While a cash advance lender may only charge $15 for every $100 you borrow, that’s only for two weeks. If you don’t pay back the loan as well as interest and fees, you roll over the loan and then you’re responsible for paying the interest again. An interest rate of 15 percent for a two-week loan becomes an interest rate of 30 percent when you roll it over for a month. And if you extend the loan for a year and do the math, you end up with an annual percentage rate of almost 400 percent!
You can’t always predict when an emergency will occur, but you can prepare for it. Ideally, you should keep enough money to cover your household expenses for two months or more in a savings account. If that goal is too high, aim to save at least the amount of one paycheck. It is also a good idea to have a few credit cards available for unexpected costs.
A payday loan — that is, a cash advance secured by a personal check or paid by electronic transfer is very expensive credit. How expensive? Say you need to borrow $100 for two weeks. You write a personal check for $115, with $15 the fee to borrow the money. The check casher or payday lender agrees to hold your check until your next payday. When that day comes around, either the lender deposits the check and you redeem it by paying the $115 in cash, or you roll-over the loan and are charged $15 more to extend the financing for 14 more days. If you agree to electronic payments instead of a check, here’s what would happen on your next payday: the company would debit the full amount of the loan from your checking account electronically, or extend the loan for an additional $15. The cost of the initial $100 loan is a $15 finance charge and an annual percentage rate of 391 percent. If you roll-over the loan three times, the finance charge would climb to $60 to borrow the $100.
Of course, cash advance lenders have no problem with this. They’re usually more than willing to let you roll over a cash advance loan because that’s how they make their money—the more you roll it over, the more you pay in interest. And the alternative isn’t any better: If you stop making payments altogether and default, the lender can pursue legal action against you and potentially garnish your wages.4
Customer Notice: Payday Loans are typically for two-to four-week terms (up to six months in IL). Some borrowers, however, use Payday Loans for several months, which can be expensive. Payday Loans (also referred to as Payday Advances, Cash Advances, Deferred Deposit Transactions/Loans) and high-interest loans should be used for short-term financial needs only and not as a long-term financial solution. Customers with credit difficulties should seek credit counseling before entering into any loan transaction. See State Center for specific information and requirements.
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