April 2019 Update

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PaydayUK Closed + Money Shop (Web) & Payday Express

DFC Global

News…

Payday Express LoansPaydayUK LoansThe Money Shop Loans

A trio of big name lending brands have ceased trading online. DFC Global Corp’s Payday Express, PaydayUK and The Money Shop sites are now closed for new business. TMS will however live on through retail as will the existing pawnbroker outlets (Duncanson & Edwards, Robert Biggar and Suttons & Robertsons). The 3 brands closing have operated under the Instant Cash Loans Ltd subsidiary that is part of Dollar Financial UK Ltd (aka Dollar UK) that is in turn part of America’s DFC Global Corp. This financial powerhouse has over 10 million customers worldwide and around 1300 retail locations. They’re famed for Money Mart that trades across Canada and USA. There are various other projects spanning across Europe.

There can be no disputing the credentials of the group, but Britain has been a problematic region for some years. The later period of 2015 was certainly a traumatic time when the FCA forced a refund of £15.4 million to be paid out to 147,000 customers. This was in light of problems with affordability checks, debt collection tactics and system errors. The FCA’s loan cap then of course kicked in. The Money Shop’s retail empire was essentially crushed from this, with their network that had stood at 550 stores dropping way down to 230. In early 2017 it was then announced that DFC were seeking a buyer for Dollar UK that has represented their British interests.

There was no sale and sadly it has been closures that have ensued. The Money Shop will of course live on (for now) on the high street, but it is sad to learn of the downfall of Payday Express and PaydayUK, each British founded companies that enjoyed great success, at least until they headed under DFC’s control. PaydayUK (aka PDUK) was started up at www.paydayuk.co.uk by MEM Consumer Finance Ltd in 2003. Throughout their opening years they soon became the UK’s biggest payday lender, soon be entangled in a fierce battle for market share with QuickQuid. DFC would acquire in 2011. This had followed on from their 2009 purchase of Express Finance (Bromley) Ltd.

Payday Express was formed in September 1999 and they ventured online at www.paydayexpress.co.uk in 2003 and so they too were an early starter. It is not clear what they did in their first few years (we believe retail was their first step). This company became moderately successful, but never became a major brand generally in light of minimal ad spends. This is something that was essential for their new owner to be considering, but much of their attention was directed at PDUK who continued to perform well in Google searches and maintain good visibility through TV advertising. In light of this, it was strange to see so many new rivals taking their business away.

On lender comparison checks throughout the year, www.paydayuk.co.uk couldn’t even hit the top 10 for instalments, whilst www.paydayexpress.co.uk was in the 30s. The performance for monthly terms was improved, but with capping in force, it was critical to them to compete against such brands as Lending Stream, Pounds to Pocket, Satsuma, Sunny and the likes. Both the Express/PDUK products were originally monthly-only. They were then restructured well after capping. The approach was to match each service for amounts, pricing, repayments, times etc. Highly flexible terms of 1 to 12 months were made available, with a top sum of £2000 for new and returning customers. Pricing was reasonable per £300 borrowed at £139.98 (3m) and £217.80 (6m).

The Money Shop’s prices were however cheaper at £113.40 (3m) and £159.36 (6m). The TMS terms also started from 3 months onwards. The benefit of their retail network helped their popularity to grow, but even still they themselves struggled to crack the top 10 for web traffic in this sector. The downfall of each company has been surprising. It is true that we haven’t seen innovation from either project, but a complete closure of all British web properties hasn’t made much sense. We’d hazard a guess that being fined £15.4 million may well have pushed them over the edge. When visiting the Express/PDUK sites now, visitors are advised on the closure for new business.

Existing customers are handed a link to head back into their logins where they can settle their accounts. It is not clear for reference if the loan books will be sold on to some collection agency soon that we have seen in the past with MiniCredit. TMS will as noted remain active on the high street. When heading on to www.themoneyshop.com you can learn more about their general products available in-store. Their online section advises on their decision to stop lending. If you can head out to them then they’ll be able to lend between £50 and £2000 now over the range of 1 to 6 months only. This seems a bad move on their part.

Providing general financial services on the high street may be more financially rewarding, but is it out of the question for them to accept leads online? The likes of H&T and Oakam are doing this regardless of neither particularly troubling the more popular instalment loan lenders seen on TV. It’s a sad time for The Money Shop that popped up in Nottingham back in 1996, later expanding to 550. This estate was grown over 20 years and yet many will question the chance of it surviving many more. Perhaps now is the time for DFC to close the door on Britain and sell this business before there is nothing of it left to save.