July 1, 2014

Loan sharks vs payday loans: It’s a no brainer

There is a lot of confusion surrounding payday loans these days. Look online and you’ll soon discover many articles and news stories branding payday lenders loan sharks. While there is no doubt quite a few loan sharks masquerading as payday lenders, consumers need to know that they aren’t all bad. There are some pretty good ways to tell them apart and if you look hard enough you’ll easily spot the reliable lenders.

Payday lenders fighting to regain reputation

A lot of negative press has been given to the payday loan industry over the past six months. Most recently the Archbishop of Canterbury has made comments aimed at the younger generation to be wary of such lenders. There was even a rap created to highlight the dangers of the industry. Now, responsible payday lenders have had enough. The BBC News has recently reported that payday lenders are fighting to rebuild their reputation. The Corporate Affairs Director of Dollar Financial UK, Caroline Walton, states: “Our critics are miscommunicating by claiming payday lenders are legal loan sharks. This is causing confusion for consumers on what a loan shark actually is.” So what is a loan shark? This is the question many consumers are confused about. The good news is, they are actually quite easy to spot.

Differences between a loan shark and payday lender

On the surface, loan sharks and payday lenders look alike. They offer the same amount of cash and you pay them back on your next payday. There are also loan sharks operating in the personal loan industry. The amount of money you can borrow is higher, but the way that they operate is exactly the same as a loan shark offering payday loans. The one thing to look out for is reputation. Loan sharks operate under the radar. They aren’t well known and you won’t find a lot of information about them online. Larger lenders such as Wonga, are well-known and provide clear information regarding their terms and conditions. You’ll find hundreds of reviews from happy customers online so you know they are a company you can trust. The one difference between a loan shark and a payday lender is the way in which they operate. Once you have the money from a loan shark, that’s when the problems begin. Up until this point a loan shark will appear friendly and helpful. In fact, they’ll likely bend over backwards to make you feel at ease. However, once you get the money and have signed the contract, that’s when the intimidation begins. They use underhand tactics to try and get the money back. If you fall into any difficulties making repayments you’ll often be threatened and intimidated. For victims of loans sharks it’s a terrifying experience. You’re already stressed because of your financial situation, then you have the added stress of being intimidated, sometimes even with the threat of violence. Another way to tell whether you’re dealing with an illegal lender is by looking at the application process. How easy is it to get the money you need? Do they carry out any credit checks? Loan sharks will make it as easy as possible for you to get the money you need. No checks will be carried out because they prey on the most vulnerable. So, as much as you might be worried about your credit, try to avoid lenders who don’t check your ability to pay the loan back.

Loan sharks victims increase

The amount of loan shark victims has actually doubled in Scotland according to The Herald. In 2010 to 2011, the figures showed there were 28 reports filed against loan sharks. The latest figures from 2012 to 2013 show an increase up to 65. It’s estimated there are more than 150 illegal lenders operating throughout Scotland alone. One of the most worrying things about loan sharks is the interest rates they charge. Some have even been known to charge up to 10 million percent. This is an alarming figure. Trustworthy lenders charge up to a maximum of 5000%, though those rates don’t usually affect customers because they are annual rates. Consumers are urged to borrow responsibly from well-known payday lenders. Ensure the rates and terms and conditions are clear and that they operate in accordance to the latest regulations.


Luke Young is an independent financial adviser with 10 years’ experience in the industry. He uses this experience to update his personal finance blog.

July 26, 2013

Four Ways to Fund the Cost of Home Improvements

Every year, huge numbers of people across the UK decide to carry out home improvements of one type or another. Some decide to do this because they simply want to upgrade their home. Others have struggled to sell their property and decide instead to adapt their existing home to make it more suitable to their needs, rather than to sell up and move.

Whatever your reasons for making home improvements, and no matter what types of improvements you are carrying out, one thing you will need access to is funding for your project. Whether you're looking to improve your home with fitted bedrooms or whether you want to install double glazing and improved heating, you will need to ensure you have the money available to pay for the work.

How to pay for your home improvements

There are a number of options available if you are looking for ways in which you can fund the cost of your home improvement project. Some of the popular options you can select from include the following.

July 13, 2013

Feed Your Pet Raw Food and See Your Vet Bills Drop

Dr . Kollath, of the Karolinska Hospital in Stockholm, headed a study done on animals. When young animals were fed cooked and processed foods they initially appeared to be healthy. However, as the animals reached adulthood, they began to age more quickly than normal and also developed chronic degenerative disease symptoms. A controled group of animals raised on raw foods aged less quickly and were free of degenerative disease. In nature, we see other examples of wild animals eating entirely enzyme rich raw foods being free of the degenerative diseases that afflict humans.

June 23, 2013

The Massive Advantages of Mobiles

Everyone these days has a mobile phone. In fact, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t have one of these devices almost glued to them. Even lower-end of the market phones have incredible functionality, but I think that many people underutilise their mobiles when they could be using them to save money.
You might this thinks sounds crazy but with these tips you will soon see that using your mobile can actually help you save money, whilst capitalising on the features available in the palm of your hand.

Free Wi-Fi

If you are spending a fortune downloading or streaming movies and music via a home internet connection start using free Wi-Fi hotspots to download large files and data. Most coffee shops and restaurants offer free Wi-Fi and many public places allow you to use their connection at no cost. Use your mobile to download apps, movies or other large files and save yourself a fortune in bandwidth and internet bills.

June 14, 2013

Comparison Shopping for Insurance and Gas

When it comes to saving money, most consumers like you and I are very short term thinkers. We care about saving money now - the money that's in our pockets. But regarding some of our longer term and bigger expenses - we don't even pay attention. It's a psychological mystery for sure. Why do we do it? What makes us care about the cash that's in our pockets now, while we ignore savings opportunities that could put more cash in our pockets later?

June 5, 2013

Tips for Being a Better Spender and Saver

Spending and saving just don’t seem to go hand in hand, and yet we must continue to spend in order to survive. It’s tough to watch the pennies all the time and it can make you feel hard done by and somewhat resentful.

However, with our tips you can have your cake and eat it too, as there are clever ways to spend and still continue to save money.

Don’t live off your earnings

Psychology is powerful. Looking at your paycheque, you will find yourself automatically budgeting how you can spend using the money you now have in your account. Even if you intend to save some of it, you will end up spending it all before your next payday.