A payday loan (also called a payday advance, salary loan, payroll loan, small dollar loan, short term, or cash advance loan) is a small, short-term unsecured loan, "regardless of whether repayment of loans is linked to a borrower's payday." The loans are also sometimes referred to as "cash advances," though that term can also refer to cash provided against a prearranged line of credit such as a credit card. Payday advance loans rely on the consumer having previous payroll and employment records. Legislation regarding payday loans varies widely between different countries, and in federal systems, between different states or provinces.
Payday loans are designed to help people cover short-term cash needs until their next payday. Also referred to as cash advances, payday loans can be a practical and secure way to tide you over when unexpected expenses crop up. If you have expenses related to an auto accident, emergency medical expenses, or other unexpected bills, a cash advance could help you bridge the gap.
In the UK Sarah-Jayne Clifton of the Jubilee Debt Campaign said, “austerity, low wages, and insecure work are driving people to take on high cost debt from rip-off lenders just to put food on the table. We need the government to take urgent action, not only to rein in rip-off lenders, but also to tackle the cost of living crisis and cuts to social protection that are driving people towards the loan sharks in the first place.”
Spending less than you earn is key to staying afloat financially, yet many of us rely on credit cards to fund our lifestyles. With more than $16,000 in credit card debt per household in America, many of us struggle to understand what we can and cannot afford. Successful savers are very clear on that point and often live a frugal lifestyle despite having an income that can afford some luxuries. Warren Buffett, for example, still resides in the home he purchased for just $31,500 nearly 60 years ago, despite being one of the wealthiest people on the planet. Take it from Buffett: Maintaining a frugal lifestyle while your income continues to grow will help you reach your financial goals sooner.
According to a study by The Pew Charitable Trusts, "Most payday loan borrowers [in the United States] are white, female, and are 25 to 44 years old. However, after controlling for other characteristics, there are five groups that have higher odds of having used a payday loan: those without a four-year college degree; home renters; African Americans; those earning below $40,000 annually; and those who are separated or divorced." Most borrowers use payday loans to cover ordinary living expenses over the course of months, not unexpected emergencies over the course of weeks. The average borrower is indebted about five months of the year.
These arguments are countered in two ways. First, the history of borrowers turning to illegal or dangerous sources of credit seems to have little basis in fact according to Robert Mayer's 2012 "Loan Sharks, Interest-Rate Caps, and Deregulation". Outside of specific contexts, interest rates caps had the effect of allowing small loans in most areas without an increase of "loan sharking". Next, since 80% of payday borrowers will roll their loan over at least one time  because their income prevents them from paying the principal within the repayment period, they often report turning to friends or family members to help repay the loan  according to a 2012 report from the Center for Financial Services Innovation. In addition, there appears to be no evidence of unmet demand for small dollar credit in states which prohibit or strictly limit payday lending.
A cash advance loan works just like a payday loan. (Not surprising, since they’re the exact same thing.) To get one, you go to a payday lender and write a check. You date it for your next payday and make it out for the amount of the loan plus interest and fees. The lender will then give you cash or transfer money to your bank account. It’s yours to spend, but remember that check you wrote? As soon as your next payday arrives, the lender will cash it and the amount will be withdrawn from your bank account.
Make a realistic budget, including your monthly and daily expenditures, and plan, plan, plan. Try to avoid unnecessary purchases: the costs of small, every-day items like a cup of coffee add up. At the same time, try to build some savings: small deposits do help. A savings plan — however modest — can help you avoid borrowing for emergencies. Saving the fee on a $300 payday loan for six months, for example, can help you create a buffer against financial emergencies.
The federal Truth in Lending Act treats payday loans like other types of credit: the lenders must disclose the cost of the loan. Payday lenders must give you the finance charge (a dollar amount) and the annual percentage rate (APR — the cost of credit on a yearly basis) in writing before you sign for the loan. The APR is based on several things, including the amount you borrow, the interest rate and credit costs you’re being charged, and the length of your loan.
For most people, a cash advance (also known as a payday advance) is something associated with a credit card or other line of credit. Many credit card companies make it easy for customers to receive cash advances nearby by using their credit card at a local ATM. The problem with such tactics is that the costs of the advance can add up quickly and you might not even realize what all those costs are. You'll likely pay an ATM fee charged by the bank that runs the machine, and you might also pay a fee to the credit card company for taking the advance, along with finance charges and interest if you don't pay the money back before your next billing cycle. Some credit card companies charge interest on cash advances that is higher than the interest charged on regular balances, which can make for surprising increases in your total balance.
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