Cards and Loans
Wed, 11 Jan 2012 18:08:26 GMT | By

Wonga pulls controversial student loan page

Payday loan provider Wonga has ditched the student loan section of its website, following huge uproar.

Students (© PA)

Wonga has pulled the section of its website which suggested payday loans could be viewed as an alternative to making use of a student loan, following mass outrage yesterday.

The payday loans lender moved after a huge amount of negative media coverage, including being accused of 'predatory' tactics by the National Union of Students.

An interest rate of 4,000%+
As we explained in Uproar as Wonga targets students with payday loans, such a form of lending is completely inappropriate for students who do not have a regular income in the first place, while promoting a loan with an APR in excess of 4,000% as an alternative to a student loan is pretty outrageous.

Here's how payday loans work.The idea is that you only borrow the cash for a very short time period, say a month. If you then pay that loan off after a month, the interest you pay seems reasonable enough. And because the loans are only designed as a short-term measure, the payday loan providers argue it's not fair to judge them based on the massive APRs.

Unfortunately, plenty of people who take out these loans don't manage to clear the debt after a month. So the amount they owe quickly ratchets up until it becomes completely unmanageable. And then that 4,000% rate of interest starts to look all too accurate.

"We don't target students"
Wonga has now issued a statement, explaining why the page existed in the first place, and why it has now been changed. Here's what it had to say:

"We listen to our customers and public opinion, so it was clear the old article here gave rise to misunderstandings. We would like to clarify that Wonga does not target students. Yet we do not discriminate against working, adult students who may choose to apply either, because all applications are assessed in the same robust and completely objective way.

"We make decisions based on thousands of pieces of public data, not someone's educational status. A student would need to have a regular income to be considered for a loan and students represent a miniscule proportion of our customers.

"The previous article on this page was several years old and one of many brief pieces we have written about the broad subject of credit since we launched our online loans service. No-one was directed to this page, nor was it prominently promoted on the website. In fact, the main purpose of the content was search engine optimisation, or 'SEO,' which is a common practice for any internet business that wants to appear in searches for relevant subjects. In our case, all things relating to loans and credit."

It's that last paragraph which is particularly laughable. Whether the page is a day old or several years old is irrelevant - payday loans have never, and will never, be a smart move for students. And while the phrase 'student loan' does indeed do well in terms of SEO, the fact that Wonga wants to bring in people who are searching for that term somewhat contradicts its claim that it does not target students.

11/01/2012 18:39
parasites-the lot of them

11/01/2012 19:26

While on holiday this year, our Italian and Norwegian friends found it quite impossible to believe that these companies exist or are allowed to advertise on tv (and if you read the tiny writing at the bottom, some with a 4,000 apr!).  Apparently in Italy, just before that crook Burlusconi was booted out you could not charge more than 15% on a loan.  Well, we are worse than Italy then.  Two governments have talked about if for 6 or seven years now here.  Why don't they just ban it?


Saw Wonga advertising on ebay around Christmas. Made me really angry.  Those old grannies they use would never borrow money this way.  Our whole financial system is run by a bunch of morons but these are the lowest of the low.

APR 4214 % Need I say more ?.  Criminal

But hey ! they got " Sliders " gullible are we ?.
11/01/2012 20:50
These sort of companies should not be allowed to advertise on TV at all. Just preying on the vulnerable. To take things slightly off this subject, I don't think they should allow betting/gambling companies to advertise either, or Bingo. Too easy again to get into debt.
11/01/2012 22:54

I cannot believe the office of fair trading looked into these businesses and said they were giving a service. Absolute rubbish, the watchdog who could have done something siding with these roaches really makes me wonder if the oft really are there to look into what really is damaging. The oft report was published a less than a month ago and I start to wonder if they are run like the pcc supposedly an independent body run by the press they are supposed to help against. This country is corrupt throughout, how can anything be done about banks when they are able to give money to political parties for elections.  These companies really are just legalised scum just like the clampers were , as long as tax is coming in the government wont care enough to do anything really decisive.

The real reason this country is in the mire is because the country allows these businesses to screw us over, power companies, banks oh and the biggest muggers of all the government.

11/01/2012 21:27
these companies have been around forever. parasites, all of them, preying on the weak, the disadvantaged and the poor. tax them out of existance.
11/01/2012 18:43
All of these companies are leeches on our society. I understand that people are having a hard time financially at the moment and some do need genuine help, but this only helps their profits.

Once again the vultures are circling, just like Cash4Gold and all these debt consolidation companies. You could also easily show that bookies and pawn shops open up new stores in only the hardest up and run down areas too. Kick them while they're down is the motto.

Laslty, is the writer of this article blind? You borrow £100 and the interest + 'charges' equal 36.72% in 1 month!!! That seems quite 'exorbitant' to me.

