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Payday loans are short-term loans that can be used to fulfill expenses until your next paycheck is received. Payments are due within two weeks or before the following payday and have annual percentage rates that are often higher than the standard bank rates.

Payday loans should not be used by borrowers who cannot afford to repay them on time. The late fees can be very high, and if you’re not careful, they might cost you even more than you anticipated. Make sure you know what you’ll receive and what you’ll be required to do in exchange before you apply for one.

Payday Loans System

Payday loans are not the same as personal loans or other consumer loans. You can apply for a payday loan online or in person, depending on where you live, with a payday lender. Payday loans are governed differently by each state, placing limits on the amount you can repay as well as the amount of interest and fees the lender may charge.

Once your application for a payday loan has been approved, you can either pick up cash, a cheque or have the funds put into your bank account. The debt must then be paid back in full by the due date, which is often within 14 days or by your next salary, together with the financing charge.

A funding fee for payday loans is often based on the borrowed amount. Due to the short-term nature of payday loans, these costs result in a high annual percentage rate (APR). According to the Consumer Federation of America, the APRs on payday loans are typically 400% or higher.

Despite the hefty interest rates, The Economist expects that 2.5 million American households will use payday loans each year. There are some causes for this. One explanation is that many borrowers who take out payday loans lack access to alternative sources of finance. They might be unable to get a personal loan because of poor credit or a lack of income.

The absence of alternatives could be another cause. For instance, some people can be reluctant to ask friends or family for assistance. Payday loan alternatives exist, but they’re not always easy to find.

Alternatives to Payday Loans

As alternatives to obtaining a payday loan, you can think about the following:

  • Personal Loans. However, you must first establish credit to borrow money from traditional lenders.
  • In case of an emergency, keep a credit card on hand, but be mindful of the high-interest rates.
  • Create a payment schedule or a loan modification for the lenders.
  • Examine the overdraft protection options for your checking account.

However, because payday lenders have a simple approval process, payday loans continue to be the best alternative for many people in need of financial assistance. For instance, many lenders don’t perform background checks or even inquire about the borrower’s ability to repay the loan.

Joyce Marter

Joyce Marter is a licensed psychotherapist with 25 years of experience and entrepreneur who founded and successfully sold Urban Balance, a national outpatient mental health company in the U.S. Marter is an adjunct professor at Northwestern University, international speaker, blogger for Psychology Today and mental health thought-leader specializing in the psychology of money.

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