You don't always have enough money in the bank to make it to the next payday. Unexpected expenses exceed your savings, and you need some way to supplement your short-term cash flow. Figuring out the best payday loans (or best alternatives to a payday loan) to fit your needs requires understanding these loans and knowing what to look for in a lender.

Although some have noted that these loans appear to carry substantial risk to the lender,[7][8] it has been shown that these loans carry no more long term risk for the lender than other forms of credit.[9][10][11] These studies seem to be confirmed by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission filings of at least one lender, who notes a charge-off rate of 3.2%.[12]
Prior to 2009 regulation of consumer credit was primarily conducted by the states and territories. Some states such as New South Wales and Queensland legislated effective annual interest rate caps of 48%.[53] In 2008 the Australian states and territories referred powers of consumer credit to the Commonwealth. In 2009 the National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009 (Cth) was introduced, which initially treated payday lenders no differently from all other lenders. In 2013 Parliament tightened regulation on the payday lending further introducing the Consumer Credit and Corporations Legislation Amendment (Enhancements) Act 2012 (Cth) which imposed an effective APR cap of 48% for all consumer credit contracts (inclusive of all fees and charges). Payday lenders who provided a loan falling within the definition of a small amount credit contract (SACC), defined as a contract provided by a non authorised-deposit taking institution for less than $2,000 for a term between 16 days and 1 year,[54] are permitted to charge a 20% establishment fee in addition to monthly (or part thereof) fee of 4% (effective 48% p.a.).[55] Payday lenders who provide a loan falling within the definition of a medium amount credit contract (MACC), defined as a credit contract provided by a non-deposit taking institution for between $2,000–$5,000 may charge a $400 establishment fee in addition to the statutory interest rate cap of 48%. Payday lenders are still required to comply with Responsible lending obligations applying to all creditors. Unlike other jurisdictions Australian payday lenders providing SACC or MACC products are not required to display their fees as an effective annual interest rate percentage.[citation needed]

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