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

DFC Global: Payday Express, PaydayUK and The Money Shop

DFC Global
Payday Express and PaydayUK have now closed down. The Money Shop has also closed their business online and will now only provide an in-store service. We’ll be covering an updated list of closed firms soon to cover more details on this major closure.

History and Ownership

In early 2017 the news circulated that DFC Global Corp was seeking a buyer for Dollar Financial UK Ltd (known as Dollar UK). Several months have passed and there has been no update on this proposed sale. We’ll report back on any developments. The current owner was established in 1979 originally as the Monetary Management Corporation and they are based in Malvern, Pennsylvania. They are in fact under the control of Lone Star Funds, but this is a private equity firm that merely invests into the group. DFC has been a major player in retail lending through an impressive network of 1300 stores. Around 10 million customers are served worldwide.

Money Mart is a key brand active in Canada and the States. They also have projects in Finland, Poland, Romania, Spain and Sweden. It is however the British industry that has proved their biggest market (until recently anyway). The Money Shop was the first British company acquired in 1999. Payday Express followed in 2009 and PaydayUK joined the family in 2011. There are also a few pawnbroker shops owned that includes Duncanson & Edwards, Robert Biggar, Suttons & Robertsons and TGS Pawnbrokers. Dollar Financial UK was crafted as the British arm of the owner based at Cardinal House in Nottingham. The Instant Cash Loans Ltd subsidiary is used for all loan sites.

Info: Payday Express Loans

www.paydayexpress.co.uk (Closed)

Payday Express Loans

Express Finance (Bromley) Ltd was incorporated way back in September 1999. It is believed that they got under way with a small lending store in Bromley, later expanding to the web in 2003. This British firm was sold on to DFC in April 2009. This deal made great sense at a time when online payday lending was starting to gather real traction in the UK. This business has been run smoothly with many years of experience now notched up. Brand popularity has tended to float just about average as time has passed. Unlike the other group companies, there has been no TV ad campaigns here that has limited their growth potential.

Historically a simple monthly product was packaged at www.paydayexpress.co.uk. This has since morphed into a highly flexible instalment product with a 1 to 12 month term spread. The sums are £100 to £2000 although there are term restrictions imposed depending on the amount selected. A £100 monthly loan costs £24. For £300 the charge would be £143.40 over 3 months and £213.60 over 6. For £1000 per year you’d pay £768.08. The customer support hours are Monday to Friday (8am-7pm) and Saturday (9am-4pm). The depositing schedule is 9am to 6pm during the week, 10am to 5pm on Saturdays and 5pm on Sundays. Existing customers can in this instance receive funding 7/7.

Info: PaydayUK Loans

www.paydayuk.co.uk (Closed)

PaydayUK Loans

PaydayUK (aka Payday UK and PDUK) was setup by MEM Consumer Finance Ltd back in August 2003. This firm became the first major payday lender, later competing for dominance with QuickQuid and Wonga. In more recent years they have lost out and are not quite the heavyweight they once were. Their decline in the short term sector is evident from several competitors surpassing their Alexa rank (on the instalment side they even sit outside the top 15). They do however still perform very well in Google search and there is still investment in TV ad campaigning. Whilst they remain a greater force than Express, The Money Shop has emerged as the Dollar’s core brand.

It helps that they have a retail presence and borrowers can importantly get a cheaper loan deal there. It isn’t quite clear why there isn’t price matching across the trio. The service available here has took on the same changes as Express has. This means that you’ll see the same 1 to 12 month terms, the funding levels up to £2000, matched costs and support hours. The slight difference is seen in depositing times that instead are processed on the hour between 4am and midnight for any reloan requests made via the PaydayUK login. This is a key benefit especially for those likely to request funds on Sundays.

Info: The Money Shop Loans

www.themoneyshop.com (Alexa UK Rank: #34,459)

The Money Shop Loans

The Money Shop’s first store was opened in Nottingham back in 1996. The acquisition came not long after this in 1999. The peak of their network stretched to 550 stores and the plan was to go much higher. However, the FCA’s aggressive stance on payday lending including that daily price cap put a firm end to the owner’s lofty retail ambition and we witnessed a major downsize to 230. They have at least managed to weather the storm and those remaining have been taking on a rebrand from the famous yellow styling to white. They’ll be happy to have seen the recent closure of their high street rival Cheque Centre.

You’ll find the same £100 to £2000 loan range here, but they have shifted away from short term lending now offering 3 to 12 months. There was actually until recently a personal loan product available in 51 stores. The section for this has now been taken down whereby they headed £5000 max at 84.9% APR. Through retail there are such options as cheque cashing, foreign exchange, pawnbroking etc. There is a guarantor section online, but they refer here for George Banco. Alike PDUK they process hourly between 4am and midnight. Lower instalment charges stands out here. For £300 you pay £113.40 (3m) or £159.36 (6m). Any term above is priced as the others.

Reviews: Feefo, Review Centre, Reviews and Trustpilot

All 3 companies score favourably on Trustpilot. PaydayUK came out best scoring 93% (3500+ feedback), TMS hit 92% (2740+) whilst Payday Express also manage 92%, but from a 1530+. From a few minutes scanning through the pages, it was the quality of the support team and the speed to payout that were praised the most. PaydayUK’s score on Review Centre was low at just 36% that was from around 90 reviewers who tended to criticise document requests after approval, declines on reloans etc. It is worth adding that over the years the various DFC owned sites haven’t been known for negative press in the media as we’ve seen with QuickQuid and Wonga.

Similar Lenders

In the recent instalment lender comparison we listed 50 firms. Many of which tend to target the same kind of terms carrying a similar ballpark on pricing and so picking out similar companies is tricky. MyJar, Satsuma Loans and Sunny are competitors that have gone on to attract the same level of popularity. H&T Pawnbrokers is a good alternative on the flexibility side extending to 2 years.

The Plus Points

DFC Global looks set to sell off Dollar Financial before the year is out. Whoever goes on to take control will acquire 3 established and highly experienced brands. The flexibility overhaul that enables terms up to a year has been a decent upgrade. Pricing is perhaps the main area where improvements could be made. As it stands, The Money Shop scores the best in the pricing department over 3 and 6 months and they also happen to be the longest running British lender now with over 20 years behind them. For monthly borrowing, PaydayUK would be preferential over Express since they process high volume leads plus their deposits are more frequent.

Last Updated: January 5th, 2018.