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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.
It’s possible to tap into another workplace resource without counting on your boss’s approval: your 401(k). Although traditional advice would have you run for the hills before taking money out of your retirement account, it is actually one of the most cost-effective options. In fact, according to Investopedia, a 401(k) loan should be one of the first options you consider to address a short-term, but serious need for liquidity.
“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 the traditional retail model, borrowers visit a payday lending store and secure a small cash loan, with payment due in full at the borrower's next paycheck. The borrower writes a postdated check to the lender in the full amount of the loan plus fees. On the maturity date, the borrower is expected to return to the store to repay the loan in person. If the borrower does not repay the loan in person, the lender may redeem the check. If the account is short on funds to cover the check, the borrower may now face a bounced check fee from their bank in addition to the costs of the loan, and the loan may incur additional fees or an increased interest rate (or both) as a result of the failure to pay.
However, despite the tendency to characterize payday loan default rates as high, several researchers have noted that this is an artifact of the normal short term of the payday product, and that during the term of loans with longer periods there are frequently points where the borrower is in default and then becomes current again. Actual charge offs are no more frequent than with traditional forms of credit, as the majority of payday loans are rolled over into new loans repeatedly without any payment applied to the original principal.
NOTICE: The Federal Equal Credit Opportunity Act prohibits creditors from discriminating against credit applicants on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, age (provided the applicant has the capacity to enter into a binding contract); because all or part of the applicant's income derives from any public assistance program; or because the applicant has in good faith exercised any right under the Consumer Credit Protection Act. The Federal agency that administers compliance with this law concerning this creditor is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, 1700 G Street NW, Washington DC 20006 and the Federal Trade Commission, Equal Credit Opportunity, Washington DC 20580.
In summary, taking a cash advance on your credit card means taking on a very expensive short-term loan. This is almost never a good idea, so consider all other options before using a cash advance. It’s also important to take the fact that you’re thinking about using a cash advance as a sign that your finances need some fine-tuning. You don’t want to end up in this situation again!
Cash Advance® is not a lender and does not engage in debt collection practices. Your lenders' collection practices will be disclosed to you in the loan documents. If you are unsure of the collection practices used by a specific lender, we recommend that you discuss this issue with your lender directly. Cash Advance® makes reasonable efforts to only work with established, reputable lenders who pursue collections of past due accounts with fair conduct and in compliance with the provisions of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act by the Federal Trade Commission.
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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Please Note:The material on this site is provided for informational purposes only and is not financial advice. Always consult a professional before making any financial decisions.
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