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April 2007
Vol. 8, no. 4

Perspectives on Labour and Income

Payday loans
Wendy Pyper

  • In 2005, less than 3% of families (353,300) reported having taken out a payday loan within the previous three years. Age was a key factor. Young families were three times more likely to have used payday loans than those aged 35 to 44, after controlling for other family characteristics.
  • Families with $500 or less in their bank account were significantly more likely (2.6 times) to have used payday loans than those with between $2,001 and $8,000. Families behind in bill or loan payments were more than four times as likely to have used payday loans.
  • After controlling for other family characteristics, families without a credit card were more likely to have had a payday loan. Those who had been refused a credit card were over three times as likely.
  • Almost half of families who used payday loans had no one to turn to in the face of financial difficulty, significantly higher than non-users (32%). More than one-quarter reported that they could not handle an unforeseen expenditure of $500, almost four times the rate for non-users (7%). Nearly half of families who used payday loans could not handle an expense of $5,000 (17% for non-users).

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Wendy Pyper is with the Labour and Household Surveys Analysis Division. She can be reached at 613-951-0381 or

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