Consumer advocates and other experts[who?] argue, however, that payday loans appear to exist in a classic market failure. In a perfect market of competing sellers and buyers seeking to trade in a rational manner, pricing fluctuates based on the capacity of the market. Payday lenders have no incentive to price their loans competitively since loans are not capable of being patented. Thus, if a lender chooses to innovate and reduce cost to borrowers in order to secure a larger share of the market the competing lenders will instantly do the same, negating the effect. For this reason, among others, all lenders in the payday marketplace charge at or very near the maximum fees and rates allowed by local law.
Many experts suggest that you contribute 10 percent to 15 percent of your income to a retirement plan. While that's not always realistic, successful savers know to contribute at least what their company will match. If your employer offers to match 3 percent of your income toward retirement savings, you should match that or risk leaving money on the table. Additionally, because contributions to your 401(k) are tax-free, contributing will reduce your overall taxable income. If your employer does not offer a retirement benefit or you're self-employed, consider a traditional IRA or Roth IRA. Research these options and chat with a financial planner about the best plan for you, your budget and your business.
It’s possible to tap into another workplace resource without counting on your boss’s approval: your 401(k). Although traditional advice would have you run for the hills before taking money out of your retirement account, it is actually one of the most cost-effective options. In fact, according to Investopedia, a 401(k) loan should be one of the first options you consider to address a short-term, but serious need for liquidity.
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The basic loan process involves a lender providing a short-term unsecured loan to be repaid at the borrower's next payday. Typically, some verification of employment or income is involved (via pay stubs and bank statements), although according to one source, some payday lenders do not verify income or run credit checks. Individual companies and franchises have their own underwriting criteria.
If you carry only credit cards for day-to-day spending, you could find yourself in a pinch when confronted with a cash-only situation, such as buying lunch from a street vendor, veggies at a farmers market or a sandwich at a mom-and-pop deli. In that case, a cash advance might be tempting. Some people also turn to credit card cash advances when they need paper money but don’t have enough in their bank account.
There are many terms for this kind of credit — payday loans, cash advance loans, check advance loans, deferred deposit loans or post-dated check loans — which you can get from a variety of sources. Whether you walk into a payday lender’s store or apply online, the process is basically the same: You provide some personal and financial information, request a loan for a certain dollar amount (secured by check or bank account debit authorization), pay a fee for the loan and receive the cash or deposit into your bank account.
In terms of online lending, a cash advance usually refers to a short-term loan that is quickly funded to your bank account after approval. Typically, the amount you borrow for a cash advance loan is relatively small, which often means you can pay it back in only one or two payments. These short-term loans are very similar to what many people call payday loans, but cash advance loans don't always require a single repayment on payday.
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