It’s been hard to miss reports on Sky News over the weekend about payday loans. If you didn’t catch it, they were speaking about concerns that hundreds of websites are being hacked by payday loans companies, and millions of pounds are being made in the process.
Here at Liquid Loans, we have noticed ourselves that the first few pages of Google have been filled with companies which are either brand new or aren’t related to payday loans in anyway. It’s also worrying that customers who may just simply be searching for a loan through Google will be applying on websites through brokers and lenders which are unregulated. So in that respect, we do think it’s good that something might be done to tackle this.
It is disheartening to see the Google search for payday loans at the moment. For those of us who encourage responsible borrowing, and have worked hard over the past few years with SEO etc to rank naturally, it’s scary to see how easily some sites are being hacked, and are able to manipulate Google so successfully.
If you are worried about this, but are looking to take out a payday loan, then there are a few things that you can look out for. Firstly, one of the best things you can do is go by recommendations, either online or from a friend. Also, check that the company has a legitimate UK phone number, which you can call to check they have a proper call centre or customer service team answering the phones. Legitimate companies should also have a valid Consumer Credit License and Company Registration Number which should be clearly displayed on their website.
Another thing that’s important is that you can see their APR displayed clearly, as well as useful and clear information for customers regarding repayments and responsible borrowing.
In terms of a resolution for this, Sky News have said that they have passed on evidence to the OFT regarding the hacking. So, what will this mean for the payday loan industry if it is sorted? Well, hopefully either Google or the OFT will be able to flush out all of these illegitimate companies, and get those companies up on Page one that should be there. They also need to find out who it is that’s hacking the high ranking websites and piggy backing their loan websites onto them.
When Sky News spoke to Google, they said As part of our on-going effort to reduce webspam and return high-quality websites to our users, we are constantly improving our search algorithm to better detect and decrease rankings for sites that we believe are violating Googles quality guidelines and engaging in webspam tactics to manipulate search engine rankings.
So, we’ll just have to wait and see what the outcome of this is, and if any changes are made.
by Gemma Maddock