A reader if there is an easy way to find out which payday lenders he used a few years ago.
This is a really common question.
Many people who had big problems with payday loans before 2015 ended up switching bank accounts, as it was the only way to stop the lenders emptying their account when they were paid. Some people even changed email addresses and phone numbers to escape from the payday loan trap.
If you have now heard about payday loan refunds, you may be wondering how you can claim as you don’t even remember who you borrowed from.
The good news is that with a bit of sleuthing you can find out … and this detective work will mean you also get all the evidence you need to make a good claim.
First – look at these lists of lenders
Start by looking at the list of payday lenders here: Lenders’ email addresses.
That page has a list of lenders who are still lending and ones that have gone out of business. Some gave up in 2014 or 2015, when the FCA changed the rules to reduce the interest they could charge. And since then, other lenders have gone bust because of the cost of paying refunds to the customers they gave unaffordable loans to.
If the lender has only recently gone bust, you may still be able to make a complaint and get a refund, but you may only get a part of the refund paid out if the administrators don’t have enough money to pay everyone.
Next – check your credit records
Credit records aren’t a perfect source of data, as many lenders didn’t report loans to them a few years ago. But it’s worth checking, so look at your TransUnion Statutory Credit Report, which is free. This is a report of your data held at the Call Credit reference agency, the one used by most payday lenders, including closed accounts.
This is your current report – it’s not possible to go back and get an old report from a few years ago, but it has information on loans in the last six years.
Look out for whether the last loan from a lender was repaid. You can still get “a refund” on a loan you haven’t repaid, see Refunds on payday loans where you still owe money for how this works.
If a loan shows as zero owing on your credit record but you thought you still owed money, then the debt may have been written off by the lender (Wonga did this a lot in 2014-15) but it is more likely that the debt has been sold to a debt collector. When a debt has been sold, you still ask the original lender for the refund because it was the lender that gave you a loan you couldn’t afford, not the current debt collector.
Finally – get your old bank statements
If there are more lenders to discover, the best way to get the complete list is to get your old bank statements and check them.
This isn’t as bad as you may think, even from a closed bank account. Old statements should now be free to get after the GDPR data changes in May this year.
With a bank that isn’t helpful on the phone, calling into a branch has worked well for many people. But if you don’t get anywhere, send the bank a Subject Access Request asking for a copy of your bank statements for the relevant years. See How to access your personal data for details.
Here is what to look for:
- a “standard” payday loan has a credit to your account when you borrow the money and a debit for more (what you borrowed plus interest and charges) in the next few weeks;
- if you see a borrowing followed by several months of the same payments and a then one larger one, this is the typical pattern when you have “rolled” or “deferred a payday loan;
- a debit but no credit may be because you have borrowed cash in a store from the Money Shop so only you cheque repayments show. You can get refunds on this cheque-based payday lending.
A big advantage of getting your old bank statements now is that you then have them ready when they are needed later on. If a lender asks you for your old statements, you can send them. If a case has to go to the Financial Ombudsman, the FO usually asks for statements.
A name you don’t know?
Sometimes credit records and bank statements show the name of the parent company, not the brand name of the lender. Some common ones are:
- Elevate Finance – this is Sunny
- Instant Cash Loans – this is probably Payday UK
- Indigo Michael – this is SafetyNet Credit.
If the name on your bank statements doesn’t sound familiar, check the list of email addresses for payday lenders to see if it is there. You can also ask a question in the comments below that article.
Don’t wait for a complete list of your lenders!
Refunds take time. There is no point in waiting so you can put in all your complaints on the same day. If you know you borrowed from Sunny and Quick Quid and a few others, put in the complaints against the ones you know straight away.
At this point you may not feel you have a complete list of your loans. But when you start your complaint, you can ask for the lender to send you a list. Some lenders used to be difficult about this, but Since 2018 when the GDPR rules came in, lenders are not allowed to charge you for access to your own information and they have all got a lot better at giving you your loan details.
Use the templates letters on the main payday loan refund page to get you started and for information about what happens in these complaints.