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Because every state regulates payday loans differently and each lender operates in different states, there’s no one-size-fits-all pricing. Some states have limits on how much a payday lender can charge, some have no limits and some have enough regulations in place that payday lenders don’t operate in them. This makes evaluating lenders on their rates difficult. With that in mind, we looked for the highest and lowest fee each lender charges. This gives a good baseline for how much you can expect to pay and how these lenders approach state regulations, especially in the states with no regulations. The fees we list apply to a $100 loan for a 14-day period. Many of these lenders offer additional products, including installment loans, lines of credit and check cashing. Installment loans are paid back bi-weekly or over several months. They are larger than payday loans but are often as expensive or more so. Over the course of paying back an installment loan, you often pay double the amount you borrowed. Some of the lenders we looked at, including RISE and LendUp, offer installment loans that have lower rates than standard payday loans.
Check Into Cash is one of the most widespread payday lenders in the country, offering payday loans, installments loans and other financial services to customers in 32 states. Payday loans aren’t legal everywhere, and in some states, Check Into Cash may offer different services. Because it has the broadest service area, reasonable fees for a payday lender and an array of financial services, it is our pick for the best lender overall.
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.
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.
Many payday lenders offer loans through online portals, including CashNetUSA. Getting a loan online offers some advantages over visiting a retail location: There are no lines and no travel, and you can get a loan if you live somewhere that doesn’t have payday loan locations nearby. With loans available in 28 states and rates that compare favorably with other payday lenders, CashNetUSA is a good place to consider.
A 2009 study by University of Chicago Booth School of Business Professor Adair Morse found that in natural disaster areas where payday loans were readily available consumers fared better than those in disaster zones where payday lending was not present. Not only were fewer foreclosures recorded, but such categories as birth rate were not affected adversely by comparison. Moreover, Morse's study found that fewer people in areas served by payday lenders were treated for drug and alcohol addiction.
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