Payday Loan Statistics South Africa 2024 [Fresh Research]

Payday loans are short-term and high-interest loans designed to provide quick cash support to borrowers during financial emergencies. There are many South Africans who rely on payday loans, especially those who live paycheck to paycheck, struggle with the debt burden, or have bad credit.

Sandra Ti
Finance Journalist
Published: May 29, 2024

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Unlike bank loans, payday loans are easy to approve and provide fast cash. However, they also come with many risks and the fear of predatory lending. So, it is essential to know how payday loans work, who uses them most, and how to use them effectively. RandHub has collected the following 2024 statistics about payday loans in South Africa.

Payday loans statistics of South Africa 2024 Overview

  • 76% of South Africans run out of money before the end of the month, indicating a high demand for short-term or payday loans in the country.
  • Over half of South Africans, a staggering 50%, are financially depleted halfway through the month, underscoring the urgent need for responsible lending practices.
  • DebtBusters reported that up to 84% of respondents who rely on short-term debt desire the ability to access a portion of their income before payday, suggesting continued demand for payday loans in the country.
  • Unfortunately, payday loans often have exorbitant interest rates, pushing vulnerable borrowers into dangerous debt traps. The good thing is that the National Credit Regulator (NCR) regulates payday loans and other short-term borrowing to protect borrowers.
  • Payday loans are legal in South Africa, but strict government intervention and responsible lending practices are needed to protect borrowers from predatory practices.
  • Approx. 50% of South African households currently rely on social grants as their primary source of income. When they need more money, they seek financial help from short-term or payday loans.
  • Payday loans in South Africa range between R100 and R5,000, and interest of up to 50% could be charged.

Payday loans in South Africa: Quick facts

  • Typically, payday loans are short-term, high-interest loans intended to provide fast funding. They are repaid within a shorter period, usually the borrower’s next payday.
  • Payday loans generally offer small amounts, often ranging from R100 and R5,000.
  • Unlike bank loans, payday loans offer a quick and convenient application process that is mainly completed online. Borrowers can apply and receive a decision within a few minutes, providing relief in urgent financial situations.
  • The payday loan eligibility requirements are designed to be less stringent than those for traditional bank loans and other credit products, making them more accessible to a wider range of individuals.
  • It’s important to note that payday loans come with certain risks. They are known for their high interest rates, shorter repayment terms, and the potential to trap borrowers in a cycle of debt if not managed carefully.
  • Unlike traditional banks, payday loan lenders accept people with limited credit history or bad credit ratings. They focus more on the borrower’s ability to repay the loan, understanding that past financial difficulties may not necessarily reflect their current situation.

How Many People Use Payday Loans in South Africa?

In 2024, 76% of adult South Africans had taken out a payday loan to meet the cash shortage arising during the month’s middle or end. In South Africa, men are more likely to take out a payday loan than women, but with a minimal gender margin.

Despite the high popularity of payday loans in SA, some specific demographics are more likely to use payday loans than others, including:

  • South Africans who are unbanked or don’t have access to traditional bank accounts.
  • People with limited or bad credit history. Payday loans are also a favourable credit option for blacklisted individuals.
  • People who earn lower incomes or live on Social Grants provided by the government of South Africa.
  • Individuals aged 25-44, parents of minor children, and those earning less than R5,000 are more likely to access payday or short-term loans.
  • Payday loans target people stuck in short and emergency financial trouble.

Age Breakdown of Payday Loan Borrowers in South Africa:

The 18- to 25-year-old age group, a significant demographic, is more likely to take out a payday loan in South Africa, with a staggering 30% applying in 2024. They are closely followed by the 26- to 35-year-old age group (35%) and the middle-aged adult group of 36 to 50 years (25%).

The likelihood of applying for a payday loan decreases by only 10% in the 51-year-old age group compared to the 36-50 age group.

Summarizing the data, it is evident that young adults aged 18-25 are not just frequent, but the most dominant users of payday loans in South Africa. This underscores the need for targeted interventions to address this issue.

Age group % of payday loan borrowers in SA
18-25 30%
26-35 35%
36-50 25%
51 and above 10%

Sources: Grand View Research, CFPB Data, and Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Why Do South Africans Use Payday Loans?

For many South Africans, payday loans serve as a crucial lifeline during short-term cash emergencies or unexpected expenses. These loans are often sought when all other financial avenues have been exhausted, providing a sense of relief in challenging times.

While payday loans may seem like a quick and easy solution, they often come with exorbitant interest rates and additional fees. This can trap borrowers in a cycle of debt, making them a risky choice despite their convenience.

According to a recent independent survey, approximately 76% of South Africans admitted to taking out payday loans to cover outstanding bills before their next pay date. Some common reasons of choosing payday loans or short-term loans by South Africans include:

Reasons of taking out a payday loan in 2024 % of South Africans
To cover everyday expenses, e.g. food, transport, bills, socialising 20%
To pay off a debt 14%
Home improvements 14%
Unexpected expense, e.g. broken boiler or car 14%
One-off large expense, e.g. a holiday, car, wedding 11%
Main reasons for taking out a payday loan 2022 7%
To pay for medical treatment(s) 2%
To make payments to gambling sites 1%

Payday Loan Alternatives in South Africa

If you’re facing unexpected expenses and require money as soon as possible, payday loans aren’t the only option to get cash fast. Many payday loan alternatives in South Africa escape you from such conditions:

  • Personal loans from traditional banks: Major South African banks, like Capitec and FNB, offer affordable personal loans with favourable interest rates. You can apply for such loans and escape from high-interest rate payday loans.
  • Borrow from credit unions: Getting loan from credit unions is one of the best way borrow money at lower rates of interest. There is no early repayment penalties or fees and eligibility requirements also lenient. Top South African credit unions are Stokvel and Savings and Credit Cooperatives (SACCOs).
  • Government social grants: According to a study, 47% of South Africans rely on social grants provided by the SA government. The South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) spent R232 Billion on social grants to eligible individuals in 2023-24.
  • Salary advance loan: A salary advance is a small loan in which employees borrow their next paycheck early from their employers or organizations. Remember, it is not a loan but a good way to borrow money compared to a payday loan.
  • Debt counselling services: Debt counselling organizations such as the National Debt Counselors’ Association (NDCA) offer expert financial advice and counselling services to help individuals become more financially literate, effectively manage their finances, and avoid high-interest loans. Individuals get educated, manage their finances effectively, and avoid high-interest loans.

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