I expect you all have some customers who are hard up - the type who buy the cheapest option, put items back when the bill goes over their limit and look like they are prime fodder for loan sharks. Payday loan lenders have managed to tar a lot of reputable companies with the same brush. So, where am I going with this?
I got a query from someone who prefers to be known as T.H. He wanted to know why PayPoint carried advertising on its receipts for Fair Finance, offering “affordable personal loans for people employed or receiving benefits”.
T.H. trades in the second poorest borough in London and a lot of his customers are on benefits. “Receipts that push payday loans are irresponsible,” he says, “and they do not mention the interest rates.”
I put this to PayPoint, and spokesman Peter Brooker responded: “Fair Finance is not a payday loan lender. Fair Finance is a social business based in London, offering a range of financial products and services designed to meet the needs of people who are financially excluded, and to prevent them being exploited by the sub-prime financial services industry, loan sharks and predatory lenders. We are, therefore, very happy to be working with Fair Finance, which provides a highly ethical and responsible service.”
It’s true, too. I spent some time exploring its website and comparing it with several others. All loan applicants are required to attend a pre-arranged face-to-face interview, so it isn’t a case of just ringing up and getting the money instantly.
Fair Finance does both personal and business loans - here’s an example of the cost involved for a business loan. Say you wanted to borrow £2K for a year. Your total repayment would be £2,263 and monthly repayments, £184.43. This amounts to an annual percentage rate (APR) of 27%. So, not bad.