Danny didn’t have an easy start in life.
But he is a determined individual. His teenage years were certainly tough, but his life was on the up. Until he discovered gambling.
Danny was hooked, almost instantly. But no one could see he was in trouble.
Having a flutter on the game or the Grand National is a far cry from downing a can at 11am. But, for Danny, it was every bit as devastating.
Gambling cost Danny most of his wages. He had two jobs, but he still wasn’t making ends meet.
This was when the payday lenders struck.
Danny thought he was at his lowest. But the lenders took him even lower.
Cruelly, the online loans pushed the same buttons as gambling on betting apps. But every ‘win’ was actually a loss, accompanied by interest rates that defied belief.
1,000%, 2,000%, 3,000%. These were odds that you never beat.
He continued to fund his habit via a series of loans from high-interest lenders. Danny had loans from just about all of them.
“I had about 26 loans on the go, from all these different companies. Once one said ‘no’ you just went to another.”
Danny started an account with Safetynet Credit, who lend you money automatically when your bank account goes into the red. They could see into his bank account, see that he was spending on gambling and yet they continued to lend to him.
He also got loans from Lending Stream. It started with £100, but the next month they were offering him £190. The month after that it was £960. Danny simply said yes to everything. Always chasing that big win to pay it all off.
He took out a loan with Wonga.
And one with Satsuma.
Farratum loaned him some money. So did Cash4unow, Likely Loans and Quid Market.
Oakham decided he could handle another loan, as did Trusted Quid, Bamboo, PayDay Express. Piggy Bank, Moneybox247 and Quid.co.uk.
After that, Danny lost track.
“Once you had one loan with a company then most wouldn’t check affordability if you asked for another loan. They just sent you a form online with all the boxes ticked. They never asked what had changed. You never spoke to a human.”
When Danny hit rock bottom, his repayments were £2,000 per month. He thinks he has paid £19,000 back in total. But he was left with nothing but shame and letters from debt collectors. His loans totalled £26,000 overall. Possibly more.
“I’d get paid and all my money would go to pay off the loans, then the lender would offer me a new loan so I could manage for the month. So the cycle started again.”
Now 29 years old, Danny has managed to beat gambling. He has not placed a bet in a year and feels like his life is just beginning.
He is starting from square one, with a bank account that allows him to block spending with betting companies. It also stops him withdrawing cash, so he can’t spend it with the high street bookies.
Danny has started to complain to payday lenders and ask for money back where he feels the loans were mis-sold.
He has also started to campaign to make gambling a cash-free business in the UK, as well as speaking out about practical help for gambling addicts.
Danny is almost debt-free now, but he is angry with the payday lenders who enabled his habit and helped him on the downward spiral. He now warns workmates and friends off payday loans, as well as encouraging them to make complaints about mis-sold high-interest loans.