On average, payday loans cost borrowers over 300% annual perceantage rate (APR). This means that if you had a $500 payday loan for one year, you would pay back $1,500 — three times as much as you borrowed. But concepts like APR can be confusing, and loan agreements are loaded with them. Here are the basic ones you need to look for — and know — to avoid predatory lenders.
Make a realistic budget, including your monthly and daily expenditures, and plan, plan, plan. Try to avoid unnecessary purchases: the costs of small, every-day items like a cup of coffee add up. At the same time, try to build some savings: small deposits do help. A savings plan — however modest — can help you avoid borrowing for emergencies. Saving the fee on a $300 payday loan for six months, for example, can help you create a buffer against financial emergencies.
The CFPB has issued several enforcement actions against payday lenders for reasons such as violating the prohibition on lending to military members and aggressive collection tactics. The CFPB also operates a website to answer questions about payday lending. In addition, some states have aggressively pursued lenders they felt violate their state laws.
The payday lending industry argues that conventional interest rates for lower dollar amounts and shorter terms would not be profitable. For example, a $100 one-week loan, at a 20% APR (compounded weekly) would generate only 38 cents of interest, which would fail to match loan processing costs. Research shows that, on average, payday loan prices moved upward, and that such moves were "consistent with implicit collusion facilitated by price focal points".
Financial Implications – The cost associated with short term loans of up to $500 can range from 15% to 40%, and these costs may climb even higher for loans that are greater than $500 in value. Before you sign your agreement, you should check these fees carefully. Similarly, there may also be charges applied for nonsufficient funds. As an example, if your $100 loan is 15 days past due, you may be assessed a charge that is equal to 10% of the principle balance as well as a $25 nonsufficient funds fee.
I disagree with other's that borrowing from friends and family or pawning are less viable options. Each consumer must do what fits their personal situation best. I think people need to seek more financial literacy; there is plenty of free, sound advice for managing personal finance from a variety of sources. Even with little money to manage, understanding budget basics is crucial to financial security.
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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