As for federal regulation, the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act gave the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) specific authority to regulate all payday lenders, regardless of size. Also, the Military Lending Act imposes a 36% rate cap on tax refund loans and certain payday and auto title loans made to active duty armed forces members and their covered dependents, and prohibits certain terms in such loans.
Payday loans are meant to be short-term, unsecured loans. They are based on a pre-set automatic withdrawal from your bank account or a check held by the loan company for future deposit on a specific date. Borrowers either write a check to the lender or promise to pay back the amount borrowed, plus interest and any fees. Some companies will allow in-store payday loan customers to repay in cash at the store, in exchange for their post-dated check.
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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.