The short-term lender Wonga has expanded into several non-UK markets over recent years, such as Poland and Spain. The company is now giving Spanish residents the chance to take out short-term loans whilst remaining in control of how much they borrow and how long they borrow it for. Wonga has been subject of various management reshuffles over the years, with its co-founder Errol Dameline moving to a part-time role in 2013 when co-founder Jonty Hurwitz exited the company. At the time of the reshuffle, Damelin said the changes would give him the extra time he needed to identify Wonga’s the direction the company would take over the course of the next decade.
The company bought German payments firm BillPay in 2013 after snapping up Credito Pocket before rebranding it as Wonga Spain. Niall Wass was recruited from Betfair in 2012 to become the company’s chief executive and has defended the company’s “fairness and transparency”. Wonga launched a feature film called 12 Portraits in 2013 to showcase stories from its real-life customers.
Wonga launched its first website in 2007 and has been named as the fastest-growing UK tech company by the Sunday Times. The company offers alternative forms of borrowing to those wishing to sidestep the lengthy, drawn-out processes associated with the big banks and gives a lifeline to those that have been turned down for short-term loans elsewhere. Customers can access money on the move and expect to see it in their bank accounts within minutes of being accepted. Wonga currently has a presence in the UK, Poland, South Africa and Spain.
The service offers flexible, short-term loans to people who the company are confident can afford to repay. It has become more stringent about who it lends to over the years and allows users to obtain the money they need via smartphone, laptops and tablets. It can be used 365 days a year and customers are never penalised for early repayments. The company aims to eliminate “the complexity and rigidity which people face whenever they need to borrow some money”. Customers aren’t forced to borrow more than they need and can see exactly how much the loan will cost them before they money is credited into their accounts.
Wonga Spain customers can currently take out their first loan for just 5 Euros without having to pay interest, and are now given 60 days to repay their loan as opposed to 30, though retain the ability to settle their debts before the due date and save money. If customers do take out loans and later discover they won’t be able to pay them by the due date, they can ask for an extension, though as a responsible lender Wonga only allows up to two extensions. Wonga urges all customers to carefully assess their ability to repay by the new payment date when requesting an extension and to get in touch as soon as they think they won’t be able to pay on time so arrangements can be made and extra charges kept to a minimum.