Wonga: New 90 Day Loans and the £3 Million Con
Update: Fixed 3 Month Product Released.
2015 has been a Year to Forget for Wonga.com and November has certainly been an eventful month for the market leader. It was announced in this month that 90 day loans were being piloted for existing customers and a news article was also circulating surrounding the £3 million fraud trial taking place at the Old Bailey. We’ll begin with the product expansion that we expected to come sooner or later. Alike most other lenders who have already adapted, they’ll now have the opportunity to increase profits by keeping users on longer agreements. One key difference here should be seen in flexibility that should hand borrowers with the repayment choice of 1 up to 90 days.
This is an improvement on most instalment firms who tend to offer selections that rise in monthly blocks. First time applicants will see the usual short term selections, whilst returning customers will be able to see the added options once logged in to their accounts. This development has only initially been extended to returning users, in their words to “Deliver positive outcomes”. In essence, they are looking to test the waters with fully vetted customers that will allow them to crunch data and generate profit forecasts more effectively. The chances are high that everyone should soon be able to access 90 selections on application. There is added incentive to do this to improve their falling financials.
To help them achieve this they’ll be meeting the 0.8% daily industry cap across every term available. As a result they will be quite an expensive instalment loan choice since there are a few firms who charge less than 0.3%. Moving on, in November we learnt of the court case that was taking place at the Old Bailey. Whilst they weren’t at fault for being attacked by fraudsters, this is a bad news story for the lender since it highlights that there was a vulnerability in their algorithm. They have been considered as pioneers in the technology field and so it is pretty confusing to learn that they were conned for £3 million.
What is known so far is that the fake loan applications were processed for 19,013 unsuspecting members of the public. Their details had been hijacked and sold to the defendants (Kelvin Okusanya and his gang). This was in a list that included their names, addresses, debit card numbers, mobile number etc. The funds were issued to bank accounts that had nothing to do with the people named in the loan applications. Repayments were however reportedly collected from some of the accounts of the victims and so whether details were changed or you could enter 2 different accounts is unclear. What was bizarre was that every fraudulent application used the exact same password “Bengali90” that surely should have been detected.
There has been known cases of fraudulent payday loans over the years, but certainly nothing quite on the grand scale of this. The vulnerability has been noted as being a historical issue that was fixed in June 2013. It was surely only going to be a matter of time before enough victims came forward to bring this story to light. With this in mind, it came as quite a surprise on hearing that the gang wasn’t operating from overseas. Many in fact resided in London! It should be added that the main defendant (Kelvin Okusanya) denies fraud in this case that is ongoing at this time. Updates will follow as we learn more.