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.
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.”
As for federal regulation, the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act gave the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) specific authority to regulate all payday lenders, regardless of size. Also, the Military Lending Act imposes a 36% rate cap on tax refund loans and certain payday and auto title loans made to active duty armed forces members and their covered dependents, and prohibits certain terms in such loans.
Payday loans should be used for short-term financial needs only and not as a long-term financial solution. Any advance of money obtained through a payday loan is not intended to meet long-term financial needs. A payday loan should only be used to meet immediate short-term cash needs. Refinancing a payday loan rather than paying the debt in full when due will require the payment of additional charges. Customers with credit difficulties should seek credit counseling before entering into any payday loan transaction.
Many people have trouble paying back their cash advance loans, and rollover is common. In fact, 80 percent of cash advances are rolled over or followed by another loan within 14 days of the first.3 And far too often it doesn’t end there. The loan becomes due and borrowers still can’t pay back the lump sum they owe, so what do they do? They roll it over once more and the cycle starts again.
A staff report released by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York concluded that payday loans should not be categorized as "predatory" since they may improve household welfare. "Defining and Detecting Predatory Lending" reports "if payday lenders raise household welfare by relaxing credit constraints, anti-predatory legislation may lower it." The author of the report, Donald P. Morgan, defined predatory lending as "a welfare reducing provision of credit." However, he also noted that the loans are very expensive, and that they are likely to be made to under-educated households or households of uncertain income.
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