Pet owners are being offered short-term credit facilities with a representative APR of 2,120% to cover unexpected vets bills.
First it was students. Now it is pet owners struggling with unexpected vet bills who are being offered instant short-term loans with eye-watering interest rates.
Petloan.co.uk is a new arrival to the fast-expanding payday loans sector, and claims to be “the UK’s only dedicated short-term lender for pet owners”. It said its service was aimed at animal lovers who were faced with unexpected vet bills and who could not, or did not wish to, put the cost on their credit card.
A spokesman for the Birmingham-based company said the service was backed by more than 20 lenders, and allowed people to borrow between £50 and £1,500. It offers short-term credit facilities “at competitive rates for those facing the pain of paying for the cost of caring for their animals”. The “representative” APR on the loans is 2,120%.
The launch of the website comes after a report warned that payday loans could overtake credit cards to become a mainstream method of borrowing.
While payday loan providers have attracted bad publicity for their high interest rates, prompting demands for the government to introduce a total cost cap on short-term loans to protect vulnerable borrowers, the PricewaterhouseCoopers study argued that the limited length and size of payday loans appealed to those consumers who were increasingly nervous about borrowing in an uncertain economic climate.
Ash Sethi, Petloan.co.uk’s managing director, said the cost of insuring animals and paying unexpected bills was an “increasing burden”, and added that many pet insurance policies did not pay out immediately.
“Our facility offers owners the chance to make sure their pets are cared for by vets without having to worry about cashflow problems. This facility is designed to assist cashflow management, not add to the credit burden of the UK,” he said.
His company’s website gave the example of someone borrowing £200 for 30 days. They would pay back a total of £258 – equating to an interest rate of 352.8% a year.
In January, short-term loan company Wonga was accused of being “predatory” after suggesting students take out high cost short-term loans to buy flights to the Canary Islands.
Wonga later announced it was taking down the information, saying it did “not actively target students as potential customers and we wanted to clear up any confusion about that”.