Observations from the UK: Pay-day loans, pay-day backlash

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During the couple of weeks that I have spent in the UK; so I have written a number of posts on the things that stood out most for me in terms of developments and changes

Pay-day loans are big business in the UK with hard-hit towns outside London often having a six shops within line-of-sight of each other providing unsecured short-term high interest loans to consumers. Online/over-the-phone payday loan companies regularly spend on television advertising and develop mobile applications to make the process even more convenient. The spiraling debt that many people have got into has seen the companies come under attack from the media and politicians, I saw two programmes on the BBC during the last couple of weeks that highlighted the payday loan issue.

The most high profile brand in the space has been wonga.com (wonga is British English slang for cash money) and the brand has become a lightning rod for concerns about the sector. Wonga.com has fought back with cinema spots and a website which tells the positive use that a dozen of its customers put their money towards. No expense was spared as wonga.com used a high-profile director to film the vignettes. The underlying message being, we’re not the problem, the customer is; we’re just a business being victimised just like Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. You can see the films at openwonga.com