The Truth About Payday Loans
It seems like payday loan offers are everywhere these days.
From the local strip mall to the internet, the payday lending industry is booming. But what is a payday loan? Is it as bad as some people say? Credit.com gives you straight answers about payday loans:
What is a payday loan?
A payday loan is a small loan (maximum $500-$1,000) that does not require a credit check. Payday loans have short terms and must be paid back quickly, usually within a few pay periods. Payday loans are marketed as a way to help you cover your expenses until your next paycheck. Also called “check cashing”, “payroll advance” and “deferred deposit,” these loans offer a fast way to access emergency money. Many payday lenders are not licensed, bonded or regulated by important consumer laws.
Payday loans can be very costly. Borrowers should use them with caution and pay the amount back as soon as possible. These loans are usually priced at a fixed dollar fee, which represents the finance charge to the borrower. Because the loans have such short terms, the cost of borrowing is very high. In return for the loan the borrower usually provides the lender with a pre-dated check or debit authorization.
How does it work?
Say your car broke down and you decide to borrow $300 for the repairs from a payday lender. You’ll write a post-dated personal check for $340 (the amount plus a finance fee) made payable to the lender. You enter this information online when applying for a payday loan through the internet. The lender then advances you $300 for a set period, usually 14 days. When that period is up, you pay the lender $340 in cash, let them deposit the post-dated check or write another post-dated check for the amount plus an additional finance fee. If you do not pay the debt in full at the end of the term, you will be charged additional fees and finance charges.
Who uses these types of loans?
Generally, anyone with a checking account and steady income can obtain a payday loan. However, it is most common for borrowers who don’t have access to credit cards or savings accounts to use this type of lender. Since these loans don’t require a credit check, people with no credit or credit problems often turn to payday loans. Military personnel and recent immigrants also commonly use payday loans.
What are the benefits?
Payday loans can be a good tool for quickly and easily borrowing cash during an emergency if you don’t have other financial options. For example, you might use a payday lender for an immediate and temporary financial need such as a medical bill, car repair or other one-time expense. Payday loans are helpful for people who don’t have credit cards or savings available. Because the loans do not require a credit check, they are easy for people with financial problems to obtain.
What are the negatives?
It is crucial that you repay a payday loan as soon as possible. Many people get into trouble with these types of loans when they are unable to quickly repay the debt. If you can’t repay the loan at the end of the term, you’ll be charged expensive additional fees. It is very costly to be stuck in a payday loan cycle for a long time and can lead to larger financial problems. Payday loans are also much more expensive than other methods of borrowing money. In most cases the annual percentage rate (APR) on a payday loan averages about 400%, but the APR is often as high as 5,000%. A standard credit card has an APR of 12% and a standard loan APR is around 7%. If possible, it is better to use a credit card or tap into your savings in the event of an emergency.