Payday lenders seek to exploit worst-off at Christmas

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This festive season could look more like Hard Times than A Christmas Carol for millions of Brits who will experience an austere Christmas due to lack of funds.

New research commissioned by Debt Hacker shows that almost a quarter of Brits (23%) have had to skip buying presents for loved ones due to financial hardship.

But for those who have used payday loans, midwinter could look bleaker still, with over half of borrowers (52%) admitting to having to go without buying presents, and 44% missing out on getting together with family because they can’t afford to go.

The things that many of us take for granted at Christmas – spending time with loved ones and abundant feasting – can be out of reach to those in financial difficulties.

The research indicated that payday borrowers are more than twice as likely to skip a meal through lack of funds as the average Brit (56% v 24%) and around four times as likely to rely on food banks (25% v 7%).

With so much stigma around problem debt, people can find themselves increasingly isolated at the time of year we’re expected to be happiest.

And that’s compounded by the pressure to create the perfect Christmas.

More than one-third of Brits (35%) admit to feeling pushed to spend more than they can afford, and that almost doubles to 62% of cash-strapped payday borrowers.

Unsurprising, when money’s already in short supply and some lenders are using pester power to emotionally blackmail parents into taking out a loan to buy more than they can afford for their children.

With over half (54%) of payday borrowers taking out a loan to service existing debt, which means the original loan was unaffordable, it’s critical we start to shine a light on this problem and take steps to solve it.

Talk to loved ones – let them know they’re not on their own.

And if they’ve taken out an unaffordable loan, making a complaint could really help.

Those who’ve been sold an unaffordable loan may be able to use our free tool to recoup interest and fees from loans that have been mis-sold, and critically, having those loans removed from their credit file, boosting their credit score and helping them break the spiral of unaffordable debt.

Hopefully, Debt Hacker’s payday loans complaints tool can go a small way to helping make it a merrier Christmas for all.

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