New standards will reduce costs for consumers and set industry benchmark
MANITOBA, Nov. 13 /CNW/ - Rentcash Inc. ("Rentcash") (TSX:RCS) has set
another benchmark for the payday advance industry with new measures in
Manitoba to protect consumers, reduce costs for consumers, and improve
industry transparency for consumers. These measures have been announced to
coincide with the commencement today of Public Utilities Board hearings in
Manitoba regarding maximum charges for payday loans.
With 26 "The Cash Store" and "Instaloans" outlets operating in Manitoba,
Rentcash is one of the largest suppliers of payday advance products in the
province, servicing nearly 30,000 Manitobans each year.
Rentcash was one of the first Canadian companies to eliminate rollovers
from its payday loan product mix.
Rentcash's new measures to protect consumers and reduce their loan costs
include the following:
- The elimination of all NSF charges
- A flat one-time only default fee of $25, the lowest in the industry
- A Loyalty Pays program that reduces costs for repeat customers
- Financial planning resources and credit counseling information
available in stores and online
- A credit rebuilding program for customers with strong repayment
"Rentcash has been a longstanding advocate of consumer protection
measures for the payday loan industry. Through the Public Utilities Board
process we have learned that the broad array of industry fee structures can be
confusing to consumers who want to comparison shop. We have also learned that
default fees, and when they might be charged may not always be anticipated by
users of payday loans. On this basis, we reviewed our practices and made some
changes," said Gordon J. Reykdal, Chairman and CEO of Rentcash Inc.
"We are a Canadian company with the largest corporately-owned network of
payday advance outlets in Canada. We feel an obligation to take a lead role in
setting industry standards in this competitive market. We are particularly
proud of our decision to eliminate NSF charges and implement the lowest
default fee in the industry. We believe strongly that these measures will
improve transparency and reduce costs for consumers," added Mr. Reykdal.
"While we don't believe that the Public Utilities Board should set
restrictive rate caps which would hamper our ability to provide our customers
with the services they expect and request, we believe firmly that industry and
government have an obligation to protect consumers. These new measures send a
strong signal about the strength of our convictions," said Mr. Reykdal. "We
encourage other industry players to review their practices and make changes
where they can."
Rentcash is the only payday advance broker in Canada publicly traded on
the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX:RCS). Rentcash operates 421 stores across
Canada under three banners: The Cash Store, Instaloans and Insta-rent.
The Cash Store and Instaloans act as brokers to facilitate payday advance
services to income-earning consumers and provide two private-label debit
cards, The Cash Store Cash Card(TM) and InstaWorld Debit Card, and a prepaid
credit card, the Freedom Mastercard, to those who may not be able to obtain
them from traditional banks. Insta-rent rents brand-name furniture,
appliances, electronics and computers, with or without an option to purchase.
Insta-rent operates primarily in The Brick and United Furniture Warehouse
locations, which are part of The Brick Group, one of Canada's largest volume
retailers of household furniture, mattresses, appliances and home electronics.
Rentcash employs more than 1,800 associates and is headquartered in
Edmonton, Alberta. In 2007, Rentcash was named "Canada's Fastest-Growing
Company" by PROFIT Magazine and ranked number three in the top 25 performers
with revenue greater than $25 million, in Alberta Venture's "The Fast 50."
Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-looking Information
This press release contains "forward-looking information" within the
meaning of applicable Canadian securities legislation. Forward-looking
information includes, but is not limited to, information with respect to our
objectives, strategies, operations and financial results, as well as the
company's plan to sell or spin-off its rental division. Generally, this
forward-looking information can be identified by the use of forward-looking
terminology such as "plans", "expects", or "does not expect", "is expected",
"budget", "scheduled", "estimates", "forecasts", "intends", "anticipates", or
"does not anticipate", or "believes" or variations of such words and phrases
or state that certain actions, events or results "may", "could", "would",
"might", or "will be taken", "occur", or "be achieved". Forward-looking
information is subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other
factors that may cause the actual results, level of activity, performance or
achievements of the company, to be materially different from those expressed
or implied by such forward-looking information, including, but not limited to,
changes in economic and political conditions, legislative or regulatory
developments, technological developments, third-party arrangements,
competition, litigation, risks associated with the spin-off of the rental
division and a favorable CRA ruling including, but not limited to, market
conditions, the availability of alternative transactions, shareholder, legal,
regulatory and court approvals and third party consents and other factors
described in the company's Annual Information Form dated September 26, 2007
under the heading "Risk Factors". Although the company has attempted to
identify important factors that could cause actual results to differ
materially from those contained in forward-looking information, there may be
other factors that cause results not to be as anticipated, estimated or
intended. There can be no assurance that such information will prove to be
accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from
those anticipated in such information. Accordingly, readers should not place
undue reliance on forward-looking information. The company does not undertake
to update any forward-looking information, except in accordance with
applicable securities laws.
