After you get out of payday loan debt, you want to make sure you never go to a payday lender again. Some of the smartest things you can do to start cleaning up your credit include signing up for a free credit report. Regularly checking your credit is the best way to make sure you clear up any mistakes. Plus it’s rewarding to see your credit score improve.
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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Payday loans can be very costly. Loan amounts generally range from $50 to $1,000, depending on state laws. Fees also depend on state laws, but the structure might be something like $15 per $100 borrowed, and some states may cap how high the fee goes. Because the loans have such short terms, the cost of borrowing is generally high. A typical payday loan with a two-week term and a $15 per $100 fee has an annual percentage rate (APR) of nearly 400%, according to the CFPB. (Here’s a primer on how interest rates work.)
These arguments are countered in two ways. First, the history of borrowers turning to illegal or dangerous sources of credit seems to have little basis in fact according to Robert Mayer's 2012 "Loan Sharks, Interest-Rate Caps, and Deregulation". Outside of specific contexts, interest rates caps had the effect of allowing small loans in most areas without an increase of "loan sharking". Next, since 80% of payday borrowers will roll their loan over at least one time  because their income prevents them from paying the principal within the repayment period, they often report turning to friends or family members to help repay the loan  according to a 2012 report from the Center for Financial Services Innovation. In addition, there appears to be no evidence of unmet demand for small dollar credit in states which prohibit or strictly limit payday lending.
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%.