The Anonymous Widower

Wonga Gets Its Calculations Wrong

I have just reread Some Financial Ramblings About Wonga, which I wrote in 2012.

This was a paragraph.

So this all makes me think that at some time, Wonga will be unable to sustain the current growth. Especially, if legislation to limit their interest rates of over two thousand percent was passed by parliament

The legislation didn’t happen, but publicity around a 2,000 percent interest rate didn’t help.

I used to part-own a finance .company and know from personal experience, that with such a company cash-flow is very easy to predict to the penny.

So when Wonga lost its sheen a few years ago, I suspect that the owners should have seen the writing on the wall.

Mathematics doesn’t lie!

But they didn’t and only last week, a group of mugs poured £10million on the fire.


August 31, 2018 Posted by | Finance | | 2 Comments

Funding Circle Does Underground Adverts

The three big peer-to-peer lenders; Funding Circle, Ratesetter and Zopa, tend to rely on newspaper and magazine articles, and personal recommendations to spread their message.

So I was surprised to see this advert for Funding Circle on the Underground.

Funding Circle Does Underground Adverts

Funding Circle Does Underground Adverts

I don’t think occasional Underground adverts have the kiss of death that is associated with covering large numbers of buses with advertising. Could their bus advertising have anything to do with the falling reputation of Wonga. Or as with films, does blanket advertising of a product, show up the real turkeys?

August 10, 2014 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Where Did It All Go Wronga

This is the title of an article in the Sunday Times about Wonga, which describes how the company is not doing as well as it was and isn’t heading for world domination any more.

The article blames the usual reasons for the decline; bad publicity, hostile politicians and regulators, which is probably partly true.

But I’ll throw in another reason.

Wonga undoubtedly has world class technology as Robert Peston said here.

But as in my time, I’ve been a programmer at the top of my profession, I know that it is difficult to stop competitors imitating what you have done.

So I do wonder if other lenders with a higher moral stance, have got their technical act together, so that they have reduced the size of Wonga’s territory.

It may be now, that if you ask a reputable financial institution, by using similar and possibly better technology than Wonga, the result of your loan application is given earlier. And of course in some of those decisions, lenders will get their loans.

All the fuss about Wonga, may have persuaded people that there are better ways to organise your finances.

So it looks like Wonga’s bubble has been pricked!

June 8, 2014 Posted by | Finance, World | , | Leave a comment

Archbishop In Cloud Cuckoo Land

This story about how Justin Welby aims to compete Wonga out of business, is on the BBC today. Here’s the jist.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has warned the online lender Wonga that the Church of England plans to force it out of business – by competing against it.

He may have laudible aims, but like the poor, loan sharks, where legal or not, will always be with us.

What the people who use Wonga need is money and if everybody supported credit unions, that wouldn’t give any money directly to those who need it.

Credit unions, like all responsible lenders, don’t lend money to those who would be unable or unwilling to pay it back.

July 25, 2013 Posted by | Finance, News | , , , , | 4 Comments

Cissé’s Stand On Wonga

Papiss Cissé is adamant he won’t wear a Wonga-branded shirt, as reported here in the Guardian.

I support his stand.

I would like to see a law, where all loan companies from the banks, through peer-to-peer lenders to the legal loan sharks, have to publish the amount of money they lend in various parts of the country.

That way we could see if shirt sponsorship was a good idea for lenders.

July 19, 2013 Posted by | Finance, Sport, Transport, World | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

What Do You Get When You Cross Zopa With Wonga?

At a first glance Zopa and Wonga are at the two ends of the financial spectrum, when it comes to borrowing and lending money.

Zopa, Funding Circle and Ratesetter, and probably a few other peer-to-peer lenders in the UK and around the rest of the world, take in money from those who want a bit more interest on their savings and lend it out to those who after a series of rigorous checks, look like they might be able to repay it.

I have seen figures which show that peer-to-peer lending grew by 300% in the last year and has now lent over half a billion pounds. So they must be doing something right! On a personal note, although my return has dropped a bit in the last year, I still get nearly five percent on my money invested in Zopa before tax, after taking into account all charges and bad debts.

Wonga and the other payday lenders probably lend a lot of their money to people who’d never qualify for a loan from Zopa and their peers. The interest rates are a lot higher and the terms are generally not as favourable as those offered by Zopa.

In some ways what unites Wonga and Zopa is their efficient systems, backed by state-of-the-art computing. Robert Peston talked about Wonga’s systems in this article.

eMoneyUnion is a new peer-to-peer lender, which could be thought as a company, that takes the best practice of Zopa and Wonga and combines them to create a company that can lend to those who wouldn’t get a Zopa loan, but also gives a good return to its investors. This article is about the launch of the company.

So it would appear that eMoneyUnion could be the cross between Zopa and Wonga!

Let’s hope it all works out well.  I shall be investing.

July 9, 2013 Posted by | Business, Finance | , , , , | Leave a comment

Robert Peston On Wonga

Everybody and especially politicians of a certain colour, love to hate Wonga.  I have little time for them, every since I saw a presentation by one of their founders at an Internet awards ceremony.

