Plymouth City Council is the first local authority to ban payday loan websites from advertising on billboards and bus shelters in the city.
Access to the 50 most popular payday loan websites will also be blocked across the council’s entire computer network including libraries and community centres.
The council says it is taking the action to protect residents from sky high interest rates that can lead to spiralling debt.
Cabinet member for Co-operatives and Community Development, Councillor Chris Penberthy, said: “Plymouth’s advice agencies are taking calls daily from people who are running up huge debts that are causing stress and hardship to them and their families. We need to protect people and make it difficult for payday loan companies to operate in our city but we do recognise times are hard.
“We are working with our partners to make credit union services more easily available in the city centre, this is an affordable lending option for people that won’t trap them with massive interest rates.”
Plymouth Citizens Advice Bureau considers that payday loans are the biggest threat to personal debt because they can be so easily accessed and have high profile advertising campaigns.
Steve Meakin, Money Advice Co-ordinator for Devon and Cornwall and the Chair of the Institute of Money advisers said: “It’s difficult to overestimate the harm payday loans are causing to Plymouth residents. The Citizens Advice Bureau is seeing an ever increasing epidemic of despair caused by these unscrupulous merchants of misery.
“Plymouth City Council’s initiative is really welcome and represents a constructive first step in combating the unacceptable face of the financial services industry.”