Dear Abe,

I have lots of
expenses piling up. I am unable to see how I’m going to pay them all when they
are due, and I’ve heard that I can get a loan really easily online. They’re not
a bank, so they don’t have the same rules, but I wanted to check that this is
safe. What do you think?


Dear Bill,

The company you might be referring to is a “payday lender”. These companies focus on people
with no prospect of lending from a legitimate financial institution, and charge
outrageous amounts of fees or interest (up to 48% a year). They are attractive
because they will loan money to virtually anyone, regardless of their credit
history, and they take around an hour to give you the money. Using a payday
lender is a terrible idea. Terrible. Please do not do this.

The University’s Financial Assistance Service can give interest free loans of up to $1500 with
monthly repayments over a year. They can also advise if you are able to apply
for a bursary (a loan you don’t have to pay back) or scholarship. SRC solicitors
can help you negotiate extended deadlines and payment plans for bills (e.g.,
phone, and credit cards). SRC Caseworkers can help you get coupons for
discounts on electricity, government loans to catch up with rent, and give you
contacts for free or cheap food. All SRC services are available to
undergraduate students free of charge. Postgraduate students should contact