Say your car broke down and you decide to borrow $300 for the repairs from a payday lender. You’ll write a post-dated personal check for $340 (the amount, plus a $40 finance fee), made payable to the lender. You enter this information online when applying for a payday loan on the internet. The lender then advances you $300 for a set period, usually 14 days. When that period ends, you pay the lender $340 in cash, let them deposit the post-dated check or write another post-dated check for the amount, plus an additional finance fee.
As the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau notes on its site, these loans are typically for small amounts but give lenders access to your checking account or require you to write a check for the full balance in advance, which the lender can deposit when the loan comes due. Worse still, payday loans carry sensationally high interest rates, with some costing as much as 400%. That’s serious money for a cash-strapped consumer, and though state laws and other factors influence charges, you’ll want to enter a payday loan agreement carefully.
Ask yourself if it really is an emergency. Payday loans can be helpful for one-time emergency costs such as medical fees, but are not a good idea for funding unnecessary expenses. Is it possible to wait to repair your car or pay your bills until you receive your next paycheck? A late fee on a bill may be cheaper than a finance charge for a payday loan. Think about other ways to borrow money, keeping in mind they’ll have different fees and pros and cons.
“While admittedly another high APR loan option, if in a financial pinch, the fees and terms might be better than those offered by a payday loan,” explains McDermott. The key is to pay off the advance right away, before you begin racking up interest on the balance. If you allow the balance to linger month over month, your short-term loan could spiral into a long-term debt problem.
*You must be 18 years or older, a Florida resident, and you cannot have any outstanding cash advances with Amscot or any other provider. Some restrictions apply. Getting started online by clicking the Get Started Now button does not constitute an online application, to apply you must come into an Amscot branch location. If your check is dishonored a return check fee and non-sufficient funds fees may apply. As a member of CFSA, Amscot abides by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, as applicable, to collect past due accounts. Non-payment does not affect your credit score. Amscot does not offer automatic renewals. APR 271.14% to 365.00%. APR example provided is representative range based on a fourteen (14) day hold period with one payment. Amscot is licensed by the Office of Financial Regulation pursuant to Florida law governing Money Service Businesses. CUSTOMER NOTICE: There are a wide variety of loan products available in the marketplace, so your choice of lending products should match your financial needs. Small-dollar loans used over a long period of time can be expensive.

In the more recent innovation of online payday loans, consumers complete the loan application online (or in some instances via fax, especially where documentation is required). The funds are then transferred by direct deposit to the borrower's account, and the loan repayment and/or the finance charge is electronically withdrawn on the borrower's next payday.


Payday lenders have made effective use of the sovereign status of Native American reservations, often forming partnerships with members of a tribe to offer loans over the Internet which evade state law.[72] However, the Federal Trade Commission has begun the aggressively monitor these lenders as well.[73] While some tribal lenders are operated by Native Americans,[74] there is also evidence many are simply a creation of so-called "rent-a-tribe" schemes, where a non-Native company sets up operations on tribal land.[75][76]

This reinforces the findings of the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) study from 2011 which found black and Hispanic families, recent immigrants, and single parents were more likely to use payday loans. In addition, their reasons for using these products were not as suggested by the payday industry for one time expenses, but to meet normal recurring obligations.[15]
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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