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 $40 finance fee), made payable to the lender. You enter this information online when applying for a payday loan on the internet. The lender then advances you $300 for a set period, usually 14 days. When that period ends, 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.
6. Beware of scams. It can be difficult to spot a scam among legitimate online lenders. Scammers may not offer you a loan, but instead take the highly private personal and credit information you provided and sell it for misuse. A company may be a scam if it requires upfront fees, ignores your payment history, initiates contact or contacts you nonstop, asks you to pay with a prepaid card or isn’t registered in your state.
4. Stay on top of your payments. Commit to a loan length that you know will work for your budget. For instance, if your loan length is three years, do the math and see if you can manage to pay it off in two. If there are no prepayment fees, you’ll save on the interest. However, if you can’t, your credit won’t be affected negatively and you’ll still be adhering to the terms of the loan.
One of the most appealing aspects of payday loans is that they do not perform credit checks. The loans are meant to be short-term, so the loan terms often dictate that you repay with your next paycheck. You can ask for an extension, but additional fees will be added. This will increase the amount that you owe the lender and if you are still unable to pay your loan off upon your next due date then the cycle goes on.
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Several factors determine how much you can borrow, but your credit isn’t one of them, as the phrase “no credit check” indicates. (“No credit check” and other terms like “fast cash” and “easy” are usually the main selling points in payday loan ads and part of what makes them appealing to borrowers, though new rules proposed by the CFPB in 2016 require short-term lenders to measure a consumer’s ability to repay in certain instances.)
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Income tax refund anticipation loans are not technically payday loans (because they are repayable upon receipt of the borrower's income tax refund, not at his next payday), but they have similar credit and cost characteristics. A car title loan is secured by the borrower's car, but are available only to borrowers who hold clear title (i.e., no other loans) to a vehicle. The maximum amount of the loan is some fraction of the resale value of the car. A similar credit facility seen in the UK is a logbook loan secured against a car's logbook, which the lender retains. These loans may be available on slightly better terms than an unsecured payday loan, since they are less risky to the lender. If the borrower defaults, then the lender can attempt to recover costs by repossessing and reselling the car.
People from all walks of life generally use their payday loan for emergency expenses, including doctor bills, utility payments, rent payments, or to avoid bouncing a check (or checks) at their financial institution. The fees associated with a payday loan can often be the most affordable option for a customer who may otherwise encounter NSF fees from the bank or late fees on a credit card.
The best online lenders comply with all state laws regulating payday loan fees, terms and rollover restrictions. Most websites require you to enter your ZIP code or select your state before they display your loan options with their terms and rates. Because of the patchwork nature of payday loan regulation, some lenders don’t operate in every state. Other lenders only offer certain types of loans in some states, not their full range of options.
Financial Implications – The cost associated with short term loans of up to $500 can range from 15% to 40%, and these costs may climb even higher for loans that are greater than $500 in value. Before you sign your agreement, you should check these fees carefully. Similarly, there may also be charges applied for nonsufficient funds. As an example, if your $100 loan is 15 days past due, you may be assessed a charge that is equal to 10% of the principle balance as well as a $25 nonsufficient funds fee.
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In US law, a payday lender can use only the same industry standard collection practices used to collect other debts, specifically standards listed under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The FDCPA prohibits debt collectors from using abusive, unfair, and deceptive practices to collect from debtors. Such practices include calling before 8 o'clock in the morning or after 9 o'clock at night, or calling debtors at work.
Though regulated at the state and federal level, there are still payday lenders that attempt to skirt the rules. Some are online-only lenders based in other countries. Other lenders work around state laws by operating out of Native American reservations. Be wary of brokers that offer to connect you with lending partners – this can result in a lot of calls and emails about offers.