Irresponsible payday lending 'widespread'

Laws passed five years ago to protect Australians who use payday loans have not prevented irresponsible lending, according to a financial counselling group.

The majority of payday loans lead to further financial hardship for the Australians receiving them, a Senate inquiry has been told.

Financial Counselling Australia chief executive Fiona Guthrie has told the inquiry, which is investigating the short-term and high-cost loans, that laws passed in 2013 to further protect people accessing payday services haven't stopped "widespread" irresponsible lending.

"The industry may say that's been addressed, but that's not our experience," she told senators in Melbourne on Wednesday.

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