This reinforces the findings of the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) study from 2011 which found black and Hispanic families, recent immigrants, and single parents were more likely to use payday loans. In addition, their reasons for using these products were not as suggested by the payday industry for one time expenses, but to meet normal recurring obligations.
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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.
With a title loan, the amount you qualify for depends on an assessment of your car’s value. Loans range from a few hundred dollars to $10,000. A standard title loan is due in full after 30 days. This includes the finance charge, which can be as much as $125 for a $500 loan – that means you’ll pay $625 total when the loan is due. According to the Pew Charitable Trust, the average APR on title loans is around 300%.
In a perfect world, you could rely on a credit card to cover emergency expenses. But, as you might have already guessed, most Americans don’t have that kind of available credit on hand to use either. In fact, according to a Harvard University study, nearly 40 percent of households making less than $40,000 a year have no credit cards at all.2 And one in ten Americans have no credit score whatsoever!3
Title loans are very risky. Because you use your vehicle as collateral, it can be taken by the lender if you don’t make your payment or come to an alternative arrangement. Often, that means rolling over your loan. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau studied title loans and found that over 20 percent end in a car being repossessed. Only 12 percent of borrowers pay off the loan without having to renew. More than a third of borrowers end up taking out more than seven loans, meaning they have to pay nearly as much in fees as they borrowed in the first place.
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Instead of getting a payday loan, you can apply for a line of credit, a service Speedy Cash offers in select states. A line of credit differs from a payday or installment loan in that you only pay interest on the amount you use, not the total you’re eligible to borrow. Like payday loans, the fees you pay on a line of credit vary from state to state – depending on the regulations in your state, you can end up paying as little as $13 or as much as $22 for every $100 you borrow. An advantage of a line of credit is you only draw the money you need and only pay back what you borrow, which gives you some flexibility.
Several states have specific laws that regulate the lending industry. Known as “usury laws,” these regulations define permissible lending terms and rates. Some states also have laws that regulate the amount a payday lender can lend to consumers and how much they can charge for the loan. Other states like New York ban payday lending outright. These laws vary widely. Payday lenders often work around these regulations by partnering with banks based in other states, such as Delaware. It is important to read the fine print on the payday loan offer and understand your consumer rights.
You don't have to worry about any embarrassing phone calls to your employer; LendUp does not call them. Take the five minutes to put in an application online or using a mobile device and you could have money in as few as within one business day. LendUp can't guarantee receipt of your funds within a certain timeframe, though, because although we initiate a transfer of money to you, your bank controls when you'll have access to it.
The likelihood that a family will use a payday loan increases if they are unbanked or underbanked, or lack access to a traditional deposit bank account. In an American context the families who will use a payday loan are disproportionately either of black or Hispanic descent, recent immigrants, and/or under-educated. These individuals are least able to secure normal, lower-interest-rate forms of credit. Since payday lending operations charge higher interest-rates than traditional banks, they have the effect of depleting the assets of low-income communities. The Insight Center, a consumer advocacy group, reported in 2013 that payday lending cost U.S communities $774 million a year.
We recommend exploring alternatives before getting a payday loan. These are expensive loans with high fees, and they can catch you up in a cycle of taking out new loans to pay off previous ones. Each state regulates payday loans differently – some outright ban them. As such, depending on where you live, the costs vary widely. With this in mind, our pick for the top payday lender is Check Into Cash. It is the most broadly available lender, with stores and online loans available in 32 states. It offers a variety of payday loans, installment loans and lines of credit.
If you find yourself in a situation where you're considering a payday loan, explore alternatives first. If you have emergency expenses, consider using a credit card or finding a cosigner for a personal loan. These have lower interest rates and don’t put you in as much of a bind as payday loans. The balloon payment when the term of your payday loan expires can leave you short when your next paycheck arrives, which can force you into taking out another to pay for your expenses. In cases like this, making minimum payments on a credit card, while not ideal, is a better option than being caught in a payday loan debt trap.
States have varying regulations in place to protect consumers when it comes to short-term loans. Payday loans are illegal in some state, while other states regulate or restrict them. Lenders, online or otherwise, must comply with these regulations when they consider you for a loan, so the state you live in will play a part in whether you are eligible.
California Residents: Flurish Inc. dba LendUp is licensed by the Department of Business Oversight, pursuant to the California Deferred Deposit Transaction Law, license #1004393, and the California Financing Law, license #6054610. LendUp loans made under the authority of its CFL license are made pursuant to the California Financing Law. LendUp credit cards are not offered under any license regulated by the California Department of Business Oversight.
Restructure the payback. Fox says that payday lenders who are members of the CFSA “seem to be more lenient” and are “more apt to try to work with people.” Those lenders will often “restructure to pay back (the balance) over six to twelve months when coming through our program.” But he also adds that this applies in only about 40–50% of the payday debt situations clients are dealing with.
PayActiv is one such company, and it has partnered with a variety of employers, including Walmart. It integrates with the employer’s payroll, and employees can withdraw money directly into their checking accounts for a $5 fee. Earnin, which used to be known as Activehours, is a similar program. If your employer uses it, you can withdraw between $100 and $500 per pay period. There are no fees for using Earnin, but there is an option to tip.
Nobody wants to resort to this option, but sometimes it’s the only way to get out from under this kind of debt. There is a myth out there that you can’t include payday loans in a bankruptcy. However, that is not the case: “For the most part, payday loans aren’t treated any differently in bankruptcy than any other unsecured loan,” writes attorney Dana Wilkinson on the Bankruptcy Law Network blog.
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You can also look into alternatives to borrowing. Social services may be available in your area to those in need. Even if you aren’t sure whether you qualify, it’s worth researching local assistance programs for food, housing and other necessities. These services may also be able to help you identify and address any structural issues that can keep you in debt, such as a lack of a budget or overspending.
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The propensity for very low default rates seems to be an incentive for investors interested in payday lenders. In the Advance America 10-k SEC filing from December 2011 they note that their agreement with investors, "limits the average of actual charge-offs incurred during each fiscal month to a maximum of 4.50% of the average amount of adjusted transaction receivables outstanding at the end of each fiscal month during the prior twelve consecutive months". They go on to note that for 2011 their average monthly receivables were $287.1 million and their average charge-off was $9.3 million, or 3.2%. In comparison with traditional lenders, payday firms also save on costs by not engaging in traditional forms of underwriting, relying on their easy rollover terms and the small size of each individual loan as method of diversification eliminating the need for verifying each borrower's ability to repay. It is perhaps due to this that payday lenders rarely exhibit any real effort to verify that the borrower will be able to pay the principal on their payday in addition to their other debt obligations.
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Many of the lenders in our network stick with in-house debt collection practices rather than selling your debt to an outside collection agency, and they will never sue you or threaten criminal charges against you. Your lender may attempt to collect your debt via email, postal mail, telephone, or text message, and they may offer you a settlement so that you can repay your debt over time. All of our lenders are required to adhere to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act which protects you from harassment. You can contact your lender for more information about its specific policies.