Lenders Compared: Site Traffic Rankings & More (Data Updated for Jan 2018)

Lenders

Western Circle: CashFloat, Payday Loans Net, PeraLoans and Quick Loans Express

Western Circle
History and Ownership

Western Circle Ltd is based in London and was incorporated back in March 2011. This company operates through 4 lending brands. The most well known of the pack is CashFloat, whilst the others are Payday Loans Net, PeraLoans and Quick Loans Express. CashFloat has been progressing well locally and this brand has interestingly expanded to Spain (as has PeraLoans). Each are based out in Barcelona and were rolled out in 2017. Western’s corporate site is a little outdated where it states that they have helped 4000+ people. On the Spanish LinkedIn pages that were each recently compiled they however note 20,000+ customers. This is still pretty small compared to the subprime giants with 1 million+ customers.

Float and Pera have been operating since 2014. QLE was taken over from a broker in 2015 and then we have PDNet that is the owner’s latest project that popped up in 2017. The product specs across the range are pretty similar. Both payday and instalment terms are targeted. CashFloat’s search engine rankings are up there with the very best of them and their traffic stats are continually improving with the top 10 now having been cracked. The switch overseas to Spain has been an interesting approach. They may be struggling to compete with Wonga over there where newcomers can at this time benefit from a free first time loan when repaid within 15 days.

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Quidie (Ltd): Fernovo and Quidie Online Lending

Quidie
History and Ownership

Croydon-based Quidie Ltd was incorporated in June 2012, but they wouldn’t become active until 2014. Market progression was pretty steady, but Google Trends data shows that there has been a spike across 2017. This coincides with a revamped product and ads being displayed in Google search. Whilst this was going on, we saw the launch of Fernovo. This new project has got off to a good start through extensive advertising across Facebook. It does appear that this fresh venture has already took command as the owner’s central brand especially since Quidie’s site content has either become outdated or they have opted to not upgrade to match the new project specs. This will be examined further below.

The delayed time before this firm would begin trading was seen as quite a strange timing to enter the market as a payday lender, since this launch occurred shortly after the FCA’s price cap had just kicked in. This was a time when monthly firms were quickly adapting to instalments. They would however finally make the switch with both active companies now targeting longer periods. An upgrade has also been put forward on pricing where there is now a competitive interest rate of just 0.5% daily. This already helps to place them ahead of many top lenders in the pricing department. 2018 looks promising, but it will be critical to keep up their recent promotional push.

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PDL Finance: Mr Lender

PDL Finance
History and Ownership

Company founder Adam Freeman entered The Apprentice show as a candidate between September and October 2008. The decision was however soon taken to withdraw from the process that left a frustrated Alan Sugar hitting out that the entrepreneur had “Bottled It”. This received plenty of press at the time. Whether or not it is true that he indeed bottled it, the decision taken was certainly the right one to take. PDL Finance Ltd was created soon after on Halloween 2008. From this came the sole brand (Mr Lender) that received its full launch in February 2009. This soon became a highly successful venture that achieved an £8.4 million profit before tax across 2014.

Ongoing profits were naturally dented from the FCA’s price capping that was felt by all of the major brands including Wonga. As a result, the original payday loan term was adapted to target instalment periods where greater profits are potentially up for grabs. This Loughton-based financial group now employs over 180 staff. No specifics are provided on their current user base. We are aware that they have to date issued over £100 million worth of loans. They have a loyal Facebook following with over 11,300 fans and you can also see how active they are on Reviews.co.uk where they have managed to attract over 21,500 feedback (scoring from this an impressive 98%).

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DJS (UK): PiggyBank

DJS (UK)
History and Ownership

Christchurch-based DJS (UK) Ltd was formed in April 2012 and in the same month followed the launch of PiggyBank. The founder (Dan Ware) is otherwise known for the creation of the BeFriend app that connects locals based on shared interests. Piggy’s initial approach was to operate as a peer-to-peer payday loan solution. This concept proved unsuccessful in the subprime sector for them and also The Lending Well. Whilst that competitor closed down, DJS (UK) simply adapted to lend themselves. Their service today caters both short and long term borrowing needs and it has become very popular in recent years where we have seen TV adverts rolled out to support their strong search engine rankings.

