High interest money lenders this Christmas

First Published: 12/12/2022

Don’t fall foul to high interest money lenders this Christmas – Loan Sharks

With Christmas just around the corner and the rising costs of energy and food bills we’re asking you to be vigilant and not fall victim to a loan shark or high interest lender.
It can be a difficult time of year for many with presents to buy, but even borrowing a small amount could end up becoming much, much larger with interest payments adding up week after week after week.

What is a loan shark?

A money lender has to be authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to lend money legally. Money lenders who aren’t authorised by the FCA are breaking the law. They are known as loan sharks.

If you have borrowed money from a loan shark you haven’t broken the law, they have. If you are worried about this talk to your debt adviser or call the confidential number below.

How to recognise a loan shark:
  • Offer you a cash loan but do not give you any paperwork
  • Take your benefit or bank card as security on the loan
  • Don’t tell you when you will finish paying
  • Increase the amount you owe even if you are making regular payments
  • Threaten or use violence to get money from you

If you think you may have borrowed from a loan shark, call the England Illegal Money Lending Team hotline and talk to them in complete confidence. They can discuss with you any worries you may have and will listen, give information and offer advice on your particular situation. They can help you take back control from the loan shark.

England Illegal Money Lending Team hotline
Call on: 0300 555 2222
Text: 07860022116 with your message
Email: reportaloanshark@stoploansharks.gov.uk
Report a loan shark online at: Stop Loan Sharks

Payday Loans – what you need to know

Payday loans are an expensive way to borrow. Never take out a payday loan unless you’re certain you can repay it on time and in full – otherwise, the costs can soon spiral out of control.

  • It could be a scam if you’re asked by a lender to pay a fee before you’re offered a loan.
  • It might also be a scam if you’re asked to pay the fee quickly or in an unusual way – like with vouchers or with a money transfer.
  • You should always check if your lender is approved by the FCA before you take out a loan. If they’re approved, they’ll be on the Financial Services Register.

You can check your lender is on the Financial Services Register on the FCA website.

Borrowing from a Credit Union

Credit unions are community savings and loan cooperatives, where members pool their savings to lend to one another and might help to run the credit union. A cooperative is an organisation which is owned by and run for the benefit of the members who use its services. All credit unions offer savings and loan accounts while some (usually larger credit unions) may also offer extra products and services. The credit union is a non-profit organisation and is financially registered and regulated and therefore a much safer option with lower interest rates.

To find your nearest Credit Union, follow the link: www.findyourcreditunion.co.uk

Useful links and further information can be found below:
Loan sharks – Citizens Advice

If you’re worried about your finances, we can offer expert advice and support on a range of subjects.

We’re here to help.