When you borrow money for a car or a house, the rate of interest you pay is normally one of the first things you consider: what is the interest rate you will pay, and is it fixed or fluctuating? So why is it that so many lenders – especially those who advertise ‘personal loans’ by direct mail – don’t mention their rates of interest on their advertisements and brochures? It is not just the rats and mice of the financial sector that do this – it includes members of the big banking operators.

Making the interest clear in the adverts should really be a legal requirement. And the interest rate should be expressed in a common way, so that consumers can compare the rate offered by one lender with the rate offered by another (in the knowledge that we are comparing “apples with apples”).  In the United Kingdom, banks and other lenders must express their interest rates in terms of Annual Percentage Rate (APR), to make loans from different lenders comparable.


This would stop lenders from advertising their loans by saying only how many rands per month you will have to repay.  This monthly amount is, of course, something that you will need to know before applying for the loan – but you may not even pursue the application if the interest rate is clearly stated and looks higher than the competition.  An important consumer right is the Right to Choose – by not allowing you to compare prices easily, a lender is making it difficult for you to exercise this right.  And any practice that does this needs to stop.


If you have a complaint about a…

Bank – speak to the Ombudsman for Banking Services on
Micro-lender – speak to the Micro Finance Regulatory Council on
Misleading advertising – speak to the Advertising Standards Authority on

Show some interest
Consumer Articles home page


Page 12a