This company is always likely to pop up on that first page for big money keyword terms such as “Payday Loans”. The TV ads have been tested out since late 2016 that were created by Platinum Videos and Square Elephant. The first 2016 ad in particular looks to have been a big success on the promotional front. If you view this on YouTube you’ll see that it has notched up 87,000 views. The collective promotion has helped this lender to mix it up with the leading providers. They were on a previous check the 6th most visited site in the payday sector. Their ranking does fluctuate, but they always seem to be mixing it up with the big names.

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Indigo Michael: SafetyNet Credit and Tappily

Indigo Michael
History and Ownership

Indigo Michael Ltd was incorporated in July 2011 and they later launched with ClearAccount in 2012. The SafetyNet Credit brand (although referenced as 2012) was introduced in 2014. Both sites were lending for a short while, but the decision was then taken to drop ClearAccount for loans and use it as a financial tool only. Its purpose now is to help enable people to understand their finances better and to see how potential lenders view their banking data. SafetyNet’s market growth in recent years can’t be matched by anyone. Just Wonga now does better for traffic, but they spend vast amounts on TV advertising plus they started out in 2007.

TV and web advertising hasn’t been invested in as yet. Their explosive growth appears to have been guided from a mixture of things such as their 2015 Alternative Lender of the Year award, favourable online reviews and word of mouth recommendations. This has boosted their user base to 276,000. Innovation has certainly been proven here through their impressive overdraft protection that protects from those nasty banking fees. Then there is also a flexible line of credit facility available to all and their interest cap. Tech is provided in-house by Account Technologies whilst they also work with Yodlee. Update: We have now added Tappily to this page that is a fresh 2017 release.

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Elevate Credit: Sunny

Elevate Credit
History and Ownership

Elevate Credit Inc is based in Fort Worth (Texas) and primarily operates in the United States under Elastic and Rise. Here in the UK they are actively trading under Sunny that runs through the Elevate Credit International Ltd subsidiary. There are 2 noted local offices based in Bury St Edmunds and London. Across the 3 owner’s brands there are just over 1.7 million customers. Elevate’s identity itself is still quite fresh with the owner having rebranded from Think Finance that went through in 2014. Their history dates as far back as 2001. Sunny was introduced in 2013 although this was a reboot of 1 Month Loan who had been operating since 2004.

1 Month Loan was started up by Fortress Group (UK) Ltd, but then came the acquisition from the American giant. Throughout the years the man in charge of the operation has been Ken Rees. Sunny’s site exists on its own today, but it should be noted that they also operated as Quid that was later closed. The idea has no doubt been to push everything at the core project. Sunny’s market growth will have surprised many. In the instalment comparison we have now seen them take the 2nd spot (now only trailing Wonga). They aren’t that far away from the market leader as well that shows that those huge ad spends are certainly working to their advantage.

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Provident Financial: Provident and Satsuma Loans

Provident Financial
History and Ownership

Bradford’s Provident Financial Plc (identified as Provident Financial Group or PFG) delivers subprime personal credit products across a range of markets. They boast a remarkable level of industry experience with Joshua Waddilove having created the original company in 1880. Doorstep lending is at their core. In those early beginnings they would hand out vouchers that could be exchanged for coal, clothing or food. Collections were then made weekly. They have always been the clear market leader in the home credit market operating as Provident. This is itself a trading name of Provident Personal Credit that is also used as their site address. Satsuma Loans was launched in 2013 essentially as the online equivalent of their doorstep business.

