FOCUS: PAY DAY LENDERS
This month we are focusing on the impact of pay day lending on your credit score and future borrowing. Pay day lenders are a tempting option for some with the lure of fast cash and an easy repayment option. However, the reality is very different.
Here’s Lynn’s story:
“I turned to pay day lenders when my husband’s income changed. He works as an estate agent and when he moved to a new job he found that some month’s his commission didn’t reach the income that it had before. The first month it happened, we just managed to cover all our bills but then had nothing left for the rest of the month.
We have 4 children and so as well as food shopping and petrol to get us both to work, there were lunch monies to pay for, swimming lessons and all the things that come every month with having a busy family life. We simply couldn’t make ends meet and because we had a loan from our bank already and needed the money fast, we didn’t know where else to turn. I found the pay day lender online and literally completed my application and got the money in my bank that same day. It was so easy and I felt like it was a life saver.
The problem was that the next month because we had to take that chunk out of our income again it meant we were short. We borrowed again. This continued and I even had the pay day lender app on my phone which made things a whole lot easier.
Not only were we borrowing every month but a few times, when my husband’s income was down, we weren’t able to pay the full amount back. The interest was like having another loan. I just couldn’t believe how high it was.
Finally, I went to see our bank and ask if they could help and was shocked to find out that because we had used a pay day lender it had affected our credit score!”
Lynn’s story isn’t an isolated one. Many people turn to pay day lenders because they are in need of money fast and because it is just until the next pay day it seems that it won’t be a problem. As Lynn’s story reflects, using a pay day lender can affect your credit score.
There is no hard and fast rule on whether using a pay day lender will or will not affect your credit score because financial organisations have different lending criteria. However, what we do know is that it can affect borrowing from banks, mortgage and other lenders.
Some organisations deem that using a pay day lender means you are a high risk borrower and so will not lend to you, whereas others may simply charge a much higher rate of interest.
James Jones is Experian’s Head of Consumer Affairs. Experian is the most widely used credit check agency for lenders in the UK. ‘Ask James’ is a section of Experian where members of the public can ask James pretty much anything related to credit ratings.
Recently someone asked James whether payday loans damage your credit rating. You can read James’ answer here http://www.experian.co.uk/consumer/questions/askjames246.html
We encourage anyone considering a pay day loan to consider all options available to them. Take advice from your local Money Advice Service or local Citizens Advice Bureau if you are in debt. Contact your own bank to discuss your financial problems openly to see if they can help you.
The reality is that although pay day loans are a fast and easy way to access cash the impact of pay day lending can and very much does affect future borrowing and your credit score.