Opportunities knock – on “vulnerability watch”

Student loan.jpg

Thanks Debora Price for this

If you’re a student in Manchester and you’re desperate to keep going out with your mates (rather than studying), help is at hand!

For only 1160% APR, you could get up to £350 of drinking time till your student loan comes in.

As Debora Price points out, this is brilliant opportunism. The User Experience will be first class (until someone sends the boys round) and the website’s for “smart-pigs”.

Smart-Pig.com is a trading style of FCL Consumer Finance Ltd. It’s run by a couple of Warwick University students  one of whom “got into trouble with a payday loan”, Apparantly  – the experience was so bad that they decided to create their own lender their  own way, to get a better deal for students.

The deal may look good but it isn’t good. Three years ago the Advertising Standard Authority sided with Money Saving Expert in an adjudication against FCL who were then using irresponsible prize promotions and pub-based advertising to go after the most vulnerable of student.

The ads must not appear in their current form. We told Smart-Pig.com to ensure prize promotions were not irresponsible in their presentation and that ads did not target students in an irresponsible way.

You can read the full judgement here.

“Vulnerability watch?”

Financial scams are born out of weak buying. The Office of Fair Trading made the connection precisely when analysing the market I know best (around the time Smart-Pig was getting started.OFT

The shadier side of marketing , focusses on where most money can be made. You don’t get much margin-pressure from vulnerable clients.

Drink now – pay later.

Of course with pay-day loans are the other way round from pensions. You get all the gratification up front and have a lifetime to pay the price,

Getting your student loan is of course not the same as “pay-day” as you have to pay your student loan back out of future pay. Of course, if you really want to screw up your life, you can chose not to pay back your student loan by never going to work. Or you may find yourself – through no fault of your own – in low-paid jobs.

But if you want to keep on whooping it up in pubs with your mates, then you are going to have to earn at some stage in the future – short of a life of crime – your earnings will have to be taxed and that will trigger the repayment of student loans – which will curtail your capacity to plan for your future.

In short, decisions taken in 2018 will set the tone for decisions taken throughout the rest of your life. Your credit-ratings will be impacted – your employment prospects will be impacted and your liver will be impacted – if you decide to borrow money to get pissed with your mates – when at Uni.

So please – students – instead of being financial numpties – avoid these pseudo- payday loans – don’t get into bad financial habits and stay away from smart-pig and their like.

Students don’t need to be vulnerable.

Most students are out to work hard and play hard. I’m pleased to hear my son is having some all-nighters and not at all sorry to hear he’s having to spend his summer earning a few bob to pay for it.

He doesn’t have to be vulnerable, but if he makes himself so, he won’t be getting bailed out by me. The Bank of mum and dad is physically closed and if he wants to try the internet banking version, the computer says “no”.

I don’t know if he will read this – I doubt many students would bother. Most don’t need the likes of me preaching to them.

This blog is aimed at parents who may or may-not be aware of their children’s financial situation but should be only too aware that drugs are not the only things you can score in the toilets that students frequent.


It doesn’t have to end like this

About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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1 Response to Opportunities knock – on “vulnerability watch”

  1. John Mather says:

    Greetings from Cannes

    Trusting the sales message of “an income for life” also suffers from the loss of trust when the promise fails to deliver.

    Just see what happens to the bond market in the next 18 months this is not going to get any easier and it’s not about charges but countries borrowing growth form the future. Trumps Tax give away is the worst example.

    There needs to be a realignment of the risk, it cannot swing from sponsor to individual as it currently does. Job for life does not work either. A friend of mine at KPMG in Sydney talks of a 4 year change of department policy to retain talented staff within the group

    The present system favours the higher earned individual so if the State Scheme provides 25% Of NAW and the Work Based Scheme provides another 25% of NAW then it is up to the individual to take some responsibility for themselves, if they can. However only 10% of income tax is paid by the bottom 50% Limiting the relief to the higher paid and reallocating to State benefits might be possible. I really don’t buy into collective DC it will work until it fails just as today.

    What we do about the Public Sector is a real reason to become ExBrit


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