We ask Facebook… should celebrities endorse payday loans?

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payday loan debt

Kerry Katona payday loan advert banned

An advert promoting payday loans for “fast people with fast lives”, featuring famous bankrupt Kerry Katona, has recently been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority for being irresponsible. While a recut version of the advert continues to air, it got us thinking about whether celebrities should endorse payday loans.

We asked the MoneyAware Facebook community for their opinions and it sparked quite a debate. There were way too many comments to include in one blogpost but here’s some of the best…

The wrong face to front the campaign?

Many comments focussed on whether Kerry Katona was the right choice for the advert:

“To have someone with a history of bankruptcy advertising payday loans was so beyond inappropriate where do you even begin!!” Naomi

“She should be the last person advertising financial products, this country has gone nuts!” Leanne

“I thought it odd Kerry was chosen on the 1st place.” Stuart

“I think she should have thought about others instead of the money she can make.” Pauline

“Kerry Katona should be ashamed of herself encouraging others to get into debt.” Sandra S.

Some pretty stinging criticism there, but not everyone blamed Kerry:

“It is not HER advert. She just acts from a script. The advertising agency does what it can to best promote the client’s product. It is the PRODUCT that should be banned.” Sandra B.

Should any celebrity be advertising forms of credit?

Among the Kerry bashing there was some thought-provoking discussion about whether any celebrity should advertise financial products that can get people into debt:

“Celebrities shouldn’t be encouraging people into debt. Now if she was advertising a savings account that would be a positive thing.” Katie

“Carol Vorderman endorsed a loan I took out 6 years later I am paying an outrageous interest rate…they should be banned.” Anne

“As for so-called ‘stars’ advocating such, that is entirely up to them, but the more ridiculous the star is, the less chance there is of people falling for this type of usury!”  Pete

“[I] hate Michael Parkinson for doing those insurance ads. The policies are awful.” Roddy

“Celebrities will do most things for money…nothing against Kerry particularly.” Gill

Should payday loan companies be allowed to advertise?

The Advertising Standards Authority were very clear that it was beyond their remit to ban all payday loan adverts, but our Facebook followers were happy to post their opinions about the wider issue of payday loans:

“Its robbery in poverty!!!!” Ray

“I hope in time all ads for such ‘services’ will be banned and ultimately cease to exist.” Melissa

“I wish they would ban them all.” Alison

“It’s absolutely ridiculous and wrong. As are football clubs being sponsored by them.” Allen

“How desperate do you have to be to pay all that interest? Preying on the poor.” Sarah

“Payday loaning should be prohibited by law. It is expensive to say the least, and it gives those who instigate such inflated rates of interest more money than their company needs… the customers’ money!”  Pete

“I’ve also noticed the adverts popping up in advert breaks in kids channels. Awful.” Sarah

“All payday loans etc should be banned, nothing more than loan sharks getting away with it. Praying on people who have no alternatives.” Elaine

“Sick of all these payday loans being advertised, it’s encouraging people to get into debt!” Nicola

“Absolutely disgraceful and the government need to act to stop this legitimate theft of the poor.” Lisa

Dissenting voices

As you can see, there was some pretty strong and heartfelt opposition to payday loans. However, not everyone thinks they’re that bad:

“Sorry guys I really don’t believe in banning stuff. I had payday loans and yes they got me in trouble but I am an adult who made my own (bad) choices. Banning becomes the beginning of a slippery slope, what comes next? Nanny state? No thank you!” Bobbie

“I needed a few hundred quid to get me started in a new job in a foreign country after a period of unemployment. The only credit I could get was payday. It saved me. I was quite happy to pay £100 interest for £400 for a month as it enabled me to eat until my first payday.” Arjuna

“You have to be responsible for your own decisions at some stage including the financial ones that you make.“ Maxine

Join the debate

We’ve seen a wide range of views: some blame celebrities for taking these jobs, others the advertising executives, plenty blame payday loan companies, and a fair few don’t see anything wrong at all.

If you’d like to share your own opinion on this subject then leave a comment on the payday loan Facebook thread.

Please note that the views expressed in this article do not reflect those of StepChange Debt Charity.

At StepChange Debt Charity we want you to be free of debt and save money.

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  • Mike Booton

    Surely the only thing about Payday loans that really screws people’s finances up is not the actual loan – it’s OK if you can repay it as agreed, and can be useful in an emergency, so long as the rates are clear – it’s the company’s ability to dip into your bank account several times a day until they get their money, if for some reason you can’t pay. Unlike a DD, you cannot cancel your debit card, the “continuous payment authority” and you never know when they will try to collect a payment. They say this is to help the customer, but if you were expecting you last ever wages to go in on Monday and they clear out your account at 2 am whilst you’re sleeping, then how do you live without any money at all? If you were feeling desperate at losing your job, this makes you positively suicidal. Such companies should be forced to use a DD or Standing Order system which can be cancelled if the payer falls into financial difficulties.

    • Thanks for commenting Mike. Some really interesting and well constructed points here.

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  • It is an aspect of mutual responsibility of borrowers and lenders to ensure that “payday loans” are not harmful to them. The borrowers need to acquire sufficient knowledge and apply responsibility in repaying their loans. Also, they must not consider this a permanent solution as it is only a temporary assistance. Lenders must comply with government regulations while advertising, marketing and providing “payday loans“.

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