Payday loans have gone from being a seldom used form of credit to a common means of borrowing, a development that could leave many people deep in unpayable debt.
Founder of Moneymagpie Jasmine Birtles said: "In the last couple of years payday loans have become a lot more mainstream."
However, any suggestion that such lending is simply the last resort of those on low incomes may be inaccurate, as the expert added: "I think you have got people in the higher strata of society – people who are actually on wages and on half decent wages – still going to payday loan companies."
She added that pawnbrokers are also doing well at present, as many consumers are continuing to seek finance but being unable to get it from banks, who are less willing to lend than before.
While some people have reigned in spending on credit for extravagant purchases, not everybody has, with some consumers still regarding it as important to have a large budget for events like Christmas and consequently still paying off what they owe in June and July.
With payday loan rates being notoriously high, even those on good pay may find they get into deep trouble if they fail to clear them by the due date and are hit with rollover charges and soaring interest costs.
Consumers who are in deep debt may find a debt management plan can help, with those owing £15,000 or more potentially being in a position to benefit from an individual voluntary arrangement (IVA), should they be in so bad a position there is no realistic prospect of them paying off what they owe.
The financial safety net report by Bright Grey published earlier this month revealed the average British consumers regards the level of debt that can be considered serious as being close to the level at which an IVA could be sought, at £14,416.
Andrew Smith from Cleardebt says: "There is a role for payday loans as a substitute for the much more expensive un-arranged overdrafts that the mainstream banks offer. But people have to be disciplined and remain in control. And that's what many find difficult."
By Joe White