A recent law journal note summarized the justifications for regulating payday lending. The summary notes that while it is difficult to quantify the impact on specific consumers, there are external parties who are clearly affected by the decision of a borrower to get a payday loan. Most directly impacted are the holders of other low interest debt from the same borrower, which now is less likely to be paid off since the limited income is first used to pay the fee associated with the payday loan. The external costs of this product can be expanded to include the businesses that are not patronized by the cash-strapped payday customer to the children and family who are left with fewer resources than before the loan. The external costs alone, forced on people given no choice in the matter, may be enough justification for stronger regulation even assuming that the borrower him or herself understood the full implications of the decision to seek a payday loan.
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.
APR Disclosure. Some states have laws limiting the APR that a lender can charge you. APRs range from widely and can be from 200% to 1386%. Loans from a state that has no limiting laws or loans from a bank not governed by state laws may have an even higher APR. The Annual Percentage Rate is the rate at which your loan accrues interest and is based upon the amount, cost and term of your loan, repayment amounts and timing of payments. Lenders are legally required to show you the APR and other terms of your loan before you execute a loan agreement.
In May 2008, the debt charity Credit Action made a complaint to the United Kingdom Office of Fair Trading (OFT) that payday lenders were placing advertising which violated advertising regulations on the social network website Facebook. The main complaint was that the APR was either not displayed at all or not displayed prominently enough, which is clearly required by UK advertising standards.
A 2009 study by University of Chicago Booth School of Business Professor Adair Morse found that in natural disaster areas where payday loans were readily available consumers fared better than those in disaster zones where payday lending was not present. Not only were fewer foreclosures recorded, but such categories as birth rate were not affected adversely by comparison. Moreover, Morse's study found that fewer people in areas served by payday lenders were treated for drug and alcohol addiction.
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.
“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.
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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