The federal Truth in Lending Act treats payday loans like other types of credit: the lenders must disclose the cost of the loan. Payday lenders must give you the finance charge (a dollar amount) and the annual percentage rate (APR — the cost of credit on a yearly basis) in writing before you sign for the loan. The APR is based on several things, including the amount you borrow, the interest rate and credit costs you’re being charged, and the length of your loan.
“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.
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.
The basic loan process involves a lender providing a short-term unsecured loan to be repaid at the borrower's next payday. Typically, some verification of employment or income is involved (via pay stubs and bank statements), although according to one source, some payday lenders do not verify income or run credit checks. Individual companies and franchises have their own underwriting criteria.
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.
To avoid overspending on recurring bills, conscious consumers know to regularly review rates on everything from loan interest to insurance policies. Keeping an eye on these expenses and making a change when lower rates are available ensures that you keep more of your hard-earned money to use toward savings goals or to pay down debts. What's more, it's important to evaluate whether services, policies and other expenses are actually needed and not being paid simply out of habit. Since most bills are automated, it's easy to set and forget your expenses to the detriment of your budget and overall savings goals.
We've all heard those terrible capitalism-will-eat-you-alive urban legends about people who loose their footing on the corporate ladder and wind up homeless on the street. The message here is always to work harder and be smarter about what you do. That is good advice, but what about in extreme situations, where the odds are against you? What should you do if you are short just a little cash, and it might mean the difference between a big lose and a big win? In this situation, wouldn't it be better to get a cash advance, rather than risk a downward swing in fortune?
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.
Payday loans (and certain other financing) offered to servicemembers and their dependents must include certain protections, under Federal law and a Department of Defense rule. For example, for payday loans offered after October 1, 2007, the military annual percentage rate cannot exceed 36%. Most fees and charges, with few exceptions, are included in the rate. Creditors also may not, for example, require use of a check or access to a bank account for the loan, mandatory arbitration, and unreasonable legal notices. Military consumers also must be given certain disclosures about the loan costs and your rights. Credit agreements that violate the protections are void. Creditors that offer payday loans may ask loan applicants to sign a statement about their military affiliation.
Some reasons you might take a cash advance loan include the need to make emergency repairs to a car or home, cover unplanned medical expenses or pay for assistance with short-term needs that can't wait. Parents might seek cash advances to help cover back-to-school expenses when paychecks don't quite meet needs. Ultimately, though, once a cash advance is funded, the cash is yours to spend or save as you please. LendUp works to provide cash advance loan services that are simple to understand.
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