Other options are available to most payday loan customers. These include pawnbrokers, credit union loans with lower interest and more stringent terms which take longer to gain approval, employee access to earned but unpaid wages, credit payment plans, paycheck cash advances from employers ("advance on salary"), auto pawn loans, bank overdraft protection, cash advances from credit cards, emergency community assistance plans, small consumer loans, installment loans and direct loans from family or friends. The Pew Charitable Trusts found in 2013 their study on the ways in which users pay off payday loans that borrowers often took a payday loan to avoid one of these alternatives, only to turn to one of them to pay off the payday loan.
The propensity for very low default rates seems to be an incentive for investors interested in payday lenders. In the Advance America 10-k SEC filing from December 2011 they note that their agreement with investors, "limits the average of actual charge-offs incurred during each fiscal month to a maximum of 4.50% of the average amount of adjusted transaction receivables outstanding at the end of each fiscal month during the prior twelve consecutive months". They go on to note that for 2011 their average monthly receivables were $287.1 million and their average charge-off was $9.3 million, or 3.2%. In comparison with traditional lenders, payday firms also save on costs by not engaging in traditional forms of underwriting, relying on their easy rollover terms and the small size of each individual loan as method of diversification eliminating the need for verifying each borrower's ability to repay. It is perhaps due to this that payday lenders rarely exhibit any real effort to verify that the borrower will be able to pay the principal on their payday in addition to their other debt obligations.
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Emergencies are inherently unexpected and almost always emotionally and financially jarring. Emergency funds are a key component in the arsenal of a successful saver because they not only mitigate the financial burden of unexpected expenses, they also help reduce the stress which often accompanies them. Unlike the amount you set aside for a specific purchase, an emergency fund is to be used exclusively for events like family crises, medical issues and natural disasters. People with emergency savings avoid crippling debt and are on the road to recovery much more quickly than those who are unprepared.
People who set goals for a purchase – whether it's a car, television or family vacation – are more apt to reduce unnecessary spending in pursuit of that goal. While other consumers use credit cards to purchase items they can't afford, effective savers rarely spend money they don't have. The next time you decide to invest in a big purchase, review your budget to see where you can make cuts to allocate more funds toward that goal. You can also boost your income to reach your savings goals quicker by taking on side jobs, such as freelance writing, dog walking or another gig that takes advantage of your marketable skills.
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