Vanquis Bank is their credit card business and they also own Moneybarn who delivers car finance. A few projects have been closed down noting their guarantor brand GLO. Then there was also Greenwood that saw its exit in April 2014. Greenwood was an early competitor formed in Ashton in 1877 that they acquired in 1977 when they had hit their 100th year. Today the Group collectively serves just over 2.4 million customers. Vanquis has the lion’s share of 1.6 million, Provident’s share is 731,000, Satsuma’s is 66,000 and Moneybarn has 46,000. They did have an international business that they opted to sell off. This company now renamed International Personal Finance also has 2.4 million customers spread across 11 international markets.

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Curo Financial Technologies: Juo Loans and WageDayAdvance

Curo Financial Technologies
History and Ownership

Curo Financial Technologies Corp (styled as CURO) previously operated as Speedy Group Holdings Corp. There are no details on this switch, but we believe it took place a few months into 2016. The original company was established in 1997 and they are headed in Wichita, Kansas. They have a network of around 300 stores across their home country and Canada. There was also 13 stores in the UK under Speedy Cash, but these all closed in August 2017. Their network is mostly made up of Cash Money and Speedy Cash outlets. The Speedy brand ventured to Britain in 2010. They would go on to serve 23 locations as well as operating online.

Things didn’t quite work out as planned though and their local retail portfolio is a thing of the past as is their online service. At the route case of this collapse was price capping although the owner doesn’t seem to have faced problems in Canada and the United States where there are various caps and strict rulings in place. What has kept the financial giant here was their savvy acquisition of WageDayAdvance in 2013. This company was founded by Dale Chapman in 2004 and over the years they have emerged as one of the UK’s premier subprime lenders. WDA that runs under the subsidiary of Curo Transatlantic Ltd was recently supplemented by Juo Loans in 2017.

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Morses Club (Plc): Dot Dot Loans and Morses Club

Morses Club
History and Ownership

Morses Club Plc has been one to watch for some time. Their major step forward was the merge of their own doorstep loan company with Shopacheck. This deal penned in March 2015 helped to apply a little more pressure on the market leader (Provident). Recently in March 2017 we saw the launch of Dot Dot Loans that is an online offering targeting instalment terms. It is good to see the owner’s ambition to attack the competitive online space. They do have valued experience behind them. Their roots date back to the year 1878 through a general drapery store in Swindon owned by Mr Levi Morse. This entrepreneur would one day venture into politics.

Before this it was all hectic business including expansion of several department stores and in time selling goods to people from their homes on weekly credit. It is referenced that they have 80 years of home collected credit experience today. It is true that they never made a major impact on doorstep lending themselves. Shopacheck was always the closest competitor to Provident. Obviously, the merge helped to create a much stronger rival. They now have around 216,000 customers and employ 2000 self-employed agents as well as having 620 employees who are based across over 60 branches. Their coverage across England is good and then they have built out some locations in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

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MyJar (Ltd): MyJar

MyJar
History and Ownership

MyJar Ltd is the team behind this brand (styled as MYJAR). This identity was rolled out in 2013 after the rebranding of TxtLoan who had been trading since back in 2009. There was a few founders involved at start-up. The key man was Gert Koppel who has since moved on to new projects. In subprime lending he has otherwise been involved with Creditstar (hired only). Kristjan Novitski was also a co-founder. He is well known in the space through the Peachy loan brand. The original TxtLoan service pioneered the text loan niche. There is no longer any ability to apply by SMS, but you can repay this way and they do require a phone for verification and ongoing communication.

The London-based agency SomeOne was brought in for the revamp. They carried out a great job on the design front that you’ll see when checking out the site. As it stands, this lender has issued more than 2 million loans with £405 million having been lent since formation. Unsurprisingly, they have emerged as one of the UK’s top instalment loan providers. In our recent comparison they took the 6th ranking spot and were very close to Lending Stream in 5th. Future progress is expected in light of recent investment in TV advertising. They had previously took a more minimal approach to promotion growing through word of mouth and listings on various comparison sites.

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