You should obtain a copy of your credit report before applying for any type of new credit. You’ll want to make sure there are no errors on your report before you start applying for a personal loan. If there are errors, fixing them can improve your credit score, allowing you to qualify for better interest rates. You can get a copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus once a year for free at AnnualCreditReport.com.
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Borrowers usually charge a substantial amount in interest, often around 400 percent. With some payday loans, especially those that are extended, the amount you pay in interest is higher than the original loan amount. Payday loans have a reputation of being predatory, targeting those who have poor credit and very few options, need quick access to cash and need the loan to fill pay gaps.
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.
APR Disclosure. Some states have laws limiting the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) that a lender can charge you. APRs for cash advance loans range from 200% and 1386%, and APRs for installment loans range from 6.63% to 225%. Loans from a state that has no limiting laws or loans from a bank not governed by state laws may have an even higher APR. The APR is the rate at which your loan accrues interest and is based upon the amount, cost and term of your loan, repayment amounts and timing of payments. Lenders are legally required to show you the APR and other terms of your loan before you execute a loan agreement. APR rates are subject to change.
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.
Payday loans can be paid back from money borrowed from a different source, such as a credit union or family member. Alternatives to payday loans don’t erase the debt, but they may have more agreeable terms and interest rates. A variety of different loans are available for numerous financial scenarios. One could be useful in helping you escape the payday loan trap if your credit qualifies you.
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.