Questions and answers about Rentcash's consumer protection program
Rentcash is the largest network of corporately owned and operated payday
loan outlets in Canada. The Company operates 421 stores across Canada under
three banners: The Cash Store, Instaloans and Insta-rent. With 26 "The Cash
Store" and "Instaloans" outlets operating in Manitoba, Rentcash is one of the
largest suppliers of payday advance products in the province, servicing nearly
30,000 Manitobans each year. Rentcash employs more than 1,800 associates and
is headquartered in Edmonton, Alberta.
Below are some questions and answers regarding Rentcash's consumer
What are NSF charges and why have you eliminated them?
Most retail services levy an NSF fee when a customer's cheque is returned
due to insufficient funds in the customer's account. When this happens,
customers are usually also charged an NSF fee from their financial
institution. NSF fees can be up to $50 per occurrence. If both the retail
provider and the financial institution charge an NSF fee a customer can be out
of pocket as much $100 that they did not anticipate having to spend.
When a person makes use of a payday loan they usually do so because they
are short of cash and an emergency or another unforeseen circumstance has
occurred. In this situation, the last thing they need is any additional NSF
By eliminating NSF fees Rentcash hopes to reduce surprises and cut costs
for its customers.
What is the flat $25 default fee? How does it work? And why is it so low?
The Public Utilities Board process in Manitoba has revealed that there is
no standardization in the way that contracts are constructed and how fees are
charged. As a result, it is not always clear to customers when they will be
charged a default fee, or why, and how much that fee will cost.
To provide greater transparency to its own customers, Rentcash is
implementing a one time flat fee that is easy for consumers to understand. The
fee is $25 and it will be applied to any loan that is late. Interest continues
to accrue at the agreed rate. Rentcash believes that this default fee is lower
than the posted NSF fees of Canada's major banks and most payday lenders in
In some instances throughout the industry if a customer is unable to
repay their loan on time, they may be charged more than one type of fee during
the period that the loan is in default. When and why they are charged can be
confusing to customers.
Rentcash's one-time flat fee is designed to help customers know exactly
how much they will pay, when they will pay it, and why they are paying it.
Rentcash's objective is to make it easier for customers to comparison
shop our fees relative to our competitors.
What is Rentcash's Loyalty Pays program and how does it reduce costs for
Payday loans are intended for occasional use in emergency situations, for
unanticipated expenses or in periods of financial difficulty. Some customers
may need to use the product several times in order to address their financial
shortfalls. "Loyalty Pays" is a program that reduces costs for repeat
customers by offering them a 25 percent discount after they have taken out
What Financial planning resources and credit counseling information are
available at Rentcash's stores and online?
Rentcash publishes a series of consumer information pamphlets that are
available in counter top displays in every Manitoba store. These pamphlets are
also available on-line.
They outline the risks of payday loans and explain all fees associated
with taking out a payday loan. The pamphlets provide budgeting advice and
resources. For consumers who may feel that their finances are in trouble, the
pamphlets provide contact information for credit counseling services in all
These consumer information pamphlets also provide contact information for
Rentcash's Complaints Officer. We attempt to resolve all customer complaints
within 14 business days.
What is Rentcash's credit rebuilding program and how does it work?
Some customers of payday loans have a poor credit history and because of
that are unable to access credit from a traditional financial institution.
Rentcash recognizes that payday loans are intended for emergency purposes,
unanticipated expenses or periods of financial difficulty and we want to help
our customers rebuild their access to credit, if we can.
For participants in our Loyalty Pays program that have repaid five loans
without going into default, Rentcash will, on request, issue a credit
enhancement letter. This letter will explain to the recipient that the
customer has established their ability to repay loans and is considered to be
in good-standing with Rentcash. The recipient of the letter may take this
information into account when determining whether or not to provide the
customer with improved access to credit.
For further information:
For further information: Michael J.L. Thompson, Vice President Investor
Relations & Government Affairs, Office: (780) 408-5595, Cell: (613) 371-4093