Money Box Investigates: The Price of Poverty was broadcast on Tuesday, 20 April, 2004, at 2002 BST.
The programme was repeated on Sunday, 25 April, 2004, at 1702 BST.
Why do the poorest households in Britain have to pay the highest rates of interest when they need to borrow money?
In the second of two Money Box Investigates programmes, presenter Paul Lewis examined the high cost of credit for people living on low incomes, and asked what can be done to bring costs down.
For most consumers borrowing money is easy and cheap, but not if you are somebody that banks and credit card companies do not want to know. Then your options are much more limited and expensive.
Paul Lewis meets consumers excluded from getting mainstream loans like Mandy from Halifax. She was paying one retailer nearly £4000 for a second hand fridge, washing machine and cooker when her old ones broke down.
He also challanged the chief executive of the UK's biggest doorstep money lender over interest rates and charges in excess of 170%.
Could credit unions be the answer for providing cheaper loans to people? Paul visited one in Wales which is pioneering new techniques to get its services to the communities in need.
He also travelled to Germany where there is a legal limit of 20% on the amount of interest any lender can charge, and asked Consumer Minister Gerry Sutcliffe why we do not have something similar in the UK.
Presenter: Paul Lewis
Producer: Jessica Dunbar