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.
To prevent usury (unreasonable and excessive rates of interest), some jurisdictions limit the annual percentage rate (APR) that any lender, including payday lenders, can charge. Some jurisdictions outlaw payday lending entirely, and some have very few restrictions on payday lenders. In the United States, the rates of these loans used to be restricted in most states by the Uniform Small Loan Laws (USLL), with 36–40% APR generally the norm.
The payday lending industry argues that conventional interest rates for lower dollar amounts and shorter terms would not be profitable. For example, a $100 one-week loan, at a 20% APR (compounded weekly) would generate only 38 cents of interest, which would fail to match loan processing costs. Research shows that, on average, payday loan prices moved upward, and that such moves were "consistent with implicit collusion facilitated by price focal points".
We’d like to add two more pieces of advice to those who are shopping around for a loan; 1) If a lender offers you more than you can afford to borrow, you can ask them to lower it. Take advantage of that opportunity as it will ease repayment, and 2) Avoid the temptation of paying to extend your loan duration (often called a “roll over”). Instead of paying a fee to postpone your repayment date, ask your lender for a payment plan.
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Check ‘N Go OH License #SM.501663, #CS.900077, and #CC.700416. Rhode Island licensed check casher. California operations licensed by the California Department of Business Oversight pursuant to the California Deferred Deposit Transaction Law and the California Financing Law. Texas and Ohio originate by a third party lender, restrictions apply. Eastern Specialty Finance, Inc., D/B/A Check ‘N Go is licensed by the Delaware State Bank Commissioner pursuant to 5 Del. C. sec. 2201 et. al., and expires 12/31/2018.
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