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Payday loans are the most unhealthy form of credit, according to new findings


Action: Actor Michael Sheen

Action: Actor Michael Sheen


Action: Actor Michael Sheen

Payday loans have been identified as the "unhealthiest" form of credit in a new report, with unauthorised overdrafts coming second.

More than 500 borrowers were asked about the impact different forms of credit had on them to compile the findings.

The report from health education charity, the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH), ranked payday loans as having the most negative impact on mental well-being, followed by unauthorised overdrafts, doorstep loans and weekly payment stores.

The research was welcomed by Hollywood actor Michael Sheen, founder of new scheme, the End High Cost Credit Alliance.

The Twilight and Frost/Nixon actor said: "We share a moral responsibility to help protect vulnerable customers from the harm high-cost credit causes.

"The evidence on the impact on our health and well-being is now overwhelming. We have the evidence. Now we need action."

For each form of credit that someone said they had used in the past two years, those surveyed were asked how trying to keep up with repayments made them feel - such as whether they felt angry, depressed, anxious, ashamed, or guilty.

Nearly half (49%) of credit users who drink alcohol said they drink more as a result of their debt, rising to three in five (62%) among payday loan users.

The report found catalogue credit came out with better scores than some more mainstream forms of credit.

Belfast Telegraph