Wonga, Britain’s largest payday lender is getting a lot of bad press at the moment. Good. According to Wonga’s own website (as at 12/11/2014), the interest they charge on a representative loan of £150 over 18 days is 365%. This equates to an APR (annual percentage rate) of 5853%. I read in The Week (my favourite weekly news digest) that:
“Borrowing £400 from Wonga at its standard rate for seven years would leave you owing more than Britain’s national debt.”
This Week Issue 990
The financial authorities have finally stepped in to call time on the money lenders. By January 2015, the interest rate on payday loans will be limited to 0.8% per day and they will be a fairer cap on penalties for late payment. And about time too. Let’s hope that these legalised loan sharks preying on the poor and the desperate (and sometimes the feckless) will soon go the way of the dodo – and that investors will lose their Saville Row shirts. Now, what to do about the fat cat tax cheats stashing away their shillings in the Cayman Islands?
Generally, I enjoy this blogging malarkey. I’m little troubled by the cyber-trolls and infobahn ne’er do wells. But, one tedious aspect of blogging is the endless stream of spam attacks – over 34,000 so far. If only I got that amount of genuine interest. Most get picked up by WordPress’ spam filter but a few still sneak through. I receive an eclectic range of spam – the collective weaknesses, desires, vices and foibles of humanity are laid bare in Latin, Cyrillic, Arabic and Chinese (and probably in Runic if I bothered to decipher) mixed in with the endless machine-generated auto-babble. I could develop RSI just from the repetitive deletes. Since our return to Blighty, I’ve noticed an alarming increase in the number of dodgy comments from pay day loan companies (parasites, actually). These micro loans are designed to lure the financially embarrassed as they struggle from one wage to the next. Shooting ducks spring to mind. There’s a recession on. Some people are short of the readies and easily seduced. I looked up one of the more well-known lenders who advertise on the box. Their ‘representative APR’ is 2414%. Yes, you read right – two thousand, four hundred and fourteen per cent. I hear the ConDems intend to cap the rates these lenders charge – this year, next year, sometime never. These smiley cyber-sharks in sharp suits don’t need to send in the heavies to bully the desperate. They can afford to drop a few pounds and a couple of percent and still be quids in.