When mainstream banks do not fit the bill, many Brits are forced to turn to loan sharks and payday lenders for quick cash.
But alternatives do exist and ethical lenders like credit unions offer money at a lower interest rate, ensuring that people are not sent spiralling into debt in their time of need.
In BBC documentary A Matter of Life and Debt, which airs this week, Roger Richards’ dream plans for a fresh take on the traditional ice cream van looked like they would have to be put on ice before he received a £3,000 credit union loan.
Unlike the mainstream banks which have their pretty pictures on the TV, credit unions are accessible to everybody
The father-of-five, from Catford, had to work two jobs – as a compliance officer at Islington Council and a safety officer on the railways – to save up £11,000 to kit out a clapped-out van he bought in 2015.
The 47-year-old transformed the motor into Ice Unit 2 – a black-coloured ice cream van with a TV screen on top to make it a quasi-outdoor cinema – with the help of his children who wrote and sang his own custom jingle.
But his business ground to a halt when he was left with a £3,000 bill for an exhaust that would enable the van to be passed as road legal.