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More British Columbians using payday loans these days: report

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Payday loan usage in BC up nearly 60 per cent, says VanCity

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – They’re often viewed as a move of desperation or a last resort — payday loans.

A new report from VanCity suggests the use of these near-instant cash grabs is up big time in BC.

“Between 2012 and 2014, payday loan usage in BC jumped by nearly 60 per cent. British Columbians are probably amongst the highest users in the country,” says Linda Morris with VanCity.

Fees and interest associated with those loans grew by 19 per cent to more than $84 million during the same period.

“What’s even more troubling, I think, is that we’re seeing people in BC using more than 15 payday loans [per year] and that’s gone up by more than 600 per cent,” says Morris.

She notes most loan users are employed and have a post-secondary education.

“Fifty-four per cent of them are looking to these loans just to cover day-to-day emergency experiences that just take place. A car breaks down and they need to have that car to go to work,” she explains.

“[It’s because of] affordability, cost of living… they need something for their home or it’s something as basic as rent. People are really challenged.”

She also tells us this province has the highest rate of working-age people living in poverty.