THE BLOG

Protect Children From Payday Loan Adverts

16/09/2014 16:04 BST | Updated 16/11/2014 10:59 GMT

Many parents believe payday loan companies are using children's 'pester power' to pressure them into taking out loans. This is putting families that are already struggling to make ends meet under even greater stress, and can plunge them into debt.

About a third of 13 to 17 year olds find payday loan adverts to be fun, tempting or exciting, a YouGov survey that we commissioned reveals. This is deeply alarming. Payday loan companies provide short-term cash advances equivalent to APR rates as high as 6,000%. Despite this, children are routinely exposed to adverts for payday loan companies.

Children are regularly exposed to these adverts. We found that three quarters of 13 to 17-year-olds had seen or heard a payday loan advert within the last week.

Teenagers' recognition of payday loan firms' names is also extremely high. A staggering 93% know at least one of eight top payday loan companies. And more than half (55%) were able to recognise at least three lenders. This is disturbing.

According to Ofcom, the number of payday loan adverts on television has increased more than 20 times over the past four years to 397,000. And more than half of all payday loans adverts on TV were broadcast in the daytime schedule before 5.00pm.

That's why we're calling on the Government to change the law and ban these adverts from TV and radio before the 9.00pm watershed as part of our Debt Trap campaign.

Exposing children to these adverts is putting families that are struggling to make ends meet under even greater pressure.

It is crucial that children learn about borrowing and money from their school and family -- not payday loan adverts.

We see first-hand from our work with families the devastating impact debt has on children's lives. We know families face a daily battle when it comes to paying the bills, meeting the mortgage or rent payments, and finding money for food or other basics.

It can take just one unexpected setback, like family illness or being made redundant, to tip a family's finances over the edge and lead to a spiral of debt that is hard to escape.

Our call for a change in the law has clear support from parents far and wide. Our latest report, Playday Not Payday: Protecting children from irresponsible payday loan advertising, found that 74% of parents across the country would support such a ban.

I urge as many people as possible to join our Debt Trap campaign to help us change the law and help protect children from irresponsible payday loan advertising.