But Robert Peston in this article on the BBC web site, asks whether we look at Wonga through the wrong set of glasses. This is the first two paragraphs.

In many ways is an impressive, even admirable business (and please resist your temptation to send me hate mail – I am feeling delicate).

It is, for example, funded exclusively with equity capital, or £100m genuinely at risk of being lost if things go wrong.

The article also says that as it takes no deposits, it can’t suffer a run and be bankrupted, as effectively happened to Northern Rock.  And will probably happen to other banks in the near future.

Remember, I used to part-own a finance company and did a lot of analysis of the dynamics of the loan business.  Hence my admiration for the Zopa model, which I think is very stable.  I said that here in a lot of detail.

Obviously, Wonga did a lot of analysis on their data and this has led them to their success, as they have the right model and technology. Peston says Wonga’s technology is world class.  If banks such as RBS, Northern Rock and Bradford and Bingley had had world-class technology, they might not have gone bust.

Most of the comments on the article, seem to say Wonga and their ilk should be banned.

But you’re going for an easy target, that plays well in the media.

The real problem with Wonga, is the appalling level of financial education in this country, which means that people succumb to the charms of the likes of Wonga.

If people knew how to manage their money better, there’d be no need for Wonga. But that doesn’t happen to people until they’ve had at least one financial crisis!

June 27, 2013 Posted by | Business, Finance, World | | 2 Comments

Wonga Fraud Claims Grow

The BBC Watchdog programme is reporting increasing fraud based around Wonga. Here’s the introduction.

There’s been a growing number of complaints from victims about bank fraud, according to the BBC’s Watchdog programme.

It says it has heard from more than 350 people who claim their accounts have been raided for loans they didn’t take out.

They include 16-year-old student Simon Oliver from East Sussex.

“I was at Gatwick airport on a school trip and went to pay for some food and my card didn’t work,” he said.

It strikes me, that Wonga aren’t doing their checks correctly, as obviously, the sixteen year old, who was defrauded shouldn’t have been able to take out a long.

One point is that, the money has been loaned to a different bank account to the one where the payments are taken.

Surely, Wonga, do check bank accounts thoroughly! It looks like they don’t!

I just checked with a guy I know, who’s run finance companies and only in very rare circumstances, would you send the loan to one account and get the repayments for another. Usually, it was a commercial loan, where Director’s guarantees were involved.

I’ve not heard of this fraud being perpetrated on a reputable loan company.

May 1, 2013 Posted by | Finance, World | , , | 3 Comments

Fraudsters Are Targeting Wonga Customers

I have never used Wonga and I never will, but I received this e-mail supposedly from them this morning.

Customer Satisfaction Survey 2013

At, we sincerely value your opinions.
As part of our continuous improvement process, we’re conducting a survey to benchmark the opinions of our customers.

We will use the resulting information to better serve the needs of our customers.

We kindly ask you to take part in our quick and easy 3 questions customer survey. In return, we won’t charge you ANY INTEREST on your next loan application!

Here is how you proceed:
• Download your personal survey attached to this email.
• Select the desired answers on your survey.
• Log in to your account to validate your survey.
We thank you in advance for your time and effort in making Wonga the best payday lender in the United Kingdom.

Sincerely, Customer Service
Message ID:

I wasn’t sure if it was phishing spam or something from the company, which has used one of my e-mail addresses.

So I did what you should always do with this type of message and used Google to search for “Wonga 2013 2013 customer satisfaction survey”

I found this page. So it’s a phish and of course fraudulent!

In some ways it’s rather ironic, that a rather dodgy company in my view, is being used as a hook by criminals to get mugs for their frauds.

February 1, 2013 Posted by | Computing, Finance | , , , | 2 Comments

To Notting Hill For a Pizza

As a coeliac, I don’t get to eat pizza very often.  In fact the last time, I ate one, was in Naples in 2009. But that was rather special in that the restaurant was one of the best in that wonderful city in Italy.

Otto Pizza is a short walk from Notting Hill Gate station. I found it on the web last night, after I felt that after seeing the poster in La Porchetta, that I ought to have found gluten-free pizza in the over two years, that I’ve lived in London.

So this lunchtime, I took the Underground to Notting Hill Gate station and then got a 328 bus to outside the restaurant at the Artesian Road stop. Not only did I have a delicious double-flavour pizza, I had a gluten-free beer as well.

The only problem was that streams of Wonga-encrusted buses kept stopping outside.

In fact in one short period of time, of the eight buses that stopped, five had adverts for the barely-legal loan shark.  And of the three that didn’t, one was a half-size bus and the other was still an advertising virgin, unmarked by commerce.

As to the unusual pancetta and sprout pizza, it was something I liked a lot.  But C, would have really turned up her nose at the Grapes of the Devil.

This is a restaurant that deserves to succeed big time, if only because it doesn’t follow the rule book laid down by big chains.

December 31, 2012 Posted by | Food, Transport, World | , , , , | 3 Comments