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Wed, 09 Jan 2013 14:15:00 GMT | By Felicity Hannah, Contributor, MSN Money

Kerry Katona is perfect for promoting payday loans

She's a terrible financial role model for a terrible financial product.


Kerry Katona is the face of a new payday lender [image: Rex Features]

Former bankrupt, singer and reality TV star Kerry Katona is the new face of a company selling loans.

Yes, you read that right. And not just any loan; the broker CashLady sells payday loans with a representative APR of 2,670%.

Katona’s move has been slammed by charities, consumer groups and even MPs, but I think it’s a match made in heaven. A chaotic, financially unsound, formerly bankrupt person is to help sell one of the worst financial products on the market.

She’s notoriously bad with money, having been declared bankrupt over debts of more than £80,000 and had her £1.5 million home was repossessed. I can think of no better person to become the face of a notoriously problematic loan product.

Payday loan advertising is often inappropriate and encourages unnecessary debt

In fact, I applaud this honesty on the part of the payday loan firm: there’s nothing worse than aspirational actors promoting damaging products. Maybe it will take off and we’ll have Ricky Tomlinson advertising burgers, or a spotty 14-year-old boy with a fear of girls selling Lynx deodorant.

CashLady’s tactic would certainly be better for consumers than authoritative, beautiful Carol Vorderman promoting debt consolidation loans that risked people losing their homes. You can see how borrowers might assume that a maths whizz knows a thing or two about financial products. It’s hard to see how anyone would feel that way about Kezza.

I am not fundamentally opposed to payday loans. They fill a useful niche by providing short-term cash in emergencies to people who might otherwise end up in the claws of doorstep lenders.

But their advertising is often inappropriate and encourages unnecessary debt. Some firms have been slammed for selling to cash-strapped students, others for recommending their expensive loans to Christmas shoppers or Valentine’s Day hopefuls.

Like most firms selling short-term loans, CashLady’s slick marketing messages appear to encourage debt. The website boasts: “£300 could be yours today!” and “It’s so easy to apply!”

Yes, it does suggest you might need the cash for bills or in an emergency, but the cheery “Why wait for payday?” slogan is what catches the eye. To me, that suggests ‘Why wait for payday to buy that dress?’ not ‘Why wait for payday to fix the boiler?’

My real hope is that getting an ex-bankrupt to advertise payday loans will inadvertently highlight their danger

Image © CashLady

Sadly, while I think it’s funny that Katona is to be the face of CashLady, it’s obvious that the broker hopes her popularity will help them sell more loans.

In fact the ad discourages people from visiting other, potentially more affordable lenders; at one point Kerry groans: “You could see your bank and fill out loads of forms.” There may be good reasons for choosing a payday loan, but the lack of paperwork isn’t one of them.

My real hope is that getting an ex-bankrupt to advertise payday loans will inadvertently highlight their danger. Katona is not a financial role model.

WHAT DO YOU THINK? ARE PAYDAY LOANS ALWAYS A BAD IDEA? SHOULD CELEBRITIES ADVERTISE THEM? LET US KNOW IN THE COMMENTS BELOW OR BY USING #SOCIALVOICES ON TWITTER.

Once you use lifestyle choices as an excuse to start stripping away support, it won't be long until you're the one losing out.

LET US KNOW IN THE COMMENTS SECTION BELOW OR USING #SOCIALVOICES ON TWITTER

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