Employer Salary Advance Schemes (ESAS) and loans provided with the security of 'first call' on wages are expanding. Whilst collecting repayments directly from pay helps reduce the cost of borrowing, there are concerns that the products could harm some customers. In this blog we urge providers to ensure advances and loans are affordable and for mechanisms to be put in place so financially distressed customers can easily request a suspension of payments. We also call for further research to be conducted into the impacts of the products.
In July, we reflected on new evidence looking at people’s experience of using illegal lenders. Today, we are publishing our secondary analysis of the FCA's Financial Lives Survey, 2020 highlighting how demographic factors and financial pressures combine to increase the risk of borrowing from loan sharks. We find that having borrowed from legal high-cost lenders in the past 12 months greatly increases this risk and call for direct measures to counter cost-of-living pressures as the means to counter it.
Following reports of a possible Government U-turn concerning the regulation of Buy Now Pay Later, we provide further details of the link to credit card debt and argue that should be subject to the same rules.
Reports that Government is considering a 'U-turn' with respect to the regulation of Buy Now Pay Later products indicates a willingness to sacrifice consumer protection for temporary economic growth. It would also make for a huge divergence between Britain and other jurisdictions, including the EU, who are proposing a tougher crack-down on what, essentially, is just another version of the credit card.