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.
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Negotiate a settlement. If restructuring the payback terms isn’t an option, the credit counseling agency will try to work with the lender to determine a settlement amount that will resolve the debt altogether. If you can pay off the loan with a lump-sum payment (this is the time to ask Mom or Dad for help), the agency may be able to settle the debt for a percentage of the outstanding amount.
While lenders that offer bad credit loans typically require a minimum FICO score between 580 to 620, the average credit score of borrowers is higher, ranging from 600 to 700. The maximum debt-to-income ratio, which is the total of your monthly debt payments divided by your gross monthly income, allowed by bad credit lenders is higher than what is typically expected for applicants with good credit, ranging from 40 to 45 percent.
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Payday loans are meant to give you access to money short term, until you get your next paycheck. Reasons for getting a payday loan range from unexpected expenses to working irregular hours at your job. But more often than you’d think, these loans don’t get paid off after two weeks and need to be rolled over into another loan. If you can, avoid doing this – it can result in you being stuck in a cycle of debt, and you’ll end up paying much more in fees than the amount you borrowed.
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 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.
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We stuck with direct lenders who comply with state laws. A good way to tell if a lender follows the rules is if its website asks what state you live in before giving you a quote. If a lender says all loans have the same fee no matter where you live, that’s a tipoff you may be dealing with a less-reputable lender you should avoid. We didn’t include any of those lenders on our lineup.
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According to a study by The Pew Charitable Trusts, "Most payday loan borrowers [in the United States] are white, female, and are 25 to 44 years old. However, after controlling for other characteristics, there are five groups that have higher odds of having used a payday loan: those without a four-year college degree; home renters; African Americans; those earning below $40,000 annually; and those who are separated or divorced." Most borrowers use payday loans to cover ordinary living expenses over the course of months, not unexpected emergencies over the course of weeks. The average borrower is indebted about five months of the year.
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