The vast majority of payday lenders must abide by improved customer codes from today as the drive to step up standards in the loans industry continues.

The move comes amid calls for tighter restrictions on high-interest lenders and a new investigation into industry standards.

The improved standards have so far been agreed to by four trade associations, representing more than 90% of the short-term loan sector.

Any lender who is a member of the trade associations must abide by the rules or ultimately face expulsion.