The Society of St Vincent de Paul (SVP) has expressed concern at a new selling tactic by a moneylending company, which is offering One4all gift vouchers instead of cash.
SVP said said people who buy these vouchers from Provident Personal Credit, the largest regulated moneylending company operating in Ireland, pay high rates of interest for a product they cannot use in all shops or services.
The charity described the practice as 'unsavoury'.
"One4all gift vouchers is an arm of An Post which is a trusted service to the community,"said John-Mark McCafferty, SVP Head of Social Justice and Policy.
"At a time of real financial pressure for many, we do not believe An Post should be involved in such an unsavoury arrangement with a moneylender."
"Our members tell us that as austerity deepens, the use of licenced moneylenders in their communities is growing, and this is a worrying development," Mr McCafferty wrote in a blog post.
"The poorest pay more for these loans than those of us who can access credit union loans or similar.
The interest rates associated with moneylenders are high and what appears as easy money up front turns into a significant financial burden in the longer term." says Mr McCafferty.
There is a limit of €500 on the One4all gift cards, which are prepaid cards issued by Bank of Ireland.
In a recent submission to the Central Bank the SVP pointed out that the sample cost of credit from moneylenders for this amount would be €150 on a 26-week loan and €280 on a loan for 12 months
Last month the SVP warned of a potential money lending crisis in Ireland and called on the Central Bank to publish baseline data to take money lending out of the shadows. The last time a review of the sector was carried out was in 2007 and at that time 300,000 people had availed of loans from moneylenders.