course an issue that needs to be dealt with, but it’s only the tip of the iceberg.
The bigger issue, right now, is convincing adults that these payday loans are not a so-called quick-fix solution if you’re going to be stretched to cover your costs again the following month.
Working in the hotel and leisure industry, I’ve seen many a weekend where customers come in for a lavish night.
This is absolutely fine – we all enjoy it and we all do it once in a while.
But when you see some people splashing out and living like millionaires every weekend - when they’re not - you have to wonder how they afford it, and if they can’t, why are they?
This is where the issue of payday loans comes in.
Being so easy to get your hands on, a concern is that some of these people are using the loans to fund this lavish lifestyle, in a bid to keep up appearances.
This is silly, but I understand it.
As an 18-year-old lad I wanted to look good amongst my peers and ‘fit in’. The problem is, once you start down the slippery slope of debt, however small it might start off, it can quickly spiral out of control.
Of course, as general manager of a venue where people like to come to splash out, I don’t want anyone to stop spending.
But if it means you’re spending money that’s not technically yours and you’re going to end up getting yourself into a lot of trouble as a result, it needs to stop.
Likewise, as we approach Christmas, parents in particular are so under pressure to spend increasing amounts of money on the latest toys and gadgets for their children’s Christmas presents, there are always stories of people taking out loans to cover it.
If you already struggle with covering your monthly payments, it’s senseless to think that taking out a short-term loan is going to help matters.
If you then can’t repay it the following month, plus the interest, that interest is going to quickly escalate and unless you manage to nip it in the bud you could end up facing your loan plus 5000% APR or more!
That’s a hard figure to digest, but it’s not uncommon.
It’s time to get our heads out of the sand and face up to this growing issue.