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FCA boss: Wider cap on high cost credit 'on the table'

Credit: PA

Every year millions of people take out short-term loans sometimes simply to make ends meet.

The concern is that, too often, vulnerable people are being charged rip-off rates of interest by lenders and end up saddled with debts they cannot repay.

You may recall that three years ago the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) imposed a cap on payday lenders - limiting the fees, penalties and interest they could charge.

In effect the cap meant no borrower would ever repay more than twice the value of the original loan

The move proved extremely successful. Debt management charities reported an immediate decline in the number of abuses they saw, the number of payday lenders also shrivelled.

The regulator is now being urged to extend that cap to all high-cost lenders.

Today Andrew Bailey told me he was “considering” doing so, as part of a number of package measures the FCA will publish in May.

Bailey explained the cap the FCA is looking at imposing would apply to doorstep lenders and rent-to-own loans.

Citizens Advice says there are three quarters of a million such loans, in some cases charging interest rate of well over 1000% APR.

Citizens Advice calculates that if a similar cap to that on payday loans was imposed it would save the average borrower £235.

However the FCA is not minded to apply the cap to either bank overdrafts or credit cards borrowing. Not because there isn’t a problem - there is - but because in Andrew Bailey’s view wouldn’t prove effective.