10th December 2013
Citizens Advice has accused payday lenders of targeting children as figures from Ofcom show there were 397,000 payday loan adverts in 2012.
As the BBC reported in 2011, there were 243,000 such adverts, increasing to 397,000 in 2012, a rise of 64%.
On average, each adult viewer saw 152 such adverts in 2012, while children watched 70.
Citizen’s Advice has criticised the lenders for targeting children by placing adverts on music channels and TV stations popular with children and for using celebrity endorsements and cartoon characters.
Citizens Advice Chief Executive Gillian Guy said: “Payday lenders are unashamedly and irresponsibly using adverts to prey on poorer households in a bid to capitalise on the cost of living crisis.
“Payday lenders should not be targeting children and teenagers with adverts. It is deeply concerning that children and teenagers were exposed to three times as many payday loan ads in 2012 compared to in 2010. More and more adverts are appearing on music channels and TV stations popular with teenagers and young people as lenders try to entice the next generation of borrowers.
“Lenders’ targeting of young people and those on low incomes is coupled with industry failures to make sure loans are only given to people who can afford to repay. Citizens Advice has found 61 per cent of loans do not come with proper checks to ensure the borrower can pay back the loan.
“Celebrity endorsements and cartoon characters used in the adverts draw a veil over the hardships caused by payday loans. People are often left in dire financial straits as loans balloon and rollovers and hidden charges drive people deeper into debt”.
Guy is also calling on viewers to report irresponsible or misleading advertising.
“We want TV viewers to take a stand against the payday loan industry by reporting irresponsible or misleading advertising. The FCA needs to introduce a clear and concise health warning on payday loan marketing which spells out the consequences of taking out a payday loan and to stop payday lenders targeting children with advertising.”