The Department of Finance is considering a cap on the interest rates moneylenders can apply to customers' borrowings as part of a review of the sector.

There are currently 39 moneylenders licenced by the Central Bank to operate in Ireland, with many applying an APR of more than 180% on loans.

Some also charge a fee for collecting repayments which, in one instance, brings the effective APR to almost 288%.

The Department of Finance has launched a public consultation on the sector, with a particular focus on the potential for a cap on these rates.

However the consultation will also look at other issues in the sector; including moneylenders' collection practices, regulation and marketing. 

It has sought the views of moneylending firms, as well as also people who have had direct or indirect experience of dealing with them.

The department said it would consider whether any cap on interest rates might have a negative effect on the availability of credit in the market, which could hinder customers or push them towards illegal moneylending.

The closing date for receipt of submissions is 31st July.