The likelihood that a family will use a payday loan increases if they are unbanked or underbanked, or lack access to a traditional deposit bank account. In an American context the families who will use a payday loan are disproportionately either of black or Hispanic descent, recent immigrants, and/or under-educated. These individuals are least able to secure normal, lower-interest-rate forms of credit. Since payday lending operations charge higher interest-rates than traditional banks, they have the effect of depleting the assets of low-income communities. The Insight Center, a consumer advocacy group, reported in 2013 that payday lending cost U.S communities $774 million a year.
While having a co-signer can boost your chances of a loan with more favorable terms and rates, there are drawbacks. These include potentially damaging the personal relationship with the co-signer as well as their credit if you default on the loan. Co-signers and borrowers should understand the terms of the loan and repercussions before taking out a loan.
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.
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Other options are available to most payday loan customers. These include pawnbrokers, credit union loans with lower interest and more stringent terms which take longer to gain approval, employee access to earned but unpaid wages, credit payment plans, paycheck cash advances from employers ("advance on salary"), auto pawn loans, bank overdraft protection, cash advances from credit cards, emergency community assistance plans, small consumer loans, installment loans and direct loans from family or friends. The Pew Charitable Trusts found in 2013 their study on the ways in which users pay off payday loans that borrowers often took a payday loan to avoid one of these alternatives, only to turn to one of them to pay off the payday loan.
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Finding a loan is tough when you have less-than-perfect credit, especially when the minimum credit requirement set by a bank puts a conventional loan out of your reach. Short-term options like payday loans can be a big help when you’re facing an emergency expense, but you’ll want to make sure you know exactly how much it’s costing you before you sign on the dotted line.
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Finally, a payday loan lender? They ask you for little more than proof of a job (after all, we do really want to be paid back) and a bank account. For $300 here in Calif., it will cost you about $55.00 for a 2 week $300 loan. So, two weeks later when you get paid, you pay me $355. Meanwhile, your car is fixed and you continued to earn your paycheck.
A 2012 report produced by the Cato Institute found that the cost of the loans is overstated, and that payday lenders offer a product traditional lenders simply refuse to offer. However, the report is based on 40 survey responses collected at a payday storefront location. The report's author, Victor Stango, was on the board of the Consumer Credit Research Foundation (CCRF) until 2015, an organization funded by payday lenders, and received $18,000 in payments from CCRF in 2013.
Under the federal Truth In Lending Act, the Credit Service Organization fee must be treated as a finance charge. The promissory note that you sign will describe the fee as a “prepaid finance charge,” and it will be added to the total interest you pay on the loan. In the end, the interest rate stated on the promissory note will be significantly higher than the 25% rate allowed under the MLA because of this additional fee.
Find out if you have — or if your bank will offer you — overdraft protection on your checking account. If you are using most or all the funds in your account regularly and you make a mistake in your account records, overdraft protection can help protect you from further credit problems. Find out the terms of the overdraft protection available to you — both what it costs and what it covers. Some banks offer “bounce protection,” which may cover individual overdrafts from checks or electronic withdrawals, generally for a fee. It can be costly, and may not guarantee that the bank automatically will pay the overdraft.