(REUTERS) Need cash to pay your next bill? Send us a text message, we'll send you the money in just a few minutes.
Such slogans are spreading in Finland and other Nordic countries, with barely a mention of the annual lending rates of up to 1,000 percent involved.
Lending cash to young people through SMS messages at rates banks can only dream of is becoming increasingly popular in Nordic countries, according to a survey conducted by Finland's financial watchdog.
"At least in the Nordics it's becoming more common. I think it's mostly due to the fact that cellphone usage is so widespread here, especially among youth," Paivikki Lehto-Sinisalo, a lawyer for the watchdog, told Reuters.
Finland is among countries where the number of mobile phone subscriptions exceeds the number of residents.
Dozens of companies have started to offer short-term loans for up to a few hundred euros each through text messages in Finland, and similar offers are cropping up in Sweden, Norway and the Czech Republic in central Europe.
The most active Finnish text message lenders give out several thousands of euros in loans each month, with most going to people in their 20s, the survey showed.
In Finland and 12 other EU countries these lenders are out of reach of financial regulators because they do not collect funds from the public, the watchdog said.
Those who accept a loan offer get the money transferred to their bank account just a few minutes after sending an SMS with their national identification number.
For a two-week loan of 100 euros ($128) the payback is 120 euros, equivalent to an annual lending rate of about 1,000 percent, which would be illegal in some European countries.