11/01/2012 19:17

if people have money problems and have a bank account see the bank manager to see if you can get help dont go to these money grabbing bastards or go to cba because i am telling you these people dont give a ****


11/01/2012 21:40
these companies need to be brought under control. shouldnt be allowed to advertise. BOYCOTT them big time
11/01/2012 23:09

I agree with everything Robert Kelso has said.

Bottom line is this country is CORRUPT to the core.


11/01/2012 22:39
these people are just legalised money lenders still charging extortionate rates of interest .
but the banks etc are to blame, if it wasn't for them these places would never exist.
it's about time the government actually did something useful for the people get rid of these money shops and make the banks treat everyone equally.

11/01/2012 23:14
these type of loans should be banned it is giving people in trouble false hope they do get very quickly out of hand my mother would tell me if you have not got the money to buy some thing wait till you do. it is so sad the way the working person is being treated this way. to get some money to help things out  it just get you deeper in to trouble think about before you take this type of loan it will not help you.
11/01/2012 22:24

A petition to government to outlaw predatory lending needs to be created against these firms.

I actually watched aprogramm not so long ago on these adverts 3 old people on Wonga  this is utterly disgusting, some people where getting into so much debt trying too repay what they borrowed were being givin extra loans by these parasites, that they couldnt pay back so the interest was mounted at an absolute sky high interest rate people are actually having breakdowns divorce, breakups losing their homes, because of these people i was absolutley shocked, now we have another advert which the interest charge was something like 1750% i couldnt believe my eyes, they have got the all clear from the government they should all be put against a wall and shot , if only us vunerable people understood the word interest charges at such a over the top making these firms rich with the consent of the government and advertising agencey the TELLY shame on you all, they are aiming this too the people who are already worried about their finances  and this is adding to worries,  surely someone out there should get these be able  too stop these companies , from preying on our vunerable people, if i need something i try too put a little by each week ( im a pensioner ) if i havent saved enough in 12 months  then i dont need the thing and try too make do without it,  we have a very corrupt government and a very very dishonest  television advertising company so wot do we do, dont listen too the lies they spew out, i hope they never have a good nites sleep,  the more they take from us the more they want to take from us untill theyve got us all by the curlies. 
12/01/2012 13:09
All these Dell Boy loan companies need to be banned, they bring nothing but more misery to the people that are desperate enough to use them!
12/01/2012 22:03
@ Chris Hughes

Good idea so here we go:

Errol Damelin - Founder, CEO and general two-faced financial robber and leech.

Jonty Hurwitz  - Founder, CTO and pretty much another financial 'highwayman' and parasite. Who by the way now churns out overpriced 'art' as a sideline. Most of it belongs in the fire-grate

Personal email addresses to follow...complain directly to them! If I can find their mobile numbers i'll list them too.

These two are pretty much to blame. They care nothing about morals or business ethics, it's simply just 'shafting' the general public for everything they have. I'd be surprised if MSN didn't re-write this story to 'omit' the comments or just delete it entirely. They're too weak these days to actually stand for anything.

11/01/2012 22:26
These loans if paid back within 14 days (the cool off period) do not incur any charges which is interesting if you need a short term loan. The secret is to take it out 12-13 days before you get paid and then phone within the 14 days saying you no longer want the loan and pay back the exact amount you borrowed. Its the only use they have as they charge extortionate rates!!! 
11/01/2012 23:07
dirty stinking parasites, we should all borrow the max off them and pay jack **** back, that would soon sort them ..
13/01/2012 01:15
Its legalised loan sharking and one of the reasons this Country is in the state it is - The Rich getting Richer off the Poor.  The majority of loaners' do not even get the maths of the situation !!
All these Companies should be wound up immediately - and the whole industry shut down over night.  More should be done by the Banks, which the people of the UK already own the majority of, and lending made more ready available at 'honest' and affordable rates -  We are on a very, very slippery slope, and it is getting steeper by the day.  Ending where ???   I honestly wish I had that answer, but I do not.
Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?
Get the Bing Finance App for Windows 8 (© Microsoft)

more on msn money

msn money poll

New research has found that families are spending an average of £180 on back-to-school supplies for their kids. Does this tally with your experience?

Thanks for being one of the first people to vote. Results will be available soon. Check for results

    14 %
    Yes, that sounds about right to me
    971 votes
    20 %
    Yes, but I think school supplies are getting more expensive every year
    1,257 votes
    29 %
    No, the cost of new uniforms, stationery and sports kit takes us well past the £200 mark
    1,835 votes
    37 %
    No, I wouldn’t spend anything like that amount on the little horrors!
    2,363 votes

Total Responses: 6,426
Not scientifically valid. Results are updated every minute.