If you need cash for an emergency situation, a short-term loan might be the best option. The interest rates are quite high, but if you realize you're going to overdraft your bank account multiple times within a few days, and get fees for each overdraft, then a payday loan might actually be a cheaper option. Make sure you have a plan to pay the loan off when it's due without getting further in debt. To save some money, look for lenders like Speedy Cash that have discounts if you're a new customer or if you pay off your loan early.
You often hear that payday loans are something people turn to when there’s an emergency expense like a car accident or medical emergency. That’s not necessarily true. In a study on payday loans, the Pew Charitable Trust found that 69 percent are used to pay for recurring expenses like utilities, food or other bills. The average borrower uses eight loans a year, which last about 18 days each.
Payday loans, sometimes referred to as cash advance loans, have received quite a bit of bad press, but when used properly, a pay day loan can have a definite upside. A short term financial bind can happen to a lot of people and being able to get a small loan quickly can save you money by avoiding costly late fees or overdraft charges. Sure, $50 is a steep price to pay for a $300 payday loan, but if it means you are able to get your rent check, house payment, or car payment in on time and avoid the hefty late fees and possible damage to your credit score, it is more than worth it.
In May 2008, the debt charity Credit Action made a complaint to the United Kingdom Office of Fair Trading (OFT) that payday lenders were placing advertising which violated advertising regulations on the social network website Facebook. The main complaint was that the APR was either not displayed at all or not displayed prominently enough, which is clearly required by UK advertising standards.
We spoke to John Fairbanks at the National Credit Union Administration who told us that “Many credit unions have their own programs to provide small-dollar, short-term loans, either in lieu of payday loans or as a means of helping members get rid of existing payday loans so they can begin to rehabilitate their credit.” Payday alternative loans are available through federal credit unions and have applications fees that are capped at $20 for the entire amount of the loan. State credit unions also offer similar short-term, small-dollar loans.
A report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York concluded that, "We ... test whether payday lending fits our definition of predatory. We find that in states with higher payday loan limits, less educated households and households with uncertain income are less likely to be denied credit, but are not more likely to miss a debt payment. Absent higher delinquency, the extra credit from payday lenders does not fit our definition of predatory." The caveat to this is that with a term of under 30 days there are no payments, and the lender is more than willing to roll the loan over at the end of the period upon payment of another fee. The report goes on to note that payday loans are extremely expensive, and borrowers who take a payday loan are at a disadvantage in comparison to the lender, a reversal of the normal consumer lending information asymmetry, where the lender must underwrite the loan to assess creditworthiness.