People using payday lenders are to see the cost of borrowing fall significantly under a crackdown announced by the financial regulator today, but critics have warned that it will mean "no real change".
The Financial Conduct Authority's proposals for a cap on payday lending mean that from January interest and fees on new loans, including those rolled over, must not exceed 0.8% per day of the amount borrowed.
The watchdog said that those who borrow £100 for 30 days and pay back on time will not pay more than £24 in fees and charges and someone taking the same loan for 14 days will pay no more than £11.20.
However, Labour MP Stella Creasy, a prominent payday loans campaigner, wrote on Twitter that the price cap looked "worrying" as the level it was set meant it would be "business as usual for legal loan sharks".
Under the proposals, fees for borrowers who cannot repay their loans on time must not exceed £15 and they must never have to pay back more in fees and interest than the amount borrowed.
It means that someone struggling with repayments on a £100 loan will never pay back more than £200 in any circumstance.
The FCA estimates that consumers will save on average £193 per year through the measures, translating into £250 million annual savings overall. The price cap is set to cost the industry about £420 million in lost revenues.
FCA chief executive Martin Wheatley said: "There have been many strong and competing views to take into account, but I am confident we have found the right balance.
"Alongside our other new rules for payday firms - affordability tests and limits on rollovers and continuous payment authorities - the cap will help drive up standards in a sector that badly needs to improve how it treats its customers."
Last year, 1.6 million consumers took out 10 million loans, with a total value of £2.5 billion. The average loan has a principal of around £260 lent over an initial duration of 30 days. The average number of payday loans taken out by a customer last year was six.