And even if you can repay it, that repayment will take a huge bite out of your next paycheck. If you count on that paycheck for rent, groceries, and other daily expenses (and who doesn’t?), then paying back your payday loan will leave you right back where your started: running low on money until your next payday! That could mean no money for gas to get to work, no money for groceries, maybe even no money for rent—sounds pretty bad, right?
Before you dive into a product marketed as a one-stop financial Band-Aid, consider your alternatives. Though they aren’t significantly better, installment loans can come with slightly less egregious terms and more manageable payments. While it may requires a level of humility and openness, asking to borrow from friends or family could be another possibility. Better damaged pride than ruined finances.
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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.
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Many countries offer basic banking services through their postal systems. The United States Post Office Department offered such as service in the past. Called the United States Postal Savings System it was discontinued in 1967. In January 2014 the Office of the Inspector General of the United States Postal Service issued a white paper suggesting that the USPS could offer banking services, to include small dollar loans for under 30% APR. Support and criticism quickly followed; opponents of postal banking argued that as payday lenders would be forced out of business due to competition, the plan is nothing more than a scheme to support postal employees.
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